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July 17, 2003

Best Bond and Bond Girls

The Flea is a Bond fan to the point of making irritable corrections of television game shows mis-identifying Dr. No as the first Bond film. I would be willing to bet nine out of ten Flea-readers know the correct answer to that one...

An anthology of essays commemorating the fiftieth-anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale should be right up my street.

Meticulously described, and greatly entertaining to read, the sheer pleasure-value of Bond's myriad "games" should not allow us to overlook their deadly seriousness. Winning, for Bond, is a necessity, both physically and psychologically. His entire personality and sense of self-esteem are constructed around and depend upon his sense of invincibility. To lose spells complete and irrevocable ruin. . . . 007 provides, in that sense, the literal enactment of Zarathustra's proclamation that "The devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger and play dice with death."

This holds such an uncanny familiarity, or unheimlich (mis)recognition (to get into the spirit of things), they could have been reading the Flea's diary. But this fails to answer the crucial issue of which Bond film was the best.

The answer, of course, is...

... On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Obviously. Yes, it isn't a Connery Bond and we all know they are the best as a group. But I point to Live and Let Die as an excellent Moore Bond even if he is playing it for fun. Timothy Dalton was such a misguided choice I hardly acknowledge they happened and I have enjoyed the Brosnan Bond except for that last-but-one which was about a pipeline and quite boring.

The Lazenby Bond has been badly misunderestimated. He was drinking, smoking and womanizing and was laddish/boorish enough to be the only Bond to admire an issue of Playboy, then considered a chic yet risque publication. Furthermore, OHMSS had the best Bond Girls ever as it featured Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg. Jane Seymour's Solitaire is, of course, the best Bond Girl ever but she is out-numbered by OHMSS. It is a serious oversight on my part that there has been no Jane Seymour Week at the Flea™.

And then... there is the matter of the first Bond film. A poor choice of words for the Flea! I should have said something more ambiguous along the lines of "Bond's first screen adaptation." Casino Royale was a 1954 CBS television adaptation of the novel. I have never seen it. Despite Flea-hero Peter Lorre's presence as a Bond villain it sounds horrendously misconceived. Jimmy Bond is an American secret agent drinking and gambling with his British opposite number Clarence Leiter.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 17, 2003 01:16 PM

Comments

Yep, especially as we've come back to the remake of BS:G. Who was on BS:G One--Jane Seymour!

Seriously, if you want a good overview of the scenic aspects of Bond, cast your mice towards...

http://www.jamesbondmm.co.uk/index.html

...and pick the "Bond Women" link!

My favorite: Coraline Munroe!

Posted by: FredKiesche at July 17, 2003 06:29 PM

I cannot believe I forgot Jane Seymour was in Battlestar Galactica. It was a formative viewing experience for me. Now thinking about next week's posts...

Posted by: Nicholas Packwood at July 17, 2003 07:18 PM

Okay, I must be reader number 10. If not Dr. No, which was the first Bond film?

Posted by: Grognard at July 18, 2003 02:26 PM

I must have been typing quicker than I was thinking as the word "film" was a over-statement. Even so, there was a Bond before Connery... all is now revealed at the end of the post.

Posted by: Nicholas Packwood at July 18, 2003 03:04 PM