I was never a big Bond fan. I may have watched a few here and there, but never bought into the franchise.
A few years ago I wandered across the street to catch SPECTRE, the 26th — count em – in the 007 series. As a result, I decided to see what I had missed and streamed Dr. No and Goldfinger. I must not have been impressed at the time because I never got any further than those two early flicks.
Well, Turner Movie Classics is highlighting screen adaptations of Ian Fleming’s novels sequentially this month. So I decided to give them another look. The other day I watched Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Last night I watched Goldfinger. Three down, 23 to go … maybe.
While I watched both Dr. No and Goldfinger less than four years ago, I have to confess, it was like watching them for the first time. I didn’t remember anything about the plots, only the lady leads — in order, Honey Ryder, Tatiana Romanova, and Pussy Galore — which tells you what my interests were in the mid 60s.
As I’ve been watching the films, I’ve been making some mental notes. Bond … James Bond has to be the dumbest spy ever. He gets hoodwinked at every turn by his nemeses and/or their henchmen. A simple karate chop usually incapacitates him. Of course, his repertoire of gadgets always come in handy at an appropriate time … after all, he is the star — in these three cases, Sean Connery. He also has an eye for the ladies, but, then again, they are easy on the eyes, especially as they drape themselves in satin, lace and towels. Even by 60s standards, it was an obvious sex sells ploy. I saw hints of more recent spy flicks on the screen. Seeds were certainly planted. The 60s special effects are crude by today’s standards and the story lines tend to push the envelope of believability.
But, hey, the 007 franchise was never meant to be believable. It is entertainment, a two hour respite from reality that brings us to exotic locales. Our first three offerings has the British Intelligence M16 agent visiting Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (Dr. No), Turkey, aboard the Orient Express and Venice (From Russia with Love), and Switzerland and Kentucky (Goldfinger) … usually with one of his femme fatales in tow. Oh, by the way, SPECTRE is the back story.That’s an acronym for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.
Onward and upward I go. Thunderball is next.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good. — Norman Schwarzkopf, General-Ret