December 29, 1967: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly released in US cinemas

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 epic Spaghetti Western film, an international co-production between Italy, Spain, West Germany and the United States.

The film is known for Leone’s use of long shots and close-up cinematography, as well as his distinctive use of violence, tension, and stylistic gunfights. The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find fortune in a buried cache of Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of the American Civil War (specifically the New Mexico Campaign in 1862), while participating in many battles and duels along the way. The film was the third collaboration between director Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, and the second with Lee Van Cleef.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was marketed as the third and final instalment in the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. The film was a financial success, grossing over $25 million at the box office, and is credited with catapulting Eastwood into stardom. Due to general disapproval of the Spaghetti Western genre at the time, critical reception of the film following its release was mixed, but it gained critical acclaim in later years. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is now seen as one of the greatest and most influential Western movies.

First…”A Fistful of Dollars” Then…”For a Few Dollars More”

THIS TIME THE JACKPOT’S A COOL $200,000

…Five of the West’s fastest guns say come and get it!

Three different men of three different tempers and tastes get involved in a long and full-of-adventure battle in order to find a fortune in gold. While the first man who is an ex-bounty hunter and a forgiving person knows the name of the cemetery which the gold is buried in, the second who is a fast-tempered greedy man knows the name on the grave. But the third person, a cruel cold-blooded murderer, knows none; so he has to reach the gold in his own way of finding something. [IMDb]

Notable cast & crew

  • Clint Eastwood, “Blondie” (aka The Man With No Name), The Good
  • Eli Wallach, “Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez” (aka “The Rat” according to Blondie), The Ugly
  • Lee Van Cleef, “Angel Eyes”, The Bad
  • Sergio Leone, director, co-writer
  • Ennio Morricone, music

Soundtrack

Originally released December 29, 1967, it was re-released onto CD October 25, 1990. The enhance and extended score provided below was released in 2004.

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is Wikipedia* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links

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December 28, 1981: K9 Mark III becomes a girl’s best friend

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K9

K9 was the designation given to a series of intelligent, dog-like robots who served as companions of Professor Marius, the Fourth Doctor, Leela, Romana, and Sarah Jane Smith.

K9 first appeared in the 1977 adventure The Invisible Enemy but left at the end of Season 15.  K9 Mark II appeared the following season in 1978 and left mid way through Season 18, in January 1981.

K9 Mark III

A third model, K9 Mark III (again either obtained or constructed by the Doctor), was shipped in 1978 to Sarah Jane Smith at the home she had shared with her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon during her companionship of the Third and Fourth Doctors (A Girl’s Best Friend).

After several adventures, K9 Mark III slowly began breaking down and eventually ended up deactivated in a cardboard box in Sarah’s attic. When the Tenth Doctor met Sarah Jane, he reactivated K9 and made temporary repairs. However Mark III ended up sacrificing himself whilst fighting strange, bat-like creatures.

As a heartbroken Sarah Jane watched the Tenth Doctor depart, the TARDIS dematerialised to reveal Mark IV. K9 said the Doctor rebuilt him with “new omniflexible hyperlink capabilities”.

Appearances

  • A Girl’s Best Friend (K9 and Company)
  • The Five Doctors

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is the TARDIS Data Core* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links.

December 28, 1981: K9 Mark III joins Sarah Jane Smith

K9_in_the_TARDIS
K9

K9 was the designation given to a series of intelligent, dog-like robots who served as companions of Professor Marius, the Fourth Doctor, Leela, Romana, and Sarah Jane Smith.

K9 Mark I, II, III, and IV addressed whoever was directing them as “Master” or “Mistress” depending upon gender, and used the formal “affirmative” and “negative” rather than “yes” and “no”. They were programmed to be both loyal and logical, with a penchant for taking orders literally, almost to a fault. Their striped collars mirrored the Fourth Doctor’s trademark scarf.

