In 1959, an Irish entrepreneur called Kevin McClory, envisioned the making of a movie with Ian Fleming featuring James Bond.
At a time when the first seven Fleming novels had been turned down by the top film studios of the day, for being too violent, sadistic, and unbelievable, successful novelist, Ian Fleming had wearied of writing; was ‘bereft of new ideas’, and wanted to kill Bond off and go travelling.
British screenwriter, Jack Whittingham who had just gone freelance from
the Ealing Studios team, was commissioned to write a film that would be
acceptable to the British public and, with Ian Fleming’s permission,
took the character of James Bond and created the very first original 007
screenplay entitled “Thunderball”.
‘Thunderball,’ therefore, was the very first screenplay of the movie
series, and should have been the first produced film, however, the
making of it was halted and held up by long drawn out legal
complications, and, eventually, it came out as the fourth Bond film, and
the biggest in box office terms.
The Thunderball Artworks have been created and presented on canvas by photographer Sylvan Whittingham Mason, Jack Whittingham's daughter and are a representation of the ‘First Imaginings’ of what a Bond film could look like long before production commenced on any of them. The Stephen Grimes original sketches, from which they were inspired, were shown at the 1959 Venice Film Festival in a bid to raise interest for the proposed new project.