Desmond Llewelyn Movies
"Bond -- James Bond," would have been nothing without Llewelyn -- Desmond Llewelyn. Llewelyn played the tweedy technophile who invented the bizarre gadgetry 007 used to thwart the sinister machinations of Dr. No, Goldfinger, and other dastardly villains in 17 Bond movies. Llewelyn's character was named Geoffrey Boothroyd, but no one in the Bond movies called him that. Instead, they called him "Q," short for "quartermaster." Like an army quartermaster who equips troops, Q equipped Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and other Bonds with the supplies of the espionage trade.
Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn was born in South Wales on September 12, 1914, the son of a Welsh coal-mining engineer. Interested in acting at an early age, he first studied accounting and law enforcement before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Arts at age 20. After joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the onset of World War II, he fought in France as a second lieutenant and fell into enemy hands after a two-day battle with a German panzer division. He spent the next five years in German POW camps at Rottenburg, Laufen, and Warburg. He once tried to tunnel his way to freedom, but failed.
Llewelyn returned to acting and began his film career in 1950 with a part in They Were Not Divided, then went on to appear in 31 other films, including the Bond films. Among the non-Bond films he appeared in, sometimes in quite minor roles, were Cleopatra (1963), Silent Playground (1964), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Merlin (1992), and Taboo (1997). Between 1963 and the year of his death, 1999, he played in all but two of the Bond films -- more than any of the actors who starred as James Bond, including Connery, Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan
. As Q, Llewelyn was always irascible and cranky in response to 007's carefree nonchalance. Like a professor with a flippant student, he scolded Bond to pay attention and tutored his charge in the use of "Q toys," as his booby-trapped marvels came to be known. Still, Q was a master of mischief, a gray-haired boy who concocted an endless variety of spy paraphernalia and bizarre weapons, like the Rolex watch that could alter the path of a speeding bullet; the pen grenade that, with three clicks of a button, could be set to detonate in four seconds; the key ring that could open almost any lock in the world, release nerve gas, or simply explode; and the Lotus sports car that doubled as a submarine, complete with torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles.
In real life, Llewelyn was all thumbs when it came to technology, and he was kind and gentle to all he encountered. On the movie set, his co-workers and other fans crowded around to observe when it came time for him to introduce his new marvel to the Bond de jour
, and he spent as long as it took to sign autographs for anyone who wanted one. Ironically, it was an automobile, a blue Renault Megane, that killed Llewelyn. He died in a hospital shortly after the Renault collided with another car near Firle in East Sussex, England, on December 19, 1999. The crash site was not far from his home, Bexhill-on-Sea, south of London. He was survived by his wife Pamela, whom he married in 1938, and two sons. His son Ivor told Britain's Sky Television, "He was a kind, very lovable man, and as a father he was great." ~ Mike Cummings, Rovi
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Thunderball finds James Bond matching wits with the sinister espionage organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E, (which stands for Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). This time, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. hijacks a NATO nuclear bomber, hiding the bombs under the ocean depths and threatening to detonate the weapons unless a ransom of 100,000,000 pounds is paid. The mastermind behind this scheme is international business executive Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who maintains a pool full of sharks for the purpose of eliminating enemies and those henchmen who fail to come up to standard. Dispatched to the Bahamas, lucky Mr. Bond enjoys the attentions of three nubile ladies: Largo's mistress Domino Derval (Claudine Auger), British spy Paula Caplan (Martine Beswick, previously seen as a gypsy girl in the 1962 Bond epic From Russia With Love) and enemy agent Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, (more)
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With Goldfinger, the James Bond series took a turn away from relatively straightforward spy thrillers and toward campy gadgetry, extravagant sets, and kitschy jokes. Bond (Sean Connery) has to prevent a notorious gold smuggler, appropriately named Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), from robbing Fort Knox. Goldfinger is surrounded by evil henchmen such as the sexy female pilot Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) and Oddjob (Harold Sakata), who kills with his steel-rimmed bowler hats. In order to stop Goldfinger, Bond has to survive several perilous situations, including a huge, deadly laser. Goldfinger is one of the most popular films in the James Bond series, and it set the tone not only for the rest of the series but also for most of the action/adventure films of the late '60s and early '70s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
- Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, (more)
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From Russia With Love, the second in the series of James Bond films, is the film that solidifies all the Bond film elements into a formula -- the action sequences are intensified and lend greater tension to the proceedings; John Barry's inimitable score makes its first appearance; and Sean Connery as Bond has nailed down his role as 007 -- accentuating Bond's stylishness and sophistication, while toning down his cold-bloodedness. In From Russia With Love, the bad guys don't want to take over the world. They want something more mundane -- a Russian decoding device. Assigned to the mission of stealing the decoding device are No. 3, former KGB agent Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), and No. 5, Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal), an expert chess player who has plotted every move of the mission. Kronsteen's plan requires using Bond's weakness for women as an element in acquiring the decoding device. Once Bond obtains the decoding device from Russian cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), SPECTRE muscleman Red Grant (Robert Shaw) is to forcibly take it from Bond and kill him. But Bond suspects a trap. Being Bond, however, he can't resist the lure of a beautiful woman. So, flaunting danger, Bond travels to Istanbul to meet Tatiana. The centerpiece of this 007 feature is the thrilling fight to the death between Bond and enemy agent Red Grant aboard the Orient Express. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
- Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, (more)
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One of the stars of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke, is re-united with that film's composer and lyricist, Richard M.Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, in this big budget and bloodless children's fantasy musical, based on the children's book by James Bond author Ian Fleming. Van Dyke plays Caractacus Potts, a failed inventor who lives in a big house with his two children -- Jemima Heather Ripley and Jeremy Adrian Hall -- and eccentric father Lionel Jeffries. Potts has to raise 30 shillings so his children can buy a broken-down racing car from the junkyard. After a disastrous attempt to sell his invention of whistling sweets to Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson-Justice), the local candy maker, he finally gets enough money for the car by doing a Dick Van Dyke dance routine at the county fair. Potts takes the car and miraculously transforms the vehicle into a shiny new car named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. While on a picnic with the children and Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), Lord Scrumptious' beautiful daughter, Potts concocts a fantasy tale about the magical powers of the car, which can now float on water and fly. In the tale, Baron Bomburst (Gert Frobe) wants the car for himself and kidnaps the automobile and the inventor. But Bomburst captures Grandpa by mistake along with the wrong car, so Potts, Truly, and the children have to enlist Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on a rescue mission to Bomburst's lair to save Grandpa. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
- Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, (more)