Friday, November 2, 2012

7 Days 'Til 007: "Capsule in Space"

'I'm just a mean gray mother in outer space and I'm mad!'
Each weekday until November 9, enjoy a post about a standout vocal theme or instrumental piece from the official Bond movies.

"Capsule in Space" introduces the best thing to come out of the mediocre You Only Live Twice other than Mie Hama in a white Ursula Andress-style bikini: "Space March," John Barry's majestic and entrancing motif for the film's spacecraft sequences.

I had no idea Mie Hama was a bus conductor before she became a Bond Girl. Here she is in her bus conductor uniform.
Barry wrote "Capsule in Space" for the pre-title "spacecraft eater" sequence, which Pauline Kael found to be a more effective and intense moment about the dangers of space than any of the astronaut sequences in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that bored Kael. But unlike Douglas Trumbull's terrific effects work in 2001, the effects in that You Only Live Twice space sequence haven't aged well. As the writer of the "My Year of Bonds" recap series said about You Only Live Twice's pre-title space sequence, "the whole sequence looks about as terrible as you might expect. Did it look better at the time? Probably. Do I care? Not really. Oh, and a supposed American says, 'Hello, Hoo-ston?' Come on, guys. Try a little harder."

But Barry's music for the sequence is far from terrible. Nothing says "Hoo-ston, we have a problem" like the brass getting all super-intense at the end of "Capsule in Space."

On Monday: A Bond song written from the point of view of one of Bond's most insidious villains. Which villain? If you guessed chlamydia, close, but no cigar.

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