Daniel Craig's public statements that he is done playing James Bond have re-ignited the debate about whether we need yet another white guy playing the character (*cough*). The AV Club asks not only whether we need another white guy, but whether we need Bond to be straight, young, British, or even remotely sane.
The Subtext Buried In Seven Great Movie Chess Scenes: "So let’s go one level deeper into some iconic movie scenes that involve a chess match. This exercise involved a lot of pausing and rewinding and probably wouldn’t have been possible without 1080p. To pick apart these cinematic chess clashes, we also spoke to chess grandmaster Robert Hess, a former U.S. national championship runner-up, and turned to the raw silicon-powered strength of the chess engine Stockfish. (We showed Hess the positions over email, without telling him anything about the movies the games were from.)" [SL538]
Dying To Eat, food photographer Henry Hargreaves and creative director Charlotte Omnès recreate the meals from the James Bond novels
Spectre teaser trailer An ominous teaser trailer to Spectre. Keep your ears open at the 1:01 mark. An interesting choice of scene to feature.
The first James Bond on film is a forgettable character, from a time when the US wasn't so sure about Ian Fleming's first story, Casino Royale, and US publishers went to so far as to re-title the story to try and increase sales. In fact, the 1954 hour-long live teleplay was largely forgotten, lost until the 1970s when it was re-discovered at a flea market. "Card Sense" Jimmy Bond was portrayed as an American, played by Barry Nelson, who didn't know much about the character. The rights for the story was picked up inexpensively, produced as one of many stories in the Climax! anthology program. You can watch it online, and compare this 1954 production against the two other film versions of Casino Royale, the 1967 spy-spoof that came out just before the fifth serious Bond spy film, and the 2006 "canonical" version from EON Productions, the makers of the Official Bond movies.
Maybe you know Tom Jones' theme from Thunderball. Funny thing: before they decided on that track, there was "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" sung by Shirley Bassey. And also sung by Dionne Warwick. And somewhere along the line, Johnny Cash had a turn at writing a Thunderball theme. Welcome to the wonderful world of James Bond themes that never were. [more inside]
Ever Say Never Again: On the History and Future of James Bond, by Brian Philiips [previously]
I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used "terrible" six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. A year before his death, James Bond author Ian Fleming explained how to write a thriller.
Pierce Brosnan Plays GoldenEye 007 with Jimmy Fallon [SLYT] Jimmy Fallon fulfills a childhood dream by playing the Nintendo 64 video game GoldenEye 007 against former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.
A Soviet take on Rambo (brief clip; Rutube) is "unique in its violence and anti-Americanism." A Russian point of view on James Bond remarks that "so widespread was the interest in Bond that an official Soviet spy serial ... was released." But the spy novel / miniseries Seventeen Moments of Spring (somewhat digestible in 17 highlights with commentary: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17) is for interesting reasons not a Soviet counterpart to James Bond or Rambo. See also Seventeen Moments fanfic, two pages of jokes about its hero, and how he figures in the present. [more inside]
"London has become a literary playground: a project by the National Literacy Trust has scattered 50 book-shaped benches across the capital for the whole summer, each dedicated to an iconic London-related author or character." (The Guardian). The BBC report about the literary benches; the full list of benches from the Books about Town website. CNN has a slideshow that includes a nice photo of the Paddington Bear bench in use.
Ed Brubaker on Velvet (his new comic book series with Steve Epting): “I loved the idea of flipping the typical male-oriented spy story, and doing one about a woman who was also a mature, middle-aged woman.” [more inside]
Bonding over Bond: Superego’s Matt Gourley and Matt Mira of The Nerdist Podcast love James Bond so much they decided to make a podcast about it. Each episode they invite a guest to take a serious — and seriously funny! — deep dive into “the greatest film franchise known to man.” Oh, and it's called James Bonding! (Of course there are Paul F. Tompkins epsiodes, why do you ask?) [more inside]
A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island," or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours. Last year, Google trekker walked the island, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment called Hashima Island: Forgotten World, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
Birds of the West Indies. Artist Taryn Simon (previously, previously, previously) has a work of photographs of James Bond's gadgets, guns, cars, and women. The work is currently showing at this year's Carnegie International, and has an accompanying book. Info at the main link, and a more thorough gallery here.
Ranking all the James Bond movies from the universe where Bond faced off against all of Batman's villains
The BMJ analysis of 007's alcohol consumption.
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
Steven Soderbergh shares his thoughts on his favourite James Bond film, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. [more inside]
Who would win in a fight to the death between the original Terminator and the Alien Queen? One redditor has done the math and provided the definitive answer. The match-up was proposed by a small community on reddit called Who Would Win, which passionately discusses the probable outcomes of epic battles unlikely to make it to the big screen. Other popular head-to-heads include Batman vs James Bond, Professor Charles Xavier vs Freddy Krueger, a Jedi Knight vs four Daleks, and even Hobbes vs Snoopy.
The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America Warning: Contains spoilers for Chronicle on the last page.
Which James Bond villain has the most plausible schemes?
