Fly Me To The Moonraker; A Farewell To Michael Lonsdale


Another sad day for the Bond family has descended upon us as Hugo Drax actor Michael Lonsdale boarded Moonraker 5 for the final time and ascended to the stars. 

It’s unfortunate Mr. Lonsdale starred in Moonraker, as his portrayal of Drax is one of the best in the series. I say this is a shame since most of the Bond fandom’s glitterati have posited the “universal truth” that this film is garbage and to be ignored. Were it not for this snobbery, Michael’s performance would get the accolades he deserves. Thanks to Michael, Drax is at once genteel and urbane as well as vicious, threatening and unhinged. I’ve said before that The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker were essentially the same plot and while TSWLM was overall the better film, with all due respect to Curt Jurgens, Drax was by far the better villain thanks to Lonsdale.

I must also give a tip of the hat to Lonsdale for is performance in another favorite espionage film of mine Ronin, appearing as Jean Reno’s compatriot and builder of Samurai miniatures.  

My warriors may be small, but they’re mighty.

So join me in raising a glass of Bollinger to one of the best and most underrated actors to grace the Bond franchise! 

Or tea if you prefer.

  4 comments for “Fly Me To The Moonraker; A Farewell To Michael Lonsdale

  1. Great post. Michael Lonsdale was very much an excellent and underrated Bond villain. He played Drax as someone who was a maniac but who looked bored with people of lesser intellect than himself.

    I agree that Moonraker is an underrated Bond movie. Although it does contain some moments of silliness – for example, the gondola sequence – it has some of the best scenes in the Bond series – the opening parachute scene and the centrifuge scene.

    Moonraker also contains some of the wittiest and most memorable dialogue in the series, which Michael Lonsdale (and Roger Moore) delivered with aplomb. In fact, my favourite Bond line of all is Drax’s “Look after Mr Bond….see that some harm comes to him”.

    • Thank you Gareth, yes the film has a few scenes which let it down, double taking pigeon anyone, however as you say the dialogue is stupendous, I also enjoy the “look after Mr. Bond…” line but my favorite has to be, “Mr. Bond, you have the inevitable tediousness of an unloved season,” classic!

      • That is a great line too. There are some witty lines in the ‘Remo’ movie, which Chrisopher Wood penned.

        By the way, I’m beginning to think that the continual delaying of NTTD represents a failure of nerve. The producers probably could have released it in the Northern Hemisphere summer but now Covid cases are increasing in the colder months. Probably DC doesn’t mind, as he is still the current ‘Bond’ but it’s not helping the cinemas much. I would have thought that Broccoli and co. should have accepted that they’re not going to make such a huge profit but at least they could provide some ‘entertainment’ for the public in tough times.

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