Guide to James Bond



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Bond is offered a knighthood for his service, but refuses it. Instead, he accepts a better offer from Mary Goodnight, though he reflects that the love of Mary – or any other woman – would never be enough for him.
Octopussy and the Living Daylights (1966)

Fleming was already dead by the time The Man with the Golden Gun was published. But Bond did not die with him. The following year, Octopussy and the Living Daylights, a collection of short stories, was published. In “Octopussy”, James Bond turns up in Jamaica to interview Major Dexter Smythe, who admits to murdering Bond’s old ski instructor Hans Oberhauser at the end of the war to conceal the fact that he has stolen Nazi gold. On his way to feed his pet octopus – the eponymous Octopussy – Smythe is killed by a poisonous scorpion fish in what Bond assumes is a suicide.

In “The Living Daylights”, Bond is sent to Berlin where British agent 272 is coming over the Wall from the East. Bond’s assignment is to kill a KGB sniper called “Trigger”, who aims to kill the escaping agent. Bond spots that Trigger is a beautiful blonde he had seen earlier with a cello case. At the last moment, he alters his aim so that he hits the stock of her Kalashnikov and spoils her shot, rather than killing her as he has been ordered to. The local agent with him reports this insubordination and Bond resigns himself to being stripped of his double-O status.

In “The Property of a Lady” Bond investigates suspected double agent Maria Freudenstein. In The Man with theGolden Gun, she appears as Maria Freudenstadt, so one of the names is possibly a proof-reader’s error. She is about to auction an emerald sphere made by Fabergé, described by Sotheby’s as the “property of a lady”. Bond believes the head of the KGB in London will attend the auction to push up the price to pay her for her services as a double agent. Entering the bidding, Bond unmasks him and has him expelled as persona non grata.

Later editions of the Octopussy collection also include “007 in New York”, in which Bond visits New York to warn a former Secret Service agent that her new boyfriend is working for the KGB.

Chapter 5 – Bond: The Films
The 007 in Ian Fleming’s books is a man who does not like killing and occasionally suffers pangs of guilt. He gets nervous and sweats a lot, and is sometimes beset with bad dreams. None of this comes across in the Bond films – but then there is little interior life in English-language action movies. A number of actors have played Bond, each in their own way. However, no matter how different they may appear, the sophisticated womanizer, who is tough, cunning and determined and kills when he has to, is instantly recognizable throughout.
Casino Royale (1954)

Bond’s first outing on the screen was in 1954, when CBS’s Chrysler Climax Mystery Theater gave an hour-long episode over to Casino Royale. In it, “Jimmy Bond” was an American, while Leiter was British. Le Chiffre was played by Peter Lorre. As TV shows then went out live, audiences coast-to-coast saw Lorre get up after Le Chiffre had been killed and walk off towards his dressing room.


Casino Royale (1966)

007’s appearance in the 1966 version of Casino Royale was hardly more dignified. The feature film bears little relation to Fleming’s book. Following the death of M, Sir James Bond, played by David Niven (Fleming’s original choice for Bond), is called out of retirement to fight SMERSH. To confuse the enemy, all agents – male and female – are to be called James Bond, 007, including Bond’s nephew, Jimmy Bond, played by Woody Allen. Vesper Lynd, played by Ursula Andress, recruits baccarat ace Evelyn Tremble, played by Peter Sellers, to defeat SMERSH treasure Le Chiffre, played by Orson Welles, at Casino Royale. Tremble, as Bond, wins. Lynd is kidnapped. Tremble is tortured, mentally not physically, and Le Chiffre is killed by a SMERSH agent. There any similarity with the book ceases. Ultimately, Jimmy Bond is exposed as Dr Noah, head of SMERSH, and, implausibly, swallows a miniaturized atomic bomb which goes off, destroying Casino Royale. This was considered a spoof on the classic Bond movies produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli. They had acquired the film rights to Bond in 1961 through their company Eon Productions, then signed a deal to produce five movies with United Artists. Eon got a chance to produce their version of Casino Royale in 2006.


Dr No (1962)

The first of the Bond movies was to have been Thunderball, but the rights were enmeshed in legal wrangles with Kevin McClory at the time. So Saltzman and Broccoli began with Dr No, starring Sean Connery. This follows the plot of the novel reasonably closely, even down to Bond being forced by M to swap his Beretta for a Walther PPK.