The new James Bond movie, Skyfall, has largely been well received by critics some of who have suggested that the film is less sexist than its predecessors. Others have disagreed and stated that the new film has is quite problematic and may be "abandoning the moral intelligence of the times". Giles Coren, writer for The Times, put forth a piece that calls Skyfall "a sick, reactionary, depressing film". The Times refused to run the piece saying that "it was about James Bond and there's been too much Bond". So Coren's wife and fellow journalist, Esther Walker, agreed to run the piece in her blog.
Whenever a new Bond film is released, the promotional push for it is huge. Sony, which is distributing the movie in many territories, has taken the bull by the horns with this one and commissioned a text adventure game loosely based on the character of James Bond.
Bond 50 - SFX Magazine has been recapping all 22 "official" Bond films, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace in the run up to Skyfall (critical reation, trailer).
The new James Bond outing Skyfall, has been discussed on the blue before. Today, on Global James Bond Day, the 50th Anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the theme song sung by current sensation Adele has been released. [more inside]
How to find the express route to a job like Commander James Bond - without getting hidebound by desks, petty blackmail, IT support, the heavy drinking embassy cocktail party circuit or an HR policy that frowns on you killing people. But you are going to have to drive an un-obtrusive car and teach yourself about cards, suits and seduction in your own time; sorry.
From Russia With Love is not unsophisticated. You are. Matt Zoller Seitz on whether older films are corny. [the comments are also worth a read]
Like James Bond movies? And box office grosses? And visualized data? Then today is your lucky day.
DoubleOh DoubleOh. (SLYT) 193 out of the 196 instances of someone saying "Double Oh" from all 23 James Bond films.
I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady's gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25. - The letter that changed James Bond's gun, and gave his armourer a name.
For most of his 81 years, Sir Roger Moore has played invincible leading men. "But behind the scenes he has cheerfully hidden a list of real (and imagined) ailments.You are late,’ says Sir Roger Moore in a deep growl. I apologise. I had thought the interview was at nine o’clock. ‘I am just off to the funeral parlour,’ he continues." [more inside]
"...because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, who's boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to the young lady I sent out to evaluate you."
James Bond star Daniel Craig in drag for International Women's Day. Daniel Craig wears women's clothes for a short film about sexual inequality for International Women's Day, narrated by Judi Dench, who plays M in the 007 films. [more inside]
RIP John Barry, composer of the soundtracks of 11 James Bond films and many others including Midnight Cowboy. He won Oscars for Born Free (for best song and best score), The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. [more inside]
Max Spaiser of The Suits of James Bond presents: The Template for 007. More on Dr. No costuming: 2-eyelet derby, 2-button turnback cuff, trilby.(Clothes on Film previously)
SLNPRA (Single Link NPR Audio) on the MGM bankruptcy. Will Bond succumb to a "lack of shelf space"? [more inside]
Is James Bond past his sell-by date? What’s the difference between ’suspended indefinitely’ and officially dead? When it comes to James Bond and the planned twenty-third movie featuring the character, it can be difficult to tell. We’ve known for months that EON Productions had suspended development on the film thanks to MGM’s financial troubles, but now there’s a report circulating that the film is officially dead. But is it really? [more inside]
After the fiasco of their premier episode - a lavish live production of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera - CBS's Climax! Mystery Theater was looking to adapt something less high-profile. Say, the debut spy thriller by a struggling British journalist willing to let the rights go for $1000. The result: 1954's "Casino Royale", starring Barry Nelson as Jimmy "Card Sense" Bond of American intelligence, Michael Pate as his British counterpart Clarence Leiter, and Peter Lorre as the first-ever Bond villain. Now on Youtube 2 3 4 5 6
Todd Alcott has written in-depth analyses of Inglourious Basterds (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and Death Proof (1, 2, 3) that are pretty nifty. [more inside]
So, for about two years now, Will Chapman of BrickArms has been creating a wide variety of custom Lego minifigures, ranging from World War II soldiers (both Axis and Allies) to a certain copyrighted British Secret Service agent. One of Chapman's more popular creations is "Mr. White," a "bandit" brimming with weapons (including an AK-47 and RPG) and grenades. This week, the Sun ran a story. Then Fox News ran another. [more inside]
Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish of Adam & Joe fame put forward their proposals for the theme tune for the upcoming Bond film Quantum Of Solace
Spy music! Whether it's Lalo Schifrin's theme for Mission Impossible, or Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Man from U.N.C.L.E., or the greatest of them all, John Barry's iconic James Bond theme, you know it when you hear it. Now, for my money, the best spy music in recent years wasn't from a spy movie at all, but an animated superhero film: the action-packed theme and soundtrack for The Incredibles, in which the very talented Michael Giacchino was clearly (and brilliantly) channeling John Barry. And of course, you'll all want to head over here and see what your fellow MeFiers have lately been doing with the genre. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care sees the return of the literary James Bond to the 1960s. Published on May 28th in celebration of creator Ian Fleming's Centenary, the 007 brand name will also be back on the big screen in November - with Daniel Craig's second outing as the British Secret Service Agent in Quantum of Solace. [more inside]
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