Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Mach5, Jul 11, 2017.
Well, yeah... And I never have been talking just about the books.
CBA, move on.
Was Fleming's Bond a rampant womanizer like in the early movies?
Not so much. If anything, Fleming's Bond was more prone to be smitten with his women. The closest he was ever as a womanizer was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service where he had to sleep with women at the clinic in Piz Gloria in order to obtain information about Blofeld's plot. Afterwards when Bond is reunited with Tracy, he actually tells her what happened at the clinic as a way of coming clean.
I think what @HugeLobes is getting at with Dalton was that with those films we essentially saw Fleming's Bond written into a Bond movie.
The closest Dalton ever came to Cinematic Bond was in THE ROCKETEER where he plays a Errol Flynn type movie star playing up the suaveness. It shows to me that if Dalton wanted he probably could have played up Cinematic Bond very well, but that just never interested him. He wanted to differentiate his Bond the way Moore successfully did from Connery. The difference this time was that his Bond, by design, didn't have any of the swagger people associated with Cinematic Bond.
And THAT is why Craig is more successful. Even though he veered closer to Fleming, he retained that swagger that people associate with Cinematic Bond. You can see it all on display when he's in the Bahamas, walking around like he owns the hotel, charming desk clerks, beating Borat at poker before seducing his wife. Dalton just didn't go for that.
I've always said since 2006 that Craig's Bond is essentially a fusion of Fleming's cynicism and Connery's machismo.
I liked those clips and that last one.... Wins the poker, the car, and his lady....
I would say yes, but not in the same way. Bond is attractive in the books, but he isn’t able to fall into bed with women quite as easily as he does in the movies. Part of this is down to cultural changes since Fleming wrote the books, plus the more lighthearted tone of movies.
Even so, Bond in the novels is said to spend much of his free time playing golf, gambling, or having affairs with ‘one of three’ married women. Those are apparently his three main interests. M is repeatedly said to disapprove of Bond’s womanizing, and Bond is almost always on the lookout for women, including prostitutes. I also think his known status as a womaniser played into SMERSH’s plan to discredit him in From Russia With Love, although I may be misremembering that detail. Can’t see how he wouldn’t be correctly described as a rampant womaniser, but @MakeshiftPython is right that he also becomes more deeply smitten with each Bond girl than he does in the movies and often wants to marry them.
It’s that we get a very odd combination of Fleming novel and Bond movie, which I agree got combined *much* better in CR. They remembered that movie Bond is a fantasy character that you should want to be.
Fleming’s novels were more grounded and gritty than the movies. There’s a much stronger sense that Bond’s crazy missions are very different from his general life in the intelligence services; whereas in the movies it often feels like he jumps from one adventure to the next, in the books he spends long stretches living the life of ‘an easygoing senior civil servant’ . For me, Dalton captures that perfectly. He feels far more like a real person who acts like a professional and spends most of his life having a far less exciting time than movie Bond. But I dont see him possessing the personal character traits as Fleming’s Bond, or at least not to the extent that he is closest to Fleming’s Bond. He fits the world better than the character.
Maybe the best way to say it is that Dalton is very close to Fleming’s version of Bond’s role as a professional intelligence officer, but not so close to Bond the man. This is at least how I see it. For the record, I do like the way Dalton played the character.
Lots of interesting stuff in this discussion, but I just had to comment on this. I've not been a fan of the Craig years, and to me, it's largely because they forgot that "movie Bond is a fantasy character that you should want to be." Craig seems always to be having a miserable time of it, sullen and eternally burdened. The other cinematic Bonds consumed life like gluttons, while Craig just seems to glower at his plate unhappily.
For me, it's emblematic of the Craig era that Blofeld describes himself as "the author of all your pain." If a villain had tried that line on Connery, he would have looked over his shoulder to see who the guy was talking to. The idea of movie Bond being defined by his personal pain is antithetical to the wish-fulfillment fantasy figure you describe.
Which to be fair is a major part of Fleming Bond. The opening chapter of Goldfinger for example is Bond having just finished his mission as seen in the film. But instead of sex and quips “positively shocking”, it’s Bond morosely staring into his double bourbon reflecting on his profession as an assassin and how he feels his soul is corroding from it.
With all that and the torturing he has to endure, Fleming’s Bond is someone you wouldn’t even want to be most of the time. Even Connery himself remarked if he had met a real life version of Fleming’s Bond he’d probably not wanna have a drink with him.
