By John V. Brennan and John Larrabee

These are some thoughts the writers of this site have had about various aspects of James Bond over the years, expressed through emails. These do not represent everything we feel about everything Bond, so please do not think we hate Roger Moore. 

WE SIX, WE BOND OF BROTHERS

Sean Connery

"Never was an actor so perfectly cast in a role, never one so universally accepted. I like Connery in just about anything he does but my God, he was magic as Bond. Basil Rathbone may have PLAYED a great Sherlock Holmes, but Connery WAS Bond. Looks, mannerisms, delivery, the way he held a gun or kissed a dame - he was everything James Bond ever could be, and everything you ever wanted him to be."

****

"He becomes James Bond as we know and love him before the opening credits (of Goldfinger) roll. You've got a building blowing up, a naked lady, and the bad guy in the tub getting fried like a fritter all in the first five minutes, but the focus is entirely on Bond -- as if they were saying, 'The first two films were fine warmups, but here's the guy you'll get to know and love, ladies and gentlemen, Bond, James Bond!'. Was there ever a moment that defined Bond's screen image more perfectly than Connery's body language as he's checking his watch and lighting his cigarette as the building blows up in the background? For those ten seconds, you know you are looking at the coolest dude on the face of the planet, and you know why no one will ever replace Sean Connery."

George Lazenby

"From a woman's perspective, perhaps my wife put it best about Lazenby: 'He has a James Bond look, but he doesn't have James Bond looks'."

Roger Moore

"Even when exciting things are happening, they cut to a close up of his face and he has a look of consternation that says to me either 'Gee, this high speed chase is surely going to muss my hair" or "Boy oh boy, is my colon blocked up today!'"  

****

"His Bond was all fluff and winky charm, earthy masculinity be damned."

****

"I've realized another thing that bugs me about the Moore films.They're all overly-lit like a '70s sitcom (think Brady Bunch) or a Universal disaster flick. As if every room Bond walks into is lit by 50 100-watt bulbs, none of which cast any shadows. And Roger Moore always looks orange."

Timothy Dalton

"His is a quiet, intense Bond, and Dalton brings enough complexity to the role that you feel this is a guy who harbors loads of secrets and mixed emotions that he keeps in check. But he's also an example of why being a fine actor does not necessarily mean you have star quality. He's a better actor than Connery or Clark Gable, yet he just doesn't make for a mass-appeal Bond or Rhett Butler (yes, I suffered through SCARLETT). So I look at his two Bond films as ones they did "for the fans" who just want a tough, rugged, intelligent Bond and don't give a damn about star quality."

Pierce Brosnan

"Brosnan is an okay Bond, but he has to act to convey toughness--it doesn't come naturally to him  as it did Connery or Dalton."

****

"It's like your wife said one time about Lazenby - he looks like James Bond, but he doesn't have James Bond looks.  Or something to that effect.  Or maybe Woody said it to Groucho."  

Daniel Craig

"And is it just me, or am I the only one who thinks Daniel Craig just might turn out to be a great Bond?"


RELEASE THE UNDERWATER BOND! : BOND CLICHÉS

"It occurred to me that at least half the Bond films must have a scene with Bond stalking someone in the woods at night." 

"Here are some other things found in many Bond movies...
 
1) A shark. 
2) Bond goes underwater, and of course encounters bad guys on those cool underwater thingies. There is also much ripping off of face masks and cutting of oxygen lines. 
3) A villain or a henchman says something like "He must be dead by now.  Let's go."
4) Bond skis or winds up on a ski slope. 
5) Bond jumps on a plane, or out of a plane. 
6) Q says "Now do pay attention, 007."  Oh, and Bond or someone else accidentally fires off one of Q's toys. 
7) Bond is about to be killed and suddenly a shot rings out - the assassin dies -- surprise, it’s the girl and she's got a gun!
8) This is a cliché of all action films, but it is especially prevalent in Bond films. Three guys with machine guns shooting at Bond, and they manage to hit the dirt, the tree, the side of the truck... they hit everything except Bond. Then Bond turns around and shoots one bullet out of his Walter PPK and hits somebody square in the heart from 100 feet away." 

****

"Like STAR TREK, the Bond films also break one of the cardinal rules of military or scientific-type operations: maximum utilization of space. Labs, submarines, airplane cockpits, control rooms, etc., are all cramped, busy little spaces in real life. In the Bond films, you've got places like Blofeld's massive underground launch facility, and Dr. No's nuclear control room, with spacious areas devoted to maybe five buttons and a panel of flashing lights. And like every other Bond villain’s quarters, it's filled with signs that say things like DANGER: FORBIDDEN ZONE in 10-foot tall letters."

