I’m a James Bond baby.
My parents, Albert & Maree, were on Honeymoon in London in November 1962. That’s when the first James Bond film, Dr. No, was premiered. They got to see the original Bond in London when it opened. Dr. No is the one where hot bikini clad Ursula Andress emerged from the ocean glistening, knife on hip, conch in hand and gets some underneath the mango tree action. Later, Daniel Craig, would look equally hot coming out from the waves wearing his powder blue tighties in Casino Royale.
I’m getting off track.
Seemingly my parent’s Honeymoon was far more “Albert, Yes!” than “Dr. No.” I was born in August 1963.
There wasn’t a lot of Bond viewing done by my parents in the next 10 years. There were five of us O’Tooles spawned.
Starting young in Galway, Saturday afternoons were usually a double feature of Connery’s Bond movies and Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns at the sticky Town Hall Cinema. I once saw a screening in that theatre of Jaws & Jaws II. They showed Jaws II first. Took a bit of the tension out of Jaws.
Geek Trivia: Quint (Robert Shaw) from Jaws was the villain in the second Bond movie From Russia With Love and I worked with the wife of Peter Perkins who was Robert Shaw’s stunt double in the best Bond fight ever in the train carriage.
Everyone’s got their favorite Bond and their favorite Bond movie. Mine are Goldfinger, the gold standard, and Sean Connery, all charm and menace. Daniel Craig is my clear second and I think Casino Royale and Skyfall are not just excellent Bond movies, they are excellent movies by any standard.
As a binge recommendation, I’m going with Bond movies. They were made to be entertaining and they just are. Pick your favorite Bond and put on one of his films.
If you have never read an Ian Fleming Bond novel, I’m recommending that you do. The originals now work very well as period pieces. Unlike the movies, the books do not deal with the cutting-edge technologies of their day. It means the books age better. Two of the Bond novels I enjoyed most are, New York set, Live and Let Die and, one not set in New York, From Russia With Love (JFK’s favorite book).
There have been other Author’s continued writing Bond novel’s since Fleming’s early demise. They have mixed results. A very good one is Solo by renowned Author William Boyd. It picks up at Bond’s 40th birthday.
Bond books are all short reads.
So here in Chronological Order of Bonds, are some of the best movies starring an ex-Bond. It’s a bit listy.
The Hunt For Red October: Sean Connery as a Russian Submarine Commander steals a nuclear sub and must avoid his countrymen and get it to the USA. This is a tense, smart thriller and worth watching, if only to hear the only Russian commander ever with a Scottish accent. “Tonight we shail into hyssstory.” Go Sean! Connery won his only Oscar for De Palma’s prohibition flic The Untouchables . Put that one on your list too. In that film Sean does the worst Irish accent ever. But you all know his bring a knife to a gunfight quote.
The Kentucky Fried Movie : George Lazenby, the Aussie Bond you all forget on trivia night. He gave up acting after one Bond and only has a cameo in this ridiculous film. The sketch comedy ages terribly in parts, is completely non-PC, but some bits are still hilarious.
The Wild Geese: Roger Moore as an Irish mercenary! He’s part of a team lead by Richard Burton sent to rescue a kidnapped African leader. Its pretty awful but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Anything with Richard Burton I’ll watch. Nothings a bigger guilty pleasure than Burton in The Medusa Touch.
Flash Gordon (1980): Timothy Dalton is just the co-star, wearing a kinda Robin Hoody costume. But I’ll use any excuse to recommend this cult classic 1980 sci-fi film. And Ted the talking bear loved it.
The Ghostwriter : Pierce Brosnan plays an ex-British Prime Minister who hires a ghostwriter to finish his autobiography. The previous ghostwriter was murdered, and so starts this excellent Martha’s Vineyard based mystery. The book, The Ghost by Robert Harris is well worth picking up. I’ve a copy in my office when you’re back!
And to our final James Bond, Daniel Craig in Layer Cake. My top neo-noir British gangster film of the past twenty years stars Craig, pre-Bond. He’s a cocaine dealer doing that one big last deal before he gets out. We all know how that usually works.
I was a little bored today.