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Aware that Bond will be searching for him, Ernst Stavro Blofeld decides to alter his appearance. In a secret facility, Blofeld hires a team of plastic surgeons to perform surgery on some willing henchmen, to transform them into clones of himself.
At the secret facility, Blofeld grows impatient. Expecting Bond to find him at any moment, Blofeld demands that his chief surgeon completes an operation that evening. The surgeon protests, but eventually acquiesces to Blofeld's demand.
That night, the operation begins with one of Blofeld's henchmen lying in a mud bath. Blofeld's surgeons are gently smearing mud over his face. Once they finish doing so, they file out of the operation room. The chief surgeon is the last to go, and as he leaves, a new surgeon enters. On his way out, the chief surgeon tells his colleague to keep the mud bath at 80 degrees. Unbeknownst to the surgeons, Bond has infiltrated the facility, incapacitated one of the surgeons and stolen the surgeon's garb.
Bond enters the operating room and removes his disguise. The henchman stays in the mud bath, but looks over at Bond, before gently lifting a pistol out of the mud bath, aiming at Bond. Bond is quick enough to spot the gun, and runs toward the mud bath, as the henchman sits upright to shoot him. Bond manages to reach a release cord, pulls it and dives behind the mud bath.
A large vat directly above the mud bath releases a heavy quantity of mud on top of the henchman, causing him to splutter and helplessly flail around in the bath. The vat continues to empty mud onto the henchman, until he is overwhelmed and sinks underneath the surface effectively drowning him. The overhead vat finally empties and Bond stands up beside the mud bath.
Eager to see whether he's killed Blofeld, Bond reaches a hand under the surface and lifts the man's face out from under the mud. Finding a water jet pistol, Bond washes the man's face, but is disappointed to see he has killed just another henchmen. He lets go of the body, and it sinks back under the mud. All of a sudden, Blofeld and two henchmen walk into the room, trapping Bond.
"Making mud pies, 007?", Blofeld quips. Blofeld mentions that, if Bond hadn't drowned the man, he would have become a clone in a matter of days, and expresses regret at not being able to see the operation come to fruition.
Behind the scenes
DVD commentary for the film explains that stuntman George Leech stood in for scenes showing the patient having mud applied to his face, with stuntman Bill Morgan standing in when the patient rises up out of the mud, drowns and when he is examined by Bond. Both actors were uncredited.
In the original novel, Bond witnesses a horse jockey being tortured by Mr Wind and Mr Kidd, when they pour a bucket of scalding hot mud onto the jockey, as he takes a mud bath. In the novel, there is no mud bath cloning process at all; it was worked into the script as a likely homage to the source text.
Albert J Luxford, who worked on special effects for the film recalled how mashed potatoes were mixed with cocoa to create fake mud for the opening titles sequence. What the crew didn't expect was the fact that, under hot studio lights, the mashed potatoes began to "cook", creating a bad smell on set.