Skip to main content

You see, Mr. Bond, I always thought I liked animals. And then I discovered I liked killing people even more.


The Man with the Golden Gun
(1974)

Roger Moore’s second outing as Bond has been regularly maligned over the years, pegged as formulaic and uninspired. While I’d defend it on a number of fronts (the cast and locations in particular), I can’t deny that it’s somewhat lacking on the story front (symptomatically, Tom Mankiewicz resigned his spurs after the first draft of the screenplay saying he wasn’t giving it his best; Richard Maibaum took over). What could have been a resonant story of Bond meeting his mirror image, as is implied in some of the dialogue, is only vaguely touched upon. The plotting doesn’t require many problems for Bond to solve either; he seems to pass fairly effortlessly from scene to scene, not so much following a trail of breadcrumbs as huge signposts laying it all out for him. Nevertheless, it’s a Bond that still has much to enjoy, and is far more vital than at least a couple of the mid-‘60s Connery affairs.


Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name was his final (12th), published posthumously. It opened with the interesting idea of Bond brainwashed to assassinate M (if only they’d returned to this with Judi Dench!) Scaramanga was much less remarkable than in Christopher Lee’s elegant personification, and the oft-used Jamaica was the main locale rather than Thailand. The grand villainy involved, amongst other plans, a scheme to increase the value of the Cuban sugar crop by destabilising the Caribbean’s crop.  The film came up with both a more topical (the energy crisis) and more extravagant (the theft of the Solex agitator, a key component in a new method of solar power production) plot trigger.


Guy Hamilton was enlisted to return, his third in a row as director, in what would mark the end of an era for Bond. It was to be last film that Harry Saltzman co-produced with Cubby Broccoli (he was forced to sell his interest due to financial problems) and concurrent problems in getting The Spy Who Love Me together resulted in the longest gap yet between Bond films; two and a half years (TMWTGG  was released in December 1974, TSWLM in July 1977). It’s probably fair to say that neither of Hamilton’s Moore films match his Connery ones. I don’t think this is really down to the director, who was a consistently safe pair of hands both in terms of affinity with the action and overall sensibility towards the series. TMWTGG, in particular, has the a next installment in a comic book vibe; the necessary elements and set pieces are ticked off without any great impulse towards originality (ironic, as Hamilton and Mankiewicz had achieved just that only three years earlier). It’s perhaps surprising that the subsequent film, under the tutelage of the considerably less-proficient Lewis Gilbert, would usher in the fully-formed Moore Bond. At this stage there were still designs to making his Bond as lethal as Connery, even if his demeanour did not support such a view.


The plots of Bond films don’t tend to be particularly intricate, but it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to keep the viewer engaged. If the plot is just filler between set pieces, the strain starts to show as the narrative’s inner tension begins to collapse. And from thence, boredom ensues.


There’s a solid twist to what we think is the premise of TMWTGG; Scaramanga sends Bond a golden bullet with his number etched on it; an announcement that 007 is to be a target for assassination. As a result, M takes Bond off active duty. Which just happens to mean he is no longer surveilling Gibson, the scientist considered crucial to solving the energy crisis. But this is just a ruse; with Bond out of the picture, Scaramanga is free to perform a hit on Gibson and the Solex agitator is stolen.


Following this, it’s basically chasing and fighting before the showdown on Scarmanaga’s island. We do see the assassin attain control of Hai Fat’s (Richard Loo) business empire, the latter having enlisted Scaramanga to purloin the agitator, but the bones of plot are skeleton thin. With Bond it’s all about how well the flesh is filled out, as there is rarely a truly clever construction to ensnare the viewer. TMWTGG does better in establishing iconic images and moments than revealing itself as a truly satisfying Bond film.


