A furious actor and a suicidal leading lady
Russia the final major Bond actors to have their voice replaced by that of a different actor.
The stunt gone tragically wrong
One of the film’s central action set pieces sees Bond pilot a miniature helicopter gunship known as ‘Little Nellie’, which he flies over the Miyazaki mountains in an attempt to uncover Spectre’s secret volcano lair. In truth, Little Nellie really did exist, the film modifying an autogyro aircraft developed by former Royal Air Force commander Ken Wallis for use in research and demonstration.
Sadly, the aerial stunt quickly went awry, thanks in part to the weight of the rockets, missiles and machine gun props attached to the relatively flimsy aircraft. While Wallis piloted Little Nellie himself during shooting, cameraman John Jordan attached himself to the back of it via a harness to photograph from above.
The scene itself called for Little Nellie to come under attack from Spectre assassins, who were flying in helicopters near the miniature aircraft. One of the helicopter’s blades ended up slicing Jordan’s foot, forcing it to be amputated when Jordan returned to London.
In a tragic twist of fate, Jordan was killed just two years later after plummeting four thousand feet from a bomber plane over the Pacific ocean while shooting aerial footage for Catch-22. Jordan had lost his footing on the plane, an accident that was quickly blamed on the prosthetic foot he had attached following the incident on the set of You also a frankly baffling moment in which Bond, for some reason, must disguise himself as a Japanese man, which he accomplishes by having his eyelids taped back, his chest waxed and an unconvincing wig dumped on his head.
Despite the cultural insensitivity, Japanese audiences of the time didn’t seem to take offense at the film — or at least in comparison to Connery, who was asked on Japanese TV what he thought of local women, to which he replied “Japanese women are just not sexy,” because wearing the traditional kimono apparently “hides their figures”. The statement caused uproar, until it was claimed that it was in fact an English-to-Japanese translation gone badly wrong.
But it wasn’t the only scandal to hit Connery’s press tour for the film — he was also condemned by the press for wearing a casual t-shirt and sandals during interviews, and neglecting to sport his luxurious James Bond toupee.
Blofeld’s terrified cat
Of all the strange incidents that befell the You Only Live Twice set, one of the most awkwardly funny involves the feline actor hired to portray Blofeld’s Persian cat. During shooting of the film’s explosive finale, in which bombs are detonated throughout the iconic villain’s volcano base, the fluffy cat became so scared by the noise that it fled the Pinewood set. Unable to be found for days, it was presumed dead, until it was finally discovered shivering on the roof. Shots of the clearly upset cat were actually used in the film, presumably as it would have cost too much to replace it with an artificial mog.
There have also always been unsubstantiated rumours that the often-panicked cat urinated in Donald Pleasance’s lap whenever he heard a loud noise, though that particular tale, unlike the other legends from the set, has neither been confirmed nor denied.