Tuesday, April 22, 2008

“Never” Has Finally Arrived

Did you know that there was an original, never-used theme for the 1983 feature film Never Say Never Again, which found Sean Connery reprising his signature role as British super-spy James Bond? The film was controversial for a variety of reasons: It wasn’t part of the Bond canon produced by EON and United Artists; it was a remake of the 1965 movie Thunderball; and its production brought to a head a fierce legal dispute over the story’s source material.

But the winding path to that film’s debut includes yet another hullabaloo, according to Tim Lucas’ Video Watchblog. He quotes composer and sometime actor Stephen Forsyth as saying:
During the filming of the James Bond movie NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, I co-wrote the title song for the movie with Jim Ryan. Warner Bros. informed our attorney that the song was to be used as the title song in the picture. However, shortly before its release, Warner Bros. informed us that the song could not be used because Michel Legrand, who wrote the score, threatened to sue them, claiming that contractually he had the right to the title song. So my song was never released.

The legendary Phyllis Hyman was my first choice to sing the song and working with her is one of the highlights of my musical career. I personally auditioned and sang the song to her while she was having breakfast in her manager’s office. After agreeing to sing the song, she arrived at the studio and, without any rehearsal and only having heard the song sung once at the breakfast audition, sang the song in one perfect take.
Hyman, who committed suicide in July 1995, apparently thought the Never Say Never Again theme was “her best and favorite recording.” However, that piece disappeared into history. Until now. Here’s the mediocre theme that was released with the film; and here’s Hyman’s original introduction to that Bond yarn. Which do you prefer?

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While we’re on the subject of Bond, James Bond, note that the London Times has posted an interactive guide to the Imperial War Museum’s new exhibit, “For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond.” So you can experience the show without the costly inconvenience of paying the plane fare to the British capital.

(Hat tip to Bish’s Beat.)

READ MORE:More Bond Where This Came From,” by Tim Lucas (Video Watchblog); “Winehouse In or Out for Bond Theme?” (Hemingway’s Lounge).

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