Arriving at Kingston airport, Bond is picked up by a chauffeur ostensibly sent by Government House. Unmasked, the chauffeur commits suicide with a cyanide tablet. As Bond has not been to Jamaica before – in the films, at least – he does not know Quarrel, who is introduced, after a fight with Bond, by Felix Leiter. And as Leiter has not appeared before – and does not appear in the book – he has to introduce himself after disarming Bond.

In the film, the last person to see Strangways alive is Professor Dent, who conceals the fact that Strangways has picked up some radioactive samples from Crab Key, where Dr No, in the film, has a bauxite mine. But Dent is working for Dr No, who instructs him to kill Bond with a tarantula. It is the spider, not a poisonous centipede, that he puts in Bond’s bed.

Another embellishment concerns Miss Taro, the secretary at Government House suspected of removing the files on Dr No and Crab Key. Bond asks her out. On his way to her house, an attempt is made on his life, but his pursuers are forced off a cliff. She is surprised when he turns up, but is instructed by a phone call to delay him and does so by making love to him. Afterwards, he has her arrested. Bond then makes up the bed so that it looks as if someone is in it. When Dent comes in and shoots what he thinks is the sleeping Bond, Bond, who is hidden behind the door, kills him.

Then Bond and Quarrel head out to Crab Key. But Honeychile Ryder turns up on the beach, not naked like Botticelli’s Venus rising from the waves in the book, but wearing a white bikini. The crew of the dragon, which incinerates Quarrel, wear radiation suits. Back at Dr No’s lair, Bond and Ryder have to be decontaminated. Dr No, this time, has artificial hands covered in sinister black rubber gloves rather than pincers. During the obligatory scene where Dr No explains the plot, he mentions that he is working for SPECTRE, which is not mentioned in the book. However, SPECTRE first appears in the book Thunderball which came out in 1961, the year before the film Dr No.

Bond is beaten and put in a holding cell. He escapes through the ventilation system, but is not observed or tortured this time. Emerging in the decontamination room, he disguises himself in a radiation suit and makes his way to the control centre where Dr No powers his attack on missiles taking off from Cape Canaveral with a nuclear reactor. Bond overloads it, causing panic. In a fight, Dr No ends up in the vat of water that cools the reactor. His artificial hands can’t get a grip, so he can’t climb out and he boils to death. Meanwhile, Bond finds Honeychile pinioned to the floor of a spillage basin, where she has been left to drown. Bond frees her. As Dr No’s lair begins to blow up, Bond and Honey seize a boat and make off. Leiter and the Navy turn up to rescue them, but Bond slips the tow cable so that he and Honey can make love unobserved.
From Russia With Love (1963)

Dr No had been a low-budget picture, but it had done so well at the box office the budget for the next Bond movie, From Russia With Love, was doubled and more of it was shot on location in Europe, where Dr No had done particularly well. It also added two of the staples of a Bond movie – a title song and a pre-title scene. In a garden at night, James Bond is chasing and being chased by a blond assassin – Red Grant. Bond is caught and strangled by Grant. Then floodlights come on. A mask is pulled from the dead man’s face. It is not Bond at all. The murder has merely been a SPECTRE training exercise. It was producer Harry Saltzman’s idea to make it appear that Bond had been killed off before the movie had even begun.

Again SPECTRE is the villain here, though in the book it was SMERSH. Rosa Klebb has secretly defected from SMERSH to SPECTRE for a plan devised by chess grandmaster Kronsteen. In the book, Kronsteen works for SMERSH. The plot is to steal a Lektor machine – confusingly a Spektor machine in the book – and sell it back to the Soviets. Along the way they intend to take their revenge on Bond for killing SPECTRE agent Dr No. Klebb goes to SPECTRE island to recruit Grant, again by punching him with a knuckleduster in the solar plexus. She recruits Tatiana Romanova secretly in Istanbul by pretending she is still working for SMERSH.

Bond flies to Istanbul where the plot is reasonably faithful to that of the book, though Darko Kerim becomes Ali Kerim Bey, the underground route to the Soviet Consul goes through one of the underground Byzantine reservoirs, the gypsy girls in the cat-fight do not strip each other naked, scenes in Hagia Sophia on a ferry crossing the Bosporus are added, and Tatiana does not simply turn up at the railway station with the cryptographic machine. Instead when the Soviet Consulate is blown up, Bond grabs the machine and Tatiana. They make direct for the station where they are spotted, by accident, by Soviet agents and just one boards the train. However, as luck would have it, Red Grant is already on board.

