Archive for March, 2007

Baccarat vs. Poker

Posted in Casino Royale, Ian Fleming on March 31, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

The switch in Casino Royale from the baccarat of the novel to poker for the film drove a lot of fans crazy. Including me. It’s Ian Fleming, for fuxake! That’s a total baccarat situation! And when people like co-producer Michael Wilson have talked about the switch, they’ve mostly said that people don’t understand the rules to baccarat, and all that.

Which is true, except the rules to baccarat are insanely simple. Only the rules of betting are complex. In the novel, Leiter was there partially to have baccarat explained to him; an American wouldn’t know the rules, and Fleming liked his exposition to come in the form of dialogue (often involving Leiter).

But the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a good idea. And believe it or not, I was thinking about it over breakfast.

Here’s the thing. Baccarat is pure luck. The movie version of Vesper Lynd would’ve lost her shit had she learned that Bond was betting the treasury on a game that’s pretty much 50/50. In the novel, Bond understands baccarat to be a game of nerve, to face your opponent down and be able to handle the stress of increasing amounts of money on the table, all risked on the turn of a card that may or may not wipe you out.

Contrast that to poker, a game of nerve, yes, but also skill, calculation, judgement, and psychology. It’s not just understanding the game that’s better for the audience, but also what goes on between and among the players, and what’s worth paying attention to.

Actually, if Bond visits casinos in future movies, I wouldn’t be averse to seeing poker again.


Valentin Zukovsky has a birthday

Posted in Birthdays on March 30, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Two-time Bond actor (and occasional Hagrid) Robbie Coltrane turns 57 today.
He's Zukovsky to me

Short interview with Paul Haggis

Posted in Quantum of Solace with tags , on March 29, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Erik Davis of Cinematical has a snippet of an interview with Paul Haggis up. Haggis isn’t currently involved with Bond 22.

As far as Bond 22 goes, Haggis told me with a peculiar smile that he was not involved in the film … yet. Though it seemed to me as if he’d be interested in tackling another re-write should the situation present itself.

Empire Film Awards Love Bond

Posted in Casino Royale on March 28, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

See how wrong you were, MPAA? The Empire Awards know the truth!

Best film – Casino Royale
Best British film – United 93
Best director – Christopher Nolan (The Prestige)
Best actor – Daniel Craig
Best actress – Penelope Cruz
Best comedy – Little Miss Sunshine
Best thriller – The Departed
Best science fiction – Pan’s Labyrinth
Best horror – Hostel
Best male newcomer – Brandon Routh
Best female newcomer – Eva Green

Ian Fleming’s Gun Draws Big Bucks

Posted in Collectibles on March 28, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

I wrote a few weeks back that Ian Fleming’s Colt Python .357 was to be auctioned off. Well, the sale satisfied the beejeezus out of at least two people: the seller and the buyer. According to Life Style Extra:

A gun tailor-made for James Bond author Ian Fleming was sold for £12,000 at auction in London today.

The Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver was presented to Fleming by the Colt Company in 1964, the year that Fleming died, and it is thought it was made by a very senior executive at the famous firm who was also a Bond fan.

The gun is described as “highly collectable” and was snapped up by an anonymous telephone bidder

My online currency converter says:

12000 British Pound(s) = 23598.8 US Dollar(s)

Holy cow!

Connery opens Alba House

Posted in Sean Connery on March 27, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

According to China Daily, Sean Connery is opening Alba House as the New York City base of his Friends of Scotland charity. The building is a refurbished townhouse.

The Scotsman is convinced this project “will infuriate the Scottish government,”

Sir Sean Connery has turned a swanky Manhattan building into Alba House – a kind of unofficial Scottish embassy to be used by businessmen and academics from the old country when they need a base in the Big Apple.

The project is a fascinating one -not least because it will infuriate the Scottish government, whose own attempts at establishing a presence in the States have met with only limited success.

The Scotsman Himself

John Barry is a funny guy

Posted in James Bond on March 27, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

In a very brief Observer interview (found by MI6, who mistakenly call it the Observer), John Barry, composer for twelve Bond films, from Dr. No through The Living Daylights, manages to be extremely quotable and funny.

My favorites?

I wrote [Goldfinger] for Shirley [Bassey] and the whole score. I was called to the offices afterwards and Harry Saltzman [co-producer of Bond] said: ‘That’s the worst fucking song I’ve ever heard. We open in three weeks and if I had time I’d throw it on the crap heap.’


George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was probably the worst Bond ever, but it’s one of the best scores. He was so bad I felt I had to make up for it with the music.