The historic city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony, Germany, is known for many things. The atomic clock that provides the official German time, the medieval jester Till Eulenspiegel who played practical jokes on citizens, the Mumme malt-beer and it is birthplace to famous mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, composer Louis Spohr and of course Henry the Lion (1129–1195) who had made the city the capital of a vast territory he ruled over, stretching from the coast of the North and Baltic Seas to the Alps, and from Westphalia to Pomerania.
In 2012, author and dance instructor Danny Morgenstern gave the city a new cultural highlight that has since become firmly established in the annual social calender: the Bond 50th anniversary screening. After the hugely successful events of the last three years, the fourth Bond film ‘THUNDERBALL’ was this year’s birthday boy. But it was more than just a screening of a Bond film, it was a celebration of the many elements that made Bond so great and appealing over the course of 53 years – glamour, style, humour and action!
A very special guest star arrived five hours before the event and immediately got stuck in the doors of the cinema while trying to fit through. Bond Fan Hansi Zweigle and his wife Andrea had driven 500 kilometres from Stuttgart to Braunschweig in a restored Lotus Esprit Turbo as seen in ‘FOR YOUR EYES ONLY’ (1981) to celebrate the first ever public display of the iconic car in style! But getting the beauty into the cinema proved to be quite a nail-biting challenge as the two sets of swinging doors had different measurements. Two centimetres made all the difference and one of the inner doors had to be removed in order to safely fit the Lotus through. Once inside the lobby of the C1 Cinema, it was parked in front of a huge SPECTRE Banner and immediately attracted the attention of curious cinemagoers.
At around 7pm the first guests started to arrive and walked the red carpet – of course properly dressed in evening attire. Inside the cinema, the Lotus was immediately the center of attention. Then, the second special guest of the evening arrived: Actor Götz Otto who had starred alongside Pierce Brosnan as brutal German henchman “Stamper” in ‘TOMORROW NEVER DIES’ (1997). With a height of 1,98 metres he stood out from the crowd of fans enthusiastically greeting him upon arrival at the cinema.
Once the nearly 600 guests were comfortably seated inside the cinema, Bond expert Danny Morgenstern welcomed Götz Otto to the stage and both engaged in a witty and highly informative interview about being a Bond baddie, the disappearance of Blofeld’s cat, back pains and evil laughs in Bond films. Both the audience and Götz Otto were visibly enjoying themselves.
The final highlight before the screening of ‘THUNDERBALL’ was the premiere of the Theatrical Trailer and Poster for ‘A Bond For Life‘, my fan documentary which will be screened in support of UNICEF in 2016. My pulse rose significantly but the following applause was very relieving. The trailer is also available on YouTube.
After the film screening, the guests enjoyed themselves at the After Show Party which also saw the launch of Danny Morgenstern’s newest entry to his popular 007 XXS book series. While blues singer Fritz Köster treated everyone to a selection of fine renditions of James Bond Title songs, Morgenstern and Otto signed books and photos. The Martini Bar was well-frequented with several queues – not to mention the Lotus Esprit with replicas of the OLIN MARK VI skis on the other side of the lobby that had also caught the attention of Götz Otto who was interested to learn more about 007´s famous ride from 1981.
All the preparations for the event had paid off and the 50th anniversary of ‘THUNDERBALL’ was celebrated in style. Since the Bond films had a two year gap after 1965, there would normally be no timeline anniversary next year but planning for a 10 year ‘CASINO ROYALE’ event has already begun. Then, Danny Morgenstern will once again surprise with turning the cinema in Braunschweig into Bond Paradise for one night. Plus, not to leave any vital information unmentioned, there was the announcement of a planned Bond convention – the first ever in Germany since 1993! There had been two previous conventions in the 1980s in Berlin as well as two in Stuttgart (1991&1993). Great things can be expected of Morgenstern and his team of experts.