Posts Tagged ‘Live and Let Die’

Ian Fleming’s Original Manuscripts Part of Upcoming Exhibit at Watch and Clock Museum

December 17, 2009

COLUMBIA, PA: Ian Fleming carefully kept the original manuscripts for his James Bond thrillers, in addition to pre-publication book proofs and author’s copies that include summary notes in his own handwriting. For researchers and fans, these represent incredible views into the origins of the 007 character and the mind of his fascinating creator.

A sampling from among these one-of-a-kind texts will be displayed as part of the Bond Watches, James Bond Watches exhibit at the National Watch & Clock Museum, opening June 17, 2010. This loan was made possible by special arrangement with the Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

“We can tell a lot by looking at the actual pages as Mr. Fleming hammered them out at the keys of his Imperial portable typewriter,” notes Dell Deaton of JamesBondWatches.com and guest curator for the Bond Watches exhibit. “The ‘Rolex’ reference in Live and Let Die, for example, is first-draft. That, then, specifically dates it to February or March of 1953 — and establishes a context for examining the role that his friend Commander Jacques Cousteau may have had in providing input on the brand.

"Live and Let Die," original manuscript as first typed by Ian Fleming. To be loaned for display at National Watch & Clock Museum "Bond Watches, James Bond Watches" exhibit, by Lilly Library (Indiana University at Bloomington).

Thunderball, of course, shows how Ian Fleming created the first Bond gadget-watch, in 1960.

“There’s also what we can see as iterations progress. This National Watch & Clock Museum display, for example, will include three versions of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that reveal Fleming’s interesting focus on wristwatch-related details,” Deaton continues. “There’s a curious continuity error that started with the manuscript when it was written at Goldeneye and made it all the way to the ‘Uncorrected Proof’ binding, but which was caught and corrected before the first edition book run and serialized publication in Playboy. We’re planning to show this complete progression as part of this special exhibit.”

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service," as bound by Ian Fleming for his personal collection. To be loaned for display at National Watch & Clock Museum "Bond Watches, James Bond Watches" exhibit, by Lilly Library (Indiana University at Bloomington).

The original James Bond manuscripts, author’s first editions, and other materials were acquired by the Lilly Library in 1970. Thus, the Bond Watches, James Bond Watches exhibit will mark the first time in four decades that the original 007 wristwatch (Ian Fleming’s Rolex 1016 Explorer) and the 1962 manuscript in which it is referenced will be displayed together.

“The National Watch & Clock Museum is extremely grateful to Indiana University and its Lilly Library for the loan of these materials,” Museum Director Noel Poirier adds. “Through the years, we’ve been able to enter into cooperative exchanges such as this with a variety of other institutions, expanding the reach in sharing what we’ve preserved from the history of timekeeping. It allows us to broaden the context of exhibits such as this, showing not just the watches, but the culture and period in which they were important.”

Dell Deaton is the creator-author of JamesBondWatches.com and guest curator for this Bond Watches, James Bond Watches exhibition. He is a member of both the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors and American Marketing Association, and a recognized expert on Ian Fleming and James Bond horology. Previously he was elected to a three-year term on the board of directors that governs the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, and served three terms on the editorial advisory board for Exhibitor Publications.

The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association with close to 20,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.  December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead.  For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717-684-8261 or visit our website at www.nawcc.org.

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Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with James Bond…

November 25, 2009

The SyFy Channel will be airing a total of sixteen James Bond films this Thanksgiving weekend. Below is the full schedule:

Thursday – November 26th 2009

8:00 AM –  Dr. No
10:30 AM – Licence To Kill
1:30 PM –  Live And Let Die
4:00 PM – The Spy Who Loved Me
6:30 PM – Tomorrow Never Dies
9:00 PM – Casino Royale

Friday – November 27th 2009:

12:00 AM – For Your Eyes Only
2:30 AM – The Man With The Golden Gun
08:00 AM – Thunderball
10:30 AM – From Russia With Love
1:00 PM – You Only Live Twice
3:30 PM – Diamonds Are Forever
6:00 PM – Casino Royale
9:00 PM – GoldenEye

Saturday November 28th 2009:

12:00 AM – Goldfinger
2:30 AM – Never Say Never Again

 

All times are EST.

