Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bond, James Bond

Ever since I was a youngster, I've been mesmerised by the enigma that is James Bond. For the longest running film series in history (the first James Bond filmDr No. hit the silver screen in 1962) EON productions have been able to consistently put out 22 interesting movies that have stayed true to the character created by the legendary Ian Fleming.

Speaking of Ian Fleming (which I thought I should do considering this blog is sharing my love of his character), he wrote 14 James Bond novels between 1953 and 1964 - all 14 being adapted into film. I've read only one of these tales, Goldfinger, which also happens to be my favourite Bond film (and my third favourite film of all time for those playing at home). A Bond novel is so easy to read, especially if you're a fan of the film-adaptations, creating suspense at every juncture. Fleming died at the age of 56 in August 1964, shortly before the release of the aforementioned Goldfinger.

My favourite actor to play Bond is Sean Connery, partly because he is the original, partly because he is the best actor out of the bunch, and partly because he is so bloody suave (I secretly want to be Connery's Bond). Connery played Bond in 6 films between 1962 and 1971, and 7 if you count the non-EON Never Say Never Again released in 1983. There are so many one-liners that have been said by Connery during this time, but one has stuck in my mind. It is during the first scene of Goldfinger; Bond is busting up a drug-ring somewhere in South America and walks into his room where a naked girl is waiting for him in a bath-tub. As they are embracing each other, Bond sees the reflection of a villain advancing towards him in the girls eyeball (how fucking cool is that!) and turns around and a 60's fight sequence ensues. The villain ends up in the bath-tub, Bond sees a heater on a stool next to the tub and flicks it into the water, electrocuting the villain in the process. Bond stands up, fixes his suit, and quips "Shocking", "Positively shocking".

Somehow the films were able to evolve with the times, whilst remaining amazing. Advancements in technology have meant that Bond's gadgets are always going to be able to do more and more, but somehow a machine that can sketch a villain's face from one viewing by Bond (For Your Eyes Only, 1981) seems simply sensational. The bond girls are also a key feature of all the films, probably because sex sells, but I'd like to think it's because Bond is such a suave mo-fo. When I was a kid, there was one bond girl/ fling in particular
(I say in particular because every Bond girl is sexy) that I had a massive crush on, her name is Lynn-Holly Johnson out of For Your Eyes Only, I was in love with her.

Another theme that resonates in all of the Bond tales, are the villains. Fleming must've had an extremely creative mind to come up with as many villains as he did, in addition to the newer villains that have been created by the writers. My favourite villain is Jaws, the 7 foot plus man-monster with metal teeth. He has appeared in 2 Bond films I believe, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) - however it is the former where he makes a greater impact. But Jaws is no match compared with Bond's archenemy, the megalomaniac supervillain and the Number One of the worldwide criminal organisation SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), Ernst Stavro Blofeld, appearing in six films.

One last aspect of Bond films that I'll talk about (as I can talk for hours about Bond), are the locations that he visits. Not only are they beautiful on screen, but I've learnt more about geography from Bond films that I did from high school. It has made me want to visit places such as Egypt and India, purely because James Bond went there. The map below shows all of the countries that appeared in the film, as well as the filming locations:

James Bond World Locations

Before I go, there are two more things I would like to discuss. The first is to mention the character of Q, famously played by Desmond Llewelyn. His scene in Goldfinger is one of the best in cinema, a real treat. Q works for MI6, and is the 'gadget guy', he always presents Bond with the latest in gadget goodness and shows Bond the car he will be driving/ blowing stuff up in/ using as a tool to seduce women. Which brings me to my last topic, the cars. From the 1960s/70s British classics such as Aston Martins and Jaguars, to the BMW that he drives in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, to the tank (literally) that he drives through the streets of St Petersburg in GoldenEye, they never fail to impress me and millions of viewers around the world.

And just for fun, below are my top 5 Bond films, and yes - I've seen all 22.

1. Goldfinger (1964)
2. Casino Royale (2006)
3. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
4. Live And Let Die (1973)
5. GoldenEye (1995)

- Russell


  1. Goldfinger is great film, the plot is really intelligent.

    A great moment in Goldfinger: Man Talk

  2. haha Bond is such a womaniser in those 60s/70s films, love it!!