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Shaken, not stirred: 50 years of Bond style (pictures)

As the James Bond film franchise hits half a century, a massive London exhibit shows off a wealth of authentic props, pictures, and original conceptual art from the famed spy action films.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
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High-tech hallway

Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Over the last 50 years -- since "Dr. No" was released in the U.K. -- these men have saved the world from evil as the celluloid versions of James Bond, a British MI6 secret service agent with immeasurable charm. With his never-ending supply of high-tech gadgets and heart-pulsing ability to survive the unexpected, Bond forever changed the way the world imagines secret agents.

Hosted at the Barbican Centre in London, "Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style" highlights more than 400 items from Eon Productions' Bond archives, including costumes, automobiles, weapons, original props, and rarely seen photos shot on location. The exhibit stays in London through September 5, and then embarks on a three-year international tour.

Grab a vodka martini and click through our gallery for a closer look at "Designing 007."

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Not your normal suitcase

Any fan of the Bond series will fondly recall Q's (short for Quartermaster) latest and greatest inventions, which usually consisted of normal everyday items containing a secret -- and most often deadly -- functionality. In this image, we see some of the attache cases featured in the Bond movies, and the Hasselblad camera gun featured in the 1989 film "Licence to Kill."
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3 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Jaws of life

"Designing 007" also features some amazing behind-the scenes conceptual art and real props from the movies.

Jaws, a popular villain in the James Bond series, sported a behemoth physique and a set of menacing steel teeth. In this original storyboard image from the 1977 film "The Spy Who Loved Me," we see a composite of the frightening figure completely unaware of his demise hovering overhead. Actor Richard Kiel also played Jaws in "Moonraker."

"Kiel reported that the stainless steel teeth were so painful that he could only wear them for five minutes at a time," reveals a statement from Designing 007 representatives.

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4 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Little Nellie visualized

This original storyboard image from "You Only Live Twice" shows a brief outline of James Bond in a special gyrocopter called "Little Nellie," as he fights off a handful of Spectre helicopters. Wallis Autogyro provided the infamous vehicle for the 1967 film, which featured an array of fictional weaponry such as heat-seeking missiles, flame guns, machine guns, rockets, and aerial mines.
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An aquatic ride

Visitors to the exhibit can check out a miniature model of the Lotus Espirit S1 submarine car -- also referred to as "Wet Nellie" -- which saved the day for Bond in "The Spy Who Loved Me."
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Dreaming of gold

The Designing 007 exhibit features a re-creation of the iconic scene in the 1964 film "Goldfinger" in which Bond discovers his latest hookup Jill Masterson (played by actress Shirley Eaton) died after getting a gold paint job.
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7 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Shocking surprise

During the climax of "Goldfinger," Oddjob (played by actor Harold Sakata) gets an electrifying exit in Fort Knox after Bond zaps him with the help of a broken high-voltage wire. The Designing 007 exhibit features many incredible photo stills captured during the making of the movies.
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Vault of gold

Famed film production designer Sir Kenneth Adam created many of the sets featured in Bond movies through the '60s and '70s. In this conceptual drawing, we see the original vision for the Fort Knox vault featured at the end of "Goldfinger."
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Ice cube

One area of the Designing 007 exhibit features items of interest from the 2002 film "Die Another Day," including a full-scale model of the Ice Palace and several associated sculptures. Nearby are several original costumes from the snow scenes in "The World Is Not Enough."
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10 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Space base

Art director Harry Lange drew up this spectacular design of the space station featured in the 1979 film "Moonraker."
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The best hideout, ever?

Production designer Sir Kenneth Adam whipped up this early concept art of the secret Japanese volcano hideout featured prominently in the 1967 film "You Only Live Twice."
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Shiny jewels

Actress Teri Hatcher wore this necklace and ring -- designed by renowned London jeweler David Morris -- in the 1997 film "Tomorrow Never Dies."
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Bad kitties

Throughout the first several decades of Bond films, evil mastermind and Spectre leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld ruled with an iron fist and a white cat by his side. This rarely seen photo reveals some of the extra cats used in the movies.
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14 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Fly away

A conceptual drawing of the jetpack featured in the 1965 film "Thunderball," based on a Bell Aerosystems Rocket Belt.
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15 of 16 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation

Interrogation room

This piece of concept art by production designer Sir Kenneth Adam envisions the laser table room featured in "Goldfinger." Way ahead of its time, the 1964 film ushered in the first movie appearance of a laser.
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The golden gun

Scaramanga's golden gun might stand as one of the most infamous Bond weapons of all time. The Designing 007 exhibit features the authentic prop shooter used in the 1974 film "The Man with the Golden Gun." Special effects guru John Stears created the shiny weapon from various items, including a lighter and cigarette case.

Check out this special "Designing Bond's World" addendum video by the Barbican Centre:

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