Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Friday, November 06, 2015

Takin' it Bond by Bond

November is the second cruelest month, after April: all my autumnal October ghoulish cheer slides down like a Bond villain off a continental shelf during an underwater chase scene. Glug glug. Down he goes to the depths, just as glug glug this was the month of my bottom alcoholically (in 1998) it was also the month Cassandra and Gabrielle (two Bond girls if there were real life versions) brought over ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE on a Friday Night just like this one, and saved my drunken life, for year longer...

Bond was there. Bond is here. SPECTRE. Dig, the ALIEN 3 of Bond movies is here, written by someone who clearly has only contempt for the series, for film, and for the realities behind the effective range of snub-nose firearms.

Whenever a new Bond appears, all the old ones show up on TV, to prep the faithful. I've been updating and elaborating my "Bond by Bond" guide from a few years back (so do revisit). Not to be misandric or lazy, for my keen insights over the years are as sexist, elaborate and thrilling (and grandiose about it) as (most) Bond films themselves.

My Favorite: Elektra King (and she has my initials)

From Father's Day Bond Marathon:
(Acidemic - 6/14)

Following a handful of similar but deceptively elaborate plots that seem to bleed across each other (making each particular film hard to remember), Bond films have always rewarded repeat viewing; as we change from children to men our perceptions of the movies change, too, and new fissures of interest are sussed out. Atomic bomb hijacking minutiae and intrigue, the most boring parts when we were kids, are now fascinating. The giant computers and tracking devices are like windows into a forgotten field of technology, like finding the distant relatives of Skynet.

(expanded 11/15)

In THUNDERBALL (1965) it takes about five minutes of real cinematic time to throw a camouflage net over one lousy sunken NATO bomber. It used to bore my senseless, but--now that I'm an adult lost in a world of whiplash editing--I love the slowness. Also, on HD widescreen, now you can see the whole plane. See, what I like is that SPECTRE was never about world domination or destruction, they were about stealing code machines from embassies and foiling relatively un-apocalyptic sabotage-blackmail schemes to save the British government a few million pounds. As for Connery's Bond, whether elbowing a fire alarm at a health spa without breaking his stride down the hall, turning some painful spine-stretching into a chance to blackmail his masseuse for sex (but then massaging her with a mink glove), he's as ruthless and predatory as he is in the books, which I love, and he's got a great opposite side spy to contend with, a woman who--like him--is smart, ruthless, charismatic, deadly, and uses sex freely and often in her work. And, on HD, the beds these spies work on are stretched out to the full widescreen so we can savor their ornate frames framing the screen and exposing our agog minds to the wonders of Mad Men-era decor. Their sex is just as much a part of the cold war spy game as the killing and cameras and the subtext never judges any of the amoral, hedonistic ruthlessness.

My first memories of Bond as a child are the very kinky edges like Largo applying scientific hot and cold to the naked heaving back of kept woman Domino [Claudine Auger]). I grew out of my S&M phase during my liberal arts feminist indoctrination, but I'm glad we have a record of before such PC buzzkilling took hold. Though it came out in the 60s, to me, this is vintage Bond via TV in the 70s: Bond in a wet suit, shooting at a shark or a bad guy with his harpoon gun while a hot girl with a cute mole lounged in the white sand at his side. And seeing it-all via network TV with my dad around the same time Spy Who Loved Me played in theaters (my parents not taking me to see it, saying I was too young, even though it was PG and far less dirty than the TV screenings of Thunderball, not that I understood the entendres). Then, in the 80s, when sexual harassment was becoming a thing, we rented all the Bonds from the newly opened video stores at the mall and saw them over and over, as reminders of the power we were once going to inherit as men, allegedly, but now never would, for with awareness comes compassion. Though forced on us via the very media we sought refuge in, we couldn't unlearn sensitivity, and lost forever the callous indifference that allows for the heedless exploitation of others in good conscience. But we still have Connery, forever.

Innocence is the last refuge of the debauched.

