From Russia With Love (1963 Britain)

You don’t review James Bond movies, you evaluate them, rate them according to how well they meet expectations. Today, the Bond franchise is second only to Star Wars in value, and second only to Godzilla in number of films. It’s MGM’s mainstay, and its title role is among the most coveted in the British film industry. But at the beginning, it was far from clear that it would be this way. Dr. No, while hardly a flop, was also less than a resounding success. It did decent box office, but reviews were mixed, and Ian Fleming himself was reported to be somewhat unhappy with the result. If the second Bond wasn’t an improvement, the series might not have continued much longer. But From Russia with Love was better, in practically every way, an interesting fact considering that it had the same director and leading man. [Read more…]

Advertisements

Thunderball (Ian Fleming)

The Bond originally conceived by the cinema was very much a creature of the 1960s. Yet the Bond of the books is a man of the 1950s. And like many men in the 1950s, eating an English breakfast 3 times daily and not only being unfit, but unable to even spell the word, seemed to be de rigueur: James is in poor shape it seems, 60 cigarettes a day (think of that in 2017….where would he even find a place to smoke that often!?) do not keep the doctor away. And he drinks like a fish. So M sends him away on a little vacation to recuperate…again. And, of course, each time James goes away to rest, someone tries to take him out. What a life huh? [Read more…]

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977 United Kingdom)

james-bond_166583_topLewis Gilbert’s film provides direct allusion to David Lean’s epic movies, bringing back a Blofeld-type character as well. His name is Karl Stromberg, a shipping tycoon who despises every aspect of terrestrial civilization. Spy added vast new spectacle to the Bond epic, along with strong interplay and some interesting new characters. This was a major step up in the series’ production values at that time. The grand vision paid off, handsomely. [Read more…]

Skyfall (2012 United Kingdom)

bond3(This may be the post that I go full retard, but its worth it!) Bond doesn’t even blink when the girl he just bedded gets shot in cold blood. He acknowledges Severine is an abused sex slave, then he jumps into the shower. I had little problem with Bond tricking a woman into bed in the past. But the Skyfall scene should land him on the list of registered sex-offenders. There are a lot of questions in this review, and like Hillary Clinton, I can’t answer any of them. [Read more…]

Diamonds Are Forever (1971 United States)

diamondsmustang5rg7.303What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, probably. After seeing this, oh so many moons ago, I have to admit to being severely stirred but never shaken. Almost every line hits you with naughty double meanings. Then just when you think you are in a smutty comedy it turns very sinister, not to mention surreal. This uses camp to pad out the lack of action. [Read more…]

LIVE AND LET DIE (Ian Fleming)

a045c6354116a6a3d907c46f16fa055cThe second James Bond novel  established the format in ways that were largely followed in the films also: Bond is briefed by M about an enemy agent (in this case, Mr Big) and sent abroad to break the SMERSH operation. In the course of this New York – Florida – Jamaican adventure, Bond encounters an assortment of villains, henchmen and beautiful women. [Read more…]

DR NO (Britain 1962)

qiiZK2WbtupSSq9TaM57ZtnYH4nIn the beginning was the word and the word was Bond. Here is the genesis of cinematic style over substance. “Dr. No” is incredibly dated but it has a unique, naive quality. There’s no tongue-in-cheek self-awareness here, this is the first glimpse that audiences had of all the different themes that would develop in the series. [Read more…]

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965 Britain)

14634d207d5892fefe592b68c23fc64dWhen I first watched this I was half disappointed. Can’t remember why, but at a guess I’d say I was expecting something more glossy. Now I would hate for this film to be “glossy”. It is what it is. And it improves with repeat viewing.
[Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: