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Book Review: James Bond Encyclopedia

Posted in Books with tags , , , on December 10, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

The James Bond Encyclopedia by John Cork and Collin Stutz is a confection between hard covers, a colorful and thrilling toy with which the James Bond enthusiast can play. In many ways, however, it cannot be considered an encyclopedia.

What’s in it: Illustrated entries for virtually every character, vehicle, and gadget, no matter how minor, that appeared in a James Bond film. Yes, that’s right, every entry is illustrated. It’s a real ooh! ahh! experience flipping through it, and it’s also kind of useful for character look-up. Often, I find an actor credited by a name never mentioned on-screen. In Casino Royale for example, it’s hard to know who Kratt or Carlos is. With a picture, you know for sure. Also, introductory material on Ian Fleming and “Bond Style” that gives a little bit of background. A chapter for each actor who has played Bond officially (again, well illustrated), and a short entry for each movie.

What’s not in it: Anything about Never Say Never Again or the two earlier Casino Royale versions. Back story of any kind in the primary index entries (there’s some background in the movie and Bond actor sections). Any information on actors other than those who played Bond: A two-page spread on Q, for example, doesn’t mention Desmond Llewellyn other than to give his name. The entry on the Kenworth trucks from License to Kill describes their use in the movie, but not the special modifications that enabled their stunts (especially the wheelie) to be performed. There is, however, some marketing and production background for some of the various cars.

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