(expanded 11/15)

The idea to make George Lazenby's first appearance the same one where he gets married and then cries is a bit of a misstep, makes him seem a weak version, like he can't handle the gaffe, but closer examination makes you realize he's damn good, easily the second best, and had he been allowed to continue, who knows? The only Bond to deal with the issue of post-hypnotic suggestion and mind control (sleeper agents, recalling MK-Ultra Monarch's "angels of death", not to mention Dr. Goldfoot's bikini machina,) complex evil but not apocalyptic plots, and the whole second half of the film is a long winding chase down the Alps, the villains pursuing him are relentless and intelligent, the skiing phenomenal (the echoes of Leni Riefenstahl's alpine silents surely intentional).  Lazenby is a bit of a cypher in spots--critics ragged on him for being such a blank slate--but that works for a spy, and through it all he shows real emotion underneath the cold mannequin blanket, the way Connery was the opposite.

For example when Lazenby's Bond goes undercover as a snobby genealogist sent up to Telly Savalas' high-in-the-Alps stronghold, Lazenby's Bond puts on a posh droning bore professor demeanor that on closer viewing is a dead-on impression of his contact at the Genealogy Dept., one so vivid casual viewers think that's the Bond Lazenby has envisioned. When Blofeldt finally unmasks him, we see Bond become very relaxed, even bemused, as his impression falls away. And then, slightly scared when he has such a hard time escaping in the packed Swiss streets and at his wit's end when Diana Rigg skates over, to the rescue. She's there when it counts, and his kisses on her cheek as she delivers some top notch evasive driving --he needs her. It's not like his usual cavalier élan but genuinely fond, it's a very real affection, completely different than his usual bed and bolt strategy. Then at bed time in the barn there's the worried look in his eye when he realizes he's madly in love with this girl in ways he wasn't with anyone before; it scares him almost as bad as when he was rattled by fireworks and a man in crazy white bear suit at the Piz Gloria rink earlier that night. He's scared because he's feeling new things - a man who grins in the face of death is kind of at a loss when deeper feelings overwhelm him. At the end, the wedding, he breaks beautifully. See it again and check out his eyes when he says a wordless goodbye to Moneypenny after throwing her the bouquet. He's like a genuinely hopeful child, warm and alive with a new innocence he may not have had before or ever; Moneypenny recognizes it and the true extent of their bond is made clear. Lois Maxwell's relation to Lazenby's Bond isn't just the usual flirting, both actors make it something real it wasn't with Connery or later with Moore. Lazenby's still Bondian, tough, resourceful, brave, but those tears at the end are earned. And Kojak's a funny Blofeldt (I always crack up when he starts his mind control tape with "You remember when you first came here? How you hated chickens?") And Joanna Lumley's one of the sleeper agent beauties and the great Italian actor Gabriele Ferzetti (L'Aventura) is Draco, the Italian 'demolitions' mogul father-in-law. Ilse Stepatt is second only to Lotte Lenya as far as butch henchmen, like Divine crossed with a German shepherd.

(expanded 11/15)

This is where Moore's Bond first shows his kid-friendly slapstick side, and needs a villain to give him a lifetime of free passes. I mean, rilly... this rich killer constructs an elaborate funhouse just to chase Bond through, all so he can kill him with a golden gun? Why does he have a wax statue of Bond in there before even meeting him? What kind of a spy worth a damn is so famous a killer on a remote island can fashion a perfect statue of him. In other words, this plays like a long episode of FANTASY ISLAND rather than a real Bond movie and not just because of Hervé Villechaize. Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) is the titular man, an ex carnival sharpshooter and ex-KGB assassin with a superfluous third nipple who charges a million a hit. But "who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?" Moore's Bond wonders. He then calculates to M that his situation might improve if he finds Scaramanga first, before Scaramanga shoots him. Brilliant deduction, OO7. At any rate, now on HD widescreen, Scaramanga's expressionist funhouse shooting range and island paradise--built in and around natural cave formations like a combination miniature golf course and manmade waterfall--is awfully gorgeous, but the idea he'd consider Bond a famous secret agent is idiotic - secret agents don't have publicity agents - that's the point. You never find out what they did until they write their books years after retiring, and even then have to change a lot around. This movie acts like he's a movie star. There's dumb bits of comic relief like the return of the fat sheriff from the last film, shouting at the HK locals, calling them "a bunch pointy heads in PIE-jamas" and showing no real need to be in the film except to provide highlarity (a fight scene in a belly dancer's dressing room is similarly just window dressing). Thai boxing and karate demonstrations paint a portrait of Asian culture as sweaty, brutish and quick, overcrowded, with humidity condensed on every surface. Bond girl (and supposed British field agent) Good Night (Britt Eckland) shouts confidential information in public places and bemoans Bond's womanizing like she's trying to be ditzy-era Goldie Hawn, marking her truly offensive in her incompetence the harder she tries to be irresistible/ We wouldn't see Good Night's like again until Cameron Diaz showed up in KNIGHT AND DAY (See: Terms of Endangerment).

