What makes Bond…Bond?

What makes Bond…Bond?

What indeed? Though every writer, or journalist that
has chimed in on the Casino Royale—debacle (?) is
scribing thoughts from their perspective, and/or point
of view, I hope as I also do the same, I will still present
a balanced view of what makes James Bond tick, and
that you also recognize similar in why we like him so
much. He is after all, a movie hero, and an icon. Dare I
say an institution?

Consider that Fleming touched a nerve in us, fifty-three
years ago with Casino Royale, his first novel, and when
JFK said he enjoyed From Russia With Love, Bond in
novel form really took off. Like any writer (me included)
he did some basing of the character upon himself and
some of his exploits and experiences in life, and it

Fleming described Bond as a half-Scot, half-Swiss man
standing 6-feet tall, weighing 187 lbs., with a brawny
build, thin scar down his right cheek and blue-grey
eyes. In fact, when Bond became intense, often when
about to manhandle a woman, his eyes were described
blue slits. This was the motif that Bond producers,
Saltzman and Broccoli would look for. I know first hand
that Bond scribe, Tom Mankiewicz. said any actor to
play James Bond, had to be at least six-feet tall. All
actors to date have been more on the 6’ 2” level. Now
you know the criteria or standard that was originally set.

Enter Sean Connery, the
brawny Scotsman, who
intrigued the producers with his cat like movements and
sass. Great Bond should always have sass (not sarcasm)
usually delivered in clever one-liners that convey
character and move the story forward, or at least they
did once upon a time. Consider the master of them all,
the Big Tam, himself had the best of all, right from the
start: “Tell me (to Dr. No.) does toppling American
missiles really compensate for not having any hands?”
“Well, congratulations on your promotion, Goldfinger
(whose still in general’s uniform). Are you having lunch
at the White House too?” When Bond is late for a
meeting at the Home Secretary’s office, with M and the
other 00’s, over the stolen nukes, in Thunderball, he
mutters under his breath, “Somebody probably lost a
dog.” These are just a few of the fabulous one-liners
that made Bond—Bond!

Like Pierce Brosnan, I have hated and downright
loathed most of the one-liners said in his films, with
Halle Berry’s, “Oh, I got the thrust of it,” and Bond’s
closing line in The World Is Not Enough “and here I
thought Christmas only comes once a year.” I believe
the term is called a
groaner. There were many in the last
of Roger Moore’s films, and I don’t really remember any
in Dalton’s films. This by the by is just one of my many
criticisms of the Spiderman movies. Having grown up
with the original 1967 animated TV series and in my
opinion the best Spiderman period, Spidey had SASS!
His favourite line, and mine, “ Couldn’t happen to a nicer
guy.” As said after he bagged his villain at the end. And
then the way he would sass J.J. Jameson, with Jameson
blowing a gasket every time. It was funny and fabulous.
How could we not love Spidey? Of course there was this
fabulous theme song that is really never used in the
films like it should be. It is just a throw away (which we’
ll cover later). Can any of you hum the new music? I
thought so. Hopefully by now, you are getting that how
your character lives and breathes matters as to how
he/she will leave a lasting impression on you. The
reason that there are remakes besides lack of
imagination is that the movies, and TV shows from the
past had something to them that made them a cult
classic or at least memorable.  

I will take exception to the idea that Bond needs the
“layers peeled back.” Connery told and showed volumes
of information about Bond. Think about how he reacted
when he found Kermin Bey dead. We could see how he
felt though he kept his cool professionalism up front,
until he near ripped the sliding door open to a surprised
Tania, and then got rough with her. This over emoting is
hurting the flow of the story and character. It hurt
Superman. The first movie, with Christopher Reeve, had
the right balance of emotion and seriousness in it. None
of these characters are robots, but they only need to
emote just so much and then stop. How about keeping a
compelling story moving and going forward? Just a

So, I doubt if anyone would argue that Sean Connery
James Bond, or was, but is the definition and
mold/model that is set in stone and should, if not, must,
be followed. I would say that nothing else would do. Of
course it’s fair for a new actor taking on the role to
bring something to the role, and by nature has no choice
as in acting we all play ourselves just a bit. It’s our
being that breathes life into a character, though a
character can and will do things we ourselves would
never contemplate. But, Sean’s Bond is long gone, on
the order of decades, and fair enough, yet again, the
pattern has been set. Bear in mind that half of the U.S.
population saw Goldfinger, in 1964. Not even possibly
Star Wars has even come close to that many tickets sold
at a cinema near you. I think the point is powerfully

