Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion (S.P.E.C.T.R.E.) is a fictional terrorist organization led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Its first appearance was in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel, Thunderball, and subsequently in a number of James Bond films (first mentioned in the very first bond film Dr. No where it has been the spy's most persistent opponent).
The goal of the organization is extortion and world domination. To achieve this, their basic strategy of the organization is illustrated by the analogy of the fighting fish Blofeld keeps in an aquarium in the film version of From Russia With Love. Blofeld notes that one fish is refraining from fighting two others until their fight is concluded. Then, that cunning fish attacks the weakened victor and kills it easily. Thus S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s main strategy is to instigate conflict between two powerful enemies, namely the superpowers, hoping that they will exhaust themselves and be vulnerable when S.P.E.C.T.R.E. finally moves in to seize power.
Organization discipline is notoriously draconian with the penalty for disobedience or failure being death. Furthermore, to heighten the impact of the executions, Blofeld often chooses to focus attention on an innocent member, making it appear his death imminent, only to suddenly strike down the actual target when that person is off guard.
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is headed up by the supervillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld who usually appears accompanied by a white Angora cat in the movies (but not in the books). In the films, the #2 of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is Emilio Largo who appears for the first and final time in the film Thunderball.
In the original Bond novel series, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s first and last appearance was also in the book Thunderball. It appears that after James Bond smashed S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s plot to blackmail NATO with stolen nuclear weapons, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was disbanded. Blofeld continued to cause trouble on his own in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Later, the John Gardner Bond novel, For Special Services introduced a revived S.P.E.C.T.R.E. under the leadership of a new Blofeld. Although Bond ultimately prevents S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from reforming, it continued to play a part in several succeeding Gardner novels. The next Bond novelist, Raymond Benson, reintroduced Irma Bunt in his short story "Blast From the Past."
In the official film series, the organization is much more resilient, coming back after each defeat by Bond with increasingly grander schemes. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is behind the villainous plots in some way in four James Bond films including Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and finally You Only Live Twice where it appears they are ultimately defeated. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is mentioned by name one last time in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but this film and subsequent films feature Blofeld working independently. Blofeld, in addition to On Her Majesty's Secret Service continues to appear in Diamonds Are Forever and in the pre-title sequence of For Your Eyes Only where he supposedly meets his demise. In 1983, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was revived in Never Say Never Again, an unofficial remake of Thunderball.
There are some major differences between the portrayal of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the Bond books and the movies. The obvious difference is that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is only in the Fleming's ninth Bond novel, Thunderball, although subsequent novels do use the character Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In the novels, Bond's main nemesis is SMERSH, a Soviet counter-spy organization. For the films, SMERSH is mostly replaced with S.P.E.C.T.R.E., although SMERSH has a small part in the film From Russia With Love along with S.P.E.C.T.R.E.. Also in the books, the numbers of members are deliberately assigned at random and regularly rotated to prevent detection, and at the time of Thunderball the leader has been assigned 'Number 2'. In the movies Blofeld is 'Number 1', and the numbers appear to indicate rank.
- Main article: The controversy over Thunderball
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and its characters have been at the center of a long-standing litigation case starting in 1961 between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming over the film rights to Thunderball and the ownership of the organization and its characters. In 1963 Ian Fleming settled out of court with McClory, which awarded McClory with the film rights to Thunderball, although the literary rights would stay with Fleming and thus allow continuation author John Gardner to use S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in a number of his novels.
In 1963 the producers of EON Productions, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman made an agreement with McClory to adapt the novel into the fourth official James Bond film. The agreement also stipulated that McClory would not be allowed to make further adaptations of Thunderball for at least ten years since the release. Although S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is used in a number of films previous and after Thunderball, the issue over the copyright of Thunderball, did prevent S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and Blofeld from becoming the main villains in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. In 1983, McClory released the unofficial remake of 1965's Thunderball, Never Say Never Again.
Although to this day, McClory retains the film rights to Thunderball, the courts in 2001 awarded MGM with the exclusive film rights to the fictional character James Bond. This technically prevents McClory from creating further adaptations of the novel.
Henchmen working for S.P.E.C.T.R.E. include (order of appearance):
- Dr. Julius No (Dr. No)
- Professor R. J. Dent (Dr. No)
- Miss Taro (Dr. No)
- Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love)
- Donald "Red" Grant (From Russia With Love)
- Kronsteen (From Russia With Love)
- Morzeny (From Russia With Love)
- Emilio Largo (No. 2, Thunderball)
- Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
- Colonel Jacques Bouvar (No. 6, Thunderball)
- Count Lippe (Thunderball)
- Angelo Palazzi/Major Francois Derval (Thunderball)
- Vargas (Thunderball)
- Professor Ladislav Kutze (Thunderball)
- Mr. Osato (You Only Live Twice)
- Helga Brandt (No. 11, You Only Live Twice)
- Irma Bunt (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
- Mr. Wint (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Mr. Kidd (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Albert R. "Burt" Saxby (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Peter Franks (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Shady Tree (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Morton Slumber (Diamonds Are Forever)
- Maximillian Largo (Never Say Never Again)
- Fatima Blush (Never Say Never Again)
- Blofeld from The Bond Film Informant
- spectreorganisation.com -- Information on Kevin McClory's fight for the rights to Thunderball and S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details