On the first hand, Bond loses a large amount of cash. Vesper is furious. During a break in play, Obanno and a henchman turn up and threaten to cut off Le Chiffre’s girlfriend’s arms with a machete. Le Chiffre does not flinch, but Bond hears her screams. Bond takes them on and, in a fight in a stairwell, kills them. Mathis gets rid of the bodies.
The next day, Bond loses all his money to Le Chiffre. Vesper won’t fund him further. However, one of the other players will. It is Felix Leiter of the CIA. In return, Bond must give Le Chiffre to the CIA. At the table, hisBond’s fortunes revive. But Le Chiffre’s girlfriend poisons Bond’s Martini with digitalis, inducing heart failure. Bond manages to get to his car. Communicating with medical specialists at MI6 headquarters, he applies a defibrillator from the car’s medical kit, but passes out. However, Vesper arrives in time and shocks him back to life.
Shaken, Bond, returns to the table. In the final hand, Bond and Le Chiffre bet their remaining money for a pot that has climbed to well over $150 million. Le Chiffre has a full house with three aces and a pair of sixes. But Bond reveals he has a straight flush and wins the game.
Over Bond has dinner with Vesper, Bondhe names his favourite cocktail a Vesper and receives news that the CIA are about to close in on Le Chiffre. However, Le Chiffre kidnaps Vesper. Bond races after them in his Aston Martin, but has to swerve violently when he sees Vesper lying bound in the road. The car rolls several times, knocking him out. Bond is stripped and tied to a chair with the seat cut out. Le Chiffre beats Bond with a knottedknocked rope, demanding he tell him the password for the account where the winnings are lodged. Bond refuses. Finally, Le Chiffre draws a knife and is about to castrate Bond when there are gunshots. The door opens and Mr White appears. He kills Le Chiffre with a single shot to the forehead.
Bond wakes up in a hospital bed. During his During his recuperationion, Bond has Mathis arrested, suspecting he betrayed him. Vesper then agrees to go to bed with Bond. The Swiss banker holding the winnings visits and Bond gives Vesper the password to key in – it is her own first name. Bond declares his love for her. During a holiday with Vesper, he resigns from the Service. They sail to Venice. M calls, asking why the winnings have not been deposited with the Ttreasury. Bond discovers that Vesper is withdrawing the money from a bank in St Mark’s Square. He follows her to a meeting where she hands over the money to a sinister man. He spots Bond, who chases them into a dilapidated building. In a fire-fight, Bond shoots into the flotation tanks that holding the building up. As it collapses, Vesper is caught in a lift. Bond is unable to extricated her. She locks herself in and drowns, while Mr White makes off with the cash.
M explains that Vesper had a boyfriend who had been kidnapped and she had been forced to hand over the money. Now that Vesper has been found to be the traitor, M wants to release Mathis. Bond says that just because Vesper was guilty does not mean that Mathis is innocent.
“Keep sweating him,” he says.
It seems now that Bond trusts no one. M is pleased, but asks Bond if he needs more time to get over Vesper. Hardened by his experience Bond callously says that it doesn’t matter: “The bitch is dead.”
But M says Vesper had has sacrificed her life in exchange for his. From Vesper’s cell phone, Bond traces Mr White and shoots him in the leg.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
While Casino Royale is an adaptation of the Fleming novel, Quantum of Solace owes nothing to the short story of the same name. However, it follows on directly from the preceding movie. The film opens with Bond driving down a road in Italy. A car follows. Inside there is a gunman who opens fire. Bond disposes of his pursuers in typical style. Arriving in Siena during the Palio, Bond opens the bootk of his car to reveal Mr White.
In an MI6 safe house, M updates Bond on Vesper’s boyfriend, Yusef Kabira. A body carrying his ID was washed up on the coast of Ibiza. However, M had a DNA check done and found. iIt wasis not him. and M concludes that he is still alive. They interrogate White about his secretive organization which, apparently, MI6 knows little about.
“We have people everywhere,” says White.
M’s bodyguard, Mitchell, pulls a gun, kills the MI6 guard and attempts to assassinate M. A stray bullet hits White. Bond pursues Mitchell over the rooftops and kills him.
