I never was a Bond fan and had managed to miss most of the movies when they were out in the theater. Other than catching some on TV as rerun specials, I can't say that I had watched any of them from start to finish.
Ian Fleming was a member of the spook community. He was not a James Bond, rather he served for a number of years as a real life "M". He even formed and ran his own unit of James Bond-ish operators for the Brits, No. 30 Commando. During WWII he was an administrative aid to Rear Admin John Godfrey Director of Navel Intelligence for Her Majesties Royal Navy. Mr. Fleming was commissioned into the Royal Navel Reserves and obtained the rank of Commander. Incidentally James Bond held the same rank in that organization. Also coincidently Mr. Fleming named one of his James Bond books after a secret operation from WWII. Do you know which one?
Last week, after having finished off the Bond movies, I ran across a blog post titled "The Two 007's". There are any number of articles written over the years comparing Sean Connery and Roger Moore as James Bond. These two men are considered the "classic" James Bonds. As far as I'm concerned you can choose your side in that debate, but I won't be joining you. I simply don't care. I've decided that my favorite Bond movie and perhaps my favorite Bond actor is the 5th James Bond.
You did know that 5 different actors have played James Bond in the "official" movies didn't you? Let's recount them, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and most recently Daniel Craig. And that other guy. What was his name? George Lazenby. On Her Majesties Secret Service, possesses the deepest story line, some of the best acting and directing and you probably never heard of it. That's because Lazenby, a relative nobody with very little acting experience got a big head and let his ego kill off both his place in the 007 franchise and his acting career. Had he stuck around there never would have been a Roger Moore as 007.
Back to "The Two 007's". One of the points I found interesting in the post is the assertion that the character of 007 has become a bit of a wimp over time. At first that is hard to swallow. James Bond is all about unrealistic chase scenes, cool gadgets, blowing stuff up, super villains, drinking vodka martini's, banging smoking hot girls and breaking the rules as a secret agent. What could be more manly than that? Doing all that stuff as a space cowboy secret agent? As I considered the point further I decided that I have to agree.
Connery, Lazenby, Moore, played a James Bond that knew what he was doing, knew what he wanted, knew what he valued, knew what he loved (more so Lazenby) and knew WHY they did those things. The latter Bonds, knew what they were doing, as in they are very competent secret agents, but they don't seem to know why.
Pierce Brosnan probably spent more time playing the role of a clandestine operator because of his time as Remington Steel. Even with that, he still comes off as a bit of a metro-sexual. Daniel Craig's James Bond makes me wonder if Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten fathered a three way bastard with Ellen Degeneres.
Despite having better technology, more refined film making techniques and all the right stuff, its not your grandfathers James Bond. In my minds eye I can go back to the set in 1960 and see Sean Connery chuckling to himself over his line "it's Pussy, Pussy Galore", and then taking a long drag on his Churchill sized Monte Christo. I can also picture him doing the nude scenes and enjoying it. When his wife screened the movie I'm sure he either a.) lied to her outrageously or b.) told her how much he outrageously loved doing it because it got him ready for her. Either way I'm sure he both enjoyed doing it and faced the music, like a man.