MI7

Posted on December 19, 2012

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Oddly, in the first James Bond film, “Dr No“, M (Bernard Lee) refers to himself as head of MI7. It is odd because now we are used to knowing that Commander Bond is employed by the MI6, or SIS. It is also true that there are few if any other references in the pre-Brosnan films to MI6 as Bond’s organisation. Rather it is named the ”British Secret Service”, ”Her Majesty’s Secret Service” or just ”Secret Service”, as well as the cover Universal Exports. Having looked into this at a glance, Bernard Lee seems to have changed his line from MI6 to MI7 in the post-production voice over synchronization. He really squeezes in the extra syllable of ”seven” to match the lip sync. The seven is confirmed by the English subtitles. The original line is likely to have been MI6 as we can hear Bernard Lee saying precisely that on the 1963 “Dr No” featurette included in black and white on the Dr No Ultimate edition DVD. Playing that scene it seems to have the original soundtrack for that particular piece of dialogue.
Bernard Lee "M"

So why this change of numbers? Trying my luck on a web search, various theories arise as well as other interesting details. One suggestion for the change of lines is that the MI6 although known to the public officially did not exist and to avoid any bad feelings between Eon Productions and the actual MI6 the line was altered in post-production. Whoever responsible just added one to six and perhaps thought they created a whole new department within the British Military Intelligence (MI)? It just so happens that MI7 did actually already exist, in a field of tasks very dissimilar to M’s and his licensed to kill-double-o’s.

According to Wikipedia the MI7 was the: British Military Intelligence Section 7 (now allegedly defunct), was a department of the British Directorate of Military Intelligence. Part of the War Office, MI7 was set up to work in the fields of propaganda and censorship, during the First World War.

This information is yet to be confirmed.

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Posted in: Dr No