Bond heads to Haiti to track down Mitchell’s contact, Slate. After a fight, he kills him. As he is leaving the hotel with Slate’s briefcase, Bond is picked up by a woman named Camille Montes. He learns that Slate was ordered to kill Camille Montes by her lover, Dominic Greene. Mistaking Bond for Slate, Camille tries to shoot him, but misses. Bond follows her to the waterfront where he has a meeting with Greene.
Greene is doing a deal with a Bolivian general named Medrano:; he will help Medrano stage a coup in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of desert. He gives Camille to Medrano to sweeten the deal. As they head off on Medrano’s boat, Bond rescues her, despite her protests.
Bond then follows Greene to a private jet, which flies him to Austria. On the plane, Greene meets with the CIA section chiefs for South American Gregg Beam and Felix Leiter. Greene produces a picture of Bond and asks the CIA to kill Bond. Beam agrees, while Leiter pretends not to recognize him.
Greene runs a seemingly innocent ecological organization called Greene Planet. But Bond discovers he is also head of an secret society called Quantum, which is. They are holding a meeting at the opera via tiny radio microphones and ear pieces given to guests in gift bags. Bond steals one of the bags and breaks into the meeting, telling members of Quantum that they should probably find a more secure place to meet. This panics them and they get up to leave, allowing Bond to photograph them.
After a shoot-out in a restaurant, Bond pushes a member of Special Branch, the bodyguard of Guy Haines, an adviser to the British Prime Minister, off a building. He is then killed by Greene, and Bond is blamed. M cancels Bond’s passports and credit cards. Bond travels to Italy to met René Mathis, who soon forgives Bond for having him arrested and tortured. Mathis then accompanies Bond to Bolivia to investigate Greene’s business dealings there. In La Paz, they are greeted by Ms Fields from the British Consulate, who tells Bond that he must return to the UK on the next available flight. Bond disobeys and seduces her in their hotel suite.
Bond meets Camille again at an ecological fund-raiser being held by Greene, where she is embarrassing her former lover in front of wealthy donors. When Bond and Camille leave together, they are pulled over by the Bolivian police who find a bloodied and beaten Mathis in the trunk of their carhis trunk. As Bond lifts Mathis out, the police open fire and fatally wounding Mathis. Bond takes his revenge.
Bond and Camille drive out into the Bolivian desert and hire an old Douglas DC-3 plane to investigate from the air. They are intercepted by a fighter and helicopter gunship. Bond downs them both, but the DC-3 is crippled and he and Camille escape by parachuting into a sinkhole. While finding a way out, they Bond and Camille discover that Quantum is not after oil as everyone suspects. Instead it isthey are stealing the country’s supply of fresh water by damming subterranean rivers. Camille reveals that General Medrano murdered her family and she was trying to take her revenge.
Returning to La Paz, Bond finds M there and learns that Quantum have murdered Fields, drowning her in oil to throw them off the scent. M orders Bond to hand over his gun and has him arrested. Bond escapes. He defies M’s orders to surrender. M tells her men to watch him because she thinks he is on to something. She still has faith in him.
Although the CIA isare out to kill him, Bond arranges to meet Felix Leiter at a local bar. As American special forces move in, Leiter tells him that Greene is paying off Medrano and the police chief at Greene Planet’s eco-hotel in the Bolivian desert. At the meeting, Greene forces General Medrano into signing an overpriced utilities contract allowing Greene to supply water to Bolivia.
Arriving at the hotel Bond kills the police chief for betraying Mathis. A hydrogen fuel tank is hit, setting off a series of explosions. Camille stops Medrano raping a hotel maid, then kills Medrano. In the burning building, Bond fights Greene. He rescues Camille from the conflagration and captures the fleeing Greene. After interrogating him, he dumps Greene in the middle of the desert with a can of motor oil, telling him that he bets heGreene will make it no more than twenty miles across the desert before he considers drinking it. Bond drives Camille to a railway station, where she wonders what she will do now her revenge is complete. They kiss and she departs.
Bond goes to Kazan in Russia, where he finds Yusef Kabira. He is with a Canadian agent named Corinne; he has even given her a necklace like the one he had given Vesper. It is clear that Kabira is a member of Quantum who seduces women in sensitive positions, such as Vesper. M is surprised when Bond does not kill Kabira, but leaves him alive for questioning. As Bond walks off into the night, he drops Vesper’s necklace in the snow.
