05 October 2012

Friday Follies...
Welcome to a soggy start for the weekend.
And with dropping temperatures through the day, it will be seasonally COOLER this afternoon (and evening), than it is right now. Snn breaking through tomorrow with highs in the mid-upper 50s.
I'm going to make this post brief and to the point, so hang onto your beverages and enjoy the trip.
Now, I said yesterday that TODAY'S post had something to do with that quote I mentioned:
"World domination, the same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they're Napoleon. Or God.”
This quote was spoken by none other than Her Majesty's "favorite" secret agent...007 - otherwise known as... "Bond...James Bond".
*** It was FIFTY years ago TODAY that the premiere of the FIRST movie based on Ian Fleming's famous (and then quite popular) cold-war era spy, James Bond.
The movie was DR. NO and cast Sean Connery in the role of 007...it also starred Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman and a pre-Hawaii Five-0 Jack Lord.
The movie was set in one of Fleming's favorite locales...the Caribbean, and centered around a threat to the U.S. missile program (then in it's manned infancy).
Apparently, a test flight was thrown off track by "something", and it was up to Bond to figure it out, because Jamaica was still under British rule.
Here's the WIKI on this movie:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._No_(film)
The novel itself had only been out since 1958, and became a huge hit with lovers of intrigue, the cold war, and yes, nicely proportioned females.
Curiously, this was NOT Fleming's first 007 novel.
Casino Royale had that distinction.
(and, truth be told,  that movie parody with Woody Allen and Peter Sellers isn't even worth mentioneing in the lexicon of Bond)
With a budget of barely a million dollars (considered LOW budget even then), the film became a big success, far surpassing the cost to produce.
I wonder how successful the series would have been with CARY GRANT as James Bond (the first choice by the studio)?
Ian Fleming wanted Richard Todd in the starring role.
Cubby Broccoli (producer) wanted Roger Moore, (at the time starring in the UK show The Saint) but thought him too young (at the time).
Moore would go on to portray 007 in the next decade.
Julie Christie was originally supposed to play Honey Ryder in DR. NO, but was considered not voluptuous enough by producers...
It was a photo by John Derek (yes, THAT one) that led producers to consider and then hire Ursula Andress.
The WIKI goes into much more detail about locations, supporting actors, and the seminal "meeting" of the 00 agent on screen.
The one-liner "Bond...James Bond" went on to become the #1 movie quote in 2001, and has become the 22nd MOST POPULAR QUOTE in ALL of movie history thus far.
And if you're looking for James to be tooling around the islands in any of his trademark automobiles...not going to happen with this first film.
The only cars he drives in Dr. No are a '57 Ford convertible (borrowed) and a (rented) Sunbeam Alpine (similar to the one used by Maxwell Smart in the opening of his series GET SMART!)
But, we do get to see some decent driving for the time (given the types of cars).
The science of Dr. No is somewhat flawed (the nuclear reactor on the villain's island, used to power the beam that deflects missiles basically blows the hell up in the film's climax, and NO mention of radiation contamination or fallout...and we KNOW there had to be), but the action in the movie draws one away from this (at least it did back then at the box office).
Yes, it's been FIFTY YEARS, and we've gone through our share of Bonds, gadgets, villains, cohorts, and assorted femme fatales and proper ladies of "Bondian Lore" (and he's bedded damn near all of the women...purely in the name of Her Majesty, mind you).
After all, being a spy CAN be HARD WORK.
We even have subsequent authors that have done both Fleming AND Bond a considerable service in continuing the adventures with new novels.
Considering the franchise that the movie Dr. No launched back in 1962, no one had ANY idea it would mushroom like an A-Bomb (apropos for the time) into the celluloid behemoth it has become today.
And with 23 films now in the can (the latest Daniel Craig outing, called SKYFALL is due out within a month or so), there is no apparent end to the number of bad guys for Bond to chase after and kill, no lack of cars to drive around in and look cool with, and certainly NO shortage of women to entice.
Back in 1962, if you watch this movie closely, you can see how we've changed as a society, as far as how we treat others. The differences are SUBTLE, but you can pick them out.
Over the decades, Bond has grudgingly changed from the character in the Fleming novels, but with Daniel Craig's adaptation of Bond, we see a return to a more "focused" agent...one not as "PC" as his handlers would prefer.
Granted that in the original novel series, Bond wasn't that "PC" back then (thank God)...but he was given a much longer leash to accomplish his objectives. Basically, his superiors felt that "anything that gets the job done" would work.
If you stepped on some diplomatic toes, or PO'ed some government...oh, well...part of the job.
And there was nothing close to MIRANDA when it came ot getting whatever information you wanted from whoever you were questioning.
Again, with Craig's interpretation, there is always some level of "irritation" between Bond and his "boss"...known only as "M".
She even threatens to shoot him herself (yes, M is a woman now..times do change).
Bond has managed in infiltrate most every aspect of our society, whether it's a wristwatch (Omega), or the drinks we enjoy (vodka martini, shaken, not stirred), or even the weapons used (Walther primarily).
We've all used quotes from our favorite Bond movies, we have our favorite "Bond", and the soundtracks are replete with title songs we STILL enjoy.
Parodies of these films are still made (which speaks much for the success of the franchise, and the genre in general).
But there is (and will ever be) ONLY ONE Bond...James Bond.
And to think it all started when unknown to us in the USA, what would become an icon came to our shores and our theaters on THIS day...way back in 1962.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Mr. Bond....may you enjoy many, many more.
Do have yourselves a great weekend.
Be well, make a difference to someone today, and as always...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

2 comments:

John D. said...

Funny that they thought Moore too young for the role, then settled on Connery, who is actually 3 years older than Roger Moore. Of course, Moore had a more youthful appearance. Like me (cough, cough).

Love those pics of Ursula Andress. She was curvalicious perfection.

Nice tribute to 007, Bob.

Bob G. said...

John D.:
Funny thing...when you read the original novel series (which I did when I was in high school...and that was considered "racy stuff" then), Connery LOOKS the way Fleming portrayed him in print...quite eerie.

Moore was pretty good in The Saint, too. Didnpt care for him much as 007 after Live and Let Die.
Brosnan was another good Bond, and Craig is (imho) outstanding.

Connery had to actually become MORE of a gentlleman, due to his onscreen "persona", too.
Considering he came from a blue-collar background, they (the studio) had to snmooth out the "rough edges" as it were.
(check him out in the 1962 flick THE LONGEST DAY - his LAST pre-Bond role)

Glad you enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

Have a great weekend and roll safe out there.