Archive for September, 2007

Lois Maxwell, Rest in Peace

Posted in James Bond with tags , , , on September 30, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

I just got back after a three-day road trip to discover the sad news of Lois Maxwell’s death. Maxwell, of course, was the original Miss Moneypenny, and was featured in that role in fourteen James Bond films, playing opposite three different Bonds (Connery, Lazenby, and Moore).

She was a charming, warm presence on-screen, and a lovely, stable balance to Bond’s personality. She kind of gave him a home to return to.

Off screen, she was engaging and informative, and contributed to numerous interviews and documentaries. She was forthcoming with John Cork for his many behind-the-scenes features and I was always charmed by her.

She will be greatly missed.

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My top six Bond films

Posted in Best & Worst, Casino Royale with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

At first, I was going to post the whole list, but then I thought, this might generate a lot of discussion, and a few at a time seems better.

I’m doing a top six because Casino Royale upset the top five I had settled on and gotten happy with, and I sort of agonized over that.

Anyway, here it is:

1. From Russia with Love
2. GoldenEye
3. The Spy Who Loved Me
4. Casino Royale (2006)
5. The Living Daylights
6. Diamonds Are Forever

I am pleased with a list of excellent films that represents the full range of actors and eras and sensibilities of the James Bond franchise. Five of the six actors, and two very different faces of Sean Connery. Hardcore spying is dominant in all of these movies, except Diamonds Are Forever, but even that film has a powerful thread of true espionage and horror mixed in with the humor. (I will defend DAF unto the death. Possibly it needs its own thread; we’ll see.)

New suits, new costume designer

Posted in Quantum of Solace with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

CBn has a major scoop: No more Brioni, and no more Lindy Hemming.

Just hours after CBn landed the scoop that James Bond would be sporting Dunhill-tailored clothing in the next 007 film comes word from DNR that the decision was grounded in the fact Bond 22 will have a new costume designer.

I am strangely shocked by this. Lindy Hemming won an Oscar for Topsy-Turvy, designed the wonderful, personality-revealing costumes in one of my favorite movies, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and was nominated for an award by the Costume Designers Guild for Casino Royale. Her lush, elegant costumes are a trademark of the modern Bond era.

I suppose her relationship with Brioni and her style are associated with the Brosnan era specifically, but I thought she did great work in CR (and judging by the nomination, I’m not alone). Louise Frogley also has a fine reputation, and a look at her resume makes her seem…earthier. Another one of those “Bournish” moves, I guess.

Happy Birthday Michael Madsen

Posted in Birthdays with tags , , on September 25, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Rumored to have been the introduction of a recurring character in Die Another Day, he lost the reboot lottery, to the relief of many fans.

Michael Madsen

Top Bond Films

Posted in Best & Worst with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

From my surveys of a few hundred hardcore Bond fans, asking for a top five, the top ten vote-getters are:
1. Casino Royale (2006)
2. From Russia With Love
3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
4. The Living Daylights
5. Goldfinger
6. For Your Eyes Only
7. Thunderball
8. Licence to Kill/Dr. No (tie)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me

From the IMDb’s survey of over 11,000 users, asking only for one favorite Bond film back in December of 2006, the top ten vote-getters were:

1. Casino Royale (2006)
2. Goldfinger
3. GoldenEye
4. From Russia With Love
5. Dr. No
6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
7. The Spy Who Loved Me
8. Live and Let Die
9. You Only Live Twice
10. Thunderball

Author appearance in Long Island!

Posted in Events with tags on September 20, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Hofstra University’s Cultural Center will be hosting Bond, James Bond: The World of 007. The event takes place November 6–8 at Hofstra. I will be appearing on a panel called "Writing Bond" from 2:30–4:30 on November 8, and will be signing books afterwards.

I hope to see you there!

Casino Royale is a HUGE hit with the fans

Posted in Best & Worst, Casino Royale, Ultimate JB Fan Book with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

I’m in the process of re-doing the statistical portions of the Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. I do several different sets of statistics.

First, and most labor-intensive, I tabulate as many “ranking” lists as I can find. That’s where fans rank all the Bond movies in order. I use this massive amount of data to develop a “master” ranking list. Such lists, though, are only produced by hardcore fans who are really obsessed with that kind of thing. It isn’t going to represent the general public.

So I also look to sources like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and general media surveys (which I’ve pulled out of magazines, news reports, and the like) to get stats on movie ratings (how many “stars” or “thumbs” or whatever), and on people’s #1 Bond film, and on people’s top five.

Top five is interesting, because it shows movies that are consistently very popular but may not hit #1 that often. You can also get a lot more fans to tell you their top five than their full list, so it’s more “general public” and less “geeks (like me).” I assign five points for a #1 position, four points for #2, and so on.

So last night I finished tabulating the Top Five stuff, and Casino Royale got twice as many points as the next nearest contender. That’s like…unbelievable.

Now, I fully believe that’ll moderate a bit over time; newest movies get the strongest reaction. I don’t think, for example, that Die Another Day will stay as low in the rankings as it currently is; it’s that low because people were angry, not because it’s objectively worse than A View to a Kill. But Casino Royale won’t moderate much, and it’s really damn impressive.