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Monday, July 13, 2015

The Appeal of James Bond



In the summer of 1972, my husband-to-be took me to the drive-in where I saw my first James Bond movie. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve watched every one of the twenty-three films so many times I can recite a lot of the dialogue. Like every movie-goer, I have my favorites as well as a couple that I can pass up any time.

The films are derived from the books by Ian Fleming, who was an intelligence officer during World War II. Action, adventure, a compelling hero, beautiful women, and great villains make the James Bond franchise the longest running film series in history. Fifty-three years. Incredible. And more to come.

Every Bond aficionado has their favorite actor who’s played the famous spy. Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig are my favs. Connery and Brosnan epitomized the tall, dark, and handsome hero. When I heard that the short, blond Craig was supposed to be the next Bond, I was not impressed. How could 5’10” Craig take the place of 6’2” Brosnan or 6’2½” Connery? After the 10-minute chase scene at the beginning of Casino Royale, I changed my mind about Craig. Wow. His Bond wasn’t suave, he was a newbie just earning his double 0 status, making mistakes, even vulnerable. Hard-hitting, gritty, exactly what the assassin was before he gained polish. The relationship between him and his boss M (played by Judy Dench) grew during the films until it became more like mother and son.

My least favorite actor to play Bond was George Lazenby, followed by Timothy Dalton, and Roger Moore. Bad casting. Moore brought a lot of humor to the series, but too often he smirked. Two movies I could pass up are In Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Lazenby) and Licensed to Kill (Dalton).

The Bond villains are so distinctive. From the somber Dr. No to the arrogant Goldfinger, the villains have to give Bond a run for his money. Then there was the very physical Xenia Onatopp who “always liked a good squeeze.” The best villain so far (to me) is Javier Bardem’s Silva in Skyfall. He is such a creepy sociopath.

The writers are top-notch. Some of the dialogue was witty, some of the quips real groaners. I love the music, especially the title songs. I remember being surprised that Paul McCartney and Wings sang the title song for “Live and Let Die.” Other famous singers added their voices to the opening titles—Shirley Bassey, Duran Duran, Sheryl Crow, for example, The most poignant title song was Adele’s “Skyfall.”

As you can tell, I’m a fan. You can be sure to find me in the audience for the next Bond film Spectre in November.

Do you have a favorite? Film or actor?


I'm doing double duty today. As well as my post here, it's my turn over at Paranormal Romantics where I talk about science fiction TV series. Come on over and say hi.


12 comments:

  1. Hi Diane. I can take or leave Bond, but Sean Connery was my favourite. I think Daniel Craig is a bit smirky. The music is always pretty good. Have to google Spectre to see who plays Bond in this one. :-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Denise. Daniel Craig will play Bond in Spectre and he's contracted to play him again in the next (untitled) film.

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  2. Love Bond. Hence why I have a series of Nerd books with Bond like names. License to Nerd and and A View to a Nerd. I will have more out next year.

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  3. I've seen most (if not all) of the Bond films. I liked Skyfall, with it's theme of getting old (I guess because that's where I'm at). I have often wondered what these suave, daring heroes would be like as old men...which is why the movie RED was so much fun for me to watch.

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    1. I loved RED and RED 2. I agree about Skyfall. I teared up at the near end. (No spoiler here) I'd wondered at the time if that was Craig's last film. Not so.

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  4. I grew up with James Bond as much as John Wayne. My dad was a fan and I've seen them all... I love the originals, Connery and Moore. Daniel Craig is amazing! But I liked Latzenby because it was the only movie where Bond actually married and showed why he never really let anyone get that close.

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    1. My dad was a John Wayne fan, too. Although I never liked Lazenby, you're right about the story in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It did explain why Bond never let anyone get that close. The end of Casino Royale did the same. It really hardened him.

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    2. Casino Royale did as well, you are right. Have you tried to ever put the movies in order? I think Craig's Bond is the earlier Bond. But then there were the years that Connery and Moore put out movies at the same time.

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    3. Craig is the latest Bond. The order is: Connery, Lazenby, Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan,then Craig. There was an "unofficial" (not an EON Production) in which Connery appeared called Never Say Never. One of my kids gave me the 25th Anniversary book. But my best source is IMDB.

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  5. I've never been a huge Bond fan, although I've seen most the films. I love the action but the character is a little too cold for my taste. I do like the latest Bond.

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    1. The action appeals to my husband (me, too, for that matter). As a writer, I tend to question why a character acts the way he does. You're right, Crystal, he does seem cold. Maybe an assassin has to be. How else could he kill all the bad guys?

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