Good thing then that she's safely ensconced in a script that relies on dumb TV plot luck instead of ingenuity: "I could have shot you down when you landed, that would have been ridiculously easy," notes Scaramanga. Yeah right. Thing is, Connery wouldn't have relied on the villain's sportsmanship, and certainly wouldn't be such a smarmy scold about not returning it. Connery's Bond admitted he was a killer, and was callous and confident enough to get away with cold blooded execution. Moore's Bond seems to think he's goddamned Pope Pious, dropping awkward sex talk like he's squinting at a Penthouse bar napkin and playing fair and self-righteous every step of the way.

(expanded 11/15)

Bond seems very old and tired, suddenly, like he should be home watering his garden, not being spun around in a G-force simulator or pretending he could punch Jaws in the mouth and not shatter his wrist. The girls he meets and seduces seem like Valium-zonked call girls paid to pretend he's a spy, tagging behind as he romps around his mansion, uncovering little clues his butler sets up the night before, like an Easter egg hunt. It's rated G, so Bond doesn't even carry his own gun, Drax has to supply him with hunting rifles and lasers as needed. He doesn't even drink or smoke. Not even tea. He'd rather quip and try to stand up straight. He does. 

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME had been such a huge hit, so popular, the underwater sports car thing so cool, so of its time, thrilling parents and kids alike, so perfectly in tune with the shark-obsessed vibe of JAWS and gadget vibe of STAR WARS, that for the follow-up they made the mistake of trying to deliver more of the same instead of doing something new. Now instead of a car that becomes a submarine the becomes a gondola that becomes a comical parade float. Richard Kiel returns as Jaws, gets a Pippi Longstocking girlfriend with braces, and becomes a good guy by the end.

The biggest crime, so rare in any Bond movie, is that the filmmakers and Moore presume our love and laughter without bothering to really earn it, Dr. Goodhead is a painfully sophomoric and snarky name that makes Pussy Galore seem the height of feminist class, and Drax is a dreadfully dull villain, barely an afterthought, oversize head and negative charisma. The girls wear dowdy old peasant blouses, the sort that make girls in the 70s sometimes resemble sister wives from old Mormon scrapbooks, or else (much sexier) LOGAN'S RUN and ZARDOZ cast-offs and. When not seducing Bond, they stand around in readiness like the prostitutes in EYES WIDE SHUT prior to their mind control trigger activation ceremony, remodeled into a WESTWORLD for guys with British spy fantasies (or TIME MACHINE eloi). Dumb sight gags abound and repeat: an old coughing Italian man at the Venice cafe sees a floating coffin and throws his cigarette away; the password to get into the secret lab is the notes from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. That's two just off the top of my head.

On the plus side: the sets are great, Drax's big compound is like a post-modern architecture version of Times Square times a Mayan temple, and the cars and rooms are all flawless and cavernous (or really good models - and if you can't tell which is which, that's a compliment to both). And there's one legitimate great moment: a slow Carnivale clown stalk that in its weird shambling silence recalls the previous year's HALLOWEEN! And  I dig the go-for-broke presumption the US has space suit-wearing laser fighting platoons ready to go at a moment's notice against amok capitalists playing Noah of the cosmos as if that happens all the time and we just don't hear about it.