I’ll admit that, if I had in mind all the different pre-credits sequences prior to revisiting the series, I wouldn’t have remarked on Bond-less, Bond-centric ones as exceptions. Clearly, it’s something of a running theme to have a villain “kill” Bond in the teaser. We saw it with From Russia with Love, then again in You Only Live Twice. Here, Scaramanga keeps a model of Bond in the hall of mirrors of his  fairground funhouse (his assassination training ground). I was slightly distracted by whether this was Moore himself, keeping very still. The scene features Diamonds are Forever’s Marc Lawrence as an unlucky hood enlisted to take out Scaramanga. During this we are introduced to Nick Nack, the assassin’s diminutive henchman (further evidence that the series is ever-more fixated upon cartoonish caricatures).


It’s a memorable sequence for a number of reasons; debonair Christopher Lee makes an instant impression, and brings with him an iconic status unmatched by previous villains of the series (as opposed to a status assumed with the passing of years following the film’s release). This is fortunate, as Francisco Scaramanga proves to be quite underwritten and is reliant on the charm and wit that Lee inserts into the dialogue. Scaramanga sees a return to disfigurement as a sign of evil; this time it’s a third nipple (“He must have found me quite titillating”, notes Bond after impersonating the assassin).


We are also witness to the charms of Maud Adams as the ill-fated Andrea. Adams would return in the penultimate Moore escapade, as the titular Octopussy. Andrea’s an unfortunate Bond girl, established as Scaramanga’s unwilling sex object who, when she transfers her attentions to Bond, dispenses with her via a bullet in the chest. If this were a Connery adventure, one suspects that the poor representation of the female characters would seem even less positive (as there would be an undercurrent of sadism lost in Moore’s affable incarnation). We will see that the other Bond girl is also something of a standout in the series to date, in this case for being fairly useless.


The other feature of the opening is the location filming on the islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan and Ko Tapu; the former is the location of Scaramanga’s hideout and the latter is now referred to as James Bond Island by the tourist industry; something pretty much kick-started by this film if heresay is to be believed. It’s easy to see why, as the location is gorgeous and idyllic; a fantasy island. While the locations in some Bond films are merely a backdrop, in TMWTGG they inform its identity and it is the villain’s hideout that leaves the most indelible impression.


Since it’s the next thing we see, or rather hear, this seems the right moment to mention the Bond song. A cacophony the like of which had previously not been heard in the series, Lulu’s vocals and, on a rare off-day, John Barry’s accompaniment are a train wreck of discordancy. Don Black’s lyrics are highly amusing (“He’s got a powerful weapon” indeed!) but otherwise it stinks (Barry himself had a low opinion of his work here). Alice Cooper’s unused track isn’t quite there, but it’s a far superior starting point to the chosen song.


As he’ll tell anyone who rejoins him into anecdotalising, Christopher Lee was Ian Fleming’s cousin. He readily admits, however, that the screen Scaramanga is more interesting and engaging that the one in the novel. Lee gives him a genuine desire for friendship with Bond and an almost disarming geniality at times (“Delighted to see you again!” he greets 007 upon the latter’s arrival at the island).

Scaramanga: Ours is the loneliest profession, Mr. Bond.

So much so, that Bond’s discourtesy in response to his overtures seems plain rude, rather than deserving. Maybe it’s just because Scaramanga has hit on a sore point.

Scaramanga: You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don't you admit it?
Bond: I admit killing you would be a pleasure.
Scaramanga: Then you should have done that when you first saw me. On the other hand, the English don't consider it sporting to kill in cold blood, do they?
Bond: Don't count on that.


Partly this may be because Bond’s dialogue is so unrefined.

Bond: Pistols at dawn; it's a little old-fashioned, isn't it?
Scaramanga: That it is. But it remains the only true test for gentlemen.
Bond: On that score, I doubt you qualify. However, I accept.

And:

Bond: You live well, Scaramanga.
Scaramanga: At a million dollars a contract I can afford to, Mr Bond. You work for peanuts, a hearty well done from her Majesty the Queen and a pittance of a pension. Apart from that we are the same. To us, Mr Bond, we are the best.
Bond: There's a useful four letter word, and you're full of it.

Rather coarse, isn’t he?

