Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Have spoken before about odd things in James Bond films, but working my way through the shiny new attache case of all 20 remastered flicks, all sorts of new ones occur.

Doctor No and From Russia With Love are both very fast-moving, with lots of tightly edited quick scenes and sequences. I love that having set Bond up as this dangerous playboy we then find out that he shoots like a lady.

I also like how vast the world is - it's a long and arduous process to get across a border.

Doctor No thinks Bond just a "stupid policeman" with ideas above his station (about nice wines and so on). But Bond's actually quite a blunderer. His job is to walk into wherever's the dangerest and piss people off until they tell him their plans. Then they fail to kill him.

Goldfinger really is very good indeed. I don't quite understand why Goldfinger gives his demonstration to hoodlums he's going to kill - unless it's just so Bond can eavesdrop.

It's a whopping great coincidence in Thunderball that Bond happens to be in the same health farm as the baddies. That is, unless either a) it's being right next to a NATO base means the Secret Service can get a discount, or b) M has had a tip-off.

Though the latter seems not to play when Bond phones in his suspicions about Count Lippi's tattoo: Moneypenny reminds him how he's on leave.

There's a top cat moment in You Only Live Twice, as Blofeld and his gang flee the control room. Watch the white pussy struggling in his arms, and pulling hilario-comedic gurns at the camera.

Also, when Blofeld kills Osato (just before he doesn't kill Bond, then walks through a door, and then tries to), the cat escapes him. So presumably dies in the volcano.

Why don't Blofeld and Bond recognise each other when they meet in OHMSS? There's a silly scene of Savalas catching Bond out on geneaology when they've already met...

Bond sits reading Playboy in OHMSS, and then steals the centrefold. While trying to look inconspicuous in a lawyer's lobby, he's admiring the double-spread and then pocketing it.

Blofeld tells Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever to go and put more clothes on because her bikini distracts his workers. So she covers up her arms. Also, she's a sassy, dangerous lady right up until she meets Q on the fruit machines. And then she's just a ditzy, dizzy broad. Which is a shame.

All Sean's movies except Goldfinger end with him and his moll on a boat.


Rob Stradling said...

Damn you, you have pinpointed the one thing (and it really is the only thing) wrong with Goldfinger. In the book GF just tells Bond the plot, because he trusts him. That aside, if you're ever in an argument about movies that fuck up books, tell them to go and read Goldfinger: It's not only the worst Bond novel, it's quite posibly the worst book ever written in the English language.

Oh, and OHMSS is easy. Bond doesn't recognise Blofeld because he's had plastic surgery. Is that not explicit in the film? It is in the book, anyway. Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond because he's being played by George Lazenby, you big dafty!

Blogger wants me to verify this post by typing "fehmomzp". If this turns out to be the unmentionable name of God, it wasn't my fault.

Will said...

I mentioned Oddfeld to one of my colleagues a few weeks ago. The penny didn't drop immediately...

And they don't recognise each other because they have both regenerated.

0tralala said...

I think, Rob, what you demonstrate is that the more Eon stick to the books, the worse the movies are. OHMSS is the total opposite of Goldfinger - a very exciting book, slavishly adhered to in the none-too-corking movie.

Books are different things from movies, so the movie misses Bond's own perspective and all the inner turmoil. Shit that makes the book gooder.

Also, there's great long chunks where nothing very exciting is happening: Bond goes and has tea with George Baker; Bond has a domestic with M; Bond goes through his souvenirs from the Sean Connery movies (even if the souvenirs are not Sean's).

Which is the only other film to try for the authentic, Fleming f***ed-up, sado-masochistic mysoginst snob? Licence to Kill-the-whole-franchise.

Still, I think OHMSS would be more highly regarded had Sean and Don Pleasance both starred.

On this regeneration malarky, you and Will are both foolz. When Dr Who regenerates, his enemies always still recognise him - established in Paroffa Darlix and confirmed by Cybermen and the Master. And the Brig - if you needed convincing.

Perhaps they don't recognise him in his features, but know him by his actions as with Jesus.

And the "but he's played by George Lazenby" line only works if Bond is as much an adopted call signature as the licence of double-oh-seven. I would be quite happy believing that agents were promoted to the name of James Bond if only it didn't then canonise the '67 Casino Royale.

Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see how Casion Royale measures up as it is being touted as a 'back-to-basics' reboot thriller with no gadgets, Q, etc, but - slightly oddly - with Dame JD as M.

Personally I think it's a similar situation to For Your Eyes Only, which followed the fantasy of Moonraker. After the high Jinx of Die Another Day, the only way to go is back to earth...

Anonymous said...

How dare you criticise OHMSS. I'm not your friend any more, you swine!

Liadnan said...

Me I think Casino Royale (the Real One) is by far the best Bond film ever.
Must read the books again. When I first read them this Sechs stuff was all a big mystery to me. Little has changed.

0tralala said...

Casino Royale (the Real One) is by far the best Bond film ever.

You silly person.

Though I like them moving Nelson to Pall Mall, and Ursula having Lord Parthenon's marbles on display in her living room.

Alex Wilcock said...

Richard convinced me years ago that "Bond is as much an adopted call signature as the licence of double-oh-seven". When you come to Live and Let Die, he points out that the production team play it like that: different drinks; different dress style; different mannerisms; and watch Moore's face when, instead of calling him into the office as on every other occasion, M simply turns up at an agent's home and calls him "Bond". Richard believes this is when he hears he's been promoted, and it seems damned convincing when you watch it that way.

It also makes sense of Blofeld not recognising Bond, and Bond deciding to get married - plus, in the next movie along, the old Bond being brought back to brutally terminate the guy who put a Bond out of commission by killing his wife. Connery never seems grief-stricken, but he does seem vicious (mind you, nothing can explain the casting of Charles Gray; great Bond villain, terrible Blofeld).

In films after that, of course, we reckon they change their minds and decide he's the same bloke as before, which causes all sorts of problems.

Very odd to have George Baker actually voicing OO7 for half of OHMSS. Even stranger for him to turn up in Up Pompeii the other week playing James Bondus, OOVII...

Alex Wilcock said...

I’ve just whipped out the old-fashioned DVD (that feels odd to type) to check I’m not misrepresenting Bond’s ‘promotion’ (the elephant would never let me hear the end of it). The first ‘Bond’ scene in Live and Let Die starts with M turning up at the door with the words, “Good morning, OO7.” “Good –” – Moore does an obvious double-take – “Good morning, sir.” He’s not startled by M’s appearance (he’s noticed him as he opens the door), but by something he says. And we can take it as read that it’s morning…

A couple of minutes later, M announces “By the way, congratulations seem to be in order. The Italians were most impressed by the way you handled the Rome affair.” Obviously it’s a prelude to enquiring after the presence of Ms Caruso, but it could also be read as the success that gets him promotion.

Notably, the Italian agent in bed with ‘James’ at no point calls him by name, and it’s only at the end of the scene that M and Moneypenny address him as “Bond” and “James”.

If the new Casino Royale is the first mission for Bond, I wonder for which Bond?

Rob Stradling said...

God, how I hate Bond continuity arguments.

The only - only - way that Bond movies make sense as a series, is if you regard each actor's portrayal as existing in a different fictional universe. The entire notion that the man shagging Denise Richards in Istanbul is the same man who romanced Daniella Bianchi in Venice, is patently absurd.

The crossovers of Mi6 personnel muddy the waters horribly, of course, but just think of them as similar characters played by the same actor. Yes, Judi Dench playing M to Craig's "green" Bond is going to stretch this to breaking point, one imagines, but rather that than have the new Bond saying "Gosh, this is just like on that train back in 1963..."

I'd say the golden rule is; explicit continuity is okay within an actor's tenure, but not outside. Hence, e.g., when BrosBond mentiones having been in love "once", he's talking about Paris, not Tracy.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but then there's the greatest Bond continuity moment ever - the grave scene in For Your Eyes Only, with the gravestone reading 'TERESA BOND 1943-1969 Beloved Wife of JAMES BOND We have all the time in the World'

And it's Moore laying flowers there, not Lazenby...

Anonymous said...

The first three actors kind of fulfil the same man, don't they? Given that Moore is actually older than Connery, it's not a stretch, is it, to think that it's the same man from Dr No to A View To a Kill. Dalton and Brosnan, likewise, could be classed as the same (the first ten minutes of GoldenEye are set before The Living Daylights, after all).