After Kerim is killed, Bond arranges for Nash from Station Y to meet him at Zagreb. Grant finds Nash and kills him. Posing as Nash, Grant drugs Tatiana. He then disarms Bond and taunts him that SPECTRE has set Britain and the Soviet Union at each other’s throats. He also reveals that Tatiana knows nothing of the plot. She thinks she is working for SMERSH. Bond tricks Grant into opening the attaché case provided by Q which, in the movie, has a tear-gas canister inside. In the ensuing struggle, Grant is strangling Bond, when Bond gets the knife from the attaché case, finishing him off with his own garrotte.

Bond and Tatiana then leave the train to avoid being arrested at the border and make their getaway in Grant’s truck. Along the way, Bond destroys a pursuing helicopter. They then take a powerboat and head for Venice. Meanwhile Klebb and Kronsteen appear before the cat-stroking head of SPECTRE, who reminds them that he will not tolerate failure. Klebb finishes off Kronsteen with the poisoned blade in the toe of her shoe.

More SPECTRE agents are sent after Bond. Their bullets pierce the spare fuel drums on Bond’s boat. He cuts the drums loose, then ignites them with a flare gun, incinerating his pursuers. But in Venice, Rosa Klebb appears as a maid, enters their room and attempts to steal the Lektor. Klebb gets the drop on Bond, but the gun is knocked away by Tatiana. Klebb releases her poisoned toe-spike, but Bond pins her to the wall with a chair. Tatiana grabs the gun and kills Klebb. Afterwards, riding in a gondola, Bond throws the film of him and Tatiana in Istanbul overboard.


Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger’s pre-title sequence borrows from Bond’s musings at Miami airport in the book. But instead of killing just one Mexican drug dealer, he appears from the sea in a wetsuit and blows up the factory. Then he strips off the wetsuit to reveal a white dinner jacket, puts a red carnation in his buttonhole and goes into a bar. This is said to borrow from an operation in World War II where an agent, similarly attired swam ashore to join a Nazi party. In a back room, a dancer is having a bath. When she emerges to kiss Bond, an assassin attacks. Bond spots his reflection in her eyes. After a fight, he pushes him into the bath and throws in an electric fire. Then he says: “Shocking … positively shocking.” This marks the beginning of the quipster Bond who inhabits the films that follow.

The story begins with Leiter delivering a message from M to Bond at a Miami hotel, telling him to keep an eye on Auric Goldfinger. Bond foils Goldfinger’s cheating at gin rummy, not canasta, and beds his assistant Jill Masterson. Then he is knocked out by Oddjob and awakes to find Masterson dead, painted gold.

In London, Bond is briefed on Goldfinger’s smuggling activities. Q issues him an Aston Martin DB5 which has been modified with all sorts of gadgets, including an ejector seat. As in the book, Bond plays a game of golf with Goldfinger, but the stake in the film is a bar of Nazi gold. Again Bond out-cheats him and Goldfinger issues a warning by having Oddjob decapitate a statue with his metal-brimmed bowler.

Goldfinger flies his armour-plated Rolls direct to Geneva. Bond follows. He is overtaken by Tilly Masterson, whose car he disables with the DB5’s gadgets. Again, Tilly is out to avenge her sister. Her attempt to kill Goldfinger alerts the guards. After a car chase, she is killed by Oddjob’s hat as she tries to escape. Bond finds himself strapped to the table, not of a circular saw, but a high-tech laser. He escapes certain death by mentioning that he has overheard Goldfinger talking to a Communist Chinese agent about “Operation Grand Slam”.

Bond is drugged and flown to the US in a private jet piloted by Pussy Galore. At Goldfinger’s Kentucky stud farm, Bond overhears a meeting between Goldfinger and the mobsters, outlining the raid on Fort Knox. While having drinks with Goldfinger, Bond learns that the villain is planning, not to steal the gold from Fort Knox, but to irradiate it using an atomic bomb supplied by the Chinese, thus increasing the value of his own holdings.

Instead of having the nerve agent introduced to the water supply, it is to be spread by Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus, a team of women pilots. But Bond manages to seduce Pussy. The operation against Fort Knox seems to be going to plan, but once Goldfinger’s men have broken into the vault, the soldiers surrounding the depository wake up. They had only been playing dead as, after her brush with Bond, Pussy Galore had contacted the CIA who substituted a harmless substance for the poison gas.

