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Old 10-14-2021, 06:02 PM   #1
zen007 zen007 is offline
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Default Fleming books and Bond films

Fleming and Bond films. A thread to connect Bond films with Fleming's material. Additionally, will attempt to chronicle the history of Bond films and also see if there is a perfect Bond film.

The books and early Bond films were not 100% standalone as we will read later on below.



1960s - In the 60s, we saw the films rely on a lot of Fleming materials apart from You Only Live Twice.



Dr. No (1962). From what I recall, the book was based on a screenplay therefore chosen as the first adventure to film. Maybe the producers had issues with "Thunderball" (first choice as the first film), which was also written as a screenplay first. Parts of the film may appear like a TV movie but is still fun to watch and has some iconic moments.

From Russia with Love (1963). Some tweaks were made to the film version (SPECTRE v SMERSH for example). The story continues with SPECTRE also wanting to avenge Dr. No. For the most part, the film holds up well. Dated/slow moments include the helicopter and boat chase at the end.

Goldfinger (1964). In the book, GF was a SMERSH agent. The film is more or less standalone. The Switzerland segment is among the best in the franchise. However, in 2021 the 3rd act from when Bond lands in Kentucky may feel dated or TV movie-like. The film is better than the book.

Thunderball (1965). "Thunderball", the book, introduces SPECTRE. Like Terence Young directed FRWL, this film holds up well for the most part. The disappearance of the plane reminded me of the disappearance of MH370. Fiona, as femme fatale is interesting. Sports the iconic SPECTRE meeting in Paris. Underwater sequences are too many though. The film is a stylish Bond adventure.

You Only Live Twice (1967). The first film with a major departure from the book. It also creates continuation issues as "On Her Majesty's Secret" Service takes place before this book. We "see" Blofeld for the first time. Today, this film feels like a mixed bag as it has some great moments mixed with some dumb/dull ones. The great moments still keeps this film relevant. Also a cultural tour of Japan.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). After YOLT, EON goes back to following the book closely with some tweaks. Presents a continuation issue as in the previous film, YOLT, Bond had met Blofeld (the books' order is TB-OHMSS-YOLT). Best to view it as an adventure after TB. OHMSS, like FRWL and TB, holds up well for the most part.



1970s - In the 1970s, we begin to see major departures from Fleming books apart from mostly using titles, characters, and locations.



Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The film appears to continue from YOLT where Blofeld escapes and Bond pursues him in DAF's PTS (can be seen as a continuation of OHMSS as well but the producers clarify that with the PTS in FYEO). The film has some good moments especially early on and some dull moments especially once Bond lands in the US. However, the score still remains among the best Bond scores.

Live and Let Die (1973). A fun adventure film. Has many memorable moments. The score is among the best non-Barry scores.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). Remains a mixed bag. Highlights include Scaramanga and his island. Bond searching for the island in a seaplane looks spectacular.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Now we are getting into the territory where only the Fleming book title is used. However, the producers went all out to make a great Bond film and it pays off. We finally arrive at a perfect example of a big Bond villain film.

Moonraker (1979). A film that can be said to be a polar opposite of the book. The film can provide some fun moments when in the mood for such an easy-going Bond film.



1980s - In the 80s, we saw films that utilize/build on Fleming material.



For Your Eyes Only (1981). A very good adaption of Fleming short stories - "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico". Bond and Melina being dragged in water is from the book Live and Let Die. The PTS makes the film appear to begin from where OHMSS ends.

Octopussy (1983). Octopussy is connected to the key character in the book "Octopussy". "The Property of a Lady" is used brilliantly in the film. Q gets an extended field assignment.

A View to a Kill (1985). A case where mostly the Fleming book title is used. Elements from earlier Bond films are rehashed. An exception is the horse race and breeding elements taken from the book - "Diamonds Are Forever".

The Living Daylights (1987). The sniper was a woman segment is based on the short story - "The Living Daylights". Another brilliant example of a film that builds upon the short story. TLD is the last big Bond cold war film shot during the cold war.

Licence to Kill (1989). This film mixes various parts of Fleming's books. The torture of Leiter is from the book "Live and Let Die". Bond working for Sanchez is from the book "The Man with the Golden Gun". Milton Krest is from the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity". Like in Octopussy, Q gets to be in the field.


Like the 60s, we saw 80s Bond films rely a lot on Fleming's material. Therefore, I enjoy most of these films.



1990s - In the 90s, we went back to the 70s with films being by and large inspired by other Bond films (and indirectly using Fleming's material in some cases).



GoldenEye (1995). A mix and match from other Bond films. Grigorovich is similar to Octopussy' Orlov (against the interest of Mother Russia), Onatopp a la Fatima of Never Say Never Again. The final act is a mash-up of the end in YOLT and TMWTGG.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). An attempt to be 90s TSWLM.

The World is Not Enough (1999). More or less a fresh story. Apart from the action sequences, overall, this is a solid film. We see M's extended presence in the field as well.



2000s - In the 2000s, films go back to utilizing material from Fleming.



Die Another Day (2002). The villain story arc is taken from the book "Moonraker", a brilliant book whose materials/characters are utilized in not so brilliant films like Moonraker and this one. I hope that a one-off period film is made based faithfully on "Moonraker", which is one of the best Bond novels.

Casino Royale (2006). A 21st-century take on the first James Bond novel. After The Spy Who Loved Me, we arrive at another almost perfect Bond film.

