Why are the James Bond stories named the way they are?

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by The Borgified Corpse, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

    Aug 17, 2001
    Hollywood, CA
    @ JacksonArcher --- It's one of my favorite Bond stories for precisely this reason. I mean, the other fantastical elements of the movies and books are obviously a major draw, but this particular yarn was quite compelling, and I was rather disappointed that no variation of the tale the governor tells Bond appeared in the final film.
  2. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

    Jun 14, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    'You only live twice: Once when you're born. And once when you look death in the face.'
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    More like a novella, actually. Fleming attempted, not altogether convincingly, to write in the first person as a female character.
    That happens only in the movie, which has little to do with the book. All that Fleming's novel and Roald Dahl's screenplay have in common is the Japanese setting and some character names. The novel was written after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and focuses on Bond's seeking revenge against Blofeld for the murder of his bride Tracy. The fake-death gimmick was a heavy-handed attempt to justify the title.
  4. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Mar 12, 2005
    Diamonds Are Forever: the book was about diamond smuggling, the movie about a diamond-driven laser or similar gubbins.

    Moonraker: the book was about a missile of that name which was built by a Nazi who had disguised himself as a British soldier at the end of WW2. While he was supposed to be simply testing a missile, the villain (Drax) had fitted it with a nuclear warhead and was going to send it to London. The movie was about a shuttlecraft of that name. When the book was released in the US, it was under the title Too Hot To Handle. Not many people know that.

    You Only Live Twice: the title comes from Bond's attempt at a haiku, as someone wrote it above.

    Octopussy: the short story was about Bond being assigned to apprehend a hero of the Second World War implicated in a murder involving a cache of Nazi gold. Bond appears briefly in this story, which is told mostly in flashback and from the point of view of Major Dexter Smythe. He tries to befriend a poisonous octopus which prevents Bond from arresting him, the hardway. The movie had a completely different story and introduced a female protagonist as Octopussy who is said to be the major's daughter.

    There y'go.
  5. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

    Sep 15, 2002
    Fifth Circle of Hell
    As I understand it, Fleming was somewhat uncomfortable with the book, as it was a complete change of pace for him. It's written in first person from a female point of view, and most of the book is her autobiography (including a jaw-droppingly graphic description - even by today's standards - of her losing her virginity). Fleming came up with the fiction that someone else wrote the book and gave him the manuscript (a bit of an attempt at making it seem as if Bond was real, a concept later picked up on by John Pearson's forgotten 1973 James Bond novel, "James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007"). Perhaps he felt the book wouldn't work as a film story. Or maybe he was embarrassed. It's a matter of record that he prevented any UK paperback edition during his lifetime (it eventually came out a couple years after he died).

    Most of the titles are covered, except for these:

    Risico: The word is Italian for "risk" and comes from the first line of the short story in which an ally of Bond's basically talks about being involved a risky business ("This piziness is much risico").

    The Hildebrand Rarity: name of a fish featured in the story.

    The Property of a Lady: name given to a Fabrege egg on auction and the centre of a fund-raising scheme by a double-agent. This is actually one of the few cases where a title's origin has coincided with the movie (as the story forms part of the plot of Octopussy).

    Moonraker: named for the rocket, of course. The name itself comes from part of a sail on a sailing vessel. Apparently there were some issues with this title because the book came out around the same time as another book called The Moonraker was published. In the US it was initially retitled Too Hot to Handle. And apparently one title considered for the book was Mondays Are Hell!

    Casino Royale: Obviously named for the location featured in the book. The original US edition carried the title You Asked for It, which I believe comes from a line of dialogue in the novel.

    Just a quick list of the Fleming canon to make sure we have all his titles covered (list doesn't include Kingsley Amis (aka Robert Markham), Pearson, Gardner, Benson, Higson or Faulks)):

    Casino Royale (1953)
    Live and Let Die (1954)
    Moonraker (1955)
    Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
    From Russia with Love (1957)
    Dr. No (1958)
    Goldfinger (1959)
    For Your Eyes Only (1960) - short story collection consisting of "From a View to a Kill", "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico" and "The Hildebrand Rarity"
    Thunderball (1961)
    The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
    On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963)
    You Only Live Twice (1964)
    The Man with the Golden Gun (posthumous, 1965)
    Octopussy and the Living Daylights (posthumous, 1966) - short story collection initially consisting of "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights". Later editions added "The Property of a Lady" and "007 in New York"

    No "lost" Fleming Bond stories have ever been found, except for a fragment of either a short story or novel, and also Fleming had a title in consideration: "My Enemy's Enemy" which was based on the phrase "my enemy's enemy is my friend".

    From "Licence to Kill" to "Die Another Day" none of the film titles came from any of Fleming's stories, though both Licence to Kill and Die Another Day incorporated plot elements and characters from the Fleming canon (LtK adapted parts of Live and Let Die and featured characters from The Hildebrand Rarity; Die Another Day was actually a partial adaptation of the original Moonraker novel (Miranda Frost was even named Gala Brand at one point - the name of the Bond girl in the book) and also borrowed a character name from the Amis/Markham novel Colonel Sun.

    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" could almost be the name of a Bond girl...
  7. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 26, 2001
    ^ Or a variation on 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', which is how Bond is sometimes referred to (offscreen).

    Perhaps the flying car was invented by Q department?
  8. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 27, 2002
    When the title of the movie was released Craig also mentioned this while talking to the press. The Quantum of Solace in a relationship and how if you don't have it then it's over.
  9. ToddPence

    ToddPence Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 18, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    Anyone who is a fan of the Bond novels ever notice that the openings to "Moonraker" and "Goldfinger" are pretty much the same? Bond is asked in a civilian role to help expose the main villian as a cheat at cards and does so in a spectacular manner. Then he is immediately, by an amazing coincidence, given an assignment as an agent to then shadow that villian.
  10. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

    Jun 4, 2000
    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    Didn't they consider using Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang as the title for the movie that eventually became Thunderball? (Or was that just going to be the title of the Thunderball theme song?)
  11. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral


    IIRC, it was going to be the song for the film...until they went with the Tom Jones theme....
  12. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

    Jun 4, 2000
    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    As I understand it, the theme was always going to have the same melody. They even had a female singer record the "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" version of the lyrics. Later, they changed the lyrics to "Thunderball" but with the same melody, and that's what Tom Jones recorded.
  13. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Does anyone have the original “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” lyrics?

    Weird Al Yankovic's title song for the Leslie Neilsen comedy Spy Hard is a spoof of Bond theme songs in general, but it was obviously inspired by “Thunderball.”
  14. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    The singer was Dionne Warwick....so you might be able to find the song on Youtube. (I know it turns up on James Bond theme CD's)...

    However, this link may also help: