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James Bond an icon an era and the gold standard in blockbuster Movies
The Bond Theme An alternative view
James Bond The man and the legend
When I was young
When I was young around thirteen or fourteen I read my first James Bond book, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. I loved the quintessential spy genre, the cool spy with gadgets. M his boss ( M was a man back then) and Q with his great cars and gadgets.
Bond was created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. The name James Bond was the blandest name Ian Fleming could choose as he wanted the name to be incidental to the character.He chose the surname from a writer of bird book in Jamaica.
I loved the character, the way he dressed, his style. I loved the way he ordered a drink. Vodka Martini,shaken not stirred, straight up with a twist, hold the vermouth. He was a man’s man an action hero, a believable superman.The fact that he had a license to kill 007.
The Russians were the baddies. The cold war was on. This book dated back to about 1960 or perhaps a little earlier. The book had a tinge of sadness. Bond’s wife Tracey was killed by SMERSH a Russian secret service arm. It was great read.
Shortly after that I read Moonraker and devoured all there was to read about Bond. I also then read about Ian Fleming who too was a fascinating man.
Fleming was a journalist as well as a naval intelligence officer and it is rumoured that Bond was based on an idealized version of himself embellished no doubt by his journalistic background too. Fleming was a bit of a romantic himself and lived on a Jamaican estate called Goldeneye. You can see here too a hint of some of the names and locations for his bond books.
During World War II, Fleming was in the British naval intelligence, and like Bond attained the Rank of Commander
After the war, he was a journalist and Fleming was sent to Russia to cover news for The Times, but was actually working as a spy for the British government. This also no doubt added grist to the Bond Mill. Fleming was one of the first authors to mention actual products when describing Bond’s likes and dislikes such as Saville Row suits, Sobranies, Rolex watch and the Aston Martin car. Once the movie (Dr No) came out (we saw it here towards the end of 1963) I took to wearing silver sharkskin suits with a white straight handkerchief in the pocket, thus emulating my hero in my dress for work.
Fleming wrote 12 books and two short stories. The first film made was Dr No and featured Sean Connery as Bond. Fleming approved of Connery.
The books were:
Live and Let Die
Diamonds Are Forever
From Russia, with Love
Goldfinger For Your Eyes Only
The Spy Who Loved Me
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
You Only Live Twice
The short stories were:
The Man with the Golden Gun
The official list of films made were:
1. Dr. No (1962)
2. From Russia With Love (1963)
3. Goldfinger (1964)
4. Thunderball (1965)
5. You Only Live Twice (1967)
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
8. Live and Let Die (1973)
9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
11. Moonraker (1979)
12. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
13. Octopussy (1983)
14. A View to a Kill (1985)
15. The Living Daylights (1987)
16. Licence to Kill (1989)
17. GoldenEye (1995)
18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
19. The World is Not Enough (1999)
20. Die Another Day (2002)
21. Casino Royale (2006)
22. Quantum of Solace (2008)
I enjoyed all the movies and unlike most movies from books I was not disappointed with the translation into the movie. My favorites were perhaps Live and Let Die and for You eyes only.
The actors who played Bond over the years were:
· Sean Connery (1962-1983)
· George Lazenby (1969)
· Sir Roger Moore (1971-1985)
· Timothy Dalton (1987-1989)
· Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002)
· Daniel Craig (2006-)
Personally I liked both Connery and Roger Moore as Bond. Daniel Craig in my mind is also a credible Bond.. I am not sure about Pierce Brosnan.
The movies of course created a cult of beautiful Bond girls over the years and who could forget them. Also the Theme songs were special too. The standard has been maintained over nearly 40 years and that in itself is certainly something.
Who did you like as Bond?