Recycling Bond Girls or: Pulling a Maud Adams

November 1, 2009

It’s not unheard of; Maud Adams played both Andrea Anders and Octopussy in the Roger Moore era of Bond flicks, and for good reason. I don’t think Eon Productions should abandon this concept, as there were a handful of Bond girls from previous Bond films who could still fill the role of a credible Bond girl today.

The Top 5 Girls Who Should Return

1. Sophie Marceau (Elektra King, The World Is Not Enough, 1999)
What a waste of talent. In my opinion, The World Is Not Enough was trash, despite being one of Brosnan’s better Bond flicks.  It’s a shame that Sophie Marceau’s wonderful acting abilities were wasted in this film. Though she played the part of Elektra King extremely well, I’d love to see her come back to the series in the form of a better-written, and more primary character. Perhaps the main Bond girl, instead of being over-shadowed by the bad acting and bouncing jugs of Denise Richards.

Sophie Marceau

2. Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Simonova, GoldenEye, 1995)
Though her talent wasn’t quite as wasted as Marceau’s in Brosnan’s debut film, GoldenEye, I’d still like to see her return in a stronger role. GoldenEye worked pretty well as a post-Cold War, 90’s action thriller, and so did the character of Natalya; if you’ll recall, she was basically a computer technician caught in the middle of all of the action. I wouldn’t mind seeing her return as a primary Bond girl who is more involved with the film’s plot, rather than just being a pretty face on the side. Scorupco’s a good actress, and it’d be nice to see her get a role that she deserves — seems like she’s been signing onto a lot of trash lately.

Izabella Scorupco

3. Rosamund Pike (Miranda Frost, Die Another Day, 2002)
As many will agree, Die Another Day was an absolute atrocity of a Bond film. Rosamund Pike seems like she had lots of potential in Brosnan’s final Bond outing, but it seems like the dynamic duo, Purvis and Wade, seemed to under-write the character. To me, there wasn’t much to Miranda Frost. Yeah, she betrays Bond … just like the Bond girl in the film before Die Another Day. And she sleeps with the villain … just like the Bond girl in the film before Die Another Day, also. That’s about all there is to her. Plus, her death allows Halle Berry to mutter the brilliant line, “Bitch.”

Rosamund Pike
4. Jane Seymour (Solitaire, Live and Let Die, 1973)
Not much to say here, other than she’s a great actress, and she’s looking as good as ever.
I guarantee that this wouldn’t disappoint fans at all.

Jane Seymour

 

5.  Olga Kurylenko (Camille, Quantum of Solace, 2008)
Quantum of Solace was given some mixed reviews after its release. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, I’m sure you can say that Olga Kurylenko’s performance was neither outstanding or horrific. Certainly, she did much better than some of the more recent, past Bond girls. The only problem was that it seemed she wasn’t written very well — a recurring theme with Purvis and Wade… hmm. Anyhow, I’d like to see her play a character with more depth. She’s certainly got the looks, also.

Olga Kurylenko

James Bond in the Post-9/11 World…

September 11, 2009

Because today is the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I thought it’d be fitting to write up an article regarding Bond in the post-9/11 world.

The Twin TowersIn 1953, when Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel, the twin towers were not yet in existence. As a matter of fact, James Bond would’ve never known of the towers until 1966, when construction of the structures began. And not until 1973 would Bond have seen them standing proud, side-by-side. James Bond might have seen them in the film version of “Live and Let Die”; perhaps while coming toward the Manhattan Bridge?

Either way, it’s odd, and quite remarkable, to think that a single fictional character has lasted so long to know the period of time in which the twin towers never existed, to when the towers were being built, to when the towers stood tall, to when the World Trade Center was bombed, to when the towers collapsed after being hit by two airliners.