Bond is locked into the vault handcuffed to the atomic bomb. He breaks free but is set upon by Oddjob, whose bowler cuts some electric cables. Bond retrieves the hat and throws it at Oddjob. He misses and it gets stuck between the bars of the vault. When Oddjob tries to retrieve it, Bond applies the end of a severed cable to the bars and electrocutes him. He then tries to disarm the bomb as the seconds tick away. With just seven seconds to go, Leiter arrives to switch it off. Meanwhile, dressed in an army uniform, Goldfinger escapes. He reappears on a private jet taking Bond for dinner with the President at the White House. In a tussle, his gun goes off, shattering a window. As the cabin decompresses, Goldfinger is sucked out. Bond and the pilot, once again Pussy Galore, bale out. Leiter and the CIA search for Bond in a helicopter. But he is far too busy making love to Pussy to be rescued.
Thunderball (1965)

By 1964 Thunderball was the biggest selling of the Bond books but, as a result of the lawsuit between McClory held the film rights. So Eon made McClory co-producer of their movie on the proviso that he would not make his own version of Thunderball for ten years.

The film begins with a funeral. On the coffin there are the initials “JB”, implying, again, that James Bond is dead. However, Bond is among the mourners. The funeral is for Colonel Jacques Bouvar, SPECTRE number six, who had killed two British agents. However, Bouvar is not dead either. He attends the funeral disguised as the deceased’s widow. Bond sees through the disguise, follows him to a nearby château and kills him, then escapes by jetpack and the Aston Martin used in Goldfinger.

The story begins in a health farm. There is no explanation for this and Bond looks perfectly fit. He runs into Count Lippe and recognizes the mark of the Red Lightning Tong on his arm. He searches Lippe’s room and is seen leaving by the man in the room next door whose face is swathed in bandages. There is the spinal traction–steam cabinet duel between Bond and Lippe as in the book. Bond then finds the bandaged man dead.

The dead man is François Derval, a NATO observer on V bombers. In his place is a SPECTRE agent, who gases the rest of the crew and lands the bomber with its payload of two nuclear bombs in the shallow water off the Bahamas, where it is camouflaged. Derval is killed by Emilio Largo, SPECTRE number two, who then hides the bombs near his house, Palmyra.

This time the communiqué from SPECTRE arrives by tape. M plans to send Bond to Canada, but Bond spots a picture in the file that shows Derval with his sister, Domino, who is in the Bahamas. Bond tracks her there and rescues her when she traps her foot while diving. She turns out to be Largo’s mistress.

At the casino, Bond beats Largo at baccarat and dances with Domino. Then he catches one of Largo’s henchmen checking out his hotel room. Largo has the man thrown in to a pool of sharks.

Bond and Leiter meet up with Q, who turns up with an underwater infra-red camera, a tracking beacon Bond must swallow, mini underwater breathing apparatus, a flare gun and a Geiger counter. Bond then dives under Largo’s yacht, the Disco Volante, and takes photographs of the door to its underwater compartment. Largo has is men depth-charge Bond with hand grenades. He escapes, only to be picked up by SPECTRE agent Fiona Volpe, who was François Derval’s mistress and the killer who disposed of Count Lippe.

She contrives the capture of Bond’s attractive assistant Paula Caplan, who kills herself rather than talk. Fiona and Largo’s men then pursue Bond through the Junkanoo, the Bahamian carnival, which ends with Fiona being shot by her accomplices. Using a helicopter, Bond and Leiter find the V bomber. Bond dives on it and recovers Derval’s dog tags and watch. After making love to Domino underwater, Bond uses these to convince her that her brother has been killed by Largo. She agrees to take a Geiger counter on board the Disco Volante to find out whether the atomic bombs are on board. Largo discovers this and tortures her.

Meanwhile, using information volunteered by Domino, Bond disguises himself as one of Largo’s team of frogmen loading the atom bombs on the Disco Volante and discovers that Largo plans to bomb Miami. Bond is unmasked by Largo. A team of US frogmen land by parachute. There is an underwater battle and Largo tries to escape on the Disco Volante. With Leiter’s help, Bond gets on board the yacht. In a final showdown, Largo gets the better of Bond, but Domino shoots Largo in the back. As the yacht careers towards the rocks, Bond and Domino jump overboard. The Disco Volante explodes, at the same time as a US plane drops a life-raft then skyhooks Bond and Domino from the sea.


