James Bond 50th Anniversary at the Castro

The San Francisco International Film Festival opens Thursday night at the Castro. But then it deserts San Francisco’s major revival palace for three days. During that time (Friday through Sunday if you haven’t bothered to figure it out), the Castro will screen eight of the first 12 James Bond movies.

Next month marks Hollywood’s longest and most successful film series’ 50th anniversary. Dr. No was released in the US on May 8, 1962.

Here are my quick thoughts on the eight that the Castro will screen, in the order they’ll be shown. I’m grading only the one I’ve seen in the last few years.

  • Dr. No, Friday. I saw the first Bond movie as a kid when it from_russia_with_lovewas relatively new, and again about 20 years ago. Didn’t care for it either time.
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Friday. I agree with most people: George Lazenby stinks. I also don’t like the plot.
  • A From Russia With Love, Saturday. The James Bond films never got better than this, perhaps because it didn’t yet feel obliged to stick to a formula.
  • Diamonds are Forever, Saturday. Sean Connery running through the motions without much enthusiasm.
  • The Spy Who Loved Me, Saturday. Roger Moore running through the motions, with even less enthusiasm.
  • Thunderball, Sunday. Saw it on a date in the 1970s. I thought it was boring. So did my date.
  • Live and Let Die, Sunday. Never saw it. Never wanted to.
  • For Your Eyes Only, Sunday. Saw it at the UC Theater when it was relatively new. It’s the only Bond starring Roger Moore that I even vaguely liked.