Those eras are over now; today, James Bond is living in the post-9/11 world, which seems to be a very unstable world, at that. The characters of the Bond films are no longer crazed Russians hell-bent on taking over the world, or causing World War III. The time of mad men looking to extort the world’s super-powers are over. Now, James Bond goes after terrorists, their associates, and the new threats of the post-9/11 world. In Die Another Day, despite the film being absolute trash, James Bond goes after a power-hungry villain from North Korea; keep in mind that North Korea’s dictator still makes the headlines today, with his shifty nuclear weapons programs.

Attack on the Twin TowersYears later, a rebooted James Bond character makes a comeback in Casino Royale. The film, loosely based on Ian Fleming’s classic novel, takes the Soviet/Communist/Cold War plot and cleverly turns it into a post-9/11 plot. Le Chiffre doesn’t work for the Russians, but instead arms dealers and terrorists. James Bond even prevents a 9/11-esque attack in the film, by thwarting a plot to destroy an airliner. The world’s greatest secret agent is no longer a man who opposes fictional threats; instead, he’s now placed into very realistic scenarios.  Perhaps this is why many audiences found Casino Royale to be so down-to-Earth and realistic, especially after Die Another Day.

Following 2006’s Bond thriller, we were given Quantum of Solace, which introduced a very unique plot, still revolving around post-9/11 ideas. James Bond was now sent across the world to investigate a mysterious organization known only as “Quantum”. For me, this group rings a bell. Need a hint? How about Al-Queda? “Quantum” is like a modern-day SPECTRE, but carries the traits of a terrorist group like Al-Queda. A great example of this turned up last week; check out this link. This type of real-world scheme reminded me a lot of the evil scheme found in Quantum of Solace; terrorists getting a hold of money, by any means, to fund their lethal operations and private agendas.

Taliban FightersAs I mentioned, perhaps this is why our cinematic James Bond is no longer the humorous action hero found in the Brosnan era. Instead, Daniel Craig’s James Bond beats the piss out of henchmen and terrorists alike, with no remorse. Does this make him a rogue, or maverick, or senseless killer? Perhaps. But, you could only blame this on the world that we’re living in. Maybe during these tough and deadly times, this is the only way a secret agent could make it in the world. A “trust no one” policy, you could say — something James Bond has adopted since Casino Royale. After all, there was no tee-hee’ing when it came to crippling Le Chriffe’s terrorist funding operations, or eliminating a bent agent, or blowing a hole into the leg of the “Quantum” terrorism ring-leader.

Though he’s merely a fictional character, he’s certainly definitive. “It’s a cruel world…”, and James Bond, of all people, knows this. With trouble still brewing (and will always brew) in the Middle East, and Korea, what other means will James Bond turn to? Will he carry on this serious attitude? I’m sure he will, in one way or another.

My condolences go out to the families of the heroes and victims of 9/11. Rest in peace.

James Bond, the white secret agent…

June 20, 2009

During the past few years, the ideas of a black actor portraying James Bond have been tossed around. I believe recent ideas like this were started during the casting of Bond #6, with Colin Salmon’s supposed candidacy. Since then, “actors” like Will Smith, P. Diddy, Taye Diggs, and Jamie Foxx, have stood up and claimed they wanted to play James Bond.

Some may argue that the idea of James Bond being portrayed strictly by white actors is a racist idea. Some may also claim that with this fresh, new era that we’re living in, everything is possible – after all, look at America and their new President, right? Perhaps they’d say it’s time for the producers to break the formula. There are even excerpts from Ian Fleming’s “Live and Let Die” in which one could draw-up a conclusion about the author’s prejudices. Advocates for a black James Bond could use this against the producers to press for a change. There are plenty of possibilities, really.

I’ll say, though, that the idea of Bond being white is not a racist idea. It’s simply to preserve the essence of the character, and the creativity of the legendary Ian Fleming. Making him into a black man would simply put Fleming to shame and put his character to shame. Why? Well, not just because he’s black. Simply because that’s just how Fleming wrote his character, and that should be respected.

