You Only Live Twice (1967)
Dir: Lewis Gilbert
James Bond Gets Yellow Fever
by Jay Maronde
To really understand this fortuitous collaboration, one must first place certain events in their historical context. First, Bond, and spy films in general, were hugely successful and outrageously popular at this time during the 1960s, so there was a huge budget for YOLT. Though by this point Sean Connery had expressed his desire to retire from the Bond franchise, he was essentially bribed with a contract far larger than the entire budget of Dr. No, plus a promise of 12.5% of the film's gross earnings. Second, The Cold War was steaming away, so the opportunity for Bond to literally stop World War III from breaking out betwixt the USA and USSR seemed almost too good to be true from a production stand point. Finally, the James Bond cinematic franchise was very popular in Japan, so the opportunity to shoot the movie (which would be based on a book that one screenwriter referred to as "essentially a travelogue of Japan") on location was impossible to pass up.
Which while we are on the topic of "passing up," the director Lewis Gilbert tried repeatedly to pass on directing this movie, but a personal call from producer Albert R. Broccoli, who said, "You can't give up this job. It's the largest audience in the world,” luckily changed his mind. So with production locations much more difficult to find for the next Bond in the pipeline, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (and I should mention that certain prints of the film Thunderball contain the closing credit that: “James Bond will return in OHMSS”) the producers chose to revamp what was the last Ian Fleming James Bond novel published during Fleming’s lifetime (the rest were released posthumously), and so came the delightful You Only Live Twice.