At least the 70s were almost over, and all the variety show schtick that resurged from its watery Vaudeville grave would descend once more into the abyss. With cable there would no longer be a need to appeal to the elderly, children, and everyone in- between all in the same TV hour. But it's still the 70s here and it's rated G. And so we have the sort of movie where we get a tour through a priceless antique glass exhibit and know in a few scenes it's gonna be trashed in a brawl--why else is there even a 'glass exhibit'? It's like a delivery boy trying to cross the street with a stack of boxes during the running of the bulls when he could easily just stay in a doorway 'til they pass. And bouncy music plays after every lame innuendo to the point you expect Harvey Korman to pop out of a trap door and say "Whaaaaaaa?!"

Which brings me to Sophie Marceau, sweet... sweet Sophie. She's got the sense of nymphonic entitlement we need for a Bond girl. When her Elektra lounges in gold-trimmed Middle Eastern richness, she not only breaks the Vogue Kazakhstan fantasia mold, she breaks its American and British neighbors. Being French surely helps; look at the way she rocks that leather skirt at right? You could die in awe. As King, she acts like she grew up in luxury, truly comfy with the finer things designed for and by the big money French which the petit Bourgeois of America pretend suits them. By contrast Tomorrow Never Dies' Terri Hatcher, who looks like she'll start stealing the designer shot glasses as soon as Bond steps into the hotel bathroom. Marceau is Bond's equal, maybe even his superior, both in machinations and using sex to manipulate and get information, and in confidence, ease in her own skin, sense of non-abrasive authority, and sheer coolness -- little bits of business, like her use of playful ice cubes from the champagne bucket when in bed with both Bond and her terrorist Carlyle, for example, carries a sense of spontaneous improv like Brando in The Missouri Breaks and Last Tango in Paris.

Representing the Americans in World is the much more age-inappropriate Denise Richards as an atomic physicist named Christmas Jones (one of the best pieces of stunt casting in the history of cinema). One look at her marching around an abandoned Russian missile silo in sexy khaki shorts and all your worries slip away. Richard's not a great actress but she doesn't need to be, maybe even shouldn't be. Like all the best Bond beauties she acts from her hips, sexual the more she tries not to be (the way a better actress like Halle Berry can't). And as was the style in the Brosnan Bonds, there are plenty of truly bad girls, including the opening assassin in the fiery balloon and boat chase. Only TOMORROW avoids them, rather to its downfall. WORLD makes up for it, in fact there's a stretch where it seems MI6 is a true matirarchy--as Dench's M, Miss and Dr. "Warmflash" (Serena Scott Thomas)--all debrief Bond and make their own snarky comments as to his stamina and 'touching dedication.' Bond is actually outnumbered! That's pretty great, and a shame we've already slid so far back.

The best Bond movies are ageless the more they grow antiquated, but SKYFALL has so raised the bar that it's tough to go back to the lewd double entendre smirking and embarrassed pun groaning of the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan eras (which the more discreet Timothy Dalton avoided). That's why the very 90s capsule-ish THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH has always been unusual for me. One, because it has two of my favorite Bond girls, for opposite reasons; two, because for all that, it's still not satisfying--it's made at the end of the 90s and is like a tentative swimmer dipping a toe across the centennial Cocteau traversable mirror, no longer afraid of strong, cool, confident, qualified professional women, but unable to let go of 90s things like venetian blinds, Goldie's teeth, post-ecstasy depression, and sexual disillusionment

The first true femme fatale of the series she easily outpaces the cancer-stricken-looking miscast Scotsman Robert Carlyle (clearly hired because he was so good at being a terrifying Glasgow hooligan in Trainspotting, another quintessential 90s curio). here he's just another bloated and bitter townie suffering from his love to a pretty co-ed who wouldn't in a million years take him home to meet her folks. Luckily Marceau's so good as King she survives even Bond's overall trite condescension, that thing he has where every woman in the world is supposed to fall for him, give up her life on his whim, and then forget and forgive him while he wanders off with nary a word of thanks once the credits roll. In this case the opposite: all Elektra has to do is shed a tear and Bond gets all paternal. He deserves all he gets, as does every man who lets himself be blinded by her beauty, myself included. And for her, well, it must suck to be the only mature one in a world run through of stock stereotype snickering, where no one ever contradicts or refuses you. In fact, if anything Bond reminds me of Fred MacMurray in Billy Wilder's DOUBLE INDEMNITY, only Denise Richards is Eddie G. and Sophie is Stanwyck.

