This story originally appeared in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY #18 in March 1976.

After being partnered 15 years in the production of nine James Bond movies, Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli have ended their stormy relationship with Saltzman selling all his interests in Bond to United Artists. Future Bonds will be produced solely by Broccoli.

Relations between the two have been chilly for years, at least as far back as “Thunderball.” They alternated direct supervision of the last few Bond pics in order to keep away from each other as much as possible. News of the final split broke last November when Saltzman revealed he was negotiating the sale of his Bond interests to Columbia Pictures, which must have pleased United Artists no end. Just before Christmas, UA chairman Arthur B. Krim announced the sale of Saltzman’s half of Bond to UA (for an undisclosed but surely hefty sum; speculation is Saltzman wants a cash bundle for his other projects).

United Artists now owns a piece of Bond, after backing and releasing all the previous films. The sale involves not Eon Productions, the British company that actually turns out the films, but Swiss-based Danjaq Productions (a name made up of the first syllables of the first names of Harry’s and Cubby’s wives). It’s Danjaq that holds the movie rights to Ian Fleming’s books, with distribution given exclusively to United Artists.

Broccoli’s production solo begins with the next picture, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” which supposedly rolls this summer. UA confirmed that “Moonraker” is up next, in 1977, and “For Your Eyes Only” is set for 1978 (“Octopussy” would be the only remaining Fleming title).

Guy Hamilton, who directed the last three Bonds, was also going to do the next one, but after signing to direct “Superman” decided that needed his attention and bowed out of “Spy.” That alone should greatly improve the film. However, Hamilton’s replacement is Lewis Gilbert, who directed  “You Only Live Twice,” the first overly comic, non-Fleming Bond pic. We can’t win.

Or can we? While Harry and Cubby squabbled and delayed production of “The Spy Who Loved Me” (it would have been out in June if they’d kept to their every-eighteen-months release pattern), who should pop back up into Bond’s world but Sean Connery and Kevin McClory — and those impossible rumors you’ve heard are true. They are doing a new James Bond movie. Hold on though; Connery is not playing Bond.

Most Bond fans are aware of the legal tangle involving McClory and Fleming’s novel Thunderball. Briefly, when Fleming wrote the book in 1960, he used the plot that he, McClory and Jack Whittingham had come up with for a proposed Bond movie the previous year. A lawsuit against Fleming gave McClory and Whittingham credit in subsequent editions of the book, and in the screen credits when “Thunderball” was filmed in 1965 as the fourth Saltzman-Broccoli Bond production. McClory also got the producer’s credit for “Thunderball” (with Harry and Cubby “presenting” the pic).

Now it’s come out that McClory’s deal also included the right to remake the film — and that is what this “new” Bond movie will be. A full-page ad in the Jan. 7 anniversary issue of Variety reads, “Kevin McClory, on behalf of Paradise Film Productions, is pleased to announce Ian Fleming’s ‘James Bond of the Secret Service,’ scripted by Len Deighton, Sean Connery, Kevin McClory. Production on this James Bond 007 film commences in 1976 in the Bahamas.”

Connery insists he has no interest in playing Bond again. “I just turned down $2 million to do a Bond,” he told an interviewer recently. “I wouldn’t do it to make money unless I though it was for an important cause.” Connery may, however, make his directorial debut on the picture. If so, the film will have to wait until fall, since Connery has acting commitments for a picture currently shooting in New York and another after that. If he does not direct, the film is tentatively slated to start shooting this summer in the Bahamas.

Len Deighton, of course, is the author of many spy novels, three of which were filmed by Harry Saltzman as the Harry Palmer series. His involvement should mean a good screenplay, but then almost anything would be better than what Harry and Cubby have been turning out.

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The following story originally appeared in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY #19 in June 1976.

“The Spy Who Loved Me” is now scheduled to start shooting in late summer, in England and “some of the most exotic locations around the world” (which must mean they still don’t have a script and haven’t even settled on the locations).

Meanwhile, Paradise Film Productions, the new James Bond film company headed by Kevin McClory (as outlined here last issue) is running into flak from United Artists (not an unexpected development). No one knew the rights to “Thunderball” reverted back to McClory after ten years, on Jan. 1, 1976, until McClory announced his intent to make “James Bond of the Secret Service” (a remake of “Thunderball”). Now McClory is claiming he has even further Bond rights and plans to exercise them. UA says he has nothing beyond the right to remake “Thunderball.”

McClory, whose Bond rights came from his involvement in developing a Bond screenplay with Ian Fleming before Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli acquired screen rights to all of Fleming’s books, claims to have two other Bond properties which Fleming worked on with him, “Bond in the Bahamas” and “Latitude 78 West.” UA says those are just variations on “Thunderball.” Fleming never published anything with those titles, of course, but it’s possible that McClory could have some undeveloped story outlines, or something.

At any rate, UA advised McClory of their position, and their intent to protect their property if McClory does anything with Bond besides making a film with the plot and characters from “Thunderball.”

McClory’s response was a long letter to UA from his lawyers, which he also published in the June 23 Variety. Coming from lawyers, the letter is written in legalese instead of English, but what it seems to boil down to is McClory’s belief that he’s entitled to take the James Bond character from “Thunderball” and use him in a whole series of films. The lawyers cite the agreement that gave McClory rights to “Thunderball,” which they mention was signed by McClory, Fleming and others unnamed, and dated Dec. 31, 1963. But even his lawyers admit here that all of McClory’s rights are still tied in only to “Thunderball.” McClory’s position doesn’t seem very strong to me, but we shall see what happens.

At least “James Bond of the Secret Service” should go ahead with no trouble, although shooting has been postponed from this summer until next February. McClory did take out a full page in Variety to tell everyone that bigshot agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar had seen the script and said it’s “one of the most exciting screenplays I have ever read.” Zowie.