Bond, as in the movie existence had great people behind
him. Terrance Young molded Sean into the gentleman
agent we all came to love. His refining process was top
notch and still holds up. Maurice Binder’s shot down the
gun barrel, and Monty Norman’s most awesome of
movie themes, even to this day, with a follow up with
John Barry’s legendary scores. Not to be forgotten are
the scribes who penned the screenplays. So much of
that is lost now, but friends, this is part of the
composite picture I am hopefully painting for you to see
what made Bond—Bond! It’s many different elements
linked together with craftsmanship and imagination.
Yet, you without knowing it, take it for granted. Yet, for
the most part is a subconscious expectation you now
require when you take your seat in the cinema.

I think it is truly worth considering the actors who have
and now could play Bond, for I tend to cringe when I
read and hear of who should be the next James Bond.

To start with, I have never seen such a miscast as
Daniel Craig. Yet, to tell you the truth, when it was
rumoured that Pierce Brosnan was being considered for
the role, after the departure of Roger Moore, back in the
mid 80’s, I with gritted teeth yelled, “NO!!!!!” Then I
calmed down and said, as if I had any say on the matter,
but still interjected my personal requirements, that one,
he get his hair properly cut, two, gain 30 pounds of
muscle, as he had a chest more like Olive Oil than Sean
Connery. Three, that he drop his voice an octave. My
wife calls it a
dark chocolate brown voice. Pierce did gain
some muscle and his did look far better in Tomorrow
Never Dies onward. The voice, well I guess 1.75 out of 3
ain’t bad. Yet, in style and charm he’s Bond. And I must
give him kudos that he handles himself with wit and
savvy and toughness on the whole quite well. Yes, I do
miss him. On a personal level, I just like the man, as a
person. As much as I and many of you would love to see
Pierce return to the role he was born to play, I don’t see
him wanting to spend so much as a moment in the
company of Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
Would you?

If any of the new Bond choices were also chosen, I
would have the same nasty reacting I did, or still do to
Daniel Craig. Get real, Orlando Bloom IS NOT James
Bond. Neither is Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Clive
Owen, Ewan McGregor, or any of the current
heartthrobs. It’s more than emotion, but also an
intuitive feel and texture that makes an actor: James
Bond. I know you think they may be close, but with all
due respect to these fine actors, and to your entitled
opinions, they are not the right persona of James Bond.
In fact, the only actor, after Pierce that I have noticed
that could play James Bond in a believable and
trustworthy way is Gerard Butler. Not so much as his
outing in the last Lara Kroft movie, but more in his
portrayal of the Phantom. He was smooth and suave,
but also a man of action. And he had, well on occasion,
as he was singing much of his lines, the dark brown
voice, less the Scottish brogue. Give it some thought.
Remember, Terrence Young worked with and honed
Sean to bring out the full potential of Bond in him. It’s a
process; a composite picture, from the actor to the
music, to the sets, locale, to the story as a whole.

I want to talk about Colin Salmon. I love this actor, but
as I reject a blond Bond, a black Bond would not work,
as Bond is not black, nor blond. Just as brown-eyed
Brandon Routh wore blue contact lenses to keep
Superman blue eyed, similar attention should be geared
for the character, especially an iconic one. Incidentally,
Roger Moore is not blonde. He has light brown hair,
which I have always wished he had darkened it up for
the role.

I don’t know if any of you saw Colin in a fabulous TV
show called: Keen Eddie, but he played the Chief
Inspector at Scotland Yard and was just great on the
show. It only ran for 13 episodes before reality TV took
its spot, with more Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
shows to bombard us. I am still outraged by Bravo and
NBC/Universal for doing this and taking away a true
unique and smart, funny and truly entertaining show
from us, which is typical of Hollywood anymore.
Hollywood is full of M.G.W.’s and B.B.’s that think they
know how to make a movie. In the case of Michael G.
Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, if they were not born into
this business from daddy Cubby, they could and would
have never found themselves in such a position of
power and control, of the greatest franchise that has
ever existed. They simply are not qualified. My evidence
is empirical. Just look at the films!