It’s obvious that EON has thrown around Fleming’s works like confetti, as far as the EON Bond series goes. However, making Bond a black character would be the icing on the cake – as if falling houses, surfing tidal waves, and Blofeld in drag weren’t enough.

One who sides with the idea that Bond should simply be a white character is not racist either. If you turned this around and made a prominent black character into a white character, then that’s when people would be yelling “racism!”, also.

On the subject of Fleming’s use of derogatory words to represent black people, I think that’s just how the world worked back then. I think a lot of evidence proves that Fleming was no ignorant, white-trash, black-hater. The words “nigger” and “negroes” were often used through out the years before, and after, the publication of Fleming’s “Live and Let Die”. Hell – there’s a poster for the cinematic “Dr. No” that reads, “Featuring negro film star, John Kitzmiller”. And over time, the words like that, I believe, have evolved into something much more serious than many thought they were in the 50’s. Today, the media [and associated terrorist organizations] will blow you out of the water for ever saying the word “nigger”, even if it’s not used in a derogatory form. The only way you can get away with saying it is if you’re Oprah or Steven Spielberg.

I think people look too hard at this issue, and try to find any slight bit of evidence just to shout “racism!”. If the production team were to release more information regarding this issue to the media [and associated terrorist organizations], they would have a field day with it. Fleming — a man that I’m sure that many people have NEVER heard of before — would line the entertainment world, briefly. He’d be stepped on, and spat on by political activists or celebrity activists who think they know what’s going on in the world. “Racist” would no doubt pop up, and Fleming would be made out to look like the bad guy, just because he wrote Bond as a white character, and uses the word “nigger” in one of his novels. Following this, due to pressure from radicals, EON would have to cast a black actor as Bond, just to make themselves look good. If they didn’t, you’d have P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Fifty Cent, Jamie Foxx, and Bill Smith all over the entertainment news world, claiming how “it’s just not right”.

I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already, as a matter of fact.

And if you want to call me a racist for this, then so be it.

Tell that to all of my black friends, too…

Film Review ::: Live and Let Die

June 19, 2009

To start off, “Live and Let Die” has one of the worst pre-titles sequences in the history of Bond franchise. There’s not much to it; just a couple of deaths – one being brought upon by a fake-looking, rubber snake. In my opinion, the producers should’ve introduced Roger Moore’s James Bond with a little more flair, rather than having M and Moneypenny walk in on him while he’s fooling around with an “associate”.

In true cinematic James Bond fashion, the film hardly follows Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name. However, many will say that racism litters the film, as it supposedly does in Fleming’s novel, also. In both cases, my opinion is that those who say such things just need to get off their politically-correct high-horses.

The characters of this film aren’t as well written as the characters in “Diamonds Are Forever”, but they suffice. Roger Moore’s debut act as James Bond is surely memorable. He’s not quite the humorous Bond as he later turns out to be, yet he’s not 100% like Fleming’s Bond either. It’s definitely his own breed of Bond, and in this film, it works well. The seriousness of the character balances well with the humor and cheesiness of the film. Yaphet Kotto plays the “two-faced” villain, Dr. Kananga. I think this is the best performance of the film, as Kananga appears to be a menacing, unpredictable villain. Kananga’s henchmen are mediocre, though. We’re given Julius W. Harris’ “Tee-Hee”, who sports a mechanical arm, with a claw at the end. That’s about as interesting as he gets, and certainly doesn’t rank up there with Red Grant or Professor Dent. There’s also “Whisper”, played by Earl Jolly Brown. The character looms around in the background of most of Kananga’s scenes, and has a very low, near-inaudible voice. Jane Seymour’s portrayal of Solitaire isn’t anything special, but it works. She more or less plays a quiet, virgin, tarot card reader, and that’s about as deep as the character is. Throughout the film, you’ll also run into some annoying characters, such as Rosie Carver, and J.W. Pepper. Gloria Hendry’s portrayal of Rosie Carver is over-the-top. After a while, you may find yourself hoping for her death. Clifton James’ J. W. Pepper is a bit more tolerable, but that stereotypical “Billy Bob”/redneck/half-witted Southerner act gets old after a while. The shame is that EON will bring him back in the next film – “The Man With the Golden Gun”.

