All posts tagged books
All posts tagged books
James Bond has been incorrectly portrayed as a “cartoon character” by film directors when the spy should be troubled and “a massive boozer”, the author charged with writing the next novel in the franchise has claimed.
Covers of Triad/Panther edition James Bond books from 1977 to 1982.
Like a number of successful novel sequences or film franchises, the James Bond movies have spawned a stream of books that analyze, often too solemnly, the artistic merit and the cultural relevance of the original works. These books tend to be written by people who take great pleasure in complete immersion in their subject. A book on, say, Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective is likely to know what kind of pipe Sherlock Holmes smoked, or where Dr. Watson underwent his training in medicine. The James Bond scholar (there’s a phrase!) is likely to know that Noël Coward was considered for the role of Dr. No, and that if Cary Grant had been willing to sign on for more than one film, he very well might have been cast as the lethal British spy.
The Man With The Golden Touch: How The Bond Films Conquered The World
by Sinclair McKay
The cinematic Bond always seems to know the right thing to say or do, and he rarely makes mistakes (Moore mislays a couple of important items in Moonraker and A View to a Kill; can you think of others? I don’t count the error that gives Lazenby away in OHMSS because it was Sable Basilisk’s mistake, not Bond’s).
It may seem counterintuitive, but I actually like the literary Bond better because he isn’t as perfect as his cinematic counterpart. The literary Bond is more realistic, more flawed, and yes, he sometimes makes mistakes — never in a careless or bumbling sort of way, but in a very relatable, ‘to err is human’ sort of way.
For example: who among us can’t relate to the sick feeling Bond gets when he realizes Count Lippe overheard him asking about Lippe’s tattoo? That horrible feeling when you know you’ve said something you shouldn’t have — Bond describes it as that “crawling sensation at the pit of his stomach he knew so well; the signal that he had probably made a dangerous and silly mistake” (Thunderball, 15).
Go back and watch the scene in Dr. No where Connery suavely blocks the camera girl’s shot with his hat at the airport. Now compare the same scene in the book, where Bond makes a complete balls of his arrival in Jamaica. Not only does the photographer get her shot, she notes his vehicle and sees him with Quarrel. This leads Bond to reflect morosely:
- It was the mistakes one made at the beginning of a case that were the worst. They were the irretrievable ones, the ones that got you off on the wrong foot, that gave the enemy the first game (27).
Admirably, Bond is always learning from his mistakes, and he always seems to catch himself before the mission goes off the rails entirely. When he starts making foolish mistakes, though, it tells us that something is seriously wrong.
In the aftermath of OHMSS, M claims that Bond bungles his next two assignments: “On one he nearly got himself killed, and on the other he made a mistake that was dangerous for others. That’s the thing that worries me” (You Only Live Twice, 12). Very sad, very realistic, and very human.
from James Bond wiki
Bond himself is not exactly a bookworm, but Fleming often alludes to other books and writers. I am in the midst of cataloguing them here:
According to Ian Fleming’s James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies by John Griswold, M makes reference to Live Longer and Enjoy It! by Dr. Peter Steincrohn when talking to Sir James Molony. M also alludes to The Anatomy of Courage by Lord Moran, wherein he claims “courage is a capital sum reduced by expenditure.”
In Jamaica, Bond is seen reading The Handbook of the West Indies while he eats dinner alone.
To celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the birth of Ian Flemming, publishing powerhourse Penguin recently commissioned the very talented British born, San Francisco painter Michael Gillette to paint iconic covers of 14 James Bond novels. Amazing work. His sexy interpretation of the infamous Bond girls, with a striking minimal colour palette overlayed with interlocking 60′s inspire type treatments are so good they’re sure to bounce off the shelf.
Penguin: Covering Bond (May 08, 2008)
First edition cover of Dr. No, Ian Fleming’s sixth James Bond novel, originally published by Jonathan Cape, London in 1958. Illustrated by Pat Marriott.