At other times, Scaramanga’s is furnished with a derisive wit. It’s just that we don’t hear enough of it. After Bond’s escape from Hai Fat’s karate school he observes, “What do they teach at that academy? Ballet dancing?


As I mentioned, the other main Bond girl of TMWTGG is noteworthy more for her ability to mess things up than for her skillset. We saw a little of this at the climax to Diamonds are Forever, with the generally much more resourceful Tiffany Case. M assigns Mary Goodnight as Bond’s assistant as she is “an efficient liaison officer”. We see precious little efficiency, as Goodnight obsesses over a previous “liaison” with Bond and makes a hash of any attempt to assist (culminating in her being unceremoniously deposited in Scaramanga’s car boot, providing the villain with the Solex agitator that Bond just repossessed). Later, she overcomes a villain only to trigger the destruction of the solar power plant. Then she manages to nearly kill Bond with her misplaced buttocks. But, and this is a big but (not butt), Goodnight is played by Britt Ekland (who had just teamed with Lee on The Wicker Man). During the later stages of the film she runs around Scarmanga’s island clad only in a beguiling bikini; it’s not difficult to see why I rated TMWTGG so highly as a youngster


She also sports a micro-nighty at one point. This scene is the most overtly Carry On… the series has yet been, as it gleefully plunges headlong into bedroom farce. Bond has Goodnight in bed, when Andrea comes knocking. Goodnight initially hides under the covers but is then consigned to a wardrobe while Bond and Andrea bump uglies. I find it difficult to imagine another Bond girl resigning herself to such ignominy (she is employed by the British Government though, so has to make sacrifices).


It should be again stressed that, while Bond girls have been generally dismissed as silly totty who need Bond to rescue them, Goodnight is distinguished from previous rivals by being just that. In spite of her ineptness, I sort of adore Goodnight. Ekland and Moore have a great rapport, and her inefficiency gives Roger some of his most amusingly Moore-ish moments. She also provides my favourite silly sign-off of the series (anyone would think she was named just with the final line in mind!)

M: [over the phone] Bond? Bond, are you there? Goodnight?
[Bond picks up phone]
Bond: She's just coming, sir.
[Bond sets phone back down]
M: Goodnight? Goodnight? Goodnight!
[Bond pick up phone again]
Bond: Good night, sir.
[Bond hangs up phone]


If Goodnight is useless, the reverse is true of Hip’s (Soon-Tek Oh) nieces, who dispatch Bond’s pursuers (students at the karate school) with hilarious ease. It’s a great visual punchline that pays-off; Bond steels himself for battle then hardly needs to do anything. They are much more memorable than Hip, who has far greater screen time. Bond’s earlier encounter, with belly dancer Saida (Carmen Du Sautoy) elicits a classic Moore groaner when Bond steals the shrapnel momento from her belly button (the remains of one of Scaramanga’s golden bullets).

Saida: Ah! I've lost my charm!
Bond: Not from where I'm standing.


We’ve reached the point where a suggestively named Bond girl barely requires an innuendo from 007 in response. A look is all that is needed. On arriving at Hai Fat’s estate he discovers a girl swimming naked (Hamilton makes a feature of her bare buttocks; the series would gradually retreat from it’s shy, early ‘70s exposure of slightly more female flesh after this point).

Bond: Good morning. How's the water?
Chew Mee: Why don't you come in and find out?
Bond: Sounds very tempting, Miss...?
Chew Mee: Chew Mee.
Bond: Really? Well, there's only one small problem. I have no swimming trunks.
Chew Mee: Neither have I.


The returning cast includes Desmond Llewellyn this time. Rather than showing off a gadget, the highlight of his appearance is his comparing notes on the analysis of Scaramanga’s bullet with a colleague. Moneypenney scrapes a minute or so of screen time, but it’s mostly M we see. Previously M has come across as disapprovingly withering and no-nonsense towards Bond, but on this occasion there’s a worrying indication that he relishes the chance of Bond coming to harm. As if he’s the bane of M’s life now. It’s played for comedy value, but it does jar slightly (“I almost wish Scaramanga had a contract out on you”). Still, he is given possibly the wittiest M response of the entire canon.