George Martin – famous for producing The Beatles albums – provides his first [and last] score for the Bond series. While the score isn’t the worst non-Barry Bond score, it certainly doesn’t rank up with Barry’s past scores, either. I do quite enjoy the motif that uses the film’s theme song, though. Regarding the theme song, which is performed by Paul McCartney and Wings, it has to be one of the best of the series. It’s very different from the past themes we were offered, and introduces the new Bond era in a rocking fashion. The vocals are great, and the instruments are fantastic. It’s an all-around awesome, memorable, and iconic James Bond theme.

As far as locations go, the EON team doesn’t fail to impress. James Bond travels to my stomping-grounds of New York, then to New Orleans, and to Jamaica, which doubles as the fictional country of San Monique. The locations in this film were quite admirable. I’d like to see Bond head to New York once more, actually.

I thought I’d mention that this film tends to mimick “Dr. No”, in a way. The scene in which Bond, Leiter, and Quarrel, Jr. are planning to infiltrate San Monique reminds me most of “Dr. No” – it’s very much like the scene in which Bond, Leiter, and Quarrel attempt to infiltrate Crab Key. I think it was a good homage to “Dr. No”, even if it wasn’t intended.

Overall, “Live and Let Die” works decently. There are plenty of cheesy aspects of the film, a lack of characterization in some areas, but a relatively down-to-Earth plot. The score was decent, and the locations were satisfying. Roger Moore does well in his debut Bond film, but I don’t think it ranks anywhere near Sean Connery’s debut. I think this is definitely one of Roger Moore’s better Bond films, though.

7.0 / 10

7.0 / 10

Casting Bond #6 ::: Part One – Ewan Stewart

June 15, 2009

Essential Links:

Final Four James Bond #6 Candidates
24th July 2005

Following last week’s reports that the search for the next James Bond has been whittled down to a shortlist of four contenders, this weekend the British press revealed who the final four candidates are: Goran Visnjic (33), Henry Cavill (22), Alex O’Lachlan (28 ) and Ewan Stewart (47)

… These are the four heart-throbs battling it out to be the next James Bond…

EWAN STEWART AGED 47

SON of Scottish music hall legend Andy Stewart – who had a hit in 1961 and 1989 with Donald Where’s Yer Troosers. First found fame in late-70s TV drama All Quiet On The Western Front. Has also appeared in The Professionals, Only Fools And Horses and The Bill. Film-wise, starred as First Officer Murdoch in Titanic. Other major film credits include Coll in Rob Roy. Married to actress Clare Byam-Shaw.

If you’ll recall, the headlines of many major news sites (Bond and non-Bond) once read that Ewan Stewart was a strong contender for the role of James Bond #6.

Now that we’re two films into Daniel Craig’s Bond career, with another on its way, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to revisit the news leading up to the casting of James Bond #6.

Ewan Stewart was surely an interesting casting choice. The only similarity he seems to hold with past Bond actors is that he was 47-years-old at the time, which is only about a year or so off from the age in which Roger Moore started his Bond career. The difference, though, is that Sir Roger looked the part, and looked younger than he actually was. Ewan Stewart was severely balding at this point in his career. Also, had he been casted, it would’ve been another year until production wrapped up. At least Sir Sean Connery started his Bond career out with hair.

I’m not sure what the producers were thinking at this point. It must’ve been quite a pathetic and confusing time for them.

Maybe they wanted to kill Bond off?

After all, in a film like that, a balding, stocky, and nearly 50-years-old actor would’ve perhaps fit the part — maybe Bond could’ve died of a heart attack? Or a henchman could’ve sniped him, easily — the glare from that bald head would’ve been a dead giveaway.

