A reminder: autographed copies of The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book are available. Please pity the poor author. Also, they’re great gifts and people love them.
Archive for the Ultimate JB Fan Book Category
If you want autographed copies of the Ultimate James Bond Fan Book in time for Christmas, it’s this week or next year.
I set up a page for autographed book sales. From time to time, I will shameless remind you that you can buy books, directly from me (the author), personally autographed and extremely cool.
I actually did this in The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book, but I don’t have the manuscript in front of me, and I thought it would be fun to do it again, fresh. I mean, I may end up repeating myself, but I might not.
Here’s the idea: Each actor who played Bond can be characterized, summed up in a few words. Let’s start with the notion that each actor had something valuable to bring to the role, and not be insulting, and then let’s see where we go.
Sean Connery is the one who…
Created the role.
Has a lisp.
Kills in cold blood.
George Lazenby is the one who…
Only played Bond once.
Broke a stuntman’s nose during his audition.
Roger Moore is the one who…
was “a gentleman spy.”
Made more Bond films than anyone else.
Raised one eyebrow.
Timothy Dalton is the one who…
Was the “dark Bond.”
Is known for playing villains in numerous movies.
Is the tallest Bond.
Pierce Brosnan is the one who…
Straightens his tie.
Seems like a combination of all his predecessors.
Should have gotten one more chance!
Daniel Craig is the one who…
Is the shortest Bond.
Surprised a lot of fans.
Is the “rebooted” Bond.
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.
(Excerpted from The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book.)
1. Jaws, The Spy Who Loved Me
Few villains have ever created such a stir. Jaws is a famous a bad guy as Darth Vader or Norman Bates.* And rightly so. The moment we first see Richard Kiel in the role, we can’t help but be intimidated by his looming presence…then he smiles.
Jaws had comedic qualities in The Spy Who Loved Me, but he wasn’t a clown. He has one of the best “jump scenes” in the franchise, scaring the bejezus out of Anya and the audience when he appeared in the train compartment closet. His vampiric killings and attempted killings were horrifying, so that his jokier side functioned as needed relief. Jaws has superhuman qualities, but no more so than Oddjob, who is also impossibly strong. He works in the Bond tradition as a nearly-unbeatable henchman who nonetheless fails to stop 007.
Jaws is one of the only three undefeated major henchmen; the others are Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die), who survived, and May Day (A View to a Kill), who changed sides. (Minor underlings and control room operators may have survived various adventures, and the minor character Professor Kutze survived Thunderball by switching sides.)
*Jaws was nominated for AFI’s 50 Greatest Villains list, but didn’t make the final cut. Both Bates and Vader were in the top 50, along with Goldfinger.
(Excerpted from The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book.)
2. Donald “Red” Grant, From Russia with Love
Without strange deformities, bizarre attributes, or superhuman qualities, Robert Shaw’s Red Grant holds the screen and freezes the blood. He is the coldest of cold-blooded killers, the angriest, and the most confident. Only Grant ever suggested that James Bond should kiss his foot.
People often talk about Scaramanga as Bond’s counterpart, but Grant is Bond’s shadow. He follows Bond, anticipating his moves, and killing on his behalf before their final showdown. The most committed assassin of all, Grant, in the novel From Russia With Love, had gone over to SMERSH because the British wouldn’t let him kill for his country, and all he wanted to do was kill. This is suggested in the movie when Morzeny refers to his psychological profile.