K9 had a personality very consistent across the models with some contact with the Doctor. He was polite and formal, with pedantry bordering on condescension. Though he often displayed feelings such as sorrow and self-regard, he often stated that he had not been programmed to have emotions.

He did not use contractions such as “you’ve” for “you have” and addressed others by titles such as “Master”, “Mistress”, “Doctor-Master” (to refer to the Doctor) or “Young Master” (Adric). Though he did not seem to resent his subordinate status, he sided with the Doctor’s companions over the Doctor and showed a dark side, regarding other artificial intelligences with contempt.

With his great intelligence, he had a tendency to bore people with facts and did not stop immediately when asked, as he did to Leela on Pluto. When being told that he would have to stay behind in the TARDIS, K9 often argued, giving the Doctor reasons why he should go such as “he would be a good dog.” K9 always wanted to assist the Doctor.

K9 Mark I

Professor Frederick Marius, who invented the first K9 in the year 5000 while working on the asteroid K4067, described him as “my best friend and constant companion.” Marius had a dog on Earth, but weight requirements did not allow him to bring his real dog into space, so he built K9. Marius used his own medical computer, a state-of-the-art intraresponsive brain app, protective anti-radiation cladding, probes, a laser scalpel, a vision and voice box and two scanning antennas.

The Professor offered K9 to the Fourth Doctor as the same weight requirements made him unable to take Mark I back to Earth. After adventures with Leela and the Doctor, Mark I decided to stay on Gallifrey with his “mistress”.

Appearances

  • The Invisible Enemy
  • Image of the Fendahl
  • The Sun Makers
  • Underworld
  • The Invasion of Time

K9 Mark II

The Doctor obtained or constructed at least one backup model of K9. Immediately after leaving Mark I behind with Leela, he unpacked K9 Mark II. This version of K9 accompanied the Doctor and his new companion on their quest to locate the segments of the Key to Time.

This K9 exhibited the ability to sense and warn others of danger. He was also more mobile than his predecessor.

K9 travelled to E-Space with the Fourth Doctor and Romana II, where they met Adric. Damaged by the time winds, K9 Mark II could not cross back into N-Space with the Doctor. He decided to stay behind at the Gateway with Romana II to help her free the remaining Tharils from slavery.

Appearances

  • The Ribos Operation
  • The Pirate Planet
  • The Stones of Blood
  • The Androids of Tara
  • The Armageddon Factor
  • Destiny of the Daleks
  • The Creature from the Pit
  • Nightmare of Eden
  • The Horns of Nimon
  • The Leisure Hive
  • Meglos
  • Full Circle
  • State of Decay
  • Warriors’ Gate

K9 Mark III

A third model, K9 Mark III (again either obtained or constructed by the Doctor), was shipped in 1978 to Sarah Jane Smith at the home she had shared with her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon during her companionship of the Third and Fourth Doctors (A Girl’s Best Friend).

After several adventures, K9 Mark III slowly began breaking down and eventually ended up deactivated in a cardboard box in Sarah’s attic. When the Tenth Doctor met Sarah Jane, he reactivated K9 and made temporary repairs. However Mark III ended up sacrificing himself whilst fighting strange, bat-like creatures.

As a heartbroken Sarah Jane watched the Tenth Doctor depart, the TARDIS dematerialised to reveal Mark IV. K9 said the Doctor rebuilt him with “new omniflexible hyperlink capabilities”.

Appearances

  • A Girl’s Best Friend (K9 and Company)
  • The Five Doctors

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is the TARDIS Data Core* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links.

December 21, 1979: The Return of the Saint first airs on US TV

1978-The_Return_of_the_Saint-WikipediaReturn of the Saint was a British action-adventure television series starring Ian Ogilvy that aired for one season in 1978 and 1979 in Britain on ITV, and was also broadcast on CBS in the United States. It was co-produced by ITC Entertainment and the Italian broadcaster RAI and ran for 24 episodes.

