For James Bond video collectors, they were an all-time high: deluxe laserdisc editions of the first three 007 movies — Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger — tricked out with more extras than Bond’s own Aston Martin. Released last summer by the Voyager Co., the $80 discs included, on their alternate audio tracks, lots of gossipy, entertaining commentary from the filmmakers recorded for the collection.
Entertaining, that is, to everyone except Albert ”Cubby” Broccoli, 83, the producer who mounted (and still controls the rights to) 16 of the 18 Bond films. Outraged by what his spokesman calls ”self-aggrandizing inaccuracies,” Broccoli representatives targeted 185 comments for revision or removal. Many came from director Terence Young, including remarks about Bondman Sean Connery (”he had a definite paunch”) and coproducer Harry Saltzman (”a pain in the arse”), and from screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who recalls author Ian Fleming as a ”snob” who disliked his own books.
As a result of Broccoli’s demands, the company discontinued the discs and has just issued a new set — sans commentary — for $40 each. But the offending material isn’t quite classified: Voyager is offering the chatty narration for $10 on audiocassette — for your ears only, of course.