Bond: Who'd want to put a contract on me?
M: Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

He gets exasperated with Q too, so maybe he’s just generally pissed off (“Of all the fouled-up, half-witted operations… “).


The return of Sheriff J W Pepper is less welcome. If the joke is frequently on him (pitched into a river by an elephant), giving the character vent to his racist, xenophobic disposition by depositing him in Thailand is not particularly endearing (“Little brown pointy-heads!”, is his repeated refrain). In a sense you can’t blame the producers for recalling a perceived crowd-pleaser, but it’s a cheap and witless decision. As for his ability to bump into Bond repeatedly, well at least there’s no pretence that this isn’t all just a big lark.


Hervé Villechaize is as memorable a henchman as Goldfinger’s Odd Job for equal and opposite reasons. Villechaize was also the source of many an anecdote amongst the rest of the cast and crew; he made a big impression for his alleged sexual proclivities. Small of frame and vocally distinct (“Meester Bohnd”) Nick Nack first appears to be little more than Scaramanga’s man servant (bringing champagne on a tray and fetching Tabasco sauce) but in the ensuing funhouse manhunt we see that Scaramanga employs him to test the assassin’s skill and reflexes. He even announces that he has designs on Scaramanga’s island empire (“I’ll get you yet. And I’ll enjoy everything you leave me”) to Francisco’s relaxed amusement (“You’ll be the death of me yet, Nick Nack”). He urges Bond to kill Scarmanga to that end, leading to a typically Moore comment.

Bond: I’ve never killed a midget before, but there can always be a first time.
Nick Nack: Oh, Meester Bohnd!


Since Bond destroys the object of Nick Nack’s desire, it’s no wonder he is so irate during the required “henchman resurfaces for a final flurry” climax. Bond deposits him in a suitcase and from whence to the crow’s nest atop Scaramanga’s junk.

Nick Nack: I may be small but I never forget!


The action of TMWTGG is variable. The stand-out stunt may be the series’ all-time greatest, so incredible that Guy Hamilton was right to suggest it looked too perfect and therefore people would assume it had somehow been faked. Bond not only leaps a wrecked bridge in his appropriated AMC Hornet; he turns the vehicle 180 degrees, making a perfect landing on the other side. It is unfortunate that someone needed to puncture this awe-inspiring moment with a “The Clangers” whistle effect.


Elsewhere a khlong river chase is convincingly fast-paced but perhaps a second boat pursuit sequence directly following Live and Let Die wasn’t the best decision. The river leap is part of a chase of Scaramanga that culminates in his AMC Matador transforming into a flying car. The producers’ borrowings from topical inventions rarely stand the test of time. Previously, we saw a one-man jetpack and then a one-man helicopter. This time, the flying car was based on an idea by a man who died crashing his converted vehicle before filming started. Models were used to achieve the effect, and it only ever looks like a gimmick (there’s no virtuosity to the design).


This may be the last time for a considerable while that Bond engages in convincing fisticuffs. Early on, when Bond visits Beirut (only seen in interiors) his interaction with Saida is interrupted by the arrival of a quartet of heavies. The staging is impressive; you couldn’t exactly call Moore a bruiser but neither does he look a complete idiot. Later, at the dojo, there is another decent fight where 007 appears to be coming off worst (hence his hasty exit at the first opportunity); amusingly the first opponent he encounters is eliminated through a very improper kick to he head when he is bowing.


Prior to this, Bond is captured at Hai Fat’s estate when Nick Nack hits him on the head. The encounter is the closest TMWTGG gets to a surreal moment. Bond discovers that the figures he assumed were statues (sumo wrestlers) are anything but. The sight of Nick Nack, made up as an impish sprite, next to two sumo wrestlers suggests some bizarre bacchanalian rite is in progress.


