James Bond is back…on DVD at least. And for the Ultimate Edition DVD collection, released on July 17, all 20 films have been meticulously restored by DTS Images (formerly Lowry Digital Images), under the supervision of John Lowry and Bond historian John Cork (pictured below), co-author of James Bond: The Legacy and Bond Girls Are Forever and owner of leading DVD special edition content producer Cloverland.
When pushed to reveal more about the work involved in bringing Bond back for DVD, Cork reveals that he became involved in the production of the new Bond DVDs, having worked on previous Bond DVD specials: “I contributed to a number of other Bond-related projects including on a number of special edition DVDs. This led MGM to approach me to see if I could work on new material for them,” he explains.
“To give you an idea of how big an undertaking this was, we starting working on them about four years ago – most DVD projects are done in around six months. We literally scoured the globe for the material included on the discs, all told it was about 10,000 hours of original camera negatives that we had to go through.”
Cork headed a small team, working closely with Bruce Scivally, the co-author of James Bond: The Legacy, alongside an editor, an assistant editor and a film production supervisor.
“We occasionally brought other people in to work on other things like photo gallery work at various points. It involved making a lot of phone calls to MGM, saying things like ‘I’m looking for these 600 items,’ and then calling Eon Productions saying ‘I’m looking for all of these items.'”
The wide variety of new supplemental material on the Ultimate Collection DVDs is testament to the intensive research done by Cork and his group, but they didn’t find everything they were looking for.
“We still haven’t found Sean Connery’s screen test for James Bond. We’ve tracked it as far as the 1970s. Actually, Connery didn’t screen test for Bond, he refused, but instead they asked him to help test some of the other actors, which he agreed to do. So we knew that it existed, and can trace it as far as the very early ’70s. But after that, we’ve no idea where it went.”
Cork did, however uncover some novelties during his investigations. “The most surprising thing was Roger Moore playing James Bond in 1964 on a British variety show called Mainly Millicent. We sent it over to the producers at Eon, who have known Roger Moore for around 34 years since they cast him as Bond, they were stunned. Roger Moore didn’t even remember doing it. It was just a blast to be able to include it!”
For more about the restoration work involved in bring the James Bond Ultimate collection to disc, read the special report in Home Cinema Choice issue 133, on sale July 6. By Anton Van Beek