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he has saved the world more times than you’ve unclogged your toilet and is possibly the most dangerous man on the planet. but you’re safe, providing you don’t try and end civilisation any time soon... new Bond for a new era – this is how many see Daniel Craig’s 007: a brutal, tough spy that faces real threats and real problems. But he is just the latest in a long line of actors, all of whom have portrayed the most famous secret agent in the world and helped create the second longest-running film series in history (the honor for longest, dubiously, sits with the Carry On series). This creates a long and rich history, so here is our quick guide to the history of the man with a licence to kill...

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nov 2008

Nov 2008


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bond girls

Casino Royale was a remake. Not many people know that, but the original film was made in the late 1950s, and was a comedy. It’s best to ignore it, because it was a truly awful film. Instead, a journey through the history of James Bond (in film, at least) should begin where most people think it did. “Bond, James Bond.” 1962 first heard those words uttered on the silver screen when a relatively unknown Sean Connery appeared as super-agent James Bond. The film, Dr. No, was a success, and started the longest running series of feature films ever known, on their long journey. But, arguably, it wasn’t until 1963’s From Russia with Love that Bond’s character became solidified. It was this film that defined Connery within the role, taking a deeper look at his background. It also defined a theme that would stay with the films for around twenty years – the Cold War. That said, Goldfinger (1964) didn’t have much to do with fighting Communism. Instead, it brought the focus onto extreme capitalism, and pitted Bond against a villain bent on ruining the world economy and enriching himself. 1965’s Thunderball similarly ignored the Cold War, and

007 loves the ladies

Honey Ryder

The real question is: considering the amount of cars Bond has destroyed, wouldn’t it be cheaper just to let one of the villains win?

Bond is VERY protective of his garden, so leave the plants alone!

introduced another theme that would last through many Bond films – a global organisation, bent on wrong-doing, called SPECTRE. You Only Live Twice, which came out in 1967, threw a little suspicion at the Russians, but it was the same evil group behind the whole plot. This ambitious film is notable for making use (at the time) of the biggest ever sound stage construction. Still the Cold War lurked in the background, but the conflict between East and West would never materialize into anything more than saber-rattling. Connery’s Bond was a hero of the time; a man’s man, hard drinking, hard fighting and with woman dying to drape themselves over him. His sophistication was a thin veneer over the brutality that he ascribed to, something that wouldn’t be seen in another Bond actor until 2006 in Casino Royale. “This never happened to the other fellow” After four films, Connery had had


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enough. Worried about being typecast, the now-famous actor decided to try other projects, and the producers of the Bond films were left in a quandary. Who would replace him as the world’s greatest secret agent? Their choice was an Australian model named George Lazenby, and he made his first (and only) appearance as Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This film is one of the most important in the series, as it deals with Bond’s marriage to Teresa, and is formative in his character (because Teresa is killed by SPECTRE.) Yet, despite the importance of this plot-line, the public didn’t take well to Lazenby as the super-spy, partially thanks to the producers dubbing a different voice over many of Lazenby’s scenes. Lazenby also had notorious difficulties with the film’s director, Peter Hunt, so refused to talk to the actor directly. He also was reported as considering the Bond character as out of touch with the liberated Seventies. Although Lazenby was signed for

seven Bond films, he quit – as he was contractually tied to star in Diamonds Are Forever, he received a partial payment for the film anyway, but he refunded this. The producers all but begged Connery to return. He did (though at an astronomical salary, plus the producers had to pay actor John Gavin as well, as he was initially contracted to play the next Bond), appearing for last time officially as James Bond in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. The film saw Bond’s reaction to the death of his wife, perfectly pulled off by the more physical Connery. The wise-cracking, suave Scotsman put the series back on track, but he wasn’t going to stay. “Just be disarming, darling” The new Bond was to be an already famous actor. He had been made so by his part in The Saint television series. He brought with him a new suaveness to counterpoint Connery’s charming brutality, and a sense of distaste at

violence. He wore double breasted suits and never drank martini, preferring bourbon. His name was Roger Moore. Moore would go on to be the most prolific Bond actor, making more films in the role than any other: seven, beating Connery’s six official (not counting one unofficial) cracks at the part. Live and Let Die (1973) was his debut in the role, and he charmed audiences with his upper class manners from the word go. His next attempt at the part came in the part of 1974’s Man With The Golden Gun, but it wasn’t until the release of The Spy Who Loved Me that he truly became James Bond. Over the next eight years, Moore would reprise the role another four times: Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985). Many Bond fans cite the very science-fiction Moonraker as the worst Bond film ever made, beating even Lazenby’s attempt at being poor. During this period, Orion pictures made an unofficial Bond film (the official ones are made by United Artists). It brought Sean Connery back as an ageing Bond in a remake of Thunderball, and was released in 1983. It was called Never Say Never Again. Moore’s Bond performances took a swing or two at the still-continuing Cold War, but these adversaries were relegated to the position of “quiet threat,” leaving Bond to deal with more

He can fight the world’s most evil people, but Bond needs help taking a bath and someone to hold his gun...

