My favorite Bond movie is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). That’s the one where James Bond gets married, although his wife gets conveniently killed shortly thereafter. The story is preposterous, but the surprises keep piling up, and the stunts are great (ski chases and car chases). And most of all, the score is beautiful. It was written by John Barry, who composed and conducted the music for 11 Bond movies, and was the first film soundtrack to use synthesizers. The theme song, “We Have all the Time in the World, was Louis Armstrong’s last studio recording. The tune is wistful and haunting, but the lyrics are bitterly ironic, given the tragic ending. And Louis Armstrong’s singing sounds so, well, grown-up. It’s in a class by itself, compared to the Las Vegas glitz of Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey, or the fleeting pop trendiness of Sheena Easton and Duran Duran. (Fans of the vintage Bonds might wish to visit John Barry’s official site at johnbarry.org.uk. The winner of five Academy Awards, Barry also composed the scores for Out of Africa, The Cotton Club and the cult classic Somewhere in Time.)
The only problem is that Bond in OHMSS is played by George Lazenby, an Australian former car salesman and male model who is not nearly as charismatic as Sean Connery, whom he replaced and who would return for one last hurrah in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), not counting the “unofficial Never Say Never Again (1983) in which Kim Basinger was the love interest and Klaus Maria Brandauer the rather unconvincing villain. Lazenby also spends an awful lot of time in a kilt, a garment that would make even the genuinely Scottish Connery look like an idiot.
Be that as it may, Bond movies occupy a place of honor in popular culture, and the multitude of sites devoted to everything 007 reflects this. It is impossible to cover them all, so I have chosen only one: mi6, which claims to be the most visited. Chock-full of information, mi6 is easy to navigate and interactive, featuring a lively forum in which the hottest topic of discussion (as you might expect) is the casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond. Unlike George Lazenby, who had no acting experience prior to OHMSS, Craig has a long and impressive filmography. And he is British, the son of a construction worker, Tim, and a teacher, Olivia. He also hates guns. He has spoken to OK magazine in favor of gun control and mentioned that he has seen a bullet wound on a film shoot “and it was a mess. Roger Moore, who played the superspy from 1973 to 1985 and later became an ambassador for UNICEF, has the same attitude. “I played the role tongue-in-cheek because I don t really believe in that sort of hero, he has said.
Also featured are elaborate descriptions of several 007 video games. The most recent is based on From Russia With Love and includes 14 missions. In Mission 1, our favorite secret agent has to James Bond has to rescue the Prime Minister’s daughter who has been kidnapped by Octopus at the Houses of Parliament. In Mission 2, Bond must infiltrate the Octopus mansion by navigating through the deadly hedge maze, and then receive a briefing from M and Q. You get the picture.
Worth a Thousand Wordshttp://www.patfullerton.com/007/bondmenu.html
Speaking of pictures, here you will find nothing but Bond-related JPEGs. The galleries are organized by category: Villains, henchmen, Bond girls, Q, M, Moneypenny, and of course the various Bonds. And let’s not forget the singers who sang the theme songs, and the authors who wrote the books – can you believe that Booker prize winner Kingsley Amis wrote a Bond novel? It was titled Colonel Sun (1968) and failed miserably. His pseudonym for that venture was Robert Markham.
Then there are the posters and other visual memorabilia (VHS, LP, CD and DVD covers) of interest to no one but the most fanatical enthusiast, and pictures of the people at the business end of the Bond saga, foremost among them Albert “Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
Whatever your favorite Bond character might be, you’ll find it here. Personally, I much prefer the henchmen (and women: Rosa Klebb, Irma Bunt, Oddjob) to the villains (Blofeld, Dr. No, Hugo Drax). All the villains ever do is rant about world domination while looking ever so slightly demented. The henchmen, on the other hand, try to kill Bond in creative albeit impractical ways that are always fascinating to watch. Most fascinating of all is the indestructible “Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). The actor who played him has his own fan club at RichardKiel.com.
Most boys from the ages of 7 to 77 are sure to have a favorite Bond “girl. Mine is Honor Blackman, from Goldfinger (1964). Not only is she a match in every respect to Sean Connery’s Bond, but she has the most memorable name in the series: Pussy Galore. [email protected]