The finale returns to the funhouse of the opening and it’s a strong, if obvious, twist to have Bond best Scaramanga by posing as his own statue (clearly a repeated theme). The subsequent explosive finale has its moments (the mistaken conclusion that the laser has been turned off when the sun goes behind a cloud) amid the routine.


Impressive as the design of Scaramanga’s hideout is, the award for best set – and most original idea – goes to the MI6 HQ inside the wreck of the RMS Queen Elizabeth in Hong Kong Harbour. The resulting off-kilter sets are a delight, although inevitably M is to be found in a room with a newly added flat surface.


Thematically, TMWTGG doesn’t have a whole lot going on. As noted, it rather fluffs its potential as a commentary on Bond’s penchant for killing (in that respect, the assassin versus assassin plot might have been better played out with Connery, although something not far off was seen with Red Grant). There is a whisper of cynicism in the film’s treatment of alternative energy, however, and one wonders if this came from Mankiewicz. He, after all, dropped in the surprising references to faked Moon landings in Diamonds are Forever. When Bond learns that Scaramanga acquired the Solex agitator in order to offer a monopoly on solar power to the highest bidder, Bond intones the thrust of a thousand conspiracy theories.

Bond: The oil sheikhs will pay you just to keep solar energy off the market.
Scaramanga: The thought had occurred to me.

Presumably, having re-acquired Solex agitator at the end, the British Government used it to end the energy crisis. Or perhaps they decided there was more to be gained in keeping it under wraps.


The Man with the Golden Gun certainly wasn’t a peak moment for the series, but it doesn’t deserve the dismissal it often receives. It was a solid – if formulaic – entry, with charismatic villainy (Lee), becoming eye candy (Ekland) and awesome scenery. The next Bond film would be a much more pronounced success, however, with both the public and the critics. It would also see the series pitch into a level of self-parody that would provoke a severe dressing-down when Moonraker embraced it even more pervasively (again, not with the public at large; it was an enormous success).



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I just hope my death makes more cents than my life.

Joker (2019)
(SPOILERS) So the murder sprees didn’t happen, and a thousand puff pieces desperate to fan the flames of such events and then told-ya-so have fallen flat on their faces. The biggest takeaway from Joker is not that the movie is an event, when once that seemed plausible but not a given, but that any mainstream press perspective on the picture appears unable to divorce its quality from its alleged or actual politics. Joker may be zeitgeisty, but isn’t another Taxi Driver in terms of cultural import, in the sense that Taxi Driver didn’t have a Taxi Driver in mind when Paul Schrader wrote it. It is, if you like, faux-incendiary, and can only ever play out on that level. It might be more accurately described as a grubbier, grimier (but still polished and glossy) The Talented Ripley, the tale of developing psychopathy, only tailored for a cinemagoing audience with few options left outside of comic book fare.

Dude. You’re my hero and shit.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
(SPOILERS) I was going to say I’d really like to see what Vince Gilligan has up his sleeve besidesBreaking Bad spinoffs. But then I saw that he had a short-lived series on CBS a few years back (Battle Creek). I guess things Breaking Bad-related ensure an easy greenlight, particularly from Netflix, for whom the original show was bread and butter in its take up as a streaming platform. There’s something slightly dispiriting about El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, though. Not that Gilligan felt the need to return to Jesse Pinkman – although the legitimacy of that motive is debatable – but the desire to re-enter and re-inhabit the period of the show itself, as if he’s unable to move on from a near-universally feted achievement and has to continually exhume it and pick it apart.

The past is a statement. The future is a question.

Justified Season Six
(SPOILERS) There have been more than enough damp squib or so-so show finales of late to have greeted the demise of Justified with some trepidation. Thankfully it avoids almost every pitfall it might have succumbed to and gives us a satisfying send-off that feels fitting for its characters. This is a series that, even at its weakest (the previous season) is leagues ahead of most fare in an increasingly saturated sphere, so it’s a relief – even if there was never much doubt on past form – that it doesn’t drop the ball.