(Dr No) Who could forget the Aphroditelike emergence of Honey Ryder from the waves lapping at the shores of Dr No’s dangerous island? Her character was very strong for a film of the time, although she had a very poor education. Ryder is easily considered the iconic Bond girl.

Solitaire (Live and Let Die) Kananga’s captive tarot card reader, Solitaire was a reluctant Bond girl. Her ability to foretell the future was tied to her virginity (which Bond takes care of in fairly short order) and her habit of attracting voodootypes just caused trouble. She didn’t do much to save the day, but for pure beauty few came close.

Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) Although her name was very controversial at the time, Pussy Galore is one of the world’s favourite Bond girls. The leader of an elite, all-girl flying team, she was in the employ of the dastardly Auric Goldfinger at the time of meeting Bond. He changed her loyalties in his usual fashion.

Major Anya Amasova (The Spy Who Loved Me) This gorgeous femme fatale sought revenge on the British agent who killed her lover (Bond, of course) but fell for his charms and was instrumental in helping Bond put paid to the plans of Stromberg. She was a Major working for the KGB at the time of their meeting – one of many to fall for Bond’s wit and ways.

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the bad guys they want it all

Ernst Stavro If there is an iconic Bond villain, it is the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Blofeld was a foil to Bond in many movies, but his organisation was always bested by the secret agent. His last appearance was in For Your Eyes Only, and ends with Bond dropping the now wheelchair ridden bad-guy down an industrial chimney stack.

immediate dangers. While the Russians were sometimes behind plots, they were never really the ones that Bond pursued. He also brought a new take on the character. He most certainly did not want to emulate Connery in any way, preferring to be a less violent, more sophisticated agent. In fact, the only one true act of willful violence, not committed in self defense, is seen in For Your Eyes Only, when Bond tips a car containing a helpless enemy over the edge of a cliff. By the end of View to a Kill, it was plain that Moore was getting too old for

Auric Goldfinger The German businessman planned to steal all the gold from Fort Knox, crippling the US economy. His henchman, Oddjob, is the famous bladed hat throwing mute Korean. But Goldfinger himself deserves a mention as being one of Bond’s toughest adversaries.

Now that we think about it, why doesn’t MI6 ever give Bond a 4x4?

Le Chiffre Cornering a vicious creature is a dangerous thing to do, but that’s exactly what Bond does to financier Le Chiffre. By sabotaging a number of his business deals and then beating him at a now-famous game of cards, Bond turns Le Chiffre into a desperate man who will stop at nothing. This is one of the few villains Bond doesn’t kill himself.

Alec Trevelyan What makes Alec Trevelyan so dangerous is that he once had a double-0 number, just like Bond. His alliance with the remnants of the KGB allows him to take control of a very dangerous satellite. A thrilling fight on a massive dish sees Bond finally beat the man who was once his best friend.


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the physically demanding role (he was 58), and a campaign around who the new Bond would be was started as a marketing ploy by the series’ producers. Their initial choice was Pierce Brosnan, but his commitment to Remington Steel prevented him from taking the part. And so the new Bond became Timothy Dalton. “I’ve had a few optional extras installed” Dalton was not happy portraying Bond as a violent womaniser. Well, not as a womaniser at least, and he was responsible for a trend of stronger female characters that have lasted to this day. Although he proved to be a popular choice, Dalton only made two films: The Living Daylights (1987) and License to Kill (1989). The latter was an emotionally charged film which saw Bond go rogue after a drug dealer tried to kill his dear friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter (who had been a character in the films since the Connery days.) But Dalton couldn’t handle the pressure that came with the part, and so absconded the throne, making way for the now available Pierce Brosnan.

“James Bond, stiff-ass Brit” The Brosnan era held many highs and lows for Bond, but mainly in terms of the films rather than the persona. Goldeneye, which saw the light in 1995, is counted by many as being one of the best Bonds ever made. The subsequent Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) reached less critical acclaim. Brosnan announced his retirement after the third film, The World is Not Enough (1999) but when it became the highest grossing Bond film ever, he agreed to do one more. 2002’s Die Another Day was his final attempt at the role, but the comparatively poor reception the film received ended his Bond career on something of a low note. But Brosnan wasn’t all bad as the character, and put in convincing performances for some very difficult times that Bond faced. His incarceration and torture at the beginning of the last film was well handled. However, Bond was no longer faced with SPECTRE, and no longer had to worry about the Soviet Union. The hero was floating in a sea of uncertainty, at least in terms of scripts. Brosnan’s Bond was a mix and match of Connery’s brutality and Moore’s genteel nature, giving the actor a wide appeal.

