Dec 25, 2006

Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings from the Double O Section! I hope everyone reading this has a freshly unwrapped Mission: Impossible Season One or Alias Rambaldi Cube or one of the James Bond sets to dig into. Or that the area you live in is one of the select cities where The Good Shepherd or The Good German open today. If not, here are a few suggestions for Christmas spy viewing.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
(Available on The James Bond Collection Volume 3)
The only Holiday-themed Bond movie to date, and the best one to boot! (Best Bond movie, that is, not best Holiday-themed Bond movie...) Features Nina singing John Barry and Hal David's infectious original carol "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown," which is available on the soundtrack CD.

The Avengers - "Too Many Christmas Trees"
(Available in the Emma Peel Megaset)
A holiday clssic! It's not my favorite Avengers Episode (though it is a very good one), but it's probably the one I've seen the most since I put it in the player every Christmas. Black and white Emma Peel with Rigg and Macnee both at their very best. Their fantastic chemistry together simply radiates when Emma muses about a four-poster bed that "I've always fancied myself in one of these." Steed gets that incorrigible gleam in his eye and replies, "So have I." You also can't beat "Too Many Christmas Trees" for creepy, psychidelic Santa imagery. The whole psychic spy plotline doesn't come together that tightly in the end, but who cares when the episode's this much fun?

Billion Dollar Brain
(Availabe from MGM)
No Christmas trees per se, but plenty of chilly, wintry landscapes and beautiful cold imagery (and Pagan imagery, appropriate for the winter solstice!) in Ken Russell's ethereal Scandinavian-set Harry Palmer movie. What could be more season-appropriate than Michael Caine in a big fur hat?

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
(Available from Paramount)
...if you want to warm up. Best watched with loved ones in front of a gently dying fire as a way to come down from the excesses of Christmas dinner.

Die Hard
(available from Fox)
Not a spy movie, but the epitome of Christmas action!

The World Is Not Enough
(Available in The James Bond Collection Vol. 1)
Er, well... It's not a Christmas movie, and it's one of the worst of the Bond series, but it does feature a character named "Christmas Jones." (For some reason.) It doesn't even sound like a proper Bond Girl name, but the name turns out to merely be a set-up for a rather lame double entendre at the end: "Christmas came early this year!" Har har. And she's played by Denise Richards. So... yeah. But my friend Josh keeps urging me to give this one another shot, so maybe Christmas is the time to do it. If you're not feeling seasonably charitable, though, you might be better served if you...

What could be a better way to celebrate Christmas than that?

1 comment:

00JTK said...

One, I stand by The World Is Not Enough. The first two Brosnan outings were basically just action movies; central to the movie SHOULD be 007 himself, and Pierce just hadn't gotten the role down yet. Sure, he had nice hair, big but immaculately coifed. And sure, he'd furrow his brow to deliver his lines with the utmost intensity...but he was trying too hard, and the best Bonds are the Bonds that don't seem to be TRYING at all. Maybe those first two had better stories and/or better villains (I'm not saying they DO...but I am allowing it for the sake of argument), but a great Bond film needs more than a compelling villain. Heck, Connery reprised Thunderball entirely in Never Say Never Again, and the fact that he's an awesome Bond went a LOOOONG way to make me ignore the fact that I'd already seen that mission - done BETTER - over fifteen years earlier. So...The World Is Not Enough may have a weak villain and a kind-of-lame final duel...but I finally got to see Pierce feeling a little more comfortable in the role. THAT is what I remember and what I take away from the film. Die Another Day is the worst film in the whole franchise, but it also has some of the best moments, showcasing that PB had finally become the character. Granted, DAD is SO bad that even a confident Bond doesn't help...but TWINE is a nice middle ground, with a passable story and a solid 007. Forget Carlyle; you should be watching Bond movies for Bond, and with TWINE, we finally get him.
Oh, and The Long Kiss Goodnight is a holiday-themed spy movie. It's got some rough spots, but it's not bad...