All That's Left to Know about Everyone's Favorite Superspy
by Tom DeMichael
Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (Hal Leonard)
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This is a guest post by Carlos Stecher.
My earliest recollection of going to a James Bond movie was, Never Say Never Again (1983). I would later find out NSNA wasn’t even an “official” JB movie. More on that later. Over the years I would end up watching almost all of the James Bond movies. My favorite movies are, For Your Eyes Only (1981), Goldfinger (1964), and Quantum of Solace (2008). My favorite Bond is, of course, Sean Connery. Daniel Craig was the perfect choice for the modern Bond. I am curious to see who will replace him. James Bond almost did not return in 2010. MGM, the studio makes the films, was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a period of 4 years without a movie being made. There was a similar situation with Timothy Dalton in the late eighties and early nineties where a period of 6 years went by without a movie. From 2002-2006, there was no Bond film as Pierce Brosnan’s contract had expired and the search for a new James Bond was on.
Who does not have a fascination/intrigued with the following scenario: a well-dressed handsome British secret agent who seduces beautiful women as he travels around the world while driving exotic automobiles?
The British secret agent was the creation of Ian Fleming. The character was loosely based on his life as he was also in British Intelligence, enjoyed the company of women, and loved to gamble and golf. He wrote the novels and short stories at his Jamaican winter home named Goldeneye, which would become a movies in 1995. He wanted the name to be, “suitably flat and colourless”. The honor went to a famous ornithologist, James Bond.
Tom DeMichael is the author of, James Bond FAQ, an exhaustive anthology of the James Bond franchise. The book is almost 400 pages of everything Bond. I was impressed of the depth of the research. The actors who play Bond, the villains, the famous Bond girls, his gadgets, his friends, title songs, the films themselves, unofficial projects, and the people behind the scenes each get their own chapter. Mr. DeMichael delves into each character and the person who plays that character with a detailed synopsis. Important props and gadgets all receive several paragraphs of information. Mr. DeMichael counts nine composers who have worked on 23 movies. I have a playlist with 27 songs from the Bond movies aptly named, Shaken, Not Stirred. Chapter 8 breaks down all the movies with year of release, director, original music, production design, and cast. Each movies’ synopsis explains the plot points and names minor characters with their roles. As a men's wardrobe specialist, I would have liked to have seen the author include a chapter detailing the suits and watches James wears. His outfits demonstrate his level of sophistication. There are two pieces of trivia I would added to the book: One, Caroline Cossey plays an extra in the pool scene in, For Your Eyes Only (1981). She was one of the first transsexual models in the world. Second, in the TV series, The Simpsons, the nuclear power plant Homer works in is sector 7G. This is homage from, Diamonds are Forever (1971).
Last year Bond 50 was released on Blu-ray. All 23 movies on high-definition with 130 hours of extras and a empty spot for Skyfall (2012). I immediately went to blu-ray.com to take a closer look. I looked through the movie titles and realized they “forgot” a movie! I distinctly remembered watching a James Bond movie with Kim Basinger and Barbara Carrera. The movie was Never Say Never Again. I looked again and did not see it in the set. Some research online and the book revealed since NSNA was not produced by Eon Productions it was not included in the set. NSNA was produced by Warner Brothers and does have the words, “James Bond”, “007”, or “Secret Agent” in the title.
Stay tuned because coming up Carlos will be interviewing author Tom DeMichael about the book and all things James Bond!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Hal Leonard publishing for sending us a copy of this book for review.