You Only Live Twice (1967)

The film of You Only Live Twice was the first to abandon the plot of the book and use only the characters and some of the locations. This is no suicide garden or medieval castle. The screenplay was by Roald Dahl, who worked in intelligence with William Stephenson and Ian Fleming during World War II before becoming a master of children’s fiction and the short story with a twist in its tail.

The film begins with an American Jupiter spacecraft being swallowed up by an unidentified orbiter. The Americans suspect the Russians, but the British suspect that a third party is responsible. A pre-title sequence again ostensibly kills off Bond. He has just finished making love to a Chinese girl when she traps him in a fold-away bed which is machine-gunned. He is then given a very public burial at sea in Hong Kong harbour. Frogmen retrieve the corpse and take it to a submarine, where the shroud is cut open to reveal Bond alive, in naval uniform and wearing breathing apparatus, sealed in a plastic body bag. On board is M, who briefs Bond, and the submarine sets sail for Japan.

In Tokyo, Bond is contacted at a sumo wrestling match by an attractive agent named Aki. She takes him to see local MI6 agent Dikko Henderson, who claims he has evidence that the rogue spacecraft originated in Japan, but is killed before he can say more. Bond chases and kills his assassin. He then disguises himself as the killer and is driven to the source of the conspiracy, the head office of Osato Chemicals. Stealing documents from the safe, he sets off an alarm. In the ensuing gun battle, Bond is rescued by Aki in a sports car. But she refuses to answer Bond’s questions, pulls to a halt and flees into a seemingly disused subway station. Bond gives chase and falls through a trapdoor. He then slides down a tube into the office of Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese Secret Service.

Together they examine the documents Bond has stolen. Among them is a manifest carrying quantities of liquid oxygen, a substance needed to power a space rocket. There is also a picture of a cargo ship, the Ning-Po, and a microdot containing a message saying that the tourist who had taken the picture had been liquidated for security reasons.

The following day, Bond returns to Osato Chemicals, posing as a representative of Empire Chemicals. When he leaves, the boss, Mr Osato, tells his assistant Helga Brandt to “kill him”. Again Bond is rescued from a drive-by shooting outside the building by Aki in her sports car. The would-be killers give chase. Aki contacts Tanaka, who arranges for a helicopter equipped with a huge magnet to pick up the car pursuing them and dump it in Tokyo Bay.

Bond and Aki then head to Kobe docks to investigate the Ning-Po. They are attacked by a dockside gang. Aki escapes, but Bond is captured. He awakes in Helga Brandt’s cabin on board, where she interrogates him. But Bond uses his charm and bribery, he thinks, to turn her. However, when she is flying him to Tokyo in a light aircraft, she traps him in the back and bales out, leaving him to his fate. Bond struggles free and manages to crash-land the plane and escape before it blows up.

From surveillance photographs, Tanaka has deduced that the Ning-Po has delivered its cargo of liquid oxygen to an offshore island. Bond decides to take a look in a heavy-armed autogyro called Little Nellie, delivered personally by Q. He finds nothing on the island apart from a fishing village and a volcano, but is attacked by four helicopters. With the help of Little Nellie, he downs them. The question remains: what is so important on the island that it needs such defences?

To find out, Bond is to be disguised as a Japanese fisherman and to infiltrate the island undercover by marrying a local girl, Kissy Suzuki. But first he is trained in the martial arts with Tanaka’s army of ninjas. His mission becomes more urgent. A Soviet spacecraft has also been hijacked, though the Americans still suspect the Soviet Union is responsible. Another American space mission is due for launch and the US threatens war if it goes missing.

Kissy mentions that a local woman had mysteriously died after rowing into a cave. She and Bond go to investigate. The cave is the vent of the island’s volcano and is protected by phosgene gas, a man-made poison, again indicating that the island hides an important secret. Bond and Kissy climb the volcano. They see a helicopter disappear into the crater and discover that there is a secret rocket base hidden under the crater floor. Bond slips through the crater door while Kissy returns to alert Tanaka.

Bond finds and frees the captured astronauts. He steals a spacesuit and is about to board the spacecraft when Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, who is running this operation, spots him. For failing to kill Bond, Helga Brandt is dropped in a pool of piranhas that Blofeld keeps in his office.

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