James Bond enjoys the movies

In the novel You Only Live Twice, Kissy Suzuki has a cormorant named David. In this conversation, Bond and Kissy discuss the bird:

‘So this is David?’

‘Yes. I named him after the only man I liked in Hollywood, an Englishman as it happens. He was called David Niven. He is a famous actor and producer. You have heard of him?’

‘Of course. I shall enjoy tossing him a scrap or two of fish in exchange for the pleasure he has given me in his other incarnation.’

This is Fleming being cute, of course. David Niven was his first choice to play Bond. (And did play Bond, after a fashion, in Casino Royale, three years after this novel was published.

But back to the fictional Bond. It strikes me so odd that James Bond has received pleasure from the movies. I seem to recall Bond saying in the novel Casino Royale that he has no time for theater or film. One can easily see him in a cultural vacuum, what with the sense of isolation and the constant travel. I can picture him turning on the TV, at home, resting, or in an anonymous hotel room. But going to the movies? It seems very not-Bond. Does he like comedies, like Niven’s My Man Godfrey? Or drama, like Niven’s Separate Tables? I can imagine him getting lost in gazing at a beautiful starlet and losing track of the plot.

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3 Responses to “James Bond enjoys the movies”

  1. No. Bond only goes to a cinema when he’s tracking an assignment…

    He waits in the darkness, not watching the screen, but studying his prey- the way the fool laughs at a funny line or tears when a celluloid tragedy occurs.

    He gets a sense of the man he’s about to kill.

    And when the film is over, Bond trails him out of the cinema. Follows him down the damp streets and, when the opportunity is ripe- pulls him into an isolated alley.

    Here, while fighting his revulsion, he strangles the life out of the assignment. He leaves him to drown in a puddle of the victim’s own blood.

  2. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Peter, that’s vivid. And that’s more or less how I imagined it, too, which is why the quote about Niven surprised me.

  3. […] by Deborah Lipp on January 15, 2008 As I mentioned a few days ago, I just re-read Ian Fleming’s You Only Live […]

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