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James Bond Gadgets - You Only Live Twice


You Only Live Twice had a wave of ingeniously creative and inventive gadgets, from the Gyrocopter Little Nellie, to the rocket firing cigarettes, to trap door slides and exploding lipstick. The gadgets were a refreshing change from Thunderball, that had tried a little too hard to mimic its predecessors.

Retracting Bed

Switch for retracting bed
Retracting Bed Flips

Bond has the heat on him, but his government needs him to investigate the hijacking of an American spaceship, so they decide to fake his death so that he can have a little peace. Bond is kissing a girl named Ling on an oriental bed:

Bond:Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?
Ling:You think we better, huh?
Bond:No, just different.

Ling gets up and presses a button on the wall, flipping the bed back into upright position. Two men then enter the room and empty their machine guns into Bond, staging an elaborate death.

Burial at Sea

James Bond's burial at sea
Bond's Breathing Equipment

To complete Bond's illusion of death, he is given a ceremonial burial at sea by the British Navy. However, as his body lands at the bottom of the sea, a team of divers come to collect him, taking him to a nearby submarine.

Once inside the submarine, two sailors cut open the coffin shell, revealing a very much alive Bond. He has been wrapped in a waterproof plastic bag complete with breathing equipment. Bond, ironically, asks permission to come aboard, and emerges in a well-pressed navy uniform.

Microphone Purse

Microphone Purse

As Bond arrives in Tokyo, he must seek out the head of the Japanese Secret Service, Tiger Tanaka. His first port of call is a rendezvous at a Sumo wrestling match. He is tailed from the moment of his arrival in Japan, by a Chinese girl who reports Bond's whereabouts through a microphone hidden in her purse. As he rounds a corner, another girl follows him also with a special purse.

Safe-Cracking Gadget

Safe-Cracking Gadget
Safe Cracked

After knocking out a giant Japanese man and taking a shot of Siamese vodka, Bond spots a safe, and pulls out his pocket-sized high-tech safe cracking gadget. This was the first time Bond had used such a device, and funnily enough, it was significantly smaller than a similar gadget Bond would use in the next Bond film.

The gadget magnetically attached to the outside of the safe, with two additional magnetic microphones attached by wires. Bond could then turn the combination around, and wait for a light on the device to indicate the correct position. A button could then be pressed to proceed to the next digit. The cracking went smoothly, but unfortunately opening the safe door triggered an alarm.

Trap-Door Slide

Trap-Door Slide
Bond slides into a chair

Now here's a special gadget, and one of the more ingenious designs of the 007 series. Bond escapes from his safe-cracking escapades and is rescued by Aki, an assistant working for Tiger Tanaka. Aki drives Bond to safety and then runs away into a garage, evading Bond. Bond chases her along a subway platform, until she comes to an abrupt stop.

Bond stops, and then calmly strolls over to her. Just then, she smiles, and Bond activates a gigantic stainless steel trap door covering a large area of the floor. The trap door plummets him into a large spiralling slide, that circles round and round, finally jettisoning Bond into a chair in Tiger Tanaka's office.

Tanaka, proud of his little game, laughingly welcomes Bond to Japan. In the background, twin monitors play back the video of Bond's entrance, as Tiger tells Bond never to get into a car with a strange girl. This gadget was beautifully engineered, and cleverly edited to make the slide appear bigger than it was.

Spying Typewriter Gadget

Spying Typewriter
Spying Typewriter Camera

Another imaginative and creative gadget comes as Bond visits Mr. Osato, whose safe he had broken into the night before. Bond examines several of the artifacts in the room, that he had broken in a fight earlier, finding that they have been fixed. He wonders whether they know it was him, and spots a camera on the ceiling, tracking his every move.

The nifty camera is controlled by the keys of a typewriter, one of many that can be audibly heard from the floor below. The man above presses keys to change the direction of the camera, which feeds into a small screen at the side of the device.

X-ray Screen

X-ray screen

Bond sits down to talk to Mr. Osato, mentioning that the man who was meant to come and meet him had fell into a pulverizer at the last minute. Osato casually presses a button on his desk, and two hidden panels slide away to reveal an xray scan of Bond, showing the outline of his Walther PPK.

In-Car Video Conferencing

Glovebox Video Conferencing

Although it doesn't seem very futuristic now, a video conferencing device hidden inside a sports car was high tech when the film came out. Just as Bond had used a pager and a car phone in Dr. No before they became publicly available, this video device was ahead of its time.

Explosive Lipstick and a Trick Plane

Exploding Lipstick
Plane Lock

Bond manages to seduce SPECTRE henchwoman Helga Brandt, and the two escape together in a small plane. Unbeknown to Bond however, his seduction plan hasn't worked out. Helga puts on some lipstick, and then activates a button on the side, throwing it on the floor beneath Bond. The trick gadget explodes and distracts Bond while Helga activates a wooden restraint locking Bond in place.

Helga parachutes away, leaving Bond stuck in a nosediving plane. He manages to destroy the restraint with a quick Karate chop, and takes control of the plane, getting to ground with a very rough landing.

Little Nellie Gyrocopter

Little Nellie in Cases
Little Nellie

Knowing they couldn't outdo the Aston Martin gadgets with another car, the producers turned to a nifty little Gyrocopter, code-named Little Nellie in the film. Bond asks Tiger Tanaka to call M and ask him to bring Little Nellie, accompanied by her "Uncle" (meaning Q.) Q arrives in a pair of shorts and assembles the small plane from a series of 4 boxes.

The plane is complete with several offencive weapons and gadgetry, including front-mounted machine guns, side-mounted twin flamethrowers, air-to-air heat seeking missiles, rocket launchers and aerial mines. In the tradition of the Bond series, Q reveals all of the gadgets up front, heightening the audiences anticipation.

Trick Bridge Trap Door

Trick bridge trap door

In revenge for having failed to kill Bond, Blofeld executes Helga Brandt. He lets Mr. Osato walk over the bridge to safety, with Helga following. As she approaches the bridge, Blofeld reaches for a foot switch under his desk. The switch activates a trap door on the bridge, releasing Ms. Brandt into the piranha fish below.

Baby-Rocket in a Cigarette

James Bond Cigarette Rocket
Cigarette Rocket Shoots

Bond takes a trip through Tiger Tanaka's ninja training grounds, which mix martial arts with modern weaponry.

Tanaka:This is our special baby rocket.
Tanaka:It's very useful for people who smoke too many cigarettes, like you.
Tanaka:[Shoots rocket]Accurate upto 30 yards
Bond:Very neat
Tanaka:It can save your life, this cigarette!

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