The difference is, McMurray knew Stanwyck was evil and was frightened by how much it turned him on. He knew better but just watched as if from afar as he ruined his life by scorching himself in her sultry flame. Brosnan's Bond of course is the opposite; he always has to have the upper hand, at least in his  mind, to be either a paternal lover or a cold judge and executioner when she's found to be playing him just as he's played so so so many. What is is Eddie G. said in LITTLE CESAR, that you can dish it out but can't take it no more? 

(1/07 -Bright Lights)

Finally saw the new Bond and totally freaked out about it. First off, it’s interesting to see Bond as a young man “learning not to trust again” –SPOILER ALERT– by actually falling in love and trying to live a normal life, with all the weeping and acting emotional that such a life entails. In other words, CASINO ROYALE is not a remake of the Peter Sellers version, but a pre-modern re-imagining of the last Bond film that attempted to be this good, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. It’s like every 37 years Bond meets a girl and falls in love for the first time.

The nifty thing about this new Bond approach is the way it remains conscious of the Moebius strip upon which it runs. It is aware, for example, that the entire cycle of Bond films–which stretch from the Cold War straight through to the future–actually involve the surpassing of technologies in real life that were created in the older films as sci fi devices. Consider for example the “full circle” of our post-modern nostalgia over the gigantic “futuristic” computers of the old Bond villains like Dr. No–with their reel-to-reel computer tapes and punch cards–which we watch on plasma screens from super deluxe DVD sets or ultra slim laptop computers. And now Bond is actually younger and the futuristic gadgets he thought were so nifty have not just been invented but have been over-promoted to the point of un-coolness, and promptly forgotten, and his boss has become a woman, and suddenly he is newly promoted to the job he’s had all his life, and he is ready to meet the only woman he will ever love… for the SECOND TIME!

This sort of thing happens on purpose a lot in David Lynch films like LOST HIGHWAY, but in James Bond it happens entirely as a way to keep the films fresh and the character alive, I know that. But that’s what makes digging for Lacanian subtexts all the more rewarding.

One of my favorite theories for life after death and alternate dimensional living is called quantum immortality. I read the phrase in Cliff Pickover’s amazing book, Sex, Drugs, Einstein, & Elves, but actually arrived at a similar theory myself after realizing that alcoholic black-outs proved we would never die as long as we could remember where we were. (more on that some other time). Seeing Bond tonight in his sixth incarnation, in a title-only remake of the film of the book by Ian Fleming, I felt myself lost in a train car of mirrors, traveling the Moebius strip around and around like a tiger chasing its own tail, or serpent eating its own foot, and I loved every first second of it, because I don’t need to have alcoholic blackouts to double back on myself and be assured of the validity of quantum immortality anymore, I have BOND.

Everyone’s talking, for example, about how great it is that this film offers a “stripped down” Bond: no gadgets and space needles and laser beams. Right. Don’t you see, dear reader, what that means when “stripped down” is still using gadgets–such as cell phones, notebook computers, wireless webmail, satellite surveillance–that would blow the minds of Dr. No or Ernst Blodfeldt, that would make them howl with delight? That sort of stuff is, to us, “stripped down.” We have reached the primordial Now of technology already, where there is nowhere higher to go so the imaginary IS the real. With the digital age spinning faster and faster around us we realize it’s impossible to die because we see ourselves re-born before our eyes, right there plain as the phallic nose on your face in the mirror silver screen. How cool would it be in the sequel of they got all the still-alive Bond actors together in one room (top)? You know, like in 2001, when Kier Dullea sits in a room with himself as an old man and then heads back to earth as a star baby? Damn cool, is the answer, especially if they were all yelling at each other.