“Does it look like I give a damn?” Daniel Craig entered the picture with Casino Royale, released in 2006. The film takes the viewer back to the start of Bond’s career as 007, creating a chronological anomaly in the series. This, along with the changing face of Bond, hasn’t dissuaded either the producers or the fans, though Craig is back in the newly released Quantum of Solace, and has been tipped to play the agent again in what is currently being called Bond 23. According to MGM head Harry Slaon, the actor will appear in two more bonds after that (Bond 24 and 25) but Craig has declined comment. If he does, he will beat Brosnan’s four, and be two away from beating Moore’s record. The Daniel Craig era, as long as it might last, has brought a more human Bond to the fore. The almost invincible super-agent now has a very identifiable streak. He is weak in some ways, and uncontrolled in others. Gone are the gadgets of yesteryear, too, leaving this new, physically aware version of the character with his wits and his fists to get him through sticky situations. The series shows a new maturity with this fine actor, and a growth that is very obvious – although Craig’s nod

to Connery in his portrayal of 007 is undeniable. He is not suave and genteel, but rather brutal and physical, much like the original actor. The scripts are changing, too: the original films were works of fantasy, designed to distract a public wary of an unknown enemy in the East. These days the threats to the world are different, and the popular hero that is James Bond needs to be different too. And Daniel Craig is just the man for the job.

He promised the car they’d go hit the slopes – such a nice guy.

the henchmen

every bad guy needs a right hand (man)

Jaws There is no henchman more iconic to the series than Jaws, the mountain of a man who has a pair of teeth that will bite through anything. He also has the unique honour of appearing in two Bond films and he was never actually killed (but escapes into space with a new girlfriend). He also only said one line throughout all the movies.

Oddjob Jaws may be number one, but Oddjob was the first real henchman. The mute Korean strongman had a knack for throwing his steel-rimmed hat to kill people (and decapitate statues) and he could pack a punch as well. When not killing, he drove Goldfinger’s car. Alas, he meets his end with an electrified gate in Ford Knox.

Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint Often speculated to have been gay lovers, these two assassins were still dangerous and did a lot of killing for Blofeld. They figure out creative ways to kill people (involving scorpions, coffins, etc.) and often had a one-liner to go with it. But they went up in flames on a cruise ship.

Mayday She has the distinction of being the only primary henchwoman in the Bond films (though Goldeneye’s Xenia Onnatop deserves a nod) and was really scary, very strong and truly lethal. Then her boss, Max Zorin, made the mistake of betraying her and she meets her end by wheeling his bomb out of harm’s way.

Boris Grishenko Boris wasn’t really a henchman, but who can forget the crazy and loathsome hacker that betrayed his colleagues and joined forces with Alec Trevelyan? Skills: singlehanded typing while playing with a pen. He would often proclaimed himself invincible, but liquid nitrogen proved him wrong.

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Bond VsBond

It is an argument older than time. Well, it sure does feel like it: who is the best James bond ever?

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Sure, Daniel Craig is almost there, but he is hardly the icon that Connery is. Besides which, it is an undeniable fact that Sean Connery defined the role of James Bond in the first four films. Moore was too posh, Dalton too soft and Brosnan too unfocussed. Connery got the formula just right, knowing when to be a brutal killer and when to be a suave lover. He came across as charming and good looking, but there was never a moment that anyone would doubt Connery’s Bond would kill you just as soon as look at you. And then let’s take

a look at the films he acted in, and the villains he bested. Auric Goldfinger, Rosa Klebb, Dr No, Red Grant, Oddjob, Emilio Largo, Mr Wint & Mr kidd and, of course, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. These are the most notorious villains that Bond has ever faced, except maybe for Jaws, and Connery beat them all. There can be no argument: Bond, as Fleming intended him to be and as the world received him best, was and always will be Sean Connery. There would be no Bond without him, because he contributed to the success of the original films.

Written by Shahzad Sheikh Roger Moore (1973-1985) Recently Roger Moore is reported to have conceded that: ‘I’m the worst Bond. Generally hated! I was too funny, too light. Didn’t take it seriously enough.’ But as he points out, ‘this is a man who is supposed to be a spy. And yet he turns up in bars and hotels around the world, and everyone says, “Ah, Mr Bond, we’ve been expecting you.”’ Moore gave us an action hero perfectly in sync with the fantasy world of the big screen superspy. There were laser-guns and space shuttle dog-fights in Moonraker for goodness sakes, who else could have pulled that off? But let’s look at the facts. Moore did seven Bond movies in 12 years making him the longest-serving Bond. When he finally stopped in 1985 with A View to a Kill he was 58. He wanted to quit after For Your Eyes Only in 1981, but was recalled for two more outings as 007. And it took ten years to find a good enough replacement when Pierce Brosnan starred in 1995’s Goldeneye. By comparison Sean Connery only did six,

Aston Martin DB V

Grappling Hook Watch

Attache Case

X-Ray Glasses

The iconic Bond car and gadget, the Aston Martin DB V appeared in several Bond movies and featured bulletproof front and rear panels, oil slick sprayers, a smoke screen, machine guns, rotating licence plates, telescoping tire slashers, tracer receiving console and the famous passenger ejector seat.

