Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007

Can this official documentary really shed any new light on the James Bond franchise?

Is there really such a thing as the 'Untold Story of 007'? Possibly, but you're unlikely to find it in Stevan Riley's officially-sanctioned documentary looking back at the history of the Bond movie franchise and its stewardship under Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. However, this doesn't mean that you should simply write off Everything or Nothing as little more than a hagiography produced to cash-in on the franchise's 50th anniversary.

While the doc starts off with the usual Fleming biographical material that fans will know off by heart, Everything or Nothing quickly shifts its focus onto Broccoli and Saltzman and the passion and determination they showed in bringing the Bond books to the big screen. It's this partnership that dominates much of the film's 93-minute running time, with various family members, actors and colleagues commenting on the productions and the hurdles that had to be overcome.

The portrait it paints of the two men and the lives they built for their families on the back of the success of the Bond films is fascinating (childhood memories of Sean Connery and Michael Caine hanging around the house all of the time, or going to school every day in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce). And when the rifts eventually come - between the producers and their original leading man, and the duo themselves when Saltzman is forced to sell his stake in the production company to United Artists - the film refuses to gloss over the issues or take sides.

Even the often demonised Thunderball producer Kevin McClory is treated with care. Thanks to an interview with his friend Judy Gleeson, Everything or Nothing humanises McClory and turns him not into another Bond villian, but into a flawed and obssessive man with a genuine passion for the series.

Sadly, Sean Connery doesn't appear in the documentary outside of movie clips, archival interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, but all of the other Bond actors are present alongside a variety of other interviewees, including Barbara Broccoli, Michael G Wilson, Mike Myers and even former US president Bill Clinton. While some of the stories and annecdotes will be familiar to anyone who has made it through all of the extras accompanying the 007 films on DVD and Blu-ray, there is also plenty of fascinating and funny new material on offer.

George Lazenby benefits particularly from a fairly lengthy chat that ends with him accusing the producers of pushing him out not because On Her Majesty's Secret Service didn't perform, but because he got caught up in the 'flower power' movement and simply didn't match their image of 007 (accompanying footage shows him at the film's premiere with long hair and a beard. Maybe they had a point).

Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan provides some of the biggest laughs as he cracks up at some of the ridiculous situations his Bond was forced into - 'Alright Brosnan, we're going to do kite surfing a tsunami today...'. And he also manages to sum up his tenure as 007 better and more succinctly than anyone else: 'What was [my] second one - Tomorrow Never Dies or The World is Not Enough? I always get confused. I only remember GoldenEye, the rest was a blur'.

So, even if it isn't the 'Untold Story of 007' that the title promises, Everything or Nothing is an entertaining look back at the history of the franchise that should please fans. In fact, it provides the ideal counterpart to the various behind-the-scenes documentaries made to accompany each of the films on DVD - and it's exactly the kind of thing that should have been included as a new extra in last year's Bond 50 Blu-ray boxset. It's certainly much better than the inconsequential bits and pieces that were thrown together on that boxset's exclusive bonus disc.

Picture: As you'd expect from a documentary of this kind, Everything or Nothing is made up entirely from a combination of archival footage, home movies, film clips and newly-recordd interviews. As such, the quality of this DVD's anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer is dependent on the quality of the source material being used. The new interviews, film clips and digitally-scanned still photographs hold up the best, with strong delineation, rich colours and solid contrast. The archival and home movie footage understandably looks considerably worse, with plenty of damage and other source-related flaws in evidence - but what else would you expect?
Picture rating: 3.5/5

Audio: As with the picture quality, there's little to get too worked up about when it comes to Everything or Nothing's audio quality. The documentary is presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but there's not much here that calls for anything more than a stereo presentation, with the rears only ever coming into play to give music a slightly more expansive and enveloping feel. What matters here is that all of the interviews - both new and archival - sound as clear and natural as the source material will allow.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: Everything or nothing? When it comes to DVD extras the answer is definitely nothing. The disc is completely bereft of bonus features, so don't go looking for expanded interviews or anything of that ilk. Heck, there aren't even any basic set-up options such as audio tracks or subtitles included on the disc - just a static (if rather attractive) menu screen with 'Play' and 'Scenes' buttons.
Extras rating: 0/5

We say: For an officially-sanctioned production, Everything or Nothing offers a surprisingly honest and unvarnished look back at the history of the Bond films.

20th Century Fox, R2 DVD, £12 approx, On sale January 28