Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (2012)
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 is a lot more than just some bit of fluff, promotional documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bond movies. It is quite a frank insight into the history of the Bond franchise, although it is very much told from the perspective of EON productions. The movie title comes from the production company acronym “Everything or Nothing” which was formed by Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. Although somewhat partisan in its tone, this is not a rose-tinted exploration of the staggering success of Ian Fleming’s iconic character. The documentary does in fact make you rethink many notions you may have had about certain high profile Hollywood stars and producers.
Initially focusing on author Ian Fleming’s struggles to get the novels filmed, the curious catalogue of failures that brought Saltzman, Broccoli and United Artists together are quite fascinating. As the franchise grew and started to gain momentum it seems inevitable that all parties would eventually fallout. Artistic differences, financial remuneration, taxes and ego all played a part. Then of course there was the problem of how a joint writing venture with Kevin McClory led to rights disputes and a series of legal battles that would drag on for decades. It ultimately led to the unofficial Bond movie Never Say Never Again being made in 1983. Unlike other popular franchises the Bond series has also had to face the trauma of recasting it’s lead actor not once but five times.
The documentary speaks to all actors who have played Bond, except Sean Connery, although his views are still adequately represented by archive footage. There is considerable candour from George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Lazenby is very clear as to why he lost the role that he worked so hard to obtain. Dalton’s Bond suffered by arriving at a time when the franchise was in transition. He still remains in my view the Bond that deserved at least more film. Brosnan also gives an honest account of the effects of playing such an iconic role and how he vividly remembers the filming of Goldeneye, but how the sequels are all blurs. Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 is greatly enhanced by well-placed clips from the various movies to under pin the narrative, as well judicious use of John Barry’s various scores.
As previously mentioned the documentary’s candid approach doesn’t always paint a favourable picture. Mr. Connery is shown to apparently hold a grudge. Money often seems to be the cause of disharmony within the core production team. Plus many have frequently been or still remain tax exiles, a stance that seems to be increasingly unpopular in contemporary society. Yet despite the troubles that have beset the franchise over its fifty years, it still managed to reinvent itself and remain popular, commercial and relevant. What Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 demonstrates is that regardless of talent, marketing and the full weight of Hollywood, to be truly successful still requires an element of luck as well as being in the right place at the right time. This is why so many other lesser franchises will never get to celebrate a 50th anniversary.