Quantum of Solace (2008). Uses a Fleming short story title to create some sort of continuation with Casino Royale.



2010s + No Time to Die - A mixed bag where we see both - good use of Fleming material as well as its destruction.



Skyfall (2012). The part where Bond is out of MI6 and returns is based on the book "The Man with the Golden Gun". The 2nd half is more like a Silva film, which is not a bad thing if you like Javier Bardem and his performance.

SPECTRE (2015). Annihilation of the relationships created in Fleming's Bond books.

No Time to Die (2021). The poison garden concept from the book "You Only Live Twice" was finally utilized in a Bond film. I usually wondered how that would be used and NTTD did a good job with it.
[Show spoiler]In the book "From Russia with Love", it is implied that Bond dies at the end (recovers in the book Dr. No), here we see that concept being used on Bond as well. However, I would have preferred Bond, Madeline, and Matilda to happily drive away to "We have all the time in the world".
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Old 10-14-2021, 08:40 PM   #2
RCRochester RCRochester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zen007 View Post
Dr. No (1962). From what I recall, the book was based on a screenplay therefore chosen as the first adventure to film. Maybe the producers had issues with "Thunderball" (first choice as the first film), which was also written as a screenplay first. Parts of the film may appear like a TV movie but is still fun to watch and has some iconic moments.
The issues were that Kevin McClory, who was the producer/co-author of the original aborted film project that became Thunderball, sued Fleming and obtained the film rights. The 1965 movie was a collaboration between McClory and Eon.
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RCRochester View Post
The issues were that Kevin McClory, who was the producer/co-author of the original aborted film project that became Thunderball, sued Fleming and obtained the film rights. The 1965 movie was a collaboration between McClory and Eon.
Yes.....they wanted to go with THUNDERBALL as 1st Bond Film but besides...

Lawsuit, THUNDERBALL required 'huge' budget compared to DR.NO budget of

1 million. Even FRWL wasn't possible as budget doubled to 2 million.

in the hindsight, THUNDERBALL was finallly allocated approx $9.5 to 10 Mil

after seeing 1st 3 Films Bond Phenomenon. It needed GOLDFINGER blockbuster status to secure THUNDERBALL budget and Panavision anamorphic filming.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:10 PM   #4
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in the hindsight, THUNDERBALL was finallly allocated approx $9.5 to 10 Mil
Yeah, a blessing in disguise as TB could get significantly more budget (9x) than Dr. No.
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Old 10-14-2021, 08:58 PM   #5
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This is a great idea for a topic, and timely for me because I've been reading the original novels in publication order and watching the corresponding film/commentaries averaging about 1 month. Currently I'm in the midst of 'From Russia, With Love"
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:28 PM   #6
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In the Bond film universe, from the story and/or tone (not necessarily characters) PoV, below could be a meaningful watching order:


a) DRNO -> FRWL -> TB -> OHMSS -> FYEO

In the above, you start off with Dr. No, who works for SPECTRE, and Sylvia Trench (a nice character). In FRWL, you meet Sylvia Trench and learn about SPECTRE wanting to avenge Dr. No. In TB, you go deeper into SPECTRE. OHMSS has an extended role for Blofeld, who you assume would have fled at the end of TB when Largo is killed. At the end of OHMSS, you see an injured Blofeld fleeing. FYEO opens with Bond paying his respects and a disabled Blofeld (implied) in a wheelchair. The tone of OHMSS and FYEO is similar.

b) YOLT -> DAF

At the end of YOLT, Blofeld escapes. In DAF, Bond pursues Blofeld in the PTS. Since Bond is shot in the PTS of YOLT, one can begin the above with GF to account for all Connery and build a base for Bond before watching him get shot in the PTS of YOLT.

c) GE -> TWINE

The tone of the two films is similar. TWINE can be seen as continuing from GE. Both have "Russian" elements as well.

d) Craig films


e) Unless you care about characters such as Sheriff Pepper (LALD->TMWTGG), Jaws (TSWLM-MR), Jack Wade (GE-TND), Leiter (LALD-LTK), etc., other films can be watched in any order.




As for books, if you do not want to read them chronologically, one should still try to maintain the order below:

a) SPECTRE trilogy: TB -> OHMSS -> YOLT. You can add TMWTGG (a relatively short book. It is believed that Fleming was still working on it.) as it begins from where YOLT ends.

b) The Caribbean adventures: LALD -> DAF (Optional for Leiter) -> FRWL (Optional and not a Caribbean adventure but the end is tied to Dr.No) -> Dr. No


Other books can be read in any order.
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:29 PM   #7
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Is Bond the new Star Wars?
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:46 PM   #8
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I’ll just say the first 4 bonds set such a high bar in entertainment. They are fantastic films period that just happen to be great Bond films too.
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Old 06-21-2022, 03:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Iíll just say the first 4 bonds set such a high bar in entertainment. They are fantastic films period that just happen to be great Bond films too.
Terence Young, who is said to understand Bondís character well and even coached Connery, directed 3 of the first 4 so may be it is no coincidence that Young directed films hold up well even after so many decades.
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Old 06-21-2022, 08:46 PM   #10
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James Bond: drunk as a boiled owl

https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7255

4-5 times the recommended limit per week. The equivalent of almost two bottles of spirits before the car chase in the novel Casino Royale, which did not end well. Best shot in the Secret Service? At things no one else could see maybe, or perhaps best at shots.

The cinema Bond is a lightweight by comparison, drinking less than a third of what the literary charcter put away
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