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Trivia / Thunderball

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Trivia tropes for the film:

  • Acting for Two: Paul Stassino plays both Francois Derval and his impostor Angelo Palazzi since Palazzi's real face and voice are never heard or seen.
  • Cast the Expert: The B-17 that picks up Bond and Domino at the end of the film was owned by a CIA front company and its Skyhook system was actually used in real life on at least one espionage mission - Project COLDFEET.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Luciana Paluzzi auditioned for Domino, but decided it would be more fun to play a bad girl.
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    • One of Ian Fleming's previous choices to play Bond, Edward Undertown, has a small role as an RAF officer.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Fireball (Germany and Hungary)
    • Operation Thundersky (Norway)
    • Calm Down, Mr Bond (Netherlands)
    • The Thunderball (Sweden)
    • Atomic Ball (Portugal)
    • 007 Against the Atomic Blackmail (Brasil)
    • Agent 007 Into The fire (Denmark)
    • The Ball of Thunder (Israel)
    • 007 Averts SPECTRE/007 Averted The Spectre (China)
    • Thunderball Fighting (Japan)
    • Operation Thunder (Belgium, France, Spain and Latin America)
    • Operation Thunderball (Italy, Japan and Poland)
  • Creator Backlash: Screenwriter Richard Maibaum criticized the casting of Adolfo Celi, complaining that he had to create other villains to make Largo look more threatening.
  • Deleted Scene: Detailed here.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Sean Connery and the sharks in Largo's pool. The clear plastic panels that shielded Sean Connery from the sharks could only extended about three feet in height and sharks could swim over them. Some sharks did and Sean Connery was genuinely terrified. Guess which takes the director used in the film?
  • Executive Meddling:
    • A justified example, with the decision to change Largo's death from a gruesome harpoon through the neck, to a relatively more tame but more dramatic harpoon through the back.
    • The producers deciding at the last moment to require the theme song to have the word "Thunderball" in it, necessitating some quick rerecording and quick rescoring to fit the new song in.
  • Fake Nationality: George Pravda, who played a Polish scientist, was Czechoslovakian.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Averted. Stuntman Bob Simmons appeared to have made a very narrow escape from the car explosion stunt during filming at Silverstone Racetrack, Northamptonshire, England. Terence Young raced to the scene, whereupon Simmons surprised him from the side road as a gag. People watching the stunt generally didn't see Simmons exit the vehicle before the explosion, probably due to his exit point being in a blind spot to the point-of-view of those overseeing the stunt.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: It took almost thirty years for the expanded soundtrack to be released. This was because John Barry was still scoring the second half of this movie when the music for the recording of the soundtrack was required. Practically no music from the second half of the movie appeared in the original score's release. While the eighty minute CD is largely complete, it is still missing about twenty-five minutes of extra music.
  • Looping Lines: Q introduces Bond to his new tricked-out briefcase, accompanied by the line "Now pay attention, 007". This line would later become one of many famous motifs in the series, but Desmond Llewelyn does not move his mouth.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer has Bond say to Fiona, "The things I do for England". He doesn't say it here, but he does in the next one. There's also a scene of Largo scratching his eyepatch that isn't in the film.
  • No Stunt Double: An excellent swimmer, Claudine Auger did all her own underwater scenes including a love scene with Sean Connery on the sea bed during which she lost her bikini top.
  • The Other Darrin: Felix Leiter is recast yet again, this time with Rik Van Nutter, apparently doing his best impression of Jack Lord (who played Leiter in Dr. No), with Leiter once again being depicted as a young man after the previous film had him grey-haired and middle-aged. Possibly happened with the voice of Blofeld as well, as various sources claim that Joseph Wiseman (the titular Dr. No) took over the role from previous actor Eric Pohlmann in this film, while yet others say that it was still Pohlmann.
  • Reality Subtext: When strapping on the jetpack, Bond takes a moment to put on a helmet. This was because Bill Suiter, who did the actual flying, absolutely refused to operate the jetpack without a helmet and the crew had no choice but to acquiesce because no one else could perform the stunt and survive.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The film was based upon Fleming's novel, Thunderball, which was in turn adapted from an unproduced screenplay from the 1950s.
  • Release Date Change: The movie was originally supposed to have had its premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London in September 1965. It was delayed until December, because it could not be completed in time.
  • Stunt Double:
    • Regular stuntman Bob Simmons played Col. Jacques Bouvoir. He also doubled for Guy Doleman in Count Lippe's death scene and was lucky to escape with his life.
    • Bond's jetpack was actually flown by engineer Bill Suiter. He was one of only two people in the world qualified to fly it.
  • What Could Have Been: Enough for its own page.
  • You Look Familiar: Martine Beswick previously played a Gypsy girl in From Russia with Love.

Trivia tropes for the novel:

  • Reality Subtext: Bond's medical record, as read out to him by M, is a slightly modified version of Fleming's own.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The scene where Bond does an underwater swim to photograph the underside of the yacht was inspired by the Crabb affair.
  • What Could Have Been: Kevin McClory planned to have a third adaptation of the book made for 1995, possibly under the title Warhead or Warhead 2000.
  • Write What You Know: The visit to the health clinic was inspired by Fleming's own 1955 trip to the Enton Hall health farm.


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