I’ve just watched four bios’ on Ian Fleming and about 7 of the old Bond films.
ARTICLE BY JEFFREY A. FRIEDBERG
I’ll go on and watch more films, although in my mind none of them can surpass the first four (4) originals with Sean Connery. These were:
1. Dr. No (1962)
2. From Russia With Love (1963)
3. Goldfinger (1964)
4. Thunderball (1965)
After the initial four films, which I saw in theaters when first released, I believe those that followed ran downhill as fast as possible. Stories not actually written by Fleming don’t even register on my scope.
Connery became worse and worse-looking. By the time he was 53, in Diamonds Are Forever, he looked ten years older, with a horrible, flat hair-hat, and the franchise had become a bad joke.
It’s impossible for me to explain what it had been like to “discover” James Bond, in Dr. No, in a half-empty theater, back in America’s Golden Age.
The closest thing might be comparing it to the giant starship passing overhead in the opening scene of Star Wars. But even that pales.
Yes. Connery had to go. And there followed a flurry of “new” Bonds, culminating in Daniel Craig.
Daniel Craig is NOT Bond. He’s some other character. The Craig character is a near-superman, can climb impossible heights like a mosquito, and can practically walk on water. He has also hinted he’s no stranger to gay sadomasochism.
In the Craig/Bond films, “M” became a woman; “Q” became a young nerd; Miss Moneypenny became a black woman. And a lead “Bond Girl,” became a half-white, self-loathing, Liberal. Yet, she mimics the classic stride-from-the-sea, of a Nordic, Ursala Andress (Dr. No.)
MEMO TO THE BOND FILMAKERS: do NOT screw around with Mythology. You can NOT change or alter a myth—not even a modern one.
No. What you have in that case is at best a new myth, or just another story with some other character in the lead.
Bond—James Bond, was a Myth. He sprang living from the head of Ian Fleming, in 1953. He was a Hero, and warrior, but no Hercules or demigod. “M” was like a god, but was no Zeus. “Q” was a trickster, but was no Loki or Prometheus. Miss Moneypenny was a thief who could always locate Bond or get him the “ball of yarn” he needed, but she was no Ariadne.
Yet, they were all players in a modern Myth.
Myths are designed to tell us how to behave; or how not to behave. They tell us to what we should aspire; or avoid doing.
Once a myth is created, it cannot be uncreated. You can make new myths, but you should never—and can Not—screw around with the old ones.
No, film makers—James Bond can not be black, or Muslim, or gay, or lesbian, or wheel-chair-bound, and such actors can not portray “M,” or “Q,” or Moneypenny, or even poor old Felix Leiter, who seems to have been played by a different actor in almost every Bond film.
Because, if you do that—Something will get you.
It will transpose itself from the world of myth into reality and change your life.
You are free to create new characters and new mythologies—of all races, inclinations, and manifestations—but leave the Myth of James Bond alone.
Or Something will—out of spiritus mundi—Get You :)