The film ends with the famous gun barrel sequence that traditionally opens Bond films. Then the credits roll.
Chapter 6 – M and Friends
In Ian Fleming’s books there is no mention of MI6. However, in Live and Let Die, Bond mentions that they are “always rubbing MI5 up the wrong way” and “stepping on the corns of Special Branch”. Inter-agency rivalry goes even further in the film Quantum of Solace when Bond throws a Special Branch officer off a roof.
Throughout the books, Fleming and Bond talk of the Secret Service, or the British Secret Service. England had an organization collecting foreign intelligence going back at least to the second half of the fifteenth century. Thomas Cromwell ran secret agents in Europe for Henry VIII and Sir Francis Walsingham maintained a network of fifty secret agents abroad while principal secretary to Elizabeth I.
However, today’s Secret Intelligence Service has its origins in the Secret Service Bureau set up in 1909 by the Committee for Imperial Defence in response to the growing threat of German naval expansion. It was often known as the Secret Service, the SS Bureau or even the SS. The Bureau’s Home Section was to counter foreign espionage and eventually became MI5, while the Foreign Section collected secret intelligence abroad and became the Secret Intelligence Service. However, in a modern liberal democracy no parliament is going to tolerate a secret organization that is not answerable to the electorate outside wartime. So the SIS later masqueraded as MI6 under the pretence that it belonged to military intelligence.
Indeed, during World War I, the Foreign Section did fall under the Military Intelligence Directorate and was known as MI1(c). Its first head, Commander (later Captain Sir) Mansfield Cumming RN, signed himself simply as “C” in green ink, a practice continued by his successors – and, indeed, by M. During the war, it carried out successful operations behind enemy lines in Belgium and France and made an important contribution to the Allied victory. However, Cumming did not enjoy being under the auspices of the War Office, which curtailed his independence, and, after the war he, managed to engineer the return of the Service to the Foreign Office. Until his death in 1923 Cumming maintained a lively interest in the tradecraft of spying, experimenting personally with disguises, mechanical gadgets and secret inks in his own laboratory.
Although SIS was cut back following World War I, it survived because of the need to combat the spread of Soviet Communism, then of the Nazism. During World War II, it became Section 6 of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, consequently MI6, before being returned to the Foreign Office after the end of hostilities.
SIS agents were given five-digit code numbers. It appears there were no double-O agents, though. After the publication of The Human Factor in the 1978, the author Graham Greene, himself a wartime agent, was upbraided by former SIS chief Sir Richard White who complained that MI6 did not go about killing people. Nor did it work under the cover of “Universal Export”, though its former headquarters at 54 Broadway, just opposite St James’s Park tube station, bore the brass plaque of the Minimax Fire Extinguisher Company for many years.
The headquarters near Regent’s Park isin Fleming’s invention, though the SAS does have itstheir HQ there. In the movies, the head office of Universal Export is usually somewhere inaround Westminster, so the shot can get Big Ben in the background. That way, viewers will know they are in London.
The SIS only officially came into being in 1994 with the passing of the Intelligence Services Bill. Since then its chief has been named and its headquarters on the Albert Embankment at Vauxhall is hardly a secret. The building appears in the opening sequence of The World Iis Not Enough. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the SIS – as it still likes to call itself – sees its role as countering “regional instability, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and serious international crime”. These are exactly the tasks James Bond had taken on in the recent movies.
Bond’s boss M borrowed his single-letter descriptor from Cumming’s C. But the letter itself was out of bounds. In 1932, Compton Mackenzie was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for writing about C in a book about his adventures in British intelligence in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek Memories. However, Fleming knew other spymasters who identified themselves by their initial, including three Ms.