Return of the Saint is a revival/updating of The Saint, a programme based upon the stories of Leslie Charteris that had originally aired from 1962 to 1969, and starred Roger Moore as Simon Templar (the character, in turn, had been introduced by Charteris in a series of novels and short stories dating back to 1928). An independently wealthy, somewhat mysterious ‘do-gooder’ known as ‘The Saint’. Simon Templar is shown travelling around Britain and Europe, helping out the people he encounters, though he is also often summoned by past acquaintances.

The series borrowed a few storytelling elements from its predecessor. Once again, each episode began with Simon narrating an introduction to set the scene for viewers, and each pre-credit sequence ended with an animated halo appearing above Templar’s head as he was identified. Return also made a recurring reference to the 1930s–40s film series, and the 1940s radio series that starred Vincent Price as Templar: just before the opening credits begin, a short musical phrase is heard that is not part of the theme music for the Return of the Saint, but is the character’s signature theme from film and radio.

Other than these cosmetic touches, there is no continuity implied between the Ogilvy and Moore series.

The first story, “The Judas Game”, featured British actress Judy Geeson. Other stars making appearances include Joss Ackland, Kate O’Mara, Burt Kwouk, Ian Hendry, Christopher Timothy, George Cole, Cathering Schell, Linda Thorson, Gayle Hunnicutt, Britt Ekland, Mel Ferrer and Sam Wanamaker.

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is Wikipedia* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links

December 19, 1969: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service released in UK & US cinemas

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a British spy film and the sixth in the James Bond series produced byby Eon Productions. It is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Following Sean Connery‘s decision to retire from the role after You Only Live Twice, Eon Productions selected an unknown actor and model, George Lazenby, to play the part of James Bond. During the making of the film, Lazenby announced that he would play the role of Bond only once.

In the film, Bond faces Blofeld (Telly Savalas), who is planning to hold the world ransom by the threat of sterilising the world’s food supply through a group of brainwashed “angels of death”. Along the way Bond meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg).

It is the only Bond film to be directed by Peter R. Hunt, who had served as a film editor and second unit director on previous films in the series. Hunt, along with producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, decided to produce a more realistic film that would follow the novel closely. It was shot in Switzerland, England, and Portugal from October 1968 to May 1969. Although its cinema release was not as lucrative as its predecessor You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was still one of the top performing films of the year. Critical reviews upon release were mixed, but the film’s reputation has improved greatly over time.

FAR UP! FAR OUT! FAR MORE!

James Bond 007 is back!

Whilst on leave, British agent James Bond prevents a young woman, Tracy Draco, from committing suicide. Her father is the head of a powerful crime syndicate who is impressed by Bond and wants him to protect his daughter by marrying her. In exchange he offers Bond information which will lead 007 to his arch enemy Ernst Blofeld. At first Bond agrees to the deal purely to fulfil his objective to kill Blofeld but later he grows to love Tracy but when the British learn that Blofeld plans to destroy mankind with a deadly virus, 007 is torn between his loyalty to his county and his intent to marry Tracy. [IMDb.com]

Find out more*

Notable cast & crew

  • George Lazenby, “James Bond”
  • Diana Rigg, “Countess Tracy di Vicenzo”
  • Telly Savalas, “Ernst Stavro Blofeld”
  • Bernard Lee, “M”
  • Lois Maxwell, “Miss Moneypenny”
  • George Baker, “Sir Hilary Bray”
  • Bernard Horsfall, “Shaun Campbell”
  • Desmond Llewelyn, “Q”

Blofeld’s Angels of Death

  • Catherine Schell, “Nancy”
  • Joanna Lumley, “English girl”
  • Julie Ege, “Scandinavian Girl”
  • Jenny Hanley, “Irish girl”

Crew

  • Peter R Hunt, director
  • Harry Saltzman, co-producer
  • Albert R Broccoli, co-producer
  • John Barry, music
  • Eon Productions, production company
  • United Artists, distributor