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Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/10/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Entertaining, smartly edited Bond documentary with superb talking heads (including five out of six Bonds), a wealth of terrific archive footage and a rewarding focus on the production side of things.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steven Riley, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 takes its title from Eon, the production company set up by Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The film traces the history of James Bond, beginning with the early life and career of Ian Fleming and moving right the way through to Daniel Craig, with Skyfall director Sam Mendes appearing as a talking head.

The Good
The film's focus is firmly on the production side of things, which proves extremely rewarding; it's fascinating to discover just how close the series came to collapse on a number of different occasions. In fact, though the film is clearly a celebration of the Bond movies, it is also refreshingly open and candid about the darker side of the series' history and goes into intriguing detail on, for example, the legal wranglings between Eon and Thunderball co-writer Kevin McClory (which eventually lead to 1983's ‘rogue’ Bond film Never Say Never Again), and the specifics of the contractual obligations that led to Pierce Brosnan briefly becoming Bond two films earlier and then being unable to do it because NBC picked up the renew option on his previously cancelled TV series; the film is also surprisingly candid on the effect of 9/11 on the franchise.

Riley has assembled a terrific array of talking heads, with five out of six Bonds delivering entertaining interviews (Connery is conspicuous by his absence, but the wealth of archive material compensates) and, incredibly, not one but two US Presidents (Clinton and Reagan) popping up to talk about their love of Bond. Riley is also kind enough to devote a decent amount of time to George Lazenby, who gets to tell his very amusing story in full, from blagging the job in the first place, to allowing himself to be persuaded (by, essentially, a hippie) that Bond was on his way out.

The Great
The archive footage is excellent, encompassing behind the scenes material, home movies from the Broccoli estate (there are some lovely anecdotes about friends of Barbara Broccoli coming round and fainting because of all the stars in the living room), TV clips, news reports, stills and so on. There are also a number of fan-pleasing throwaways, the highlight of which is the opening credits sequence that edits the gun barrel walk-and-shoot to make it look as it all six Bonds are walking-and-shooting together.

The only problem with the film is that it ignores one or two key things (there is no mention of either the Bond songs or the 1967 Casino Royale for example) and it does occasionally feel like a glorified DVD extra.

Worth seeing?
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 is a well made, impressively detailed documentary that's a must-see for any Bond fan. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 08:05

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