One was Major-General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins who became head of SOE in 1943. A career soldier, he had been with the Allied intervention force in Russia in 1919, then fought in the Anglo-Irish War of 191991-21. In 1939, he helped set up MI(R), where he prepared manuals of irregular warfare which would be dropped, in translation, across occupied Europe to aid the Rresistance. In August 1939, he flew to Warsaw to brief the Polish General Staff on sabotage and subversion. After liaising with the Czechs and the Poles in Paris, he returned to England to raise “independent companies” – the forerunner of the commandos – which he later commanded in Norway, where Peter Fleming saw action. Back in England, he was in charge of setting up “auxiliary units” of civilians who would operated behind German lines if Britain was invaded. He then became SOE’s head of operations and training. As its head,, he found he could not sign himself G as the initial was in common use in military acronyms. C was also taken. So he took M from his middle name. Ian Fleming would have known him as he liaised with SOE.
MI5’s Maxwell Knight also signed his memos “M”. He had been in the British Fascisti before joined the security service in 1925. He then used his contacts to break spy rings on both the left and the right. Married three times, he used attractive young women as his agents, though he was convinced that “more information has been obtained by women agents by keeping out of the arms of the man, than was ever obtained by sinking too willingly into them”. However, one of his agents – and would- be lover – Joan Miller characterized him as an anti-Semitic homosexual, though he was vehemently anti-gay. He was a jazz aficionado who had been taught the saxophone by Sidney Bechet, a fan of the occult and friend of Aleister Crowley. Knight was also, the author of two hard-boiled crime novels and, as Uncle Max, a radio and TV naturalist, who also wrote such books such as How to Keep an Elephant and How to Keep a Gorilla. Although they never worked together, Fleming would have known of him and Miller believed that Bond’s M was an amalgam of Knight and Fleming’s boss at Naval Intelligence, Admiral John Godfrey.
The third M was in the spying game before C came along. Irish-born policeman William Melville was one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Irish Branch, now known simply as Special Branch. His job was to foil bomb plots by Fenians and anarchists. He thwarted the 1887 Golden Jubilee Plot to assassinate Queen Victoria, learnt how to pick locks from Harry Houdini and recruited Sidney Reilly, the so-called “ace of spies” who was believed to have been killed by the Soviets in 1925. It is thought that the detective in Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel The Secret Agent is based on Melville. Fleming himself was interested in the fate of Reilly. When, towards the end of World War II, reports from Russia suggested that Reilly was not dead, but had been reprieved on the understanding that he would give the Soviets information about British Intelligence, Fleming gave instructions for a report to be obtained from Brigadier George Hill, best man at one of Reilly’s numerous bigamous weddings and a British agent who hadve been liaising with the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, since 1941. Hill was living in Bad Neuenahr in Germany at the time and proved elusive when attempts were made to contact him.
In 1903, Melville retired from the police force and went to set up a new intelligence section for the War Office, another forerunner of MI5. There he adopted the code name “M”. Under the pseudonym William Morgan, he recruited agents in Germany. When the Secret Service Bureau was established in 1909, he co-ordinated theboth Home and Foreign Sections. Although he died in 1918, Fleming would have known of him as Melville was still part of the enduring legend of the Secret Service when Fleming joined Naval Intelligence.
Fleming also knew a famous Z. This was Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Claude Dansey who, as a sixteen-year-old, had been seduced by Oscar Wilde. He was recruited as a spy while serving in the Boer War. After losing his money in the Wall Street CCrash, he worked for SIS in Italy, keeping tabs on Mussolini’s Fascist movement. Finding the service incompetent, he resigned, allowing the rumour to circulate that he had been sacked for stealing. Meanwhile, he used his contacts to set up a rival operation known as Z Organization after his own code name, Z. When two MI6 agents were captured by the Nazis in the Dutch border town of Venlo in September 1939 and the whole organization was compromised, the Z Organization took over and saved the day. Assistant to the then C, Stewart Menzies, Colonel Z co-ordinated MI6’s activities throughout the war. Dansey gets a name-check in From Russia With Love, when Darko Kerim mentions that a Major Dansey was his predecessor as head of Station T.
