You Only Live
Region 2 Ultimate Edition - 7.11Mb/sec
Region 1 Special Edition - 5.56Mb/sec
As you can see, the new editions offer much
higher average bit-rates.
For the first time the first three films
are offered in something closely approximating their original theatrical
aspect ratio (of 1.66:1). The 2000 editions were cropped to 1.78:1 format.
The new versions are windowboxed (i.e.: they have thin black bands at the
sides of the image, to allow for anamorphic enhancement).
The 2000 discs featured a number of edited
transfers - or, at least, were versions that did not include footage that
was contained in other versions.
The UK versions of several of the 80s and
90s Bond movies have suffered at the hands of the BBFC (
To Kill, Goldeneye and
Tomorrow Never Dies especially). Several shots of graphic violence from
Licence To Kill
were removed by the BBFC, and the BBFC have routinely toned-down
impact sound effects (punches, etc) and sounds of human suffering
(screams, etc) in subsequent films (sometimes to ensure that the films get
a certificate that is agreeable to the distributor).
However, in some cases of missing footage
it was simply a case of MGM not using the optimum print. Indeed, several
Bond films are known to exist in several slightly different versions,
notably Thunderball (see the featurette on the DVD).
The new Ultimate Edition DVD
versions rectify some of the problems.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Three instances of missing footage have
[Times in brackets refer to the Ultimate
Edition discs - these will be different to any NTSC transfer]
A shot of the shadow of a passing cable car
has been reinstated to the sequence where Bond's backup, Campbell (Bernard
Horsfall), is trying to gain access to Blofeld's lair (it's just after the
line "Perhaps you'd like to teach me?") [72'19"]
As Bond and Tracy leave the race-track, the
line "I told you that crowd would discourage them" is now delivered over
an interior shot of Bond and Tracy in the car. The previous version had it
delivered over an exterior shot of the car. [103'58"]
Blofeld's line "Tracy, don't be so proud.
Your father's own business is not entirely within the law. His brotherhood
also have exotic ways of keeping a closed shop" is no longer
truncated after "the law." [116'36"]
Licence To Kill
Licence To Kill
was quite heavily cut by the BBFC for its theatrical release, and it
was this version that was released on DVD in 2000, even in the US, where
it should have been released uncut, like their theatrical release.
A number of cuts have been re-instated:
An underwater shot showing Felix Leitner's
(David Hedison) bloody stump has been reinstated to the end of the
sequence where Sanchez lowers Bond's friend into the jaws of a shark.
Believing that Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe)
has betrayed him, Sanchez locks Krest into a decompression chamber,
pressurises it, and then severs a feed pipe with an axe. A shot of Krest's
head swelling up, and then exploding (or, at least, a shot of the inside
of the porthole suddenly being showered with blood), has been reinstated.
Several shots of Dario (Benecio Del Toro)
falling into the grinding machine, and literally being minced alive, have
been reinstated. [109'15"]
A lingering shot of Sanchez on fire,
falling to his knees, has been reinstated to his final confrontation in
the desert with Bond. [122'06"]
From Russia With Love
Unfortunately, a cut in From Russia With
Love has not been fixed. There is a jump-cut at the end of the scene
where Bond and Tatiana Romanova are riding in a gondola. Bond examines
Grant's blackmail film. There is an awkward cut after Bond says "He's
right you know". Bond's position changes (he's no longer obviously holding
the film), and there's a jump in the theme song. A subsequent line,
"What a performance!" is missing from all known prints. An article about
this can be found
The films have been given new transfers,
and extensive restoration work has been undertaken by
DTS Images (formerly Lowry Digital Images). I've had a look at Dr.
No, Goldfinger, Thunderball and Live and Let Die.
There's no doubt that the Connery films look much better than previous
editions. Colour fidelity
is improved, and there is more detail to the pictures. Grain is reduced
(not necessarily a good thing, but it seems fine here), and dirt and film
damage has been almost completely eliminated, (and if you don't think that
this was a problem with the old discs, I suggest you take another look at
them!) Some of the films I looked at - Live and Let Die, especially
- had lots of flecks of dirt and film sparkle, which is no longer present.
Some of the new transfers - Live and Let
Die, especially - don't seem quite as sharp as before, but this is
probably attributable to artificial edge-enhancement on the old transfers. The
improvements to Live and Let Die weren't as immediately obvious,
compared to the Connery discs, and they seemed to be more variable from
shot-to-shot. Some shots were immeasurably better, others, if anything,
seemed worse. I stress that this was based on a random sampling of scenes.
Since the new transfers and grading were
not supervised by the film's original cinematographers, there's no
guarantee that the new versions faithfully reflect their original
Some screengrabs from
Dr. No, Goldfinger,
Thunderball and Live and Let Die can be found
More notes on the James Bond Ultimate
That's a Smith and Wesson... and you've had
In the original cut of the film Bond shot
the traitorous Professor Dent six times. Director Terence Young decided
that this was a little excessive, so trimmed the scene. In all extant versions of the film,
including the new Ultimate Edition version, Bond only shoots twice
From Russia With Love
There's a sequence where Tatiana Romanova
leaves Istambul's Russian Consulate General with two colleagues
[13'35"]. She chats to them briefly. Shortly afterwards, on her way to a
meeting with Rosa Klebb, she asks a policeman directions [14'00"]. Both of
these scenes have foreign dialogue, but no English subtitles. Apparently
some prints (possibly only theatrical / TV prints) have English subtitles
for these scenes. The new Ultimate Edition version is the same as
the 2000 R1 version: no subtitles.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
mentions a shot where one of the
helicopters attacking Blofeld's mountaintop lair apparently vanishes into
thin air. This is at
120'51"-120'54" in the
version. This is the same as the 2000 R1
and seems to be the result of a lap dissolve between two takes.
Live and Let Die
The disc features the film's original
burnt-in theatrical captions. It's possible that the textless version of
these scenes may no longer exist. If they did, it would have been relatively simple
to stabilise the rather shaky opening shot of the UN building. Perhaps
doing this, which would mean re-creating the original caption, or
replacing it with a player-generated one, went beyond DTS Images'
The Man With The Golden Gun
Some of the new additional features on the
Ultimate Edition DVDs have been somewhat awkwardly edited, perhaps
to avoid licensing complications, or music clearance issues. None, though,
is more ham-fistedly handled than the interview with Roger Moore and Herve
Villechaize from The Russell Harty Show, which has been re-edited to
completely remove the show's host (some shots seem to have been zoomed-in,
apparently to crop him out!) The result is a disjointed mess. This footage
was licensed from ITN.
During the chase through the streets of Dehli, Bond
dispatches a villain by throwing him onto a bed of nails, much to the
disgust of its owner, a fakir, who says (in Indian) "Get off my bed." In
the theatrical version, this was accompanied by an English subtitle. This
is present in the new UE version, but as a player-generated subtitle.
[35'38"] This subtitle was missing entirely from the 2000 R1 edition
[37'04"], so in this respect the new Ultimate Edition version is an
improvement, even if it isn't the original burnt-in caption.
A View To A Kill
There's an awkward jump-cut in the scene
where Bond pulls back the bed covers, when May Day climbs into bed with
him (presumably to remove some accidental nudity). This is still present
in the Ultimate Edition version. [41'50"]
The Living Daylights
The establishing caption ("BRATISLAVIA,
CZECHOSLOVAKIA"), which should appear after the main titles is
missing entirely: no burnt-in caption, and no player-generated subtitle [9'54"].
It's missing from the 2000 R1 edition, too.
In the scene where Kusov is smuggled out in
the pipeline, Bond's colleague, Rosika Miklos (The Life and Loves of a
She Devil's Julie T. Wallace), seduces the security supervisor, to
distract him form his control panel. Her job done, she rebukes him: (in
Russian). There's supposed to be an English subtitle here (
sort of girl do you think I am?" ), but it's missing: the line doesn't
even appear in the regular English subtitles.
[18'40"] It wasn't there in the 2000 R1
edition, either [19'29"].
The Inside The Living Daylights
featurette still contains the Sam Neill screen test footage (which was -
probably erroneously - blamed for the 2000 disc becoming briefly
There's an establishing caption ("Arkangel
Chemical Weapons Facility - USSR") at the beginning of the film, which
appears just after Bond's bungee dive from the dam [2'20"]. In the
theatrical version of the film, the caption was - appropriately - in a
nice gold colour. The Ultimate Edition has replaced this with a hideous
white player-generated subtitle, which doesn't even appear in precisely
the same part of the frame, or at exactly the time the original version
did. It's also in upper case, when the original was in mixed case. The
original caption was present 2000 R1 edition, as you can see...
Above: the original theatrical
version's caption, as seen in the 2000 R1 DVD
Below: the player-generated caption, as seen in the 2006
Ultimate Edition DVD
(Note that these are not the same frame
- the Ultimate Edition version caption wasn't on-screen for long
enough to grab an identical frame!
This is a problem that regularly blights
MGM's UK DVDs.
Obviously virtually no effort was made to
match the new player-generated caption with how it looked originally.
(For another example, see the
Silence of the
Tomorrow Never Dies
In the case of Tomorrow Never Dies,
the first Bond film to be released on DVD in the wake of its theatrical
release, player-generated caption ugliness affects the original 1998
Region 1 version, the 1999 re-packaged re-issue, and the new R2
Ultimate Edition (even if they can't even agree whether the captions
should be in upper or mixed case!) Behold, the opening scene...
Above: player-generated caption, as seen in the
1998/1999 R1 DVDs [0'39"]
Below: player-generated caption, as seen in the 2006
R2 Ultimate Edition DVD [0'42"]
(Note that these two grabs are not of
the same frame)
The World Is Not Enough
The establishing caption at the beginning
of the film ("BILBAO, SPAIN") [0'37"], the "MI6 HEADQUARTERS
SCOTLAND" caption [17'00"], the "AZERBAIJAN" caption [27'21"] and the
"JAMES BOND WILL RETURN" [119'07"] are all the original theatrical
versions, just as they were in the 2000 R1 edition (hooray!)
Die Another Day
A return to player-generated captions
(e.g.: "PUKCH'ONG COAST, NORTH KOREA", at 0'31", the ungainly "Colonel
Tan-Sun Moon's HQ De-Militarised Zone, North Korea", at 3'33", and "14
months later", at 16'06"). The "JAMES BOND WILL RETURN" caption - this
time at the very end of the credits - is per the theatrical presentation.
The 2003 UK R2 DVD also had the player-generated captions.
A substantial amount of the bonus material
that was on the original R2 DVD, released in 2003, is missing from this
so-called "Ultimate" edition, including the seventy-five minute
documentary Inside Die Another Day; several other short
featurettes; Madonna's Die Another Day video (and its Making
of... featurette); and the theatrical trailers - all gone. The new
material: Just Another Day (23m), A British Touch - Bond Returns
To London (4m) and Location Scouting With Peter Lamont (14m),
don't nearly make up for the omissions.
With thanks to the ever-vigilant Richard
Additional assistance from