Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Film Pairings – A Night With Ian Fleming


Ian Fleming only wrote 12 James Bond novels, but sold more than 100 million copies. All of his Bond novels have been made into films, some more than once. There are also been Bond novels written by others, some of them well regarded by the literary world.  Moreover, Bond movies continue to be made using the Bond character long after Fleming’s death at 57. Seven actors have played Bond over the years including Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.  But what about the creator?

The Man Who Would Be James Bond — Spoiled, privileged and much tougher on the women in his life than his male adversaries, Ian Fleming lived the life he would eventually write about. Watch this four-part, BBC-produced bio drama to get a glimpse of a mama’s boy who made good largely, in my opinion, because he understood the nature of drama – life, death, power, and romance as shallowly, coldly and clearly as he observed it in his own life.

Biopic Of Fleming's Early Years
I’ve read and enjoyed every one of his books and I’ve watched and enjoyed most if not all of the James Bond films. They are potboilers, but nearly perfect ones.  Let’s not worry about nuance, or the why of things. Let’s not be subtle. Let’s create this wonderful travelogue. Throw in some sex, skiing, sailing and flying. Let’s do it all elegantly, expensively and  let’s eliminate the increasingly despicable bad guys who without James Bond’s last minute magic, would destroy the world.

Dominic Cooper plays Fleming in his active “Intelligence” agent days for the British Royal Navy, where he presumably gathered the material for his fiction. In those days young Ian played second fiddle to his brother Peter ((played by Rupert Evans) who was already a successfully published author. This series offers an introduction to one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Hints of the movies that would follow are subtly rendered in the music that underlies some pretty decent cinematography.

Bond's Latest Film Adventure With Daniel Craig
Spectre   Bond’s most recent celluloid adventures star craggy Dennis Craig.  Once again Bond comes up against arch villain Blofeld, a megalomaniac who seeks to control the world.  We travel from Mexico City to Rome and eventually back to London in an attempt to keep Blofeld from having complete control over all intelligence operations on earth. There’s no question that his is action-packed adventure appeals to all of us who like action-packed adventures.

Ralph Fiennes plays M, and Judy Dench, (former M, now deceased) is reprieved on video.   Chris Waltz plays Blofeld.  My favorite is Chris Wishaw who plays Q, who designs Bond’s deadly gadgetry that saves Bond’s life when the plot won’t. Sam Mendes again directs the standard, but altogether enjoyable offering.

While watching, we must have a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, or perhaps some fresh lemons squeezed into some fizzy water.

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