M’s real name only comes out gradually in the books. In Moonraker, his first name, Miles, is revealed during a conversation with Lord Basildon, chairman of Blades. Then at the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun, to prove that he is James Bond, 007 tells liaison officer Captain Walker that the head of department is Admiral Sir Miles Messervy. This again leads to the suspicion that M is based in part on Fleming’s wartime boss, Admiral John Godfrey, a suspicion confirmed in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where Bond visits M at his home, Quarterdeck and Fleming notes that the knocker on his front door is the clapper from the brass sea-bell of a former HMS Repulse, “t, the last of whose line, a battle-cruiser, had been M’s final sea-going appointment”. The Repulse was Admiral Godfrey’s last command before he became becoming head of Naval Intelligence. At one point, Godfrey had asked Fleming to be his biographer. Fleming declined. As it was, Godfrey was less than flattered by any comparison. He complained after Fleming’s death: “He turned me into that unsavoury character, M.”
But there is another anomaly here. In Bond’s obituary in You Only Live Twice, M says that it was only at the end of the war that he “became associated with certain aspects of the Ministry’s work”. The Repulse had gone down in December 1941, so what had he been doing for three -and -a -half years?
William Stephenson, head of SIS in New York, could also have been a model for M. There is also a lobby for Maurice Buckmaster, head of the French Section of SOE as well.
Kingsley Amis noted a stern but paternal streak in the relationship between M and Bond. In the short story “For Your Eyes Only”, for example, Bond is prepared to kill for M over what is, essentially, a private matter. M has a voice or demeanour, Fleming notes, that it is alternately angry, brutal, cold, curt, dry, frosty, gruff, hard, impatient, irritable, moody, severe, sharp, short, sour, stern and testy. It is also a voice that Bond “loved and obeyed”, according to Live and Let Die. Could M have been a fantasy version of Fleming’s own long-dead father? Amis even cites the Oedipus myth when, at the beginning of The Man wWith tThe Golden Gun, Bond returns after a long absence in a distant land and tries to kill M. In the event, Bond is rehabilitated rather than disciplined. But Fleming’s biographer John Pearson has a more intriguing theory: “There is reason for thinking that a more telling lead to the real identity of M lies in the fact that as a boy Fleming often called his mother M … While Fleming was young, his mother was certainly one of the few people he was frightened of, and her sternness toward him, her unexplained demands, and her remorseless insistence on success find a curious and constant echo in the way M handles that hard-ridden, hard-killing agent, 007.”
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, we discover that the old sea-dog M would prefer to live by the sea, near Plymouth or Bristol perhaps. But as he had to be within easy call of London, he had chosen the next best thing – a small Regency manor -house on the edge of Windsor Forest. It was on Crown lLands and Bond had “always suspected that ‘Grace and Favour’ had found its way into M’s lease”. As head of the Secret Service, M earned £5,000 a year, with the use of an ancient Rolls- Royce and a driver. A pension from the Nnavy would give him, perhaps, another £1,500. In the 1950s and 1960s, this would have been a decent salary. However, it did not explain how he could afford to be a member of Blades, where a candidate had to show that they had £100,000 in cash or gilt-edged securities. Nevertheless, the club kept bottles of his favourite cheap Algerian red wine “Infuriator” for him, though the committee would not allow it on the wine list.
At home, it is served by Hammond, M’s chief petty officer on the Repulse, who had followed M into retirement. Hammond’s wife does the cooking at Quarterdeck, though M usually seems to have dined at his club. At home, M “had one of the stock of bachelor’s hobbies” – he painted water colours, according to the book On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, though butterfly collecting is substituted in the film. Both at home and in the office, M smoked a pipe. And in The Man wWith the Golden Gun, we learn that M is not the first head of the Secret Service. After Bond’s attempt to assassinate him, M turns to his Cchief of Sstaff and says: “My predecessor died in that chair.”
In Colonel Sun, the first post-Fleming novel, M is kidnapped from Quarterdeck and Bond goes to great lengths to rescue him. Then in John Gardner’s novel Win, Lose or Die, in 1989, M has a daughter and grandchildren – there was always the intimation that he was a widower. Hammond and his wife were killed in Colonel Sun. Now he has acquired Mr and Mrs Davison as household staff. According toBy Raymond Benson’s The Facts of Death in 1998, M has “two daughters from the marriage that few people knew about” – including, apparently, Ian Fleming. One is Haley McElwain, who married an American, but is now divorced. She has two children, nine-year-old Charles and six-year-old Lynne, thought it is clear she cannot be the same daughter mentioned in Win, Lose or Die. By then M has retired from the Service. Bond remains a friend, though continues to address him as “sir”.