Letters: James Bond, flipper DVDs, and name that film

Our letters page is back! This time? A mystery film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and flipper DVDs...

It’s letters time! The return of our outmoded way of interacting with people, by encouraging you to send us letters which we then reply to. Nearly a year since we started this short-lived ridiculous idea, it’s still going. Crikey.

If you want to write in, then the details are at the bottom of this piece. But in the meantime, we’ve got your latest letters to answer. So we’d best get cracking…

James Bond lookbacks

Long time reader first time emailer. I’m a [nice comment redacted, we remain very shy] of the site, I might not always agree but your opinion and the opinion I read in the comments section is usually very fair.

Anyway I was just writing in about your reviews of all the Bond films but specifically about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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When I read the look back I realised I had never seen it. Since it was such a glowing review I was really looking forward to it.

Having just watched it a couple of things bothered me about it. The movie was very good and the ending was quite devastating but what wasn’t mentioned in the review was the racism and misogyny involved. At the dinner for the women at Blofeld’s hideaway all the women were given food from their homeland and the black woman was given a banana! Also Diana Rigg gets a dig off of her father and him then making a flippant remark about knocking her out seemed quite outrageous.

I would have thought both of these instances would have been mentioned in the review or am I thinking too much about it? I know the Bond film’s attitude to race relations and women were never great but it was still disturbing watching this. Or am I reading too much into it? I would like to know your thoughts either way.

Please don’t take this letter as criticism as I [nice things redacted].

Thanks,Mick

Simon writes: We’ve taken a bit of criticism this year for raising issues such as race and sexism with regards older movies, but when we do a look back on a movie, we can’t pretend we’re not watching it through modern eyes. As such, I don’t think you’re thinking too much about it. It’s your true and honest reaction, for a start.

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It’s tricky when covering the Bond films, of course. When we looked back at Live And Let Die, we went into some detail on the issue, and we could easily pen a few paragraphs for each look back on the outdates attitudes of the 007 movies. There’s barely one that doesn’t have something troubling about it (I penned this piece, for instance, after watching Skyfall).

So to directly answer your question: I agree. There are parts of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that don’t make for the most comfortable viewing, and it’s an issue we’ll continue to discuss as our Bond series continues.

Flippers!
DVDs

I was going through some old DVDs and found some of the old school flippers, where the film was on two sides of the DVD.

I was wondering if you could tell me where the most inappropriate flip ever was, for example was it in the middle of a key scene/half way through a sentence etc?

Thanks and keep up the good work.

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Jonathan

Simon writes: Ah, flippers. These were common on discs distributed by Warner Bros and especially Buena Vista in the infancy of DVD, back when the idea of dual layer DVD9s seemed just a little too expensive to manufacture. It’s hard to pick one that stuck out particularly, mainly because I hated them all. I do remember being in a really bad mood having to turn over Quiz Show mid-film. But then it’s one of my favourite films, and one that relies on building up over time. As most films do.

The way I see it, we did away with intervals in cinemas for a reason. Flippers had no reason to exist even in the infancy of DVD, and they are, thankfully, a relic of the format. Glad I got that out of my system. Thank you!

Name That Film

Can you help me track down this film?

I found a stack of old videos (ask your parents!) and was looking through them when I found the last five minutes of a film I half remember watching. Unfortunately, it cuts out before the credits roll, so can’t get any actors’ names to help. Anyway, here’s what it contained:

It was a courtroom drama and a woman was trying to convince the judge that some kind of sect/cult was after her. She managed to persuade him that the cult was real and that they wore rings with a masonic-type symbol (similar to Ming’s belt in Flash Gordon). Just as the judge rules in her favour, she notices that the judge is wearing a similar ring and she realises that the cult has orchestrated the court hearing to capture her. There’s also a painting of a kind of ‘master’ wearing robes with the symbol, sitting on a rock, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the judge.

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It looks like late 70s/early 80s and there’s a couple of those “oh, it’s that guy from…” people in it, who I just can’t place! Ever since I came across it, it’s been driving me mad what it is, please help me recover from this slough of despond!

Thanks,

Stuart McLagan

Simon writes: Stuart, we have no idea what a slough of despond is, but it sounds nasty! You provide lots of clues, none of which helped us at all. So in lieu of me trying to come up with a desperately witty answer that obscures the fact I’ve not answered your question, I’m going to hand this one over to our mighty readers. They’ll dig me out of a hole.

Er, won’t it?

Reader Comments

I shall forego the please try of compliment your site as it would only be avoided and get straight to my question.

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Do you read most of the comments on your articles and if so, at times, do you finding yourselves crying with laughter? Sure there is the occasion unpleasant comment (let’s not get onto GhosterbusterGate) but I enjoy reading the comments during an idle moment at work and is one of the main reasons I come to the site. Sometimes I find myself having to step outside such as the uncontrolled laughter I belt out!

Also, is there any way you could put together a ‘best of’ the comments compilation article? Pretty please!

All the best,

Simon Stothard

PS Your site is [nice comment redacted, but nice try!]

Simon writes: We read the vast majority, but occasionally we miss a few. And yes: often, we read the comments and wish we’d come up with something as good as we find there. It sounds all twee, granted, but we do genuinely love the Den Of Geek community. We have lovely readers. Even the ones who shout at us for writing about remakes and Fifty Shades Of Grey.

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And for your last question: possibly. We have looked at an annual round-up, it’s just not the smallest job in the world for us to do!

That’s it for this time, but do keep your correspondence coming in! 

Send your letters to denofgeek@yahoo.com