1. The Man with the Golden Gun was the thirteenth and final complete James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, and was the first and only one of his full Bond novels to be published posthumously. For many years some sources claimed that it was unfinished at the time of his death and other writers were involved to complete the story, but Fleming's own personal correspondence from the period indicates that he had in fact completed the novel and submitted it to his publisher before his death. The correspondence also indicates that Fleming was not pleased with the novel and was considering retiring from writing Bond adventures, because he feared he had lost his edge.
2. After Sean Connery first left the franchise, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had intended to follow You Only Live Twice with The Man with the Golden Gun, and were looking at casting Roger Moore as James Bond. However, filming was planned in Cambodia, and the Samlaut Uprising made this impractical, leading to the production being cancelled and a hefty delay. By the time the script was ready for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Moore was not available and George Lazenby won the role. Still convinced that it would be a great vehicle for the Moore Bond, Broccoli and Saltzman decided to start production on The Man with the Golden Gun straight after Live and Let Die, but as the novel was mostly set in Jamaica, a location which had been already used in the earlier films Dr. No and Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun saw a change in location to put Bond in the Far East for the second time. After considering Beirut, where part of the film is set, Iran, where the location scouting was done but eventually discarded because of the Yom Kippur War, and the Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam, the production team chose Thailand as a primary location, following a suggestion of production designer Peter Murton after he saw pictures of the Phuket bay in a magazine. Saltzman was happy with the choice of the Far East for the setting as he had always wanted to go on location in Thailand and Hong Kong.
3. Originally, the role of Scaramanga was offered to Jack Palance, but he turned the opportunity down. Christopher Lee, who was eventually chosen to portray Scaramanga, was Ian Fleming's step-cousin and regular golf partner. Fleming had believed that Lee was the right choice to play Dr. Julius No in the 1962 series opener Dr. No, but some years later Lee noted that Fleming was a forgetful man and by the time he mentioned this to Broccoli and Saltzman they had cast already Joseph Wiseman in the part.
4. The golden gun was manufactured by special effects wizard John Stears from a number of tobacco and men's accessories, including a cigarette case, fountain pen and cigarette lighter. Three props were made; one 'solid' piece, one that actually fired with a cap-gun mechanism, and one which could be assembled and disassembled. Christopher Lee later revealed that this was a very tricky process, and many takes were lost as he struggled to fit the pieces together.
The break-down prop was loaned to Lee for promotional duties when touring the movie, but when he travelled to Los Angeles for an appearance on the Johnny Carson show to promote the film, the golden gun was confiscated by US customs. It took months to get it back, but get it back they did and all three golden gun props remained at Elstree Props in Hertfordshire. Or at least they did until October 10th 2008, when it was discovered that one of the golden guns used in the film, which was estimated to be worth around £80,000 at the time, was missing, suspected stolen.
When Roger Moore was informed of the iconic props theft he said jokingly,
"You'd better ask Christopher Lee about this. Search his house."5. Maud Adams plays Andrea Anders, Scaramanga's mistress, in The Man with the Golden Gun, and it was to be the first of three Bond features that Adams would appear in. In 1983 she played a different character, Octopussy, in the film of the same name, and she would also later have a cameo as an extra ('Woman in Fisherman's Wharf Crowd') in Roger Moore's last Bond film, A View to a Kill.
6. One of the main stunts in the film involved James Bond driving an AMC Hornet, leaping a broken bridge and spinning around 360 degrees in mid-air about the longitudinal axis, doing what was referred to as an "aerial twist".
The stunt was initially conceived at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, New York as a test for their powerful vehicle simulation software. After development in simulation, ramps were built and the stunt was tested at Cornell's proving ground. After perfecting the tricky maneuver it toured as part of the 'All American Thrill Show' as the 'Astro Spiral' where it caught the attention of the producers who licensed the stunt for inclusion in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Stunt driver "Bumps" Willard was tasked with doubling as Bond for the stunt, and he completed the jump on the very first take. What you see above is slowed down for dramatic effect.
The aerial twist quickly achieved the reputation of one of the trickiest car stunts in the movie world, and in 2008 the television programme Top Gear attempted to replicate it, but failed. The show had a second attempt in 2014, landing the car but nowhere near as smoothly as "Bumps" did in the movie...
7. In his autobiography Roger Moore said that when they were filming the boat chase on the khlongs (Thailand waterways) he fell in twice. The first was on purpose (because they told him not to do it), and the second time was by accident. On the second fall Moore made the mistake of opening his eyes under water, and saw what the local undertakers did with the bodies of the less fortunate.
8. Alice Cooper wrote a song titled "Man with the Golden Gun" to be used by the producers of the film, but they opted for Lulu's song instead...
Cooper released his song in his album Muscle of Love.
9. Throughout the filming of The Man with the Golden Gun the working relationship between Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli is said to have deteriorated. Roger Moore stated in his DVD audio-commentary that this predominantly occurred behind closed doors, but there were several public disagreements.
Saltzman is said to have wanted an elephant stampede in the movie so Bond and Scaramanga could chase each other on elephant back. Broccoli and the rest of the creative team balked at the idea, but regardless Saltzman went to see an elephant trainer and discovered that elephants need a special shoe on their feet to protect them from rough surfaces when they work. A few months later, whilst filming in Thailand Broccoli received a call saying his elephant shoes were ready and would need to be paid for. Saltzman had ordered about 2,600 pairs of them! Broccoli was far from happy, and needless to say the sequence was not in the movie.
10. The Man with the Golden Gun was the final Bond film to be co-produced by Saltzman as his partnership with Broccoli was dissolved after the film's release when Saltzman sold his 50% stake in Eon Productions's parent company, Danjaq, LLC, to United Artists to alleviate his financial problems. The resulting legalities over the Bond property delayed production of the next Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, for three years.
James Bond will return next Monday in 10 things you might not know about The Spy Who Loved Me.
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