Another great example of the Bond effect that comes to mind is in the end of TERMINATOR 3 when future, past, future/past, and past/future all suddenly connect and stop into an eternal now with just Clare Danes, two turntables and a microphone… that future when machines take over, baby, that’s already happened. It’s as clear as the “look” on your face. And you know what?? we LOVE it. We invented it after all, and what can’t kill us only makes us smaller, faster, and more efficiently designed. (James Bond Rides the Strip)

(Acidemic 11/08)

An example of a character having innate understanding of Lacan's "impossibility of desire" can be found in the James Bond series' Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and her office flirtations with James Bond (in all his various incarnations). She's remained the same for several. Come along with me on this structural adventure as we see just how and why.

Maxwell, in her grrlish days
Note that the regular flirtation of Bond and Moneypenny begins with her feigned anger at him for arriving "late." No matter when Bond arrives, she makes it seem as if he is late and that M is angry at him. But in the locus of their combined desire, Bond can never be anything but "on" time. M will usually berate him on some minor point before laying out the details of his case. Q also pretends to be annoyed with Bond's childishness, but at the same time, entrusts him with millions of dollars of high-falootin' gadgetry. He regularly saves the world but also avoids the thanks of his government as his prize is already in hand, a hot Bond girl all wet from a narrow escape.

Moneypenny doesn't give Bond thanks but what he truly appreciates. She sets herself up as an upper-middle class spinster, pining for a secret agent who prefers more exotic, younger women. And he in turn professes to love only her, implying he's sleeping with everyone but her as he can only love the one he hasn't quite gotten around to yet. And if she pushes the issue, he instantly propositions her: "Drinks, my place. Tonight." But she ignores his request; sure that he is not being serious. Between the two of them is an implicit understanding regarding the parameters of their pretend courtship. If she took him seriously, or if he was actually sincere, bad blood would instantly erupt. Alas, in our post-PC era, no such parameters can really be established, so the fine art of fake flirting is all but gone. Too bad, because it's great practice... the pair switch role from pursuer to pursued on a regular basis, each claiming they pine for the other, and so forth.

Thus, Moneypenny's desire for James is innately dependent on his withholding of that desire's gratification. Such examples occur throughout cinema as well as in life, but this one is worth noting since it's ubiquitous and recognizable, a key signifier of the Bond series. This regularity itself makes it a fine example of the Lacanian phallus. Bond "owns" the phallus, as the ultimate "one who enjoys" the way that's impossible in the Real; but Moneypenny is the one who truly owns its lack in the purest Lacanian sense; she alone understands that having access to the phallus will not prevent its lack, but will in fact destroy the position from within which that lack originates. (MORE) 

(Bright Lights - 11/08)

Critics are mixed and audience feedback wildly disparate over Quantum of Solace, but while you are formulating your opinion or, like me, waiting for the initial crowds to disperse before taking in the second Daniel Craig entry, why not give a ‘flix to the Bonds of the illustrious past? Better yet why not look at their hot babes? And better yet, the babes who are also evil henchmen, seductress-spies and/or the super villain of the film themselves!

The first such babe appears in Dr. No. Zena Marshall plays the sinister-spy secretary Miss Taro. A buxom, sumptuous Asian-hybrid babe in the early Playboy tradition, Ms. Marshall oozes libidinal treachery as Taro, but she’s an amateur in the spy game and James is a professional. After surviving the ambush set for him en route to a booty call at her hilltop chalet, Bond “takes what’s coming to him” as a survivor’s fee–letting her think he doesn't suspect she's stalling him until the second round of assassins arrive. He’s aware though, naturally. After the post-coitus haze has cleared, he hands her over to the authorities and calmly waits in her darkened bedroom for the next cockblocking killer to creep in.

