Allies/MI6 - You Only Live Twice (1967)
Tiger Tanaka: As (a rather young looking) head of the Japanese Secret Service, Tanaka acts as a rather more dynamic equivalent to MI6's 'M'. Like 'M', he has to go about his business with discretion... unlike 'M', Tanaka has his own private underground train to get around Tokyo. Elsewhere, Tanaka possesses a Ninja training school within his castle headquarters... it is here that Bond assimilates to be a Japanese person for the purposes of gaining access to Blofeld's lair.
Tetsuro Tamba plays a brilliant Tanaka, despite the young age, and shares a great presence with Sean Connery (their ages being similar). One thing I am not sure about is the role's presence an the climactic battle at the end... would you see 'M' doing the same I ask?
Henderson: As usual, we get to see at least one MI6 agent abroard, and this film is no exception. The difference is that this MI6 agent is as charismatic as From Russia With Love's Kerim Bey yet his screen time is less than three minutes. Like Kerim, Henderson dies, but Bond not only witnesses it, he gets a chance at revenge against the protagonist. Despite moving to Japan at the end of the Second World War, Henderson refuses to totally go Japanese, as his house suggests... it is kitted out with decor from both Great Britain and Japan.
The character itself is amusing in that he offers Bond a Vodka-Martini, stirred, not shaken. Bond does not refuse however, accepting it as a simple mistake by a friend rather than a more threatening advance from a foe. The way Bond is permitted to identify Henderson is also unique... he gets to give his wooden leg a sharp hit in order to verify that he has the right man. In the end, just before his deah, Henderson manages to agree with Bond that the rockets have nothing to do with either superpower.
Playing Henderson well was Charles Gray who, four years later, would play the part of Blofeld, somewhat differently to either Donald Pleasence or Telly Savalas, in Diamonds Are Forever.
'M': The head of MI6 goes out to Hong Kong personally to greet Bond after his "reincarnation". Aboard his submarine, 'M' tells Bond that World War Three could be on the cards unless the rocket hijacking is stopped... and that Bond's time is very limited.
Miss Moneypenny: More overtly than ever before, Moneypenny nearly gets Bond to say "I Love You" by having it as the password between Bond and Tanaka. She asks him to repeat it... he argues that he has it already and declines her request. More usefully, she throws Bond a book on "Instant Japanese" yet Bond got a first at Cambridge for Oriental languages. At the end of the film, Moneypenny goes onto the top of the submarine whilst Bond and Kissy are there after being washed up... thus ruining their moment presumably. Report: Nice try!
Q: Wearing khaki shorts, the Quartermaster arrives in Japan and helps Bond to set up Little Nellie, the flying autogyro Bond uses to scour the area above Blofeld's volvano lair - and shoot down those not wanting him there! At least its another stamp on his passport, even if he seems again to want to be back home.
Conclusion: Two very useful allies in Japan help Bond find Blofeld whereas the more mundane MI6 allies ensure, through Q-Branch at least, that Bond makes it to Blofeld alive. Henderson is one of the deepest allies to date despite a very very short time on screen. Tanaka is more involved and risks his life to help Bond, although does not have it sacrificed like Henderson. 'Q' is grumpy, Moneypenny is desperate and 'M' is worried... no change there then!
© Fastrac Publications June 2000. Site written and maintained by Fastrac007. Last updated 18th April 2001.