Tuesday, 31 January 2023

‘The Sound of 007’ celebrates Bond music; Lifetime movies



The James Bond film franchise celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Hard to believe that it was so long ago when President Kennedy, an avid fan of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels, was in office for the debut in 1962 of “Dr. No,” starring Sean Connery.

“The Sound of 007” is an impressive feature documentary on Amazon Prime Video that pulls back the curtain on the remarkable history of six decades of James Bond music.

Viewers are taken on a journey from Sean Connery’s “Dr. No” through Daniel Craig’s final outing in “No Time to Die.” Billie Eilish, who performed the song in Craig’s last Bond film, opines that “Bond music is the most iconic thing on the planet.”

Over the course of the twenty-five Eon Productions franchise the range of singers has been quite remarkable, and though it is hard to argue that no one did it better than Shirley Bassey.

Dare to listen to Shirley Bassey belt out the theme songs for “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds are Forever” and then try to form a coherent case that she was not the absolutely greatest of them all.

Interestingly, while Bassey was the only person to sing three Bond theme songs, she claims the last one for “Moonraker” did not work, and that she hated it and would not sing it in any of her acts.

A strong runner-up would have to be Paul McCartney, who composed and sang the song “Live and Let Die.” McCartney recounts how he read the Ian Fleming novel and wrote the song in the same afternoon.

Sam Mendes, director of “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” observes most perfectly that “everyone goes into every Bond movie waiting for the most famous piece of music in film history.”

That reference, of course, is to John Barry, who composed the scores for eleven Bond films, as well as re-arranging and performing the iconic “James Bond Theme” in “Dr. No,” even though Monty Norman wrote the signature theme song.

Seemingly unrelated to the Bond films is the story about actors Terence Stamp and Michael Caine being roommates, and there was “a little too much female traffic going in and out of the flat, and Caine was tossed out,” except Caine had a brief stay at John Barry’s apartment.

“No Time to Die” composer Hans Zimmer summed up the appeal of the Bond music, noting that “there’s a seductive quality in all the songs.”

THRILLER MOVIES ON LIFETIME

Lifetime continues on in late October with its “Ripped from the Headlines” movies that are thrillers inspired by true events that expose criminal stories or dive into current events.

“Swindler Seduction” features Colton Haynes (“Arrow” and “Teen Wolf”) in a dual role of crooked twin brothers who are romantic con artists earning their living off women who they fool and steal from.

When Louisa (Gabrielle Graham) meets handsome and sweet Steve (Colton Haynes) at a bar in Chicago, he seems like the perfect guy – an angel investor and entrepreneur who just sold a company for millions.

Forty-eight blissful, sexy hours and countless lies later, Steve disappears, and Louisa realizes she’s been swindled out of thousands of dollars. The police won’t help her but after Louisa finds out she’s pregnant, she sets out to track down the runaway lover.

She discovers that Steve has an identical twin in Mitch, who is also a con artist. As she digs deeper, Louisa uncovers how women have been hurt by the swindler twins and decides she must fight back.

Using her wits, courage and determination to not be fooled again, Louisa tries to outsmart the evil twins and serve justice for all their jilted and duped victims.

The short-form special “Beyond the Headlines: Swindler Seduction” explores the phenomenon of evil and criminal twins and the environmental and genetic circumstances that can lead twin siblings to a life of crime.

As part of this special, a forensic psychologist deconstructs and analyzes a true crime case of identical twin sisters who turned on each other.

“An Amish Sin” explores the Amish world that has always fascinated outsiders with its insular community and 18th century lifestyle that shuns the temptations of modernity.

But all is not as wholesome as it seems. Inspired by true stories, “An Amish Sin” follows Rachel (Dylan Ratzlaff), an Amish teen who refuses to obey her parents’ command that she marry the man who abused her as a child.

When she attempts to run away, Rachel is caught and sent to a “rehab” for Amish girls who don’t follow the rules. Managing to escape from the facility, she makes her way to a neighboring city where she has to learn to live and find her place in our world.

Kellie Martin also stars as Rachel’s mother Sara and Rukiya Bernard is in the role of Grace, who befriends Rachel when she leaves the Amish community.

“Beyond the Headlines: An Amish Sin” talks to real women who have left the Amish sect, how they got out and what their lives are like today.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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