Sexual chessboard spy games would become taboo with the dawn of “political correctness” Bond, where sex must be harnessed to confessions of love with moistened eyes or at least some amount of mutual respect, but seen today, this sort of grudge-f*cking is fresh and totally tantalizing (Connery's Bond especially never misses a chance). Why shouldn’t male spies be active in the web of counter-seduction, rather than moping around passively like Claude Rains in Notorious or John Gilbert in Mata Hari? That stuff is for chumps! The East German Stasi had a whole program of handsome undercover spies seducing lonely NATO secretaries. Sean Connery’s Bond knows full well that the best intel is won between the sheets, and he’s just the man to go after it, letting his target think she’s playing him for a sucker all the while. Call it sexism all you like, but I would argue, in hindsight, Bond shows Miss Taro real equality; she’s treated like a spy among spies, and not some precious third wave princess who must be showered in jewels and pampered royally just to get it on already.
FINAL LINK: We've gotten into the spirit of the thing by having a lot of 'ahem' girls up in these pics and descrips. Bond seems to breed Mad Men era sexism like a virus... but maybe I can prove I'm sensitive via this double book review of HAMMER GLAMOR (there was bit of bleed over between Hammer and Bond girls, both coming from the same country and studio) and a book called FEMME FATALE - back in Bright Lights 

That's all, but Erich Kurtz will return in ANYTHING THAT KILLS YOU MAKES YOU COOL FIRST.


  1. This blog post shows every James Bond girl that has ever appeared along the 50 years of the James Bond 007 movie history.

  2. Erich, this was another great Bond writeup, and very much in-line with my own current Bond obsession...I've been rewatching my way through the series over the past few months. It all started during a recent vacation to Jamaica (tough life, I know), where for some reason I found myself thinking about James Bond. Only later did I realize why -- as a kid in the '80s I was a little Bond geek and had read many of Fleming's original novels. There on the author bio of the old dust jackets it generally informed you that Fleming spent a lot of his time in Jamaica, and in fact wrote all of the Bond novels there.

    Anyway it led me to getting around to rewatching the films and re-reading some of the books. Some of these movies I hadn't seen since I was a kid, like The Living Daylights, which came out during the height of my Bondmania. I saw it in the theater and loved it, but hadn't seen it since. I enjoyed it a lot this rewatching.

    But one that really snuck up on me was Moonraker, which I don't believe I ever fully watched. My pal Jimmy Stevens loved this one as a kid back in the '80s, and he swore Moore was the best Bond. Watching the movie all these years later, I don't see why Moonraker has such a bad rap -- the helluva it is, the movie is FUN, something those dour, no-fun, bullshit Daniel Craig movies can never claim to be. (If it isn't clear, I hate Craig as Bond, but then I don't think he's playing James Bond at all -- he's just playing a character of the same name.)

    Other movies I found didn't hold up as well on this rewatch...Goldfinger for example was one I loved as a kid and was one of the few I owned on VHS. (Anyone remember how goddamn expensive VHS tapes were back in the day??) I could barely get through it this time. The second half crawls and Bond is relegated to supporting role. Hell, he isn't even the one who defuses the ticking bomb!!

    Others I found held up just as well as always -- Thunderball I think is still my all-time favorite Bond, and plus I love the underwater scuba stuff that annoys so many. And good gravy, how about that Domino???

    Sorry you didn't enjoy Man With The Golden Gun, as I recall writing fondly about that one on your previous Bond post. I just love the goofy charm of that movie...Eon productions will likely never have the courage to make a Bond film like that again (or Moonraker). And yes, it does take courage to make a Bond film where your villain lives in a funhouse and employs a shrill-voiced Mexican dwarf as his henchman.

    I think Moore is still my favorite Bond -- not only was the guy a professional, capable of doing whatever the script demanded of him, but more importantly he seemed to be having fun. (Does Craig look like he's having fun? No, he's too busy being "serious" in his revisionist Bond movies.) Connery was obviously the trendsetter, but let's face it, the dude was bored by You Only Live Twice, and that resonates on screen. Look, if you're bored with playing James Bond, it's time to move on. Roger Moore, he NEVER looked bored, and the dude would probably STILL be playing Bond if they asked him to...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...