And of those character fates? In a show that often pulls back from giving Raylan Givens the great hero moments (despite his maintaining a veneer of ultra-cool, and getting “supporting hero” moments as he does in the finale, 6.13 The Promise), it feels appropriate that his entire (stated) motivation for the season should be undermined. He doesn’t get to take down Boyd Crowder, except in an incarcerating sense, but as always he is sanguine about it. After…

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
(SPOILERS) I don’t love Star Trek, but I do love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That probably isn’t just me, but a common refrain of many a non-devotee of the series. Although, it used to apply to The Voyage Home (the funny one, with the whales, the Star Trek even the target audience for Three Men and a Baby could enjoy). Unfortunately, its high regard has also become the desperate, self-destructive, song-and-verse, be-all-and-end-all of the overlords of the franchise itself, in whichever iteration, it seems. This is understandable to an extent, as Khan is that rare movie sequel made to transcendent effect on almost every level, and one that stands the test of time every bit as well (better, even) as when it was first unveiled.

It’s not every day you see a guy get his ass kicked on two continents – by himself.

Gemini Man (2019)
(SPOILERS) Ang Lee seems hellbent on sloughing down a technological cul-de-sac to the point of creative obscurity, in much the same way Robert Zemeckis enmired himself in the mirage of motion capture for a decade. Lee previously experimented with higher frame rates on Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, to the general aversion of those who saw it in its intended form – 48, 60 or 120 fps have generally gone down like a bag of cold sick, just ask Peter Jackson – and the complete indifference of most of the remaining audience, for whom the material held little lustre. Now he pretty much repeats that trick with Gemini Man. At best, it’s merely an “okay” film – not quite the bomb its Rotten Tomatoes score suggests – which, (as I saw it) stripped of its distracting frame rate and 3D, reveals itself as just about serviceable but afflicted by several insurmountable drawbacks.

You’re only seeing what’s in front of you. You’re not seeing what’s above you.

Mr. Robot Season 2
(SPOILERS) I suspect my problem with Mr. Robot may be that I want it to be something it isn’t, which would entail it being a much better show than it is. And that’s its own fault, really, or rather creator and writer-director of umpteen episodes Sam Esmail’s, who has intentionally and provocatively lured his audience into thinking this really is an up-to-the-minute, pertinent, relevant, zeitgeisty show, one that not only has a huge amount to say about the illusory nature of our socio-economic system, and consequently the bedrock of our collective paradigm, but also the thorny subject of reality itself, both of which have been variably enticing dramatic fodder since the Wachowski siblings and David Fincher released a one-two punch at the end of the previous millennium.

In that sense, Mr. Robot’s thematic conceit is very much of a piece with its narrative form; it’s a conjuring act, a series of sleights of hand designed to dazzle the viewer into going with the flow, rath…

What you do is very baller. You're very anarchist.

Lady Bird (2017)
(SPOILERS) You can see the Noah Baumbach influence on Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, with whom she collaborated on Frances Ha; an intimate, lo-fi, post-Woody Allen (as in, post-feted, respected Woody Allen) dramedy canvas that has traditionally been the New Yorker’s milieu. But as an adopted, spiritual New Yorker, I suspect Gerwig honourably qualifies, even as Lady Bird is a love letter/ nostalgia trip to her home city of Sacramento.

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

You’ll just have to face it, Steed. You’re completely compromised.

The Avengers Season 6 Ranked – Worst to Best
The final run, and an oft-maligned one. It’s doubtful anyone could have filled Emma Peel’s kinky boots, but it didn’t help Linda Thorson that Tara King was frequently earmarked to moon over Steed while very evidentlynot being the equal Emma and Cathy were; the generation gap was never less than unflatteringly evident. Nevertheless, despite this imbalance, and the early hiccups of the John Bryce-produced episodes, Season Six arguably offers a superior selection of episodes to its predecessor, in which everyone became perhaps a little too relaxed.