Bond has had his fair share of cool wrist watches, but this one was a real lifesaver. Armed with a mini grappling hook and winch system, this watch allowed Bond to escape certain death from a mine.

This case was based on a simplified version from World War II. It contained a 3-piece sniper rifle, a knife in a sprung loaded compartment, ammunition, fifty gold sovereigns and, of course, a highly explosive tin of “talcum powder”.

The suave Bond got more than an eyeful when donning these modified spexs. The glasses revealed concealed weapons to Bond but, in true fashion, he also got to check out some very lovely ladies sporting sexy lingerie.

Written by Walt Pretorius Sean Connery (1962-1971) You cannot beat an original. The concept of new and improved is just silly, particularly when it comes to a character as iconic as James Bond. When reading Fleming’s books, Bond is a sophisticated killer, a hard drinking womaniser, a brutal near-psycho that does what it takes to get the job done.


No agent should leave home without these


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if you don’t count the aberrant Never Say Never, which wasn’t an official production. It was released against Octopussy in 1983, but Moore’s movie made more money. Ian Fleming’s James Bond is English and apart from Daniel Craig, Moore is the only Englishman to have played him, and along with Timothy Dalton, is also the only RADAtrained actor. What’s more it’s rumoured that Fleming originally wanted Moore for Dr No, having been impressed with his portrayal of a Bond-like latter-day Robin Hood, from his hit 1960’s TV series, The Saint. Good looking, tongue firmly in cheek and armed with deadly wit, it was Moore’s Bond that set the template for the wise-cracking action.

Written by Matt Pomroy Timothy Dalton (1987-1989) Coming straight after a run of seven films with Roger Moore (and his safari suit) it was something of a shock when Timothy Dalton played Bond seriously. While podgy Rog looked like a lecherous lounge lizard, so Dalton looked and acted like the professional killer that James Bond is meant to be. This was as near to Fleming’s creation as we’ve seen and indeed, Dalton read all the books to get a proper feel for the character and his traits. The ruthless realism was shunned by some cinema-goers who preferred to see the MI6 agent played for laughs with daft gadgets and corny lines, but those who appreciate the role, appreciated Dalton’s performance. Likewise, a lot of the glamour had been taken out of his two films with his first outing seeing him battle through Bratislava, Gibraltar and Afghanistan rather than casinos and beaches, but he pulled it off. You could really imagine Dalton as a hit man: clinical, professional and ruthless in achieving his mission. Timothy Dalton achieved all this despite obstacles such as producers altering the tone and format, the public not being ready for his version of the character, a weak

script for his second film and the fact he was actually Welsh. Dalton was the right man – and a great Bond – just at the wrong time.

Written by James Francis Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002) When Pierce Brosnan arrived on the scene, Bond fans held their collective breaths. It had been six years since the last Bond movie – an unprecedented gap to this very day – all for good reason. There are many things that you can praise Dalton’s Bond for, but he didn’t have the magic touch to bring a new Bond in a post-Cold War world to life (And forget the schlock adventures of mad super-villains and secret criminal groups that characterized the eras before that). But Brosnan, with the equally-suave Remington Steele role under his belt, rose to the occasion. Goldeneye is still the movie that saved Bond, introducing a new kind of villain (the practical and deadly Alec Trevelyan) and a more sensible plot (even though it hearkened to the usual steal-the-money motives that drove movies like Goldfinger). It also introduced Dame Judi Dench as the new M – a fitting exclamation to the stronger feminine roles that appeared in the series during and just before the Dalton years. Tomorrow Never Dies dipped its toes back in the ‘rich megalomaniac’ bad guy pond, but with a more realistic flair, while The World Is Not Enough went straight for the implications of a spy’s role in real-world affairs. The Bond plots were more realistic and yet more entertaining – Brosnan really drove the point home with a great blend of gentleman-meets-psychopath. Die Another Day, arguably one of the most disliked Bond films, was a clear throwback to the original cheesy plots and could be seen as a farewell to that style of Bond – opening the door for Daniel Craig’s new version. Without Brosnan there would be no Bond today. It is as simple as that. Nov 2008


Shaken Not Stirred | Feature | Charged  

A feature I wrote and produced about the James Bond franchise.

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