So for those who want more of the fantastical quippy Bond that clearly loves his life, it’s totally fair if Craig is not your bag. Dalton definitely got a lot of flack for playing it “too seriously” in his day.
The difference being the ennui is at least as much Craig's as it is the character's. More importantly, the films lack the self-awareness and reflection.
It went too far in his other movies, but I was just talking about CR there. In that one, they do it perfectly.
I completely disagree.
A fantasy figure isn't necessarily someone who is having the time of his life all the time or even someone who you want to be all the time. The fantasy of being some darkly troubled soul is very real. Craig's Bond is partly defined by his personal pain, but he almost always remains tough and uncompromising. He's a tortured soul with a dark past and rough, dangerous good looks. There's something very cold and enigmatic about him. And while he isn't as quippy as past Bonds, he always seems to know what to say. Then there's this very clever line in CR:
"By the cut of your suit you went to Oxford or wherever and actually think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain my guess is you didn't come from money and your school friends never let you forget it."
They at once give Bond a past that lets him move in high society and know what to wear, and yet at the same time they let you know that he's not some typical upper-class boy who had a perfectly swell time growing up. And, of course, despite all the pain and torment he's put through, he can still push through to save the day and do awesome action hero things. While I do think other movies often make him a little too tortured, he's still a near perfect fantasy figure for modern audiences. All the pain and torment is a key part of that, and that new take on Bond as a fantasy figure is probably a big part of what makes Craig so popular.
That line actually makes me think of how he viewed himself when visiting a gentleman’s club with M in the Moonraker novel. That he’s always known there was “something alien and un-English” about himself, that he didn’t look like he belonged in a gentleman’s club.
It’s part of what makes Bond stand apart from the traditional Englishman image. Him preferring coffee over tea (which he refers to as “mud”, and believes it’s one of the reasons for the fall of the British Empire, funnily).
I'm not so sure about not belonging, but he's definitely a little out of place among the true upper class who frequent Blades. CR simply moves that to the 21st century. Bond from the books would probably be a little too upper class for modern audiences. Somehow I can't imagine Craig's Bond living in a cosy flat with a housekeeper.
He definitely doesn’t have May, judging the state of his flat in SPECTRE,
“Did you just move in?”
“I like what you’ve done with the place…”
Ah, the no true Scotsman fallacy. No, sorry, Dalton by definition played Cinematic Bond.
As regards the enjoying being Bond thing, in TLD Dalton has these lines:
“Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals. That girl didn't know one end of her rifle from the other. Go ahead. Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I'll thank him for it. Whoever she was, it must have scared the living daylights out of her.”
He really delivers the line about thanking M for being fired as if he means it. I remember when I first saw the film thinking that I could never have imagined Connery or Moore saying that line, much less with the delivery Dalton gives it.
^ True, and it’s a great line and a great moment.
Thing is, I felt like Dalton’s darkness and angst was a terrific and tasty new seasoning for the character, but with Craig, that seasoning became the whole meal.
For me both Dalton and Craig Bonds hate their job, the difference is reaction. Dalton decides to embrace the hedonism of it, to at least enjoy some aspects of it. Craig, well he can't even bring himself to enjoy the trappings of being an international man of mystery. (and obviously sandwiched between them you have the Bond who loves his job to bits!)
Moore's Bond showed a hint of disdain, or at least weariness, on occasion. The "It usually is" line from FYEO for example. George's Bond obviously was quite happy to tender his resignation. Don't think Connery's Bond ever gave the impression he was dissatisfied with his job.
One aspect of Craig's performance I really like, which doesn't get enough notice, is how throwaway everything is to him. Once an object, or a person, has fulfilled it's purpose it's gone. Car keys, mobile phones, Mathis, even his father's hunting rifle. Not needed anymore, away you go.
With Dalton it was the cold broiling rage behind his eyes, like an icy volcano. He really was the perfect 007 to go off piste in search of revenge for Della and Felix. Not sure how well that story would have worked with any other Bond to be honest.
Then he became Rassilon and he was perfect in that role too
And then in the very next film:
TLD has plenty of moments I can’t imagine Moore working, like the interrogation of Pushkin. But LTK is basically a prime example all throughout. Like how he throws Pam into bed and presses a gun to her face when he suspects she’s double crossed him. His hair unkempt and clearly hasn’t shaven due to his stubble. He’s practically unhinged in a way that I don’t think Craig was, save for a brief scene where he shows up at M’s home angry and possibly drunk.
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