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Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007

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After the dizzying number of “definitive” Bond box sets with documentary after documentary, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 proves to be just that: a film that digs deep into Bond’s origins, creation and continuation with never-before told or heard tales of how it happened, how it almost didn’t happen and how it almost collapsed (more than once).

When Ian Fleming created James Bond for the first novel, Casino Royale (1952), he essentially created an idealized version of himself. A naval intelligence officer who came from money, Fleming was also a journalist whose experience provided much of what went into the character of Bond, who was named after the author of a book on birds in the West Indies, where Fleming lived and wrote in a home called Goldeneye. Fleming wanted to write the spy thriller of all spy thrillers. And he did.

The documentary tells us how Fleming became connected to Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who ultimately produced what has become the most successful and enduring film franchise in cinema history. Through revealing interviews with pivotal characters who played real life roles in pulling it all together at one time or another, along with old film and audio of key players, including Fleming, Broccoli and Saltzman, Everything or Nothing lays it all out with fascinating flair.

Though Connery didn’t make himself personally available for the film, there are interviews with the five other Bonds (Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig) as well as other producers and members of the casts and crews. Perhaps most pivotal in terms of access and information was Barbara Broccoli, Cubby’s daughter, who started producing the franchise in 1987 with The Living Daylights and continues to this day.

As someone who thought he’d seen and heard it all about Bond legend, I learned a great deal more than I thought I would from the documentary. Though On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) has long been dogged by many as the bastard child of Bond movies, I have always thought it was among the most underrated and one of the most visually appealing of the movies. When he was cast, George Lazenby was a complete unknown – a model – with absolutely no acting experience and huge shoes to fill in the wake of Connery’s phenomenal success. Lazenby not only tells the story of how he got the job, but he also reveals how he ruined the opportunity of a lifetime. I won’t tell the story here, but I was impressed to see Lazenby show a real man card, taking ownership and assuming full responsibility for what happened.

I’ve been a Bond freak since I first saw a rented pan-scan tape of Thunderball on my dad’s Betamax. Ably directed by Stevan Riley for Epix, this wonderfully made and very worthwhile documentary on my favorite film character of all time was virtual porn to me. I suspect any Bond fan would enjoy it just as much.

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Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 on Netflix (U.S.)

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