Maybe they wanted to do a flash-back sequence; Stewart would’ve played a retired, balding James Bond in his later years, while the film would flash back to a younger Bond’s experience at Casino Royale? Maybe they would’ve thrown a shag, mop wig on Stewart’s head for the younger Bond scenes? Who knows?…

Either way, whether you’re a Craig fan or not, I think you should be thankful that this casting option was rejected. Though I’m not a fan of the new direction that the series has taken, this casting would’ve surely made the series into a confirmed laughing-stock.

Goran Visnjic, Henry Cavill,  or Alex O’Lachlan, however, may have made for a different story…

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate

"A Quantum of Covers" for Children In Need

November 19, 2008

Article Link: BBC Oxford > Children In Need > A Quantum of Covers

 

A Quantum of Covers
The Name’s Bear, Pudsey Bear… 

The BBC Oxford team certainly like their music shaken and not stirred judging by their idea for this year’s BBC Children In Need.

It seems Nobody can do a Children In Need Event better than BBC Oxford Introducing who have brought together eleven of the best Oxfordshire bands you’ve never heard of to record their favourite Bond themes for the appeal.

The album, called a Quantum of Covers is available on iTunes and for every individual track downloaded 49p goes to Children In Need and for every album purchased £4.90 will go to the charity.

And with the likes of former Miss England Eleanor Glynn contributing to an industrial electro version of The Living Daylights with Banbury’s Sikorski to Borderville doing a glam-stomp through the Wings classic Live and Let Die, it is sure to be a hit.

Talking about the charity project and their choice of theme Nobody Does It Better, David Balch, from Witches said: “I think A Quantum of Covers is an excellent idea. Bond is an institution and the themes are such iconic songs, it’s great to be a part of it. Hopefully it’ll raise a load of cash for Children in Need’s work with disadvantaged children.”

Xmas Lights took on the challenge of the Bond theme. James Gray-King of the band commented: “It was an honour to be asked to take part in the project and a huge challenge. The main theme has been tackled by so many incredible people over the years that finding a route in and keeping it recognizable while retaining our sound was a really interesting endeavour. I am proud of what we have done and very proud that it is for a worthy cause…”

Sikorski joined forces with their own Bond girl and former Miss England Eleanor Glynn for the Living Daylights, with Jan and Darren saying: “We really enjoyed the process of reinterpreting and recording this song. It was a real challenge from the outset, but one we enjoyed and endeavoured to get right. We wanted to make it our own and not just a copy of the original, and we think we have achieved this.”

And Maria Ilett noticed how BBC Children in Need brings out the generosity in people:
“We were really excited to be asked to record a song for a Quantum of covers BBC Oxfords Children in Need album, people have been extra generous when they realised what charity the song was for- Barry and Markus from The Doghouse Studio donated their studio and engineer time! Just goes to show what a much loved charity Children In Need is.”

BBC Children in Need positively changes the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

This theme of this year’s Appeal is Do Something Different and we are asking you to take up the challenge and help thousands more young people, here in the UK, who need our help. Doing Something Different doesn’t mean anything difficult, expensive or scary; it just means something outside of your normal routine which will help raise money.  There are lots of fun, silly and unusual ideas in our BBC Children in Need Fundraising Pack. For more information go to bbc.co.uk/pudsey or call 0345 607 3333.

Remember, for every penny raised, a penny will go towards projects helping those in need. We couldn’t do it without you, so a big Pudsey thanks in advance!

iTunes — “A Quantum of Covers”

Cover songs, especially of Bond tunes, are always interesting to listen to. Even if you buy this, and don’t like it, you’re still contributing to a good cause. If you buy this, and do like it, then I suppose it’s a win/win. I’ll definitely check it out, as it’ll make for a good piece to add to my Bond soundtrack collection. Plus, I like the idea of helping the Children In Need organization.

If you’re not interested in the music, but feel like being generous and helping out the organization, here’s their site link: 

Children In Need