In regard to Colin could well play his own character that
is an MI-6 agent. I have a small role for him to play in
fact, in my up coming British comedy. He would be
great. It is a small role, but a great one, and it would be
fab to work with him. Heck, I’ll even design a show for
him later. He is a treat to watch.

I think that Casino Royale will draw in the few curious
moviegoers, but that’s about all. Could I be wrong?
Sure, I could. If the Bond character had not been so
indelibly inked into my soul, then there would not be
this fuss, with me at least. But, it has been imprinted on
me to the degree that it has to be right, as in correct, to
make it work.

In the States, they just had an election, which many of
the comments were that the Republicans lost so many
seats in Congress, because they failed to listen to what
the people wanted. They weren’t hearing the masses. I
drew a similar picture in my first article about how
Hollywood and politics are alike in that they like to tell
us what we want, instead of the other way around. In
the end, the people do the telling.

I have now read where Barbara Broccoli said that they
were looking to make a more realistic Bond, with this
reboot, yet she and her people are the ones that brought
us an invisible car. Yes, the technology is being
developed, but you have to be careful of over
gadgetising these movies. Let Bond sweat! No more
lasers in the watch rubbish! Please! I think back to the
plot of Die Another Day. Here was a perfect and
beautiful example of Bond being caught and then traded
by the North Koreans. Perfect. But, bringing in DNA
body changing and Icarus was totally unnecessary and
downright stupid! Sorry folks but it was. It was way too
corny. Think of the great adventure/thriller/political
thriller we could have had instead of the “dumbing
down” movie we saw. It is Barbara and Michael G.
Wilson and their hack writers that brought all of this
mush into what could have been a very compelling
story. They don’t listen, we don’t need super gadgets;
just a few will do.

I would have loved for Bond to have actually tried to kill
M, as they borrowed this scene from the novel: The Man
With The Golden Gun. Wow! That would have and could
have been a real story, with Bond working to get his
mind clear and redeem himself. THAT was the movie we
should have seen, the human element at its best and
worst. Bond’s breaking point. I would have rather seen
Bond escape, but in a more severe manner and contact
the last true friend he has on the planet…Felix Leiter!
Jinx could have been sent to help Bond, and then their
relationship could have moved forward. Her character
could have been a helper to Bond, which would have
made her a more endearing character. Bond is not even
close to being 100% again, but he continues to improve
as the story progresses, and of course it would be Bond’
s internal drive that keeps his steam rolling forward to
get himself back to his true self. Simple enough, you use
your resources.

The reason I mention it this way is because everyone
keeps yelling “more emotion, more human.” Well, here
in this capacity you would have had it. You would have
had a vulnerable Bond, who keeps fighting his brain
washing and its effects upon his mind.

Friends, as you can see there are alternatives to same
old, same old storytelling fare.  

Yes, I am a hard nose about good storytelling, structure
and logic in a movie. That’s just me.

All I ever will hope to achieve with these articles
besides a certain amount of venting for myself is to
raise awareness, and hopefully your standards. To hold
the art and science of storytelling to a higher standard,
whether it be in a novel, a TV show, or movie, and
especially the iconic ones. I just happen to have a 1960
printed copy of the novel Casino Royale, which I have
pulled off the shelf. As I recall there was NOT a lot of
info into Bond in this novel. I thought I would glean
boatloads of information on Bond, M, Moneypenny, etc.
but there was nothing like that. I do remember this was
the first time Bond and Felix Leiter meet. But, I shall
revisit it and see again. I wasn’t my favourite novel of
Fleming, but it is the one that started it all. I am also
reading Graham Greene, and I find I like him, but he
doesn’t go into detail, and I love details. I am a details
writer myself.

My final thoughts in this article are that there was a
time when Bond led the pack, with second, a distant
second. Now, he follows like the rest, feebly so, I’m
afraid. No longer does he set the trend, but looks to see
what others are doing and follows their course. Maybe I
shouldn’t care so much, like the rest of you, but yet, I

Oh, is CommanderBond.net—passé? As the Bonds of
before are now wiped clean, and Bond is no longer a
commander. How about Sergeant Bond? Surely you
would not suggest—Private Bond?  


S.P.E.C.T.R.E. No. 2

(SPecial—Executive for—Common sense—Talent—and—