****

"The scene where Bond checks his hotel room for bugs and peepholes is ruined by having The James Bond Theme blast throughout. You need quiet, suspenseful music for such a scene, like some rumbling on the low notes of a vibraphone. The Bond Theme is what you use for chase scenes and for things that blow up real good. I kept watching that scene with the music blaring away, laughing and saying, 'He's walking around a hotel room, fer chrissake!!'" 

"I crack up at the same point.  In DR. NO, the same thing happens. He's just walking down the hall to his hotel room, and those stupid horns are blaring the riff in the background. Jesus, all the bad guys in the hotel have to have heard that! Why not just hang a sign on him that says 'Superspy'?"  

****

"As I was watching FRWL, I realized that the greatest scene in all the James Bond films, the one where Bond is on his knees in his cabin, pooping in his pants, and Grant has a gun pointed at his heart, is also the biggest Bond cliché of all --- the scene where the villain, certain of the fact that Bond is going to die, blabs the entire scheme. It took me about a dozen viewings before I realized this, because the scene is so well done and so full of tension."


THOUGHTS THAT WEREN'T RECYCLED FOR OUR REVIEWS

You Only Live Twice

"What was their promotional tagline for this film? 'Bad dubbing! Cheesy special effects! Bored Connery! And our biggest budget ever!' "

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

"It has everything except Connery, which is like saying a Marx Brothers film has everything except Groucho."  

Diamonds are Forever

"I figure DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is as bad as a Bond movie should ever get - any movie that falls below that line is a chore to sit through."

Moonraker

"Pretty cool villain... All through it, he is doing the classic 'Ah, Mr. Bond, I would love to watch you die, but I must go blow up the Washington Monument' schtick (and very well, I might add) while all around him there are more sight gags and bad puns than you find in BOB HOPE AND DANNY KAYE MEET THE THREE STOOGES."

"I guess I liked it as much as I can like a very stupid movie."

Never Say Never Again

"[Connery's] still James Bond, but this is James Bond in a world where Hugh Hefner is no longer the epitome of hip -- and, for me, it works just fine. Biggest problem I have with that movie is that they couldn't get the rights to the original James Bond music, and the cheezy score from that film always sounds like it came from an episode of STARSKY AND HUTCH."

A View to a Kill

"Moore just looks so horrible you want to reach into your TV screen and grab Walken and say 'Stop torturing this poor pathetic old man.'"

"Roger Moore's age was the least of my problems with AVTAK. I swear, they made that one up as they went along." 

The Living Daylights and License to Kill

"THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is the more typical Bond film, and there is much fun to be had, but LICENSE TO KILL is the much better film, though there is little "fun" here (unless exploding heads and death by giant mechanical cocaine processor is your idea of a good time.)"  

Die Another Day

"I like the idea that the villain has a diamond-encrusted face and lives at the North Pole.There's the kind of bad guy Ian Fleming would have come up with."

"How can you start a movie like this and then say 'Okay, now we have an invisible car!'?"


After the Credits

"Hugh Grant as Bond? Maybe if they set the films in the 18th century and Q gave Bond a dart-shooting handkerchief he could pluck out of his sleeve."

****

[Sean Connery] doesn't have his bushy Bond brows in [Hitchcock's] MARNIE, he has thin little snake-like ones."

"He did that so Blofeld wouldn't recognize him. And you'll notice it worked - Blofeld didn't show up at all in MARNIE." 


THE BEST OF BOND MUSIC
(Updated 2017)

     Chosen by John B. This is a list of not just the best opening themes, but the best songs or instrumentals to be associated with a James Bond film. And that includes the 1967 version of Casino Royale, which had two very good pieces of music.

1: "Goldfinger" sung by Shirley Bassey
2: "Live and Let Die" performed by Paul McCartney and Wings
3: "The James Bond Theme" instrumental by by Monty Norman
4: "The Spy Who Loved Me", sung by Carly Simon
5: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", instrumental by John Barry
6: "The Look of Love" sung by Dusty Springfield
7: "Casino Royale", instrumental, performed by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass
8: "We Have All the Time in the World", sung by Louis Armstrong
9: "Thunderball", sung by Tom Jones
10: "Tomorrow Never Dies" ("Surrender") - sung by k.d. lang over end credits of film.

Honorable mentions: The instrumental version of "From Russia With Love", Adele's "Skyfall", the chase theme "007" and the unused vocal versions of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (recorded by Dionne Warwick and Shirley Bassey), which was supposed to be the theme song to Thunderball.

Copyright © 2017, John V. Brennan, John Larrabee.  All Rights Reserved.

007 Page   The Secret Vortex