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algernonsidney

Rand on Bond

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See her essay "Bootleg Romanticism" in The Romantic Manifesto. She liked the books and the first movie (Dr. No), hated the movie of From Russia with Love.

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I think she saw Goldfinger but I suspect she would have hated it.

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The only Bond movie I have watched is Casino Royale. It seems that most Bond fans still regard Connery as the best Bond. I mainly watched that particular Bond flick because of Eva Green.

What Bond does have is the clear defined battle of good and evil. Rand often appreciated that element in fiction.

I'm also curious regarding Rand's opinion of Connery as an actor.

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I have DVDs of all the Bond films and have watched them several times. I do not have Rand’s *Romantic Manifesto* at hand, but I seem to remember that one of her big criticisms of the film version of *From Russia with Love* (1963), Sean Connery’s second time in the role, was that it portrayed Bond as visibly showing fear, implying that Connery’s first Bond movie, *Dr. No* (1962), did not.

But if you watch *Dr. No* (one of my very favorite Bond movies) again, you can see Bond showing quite intense fear. The instance I am talking about is in the middle of the night when he discovers something moving under his sheet – and I am not referring to a sexual situation with a woman in bed with him. (I am trying to avoid spoilers since you have not seen that classic yet.) The profuse sweating might or might not be attributed to the tropical setting. But Bond seems a bit shook by the event, as most of us would be.

I fully expect some folks to register disappointment after seeing the second Daniel Craig film, in the same way some folks did about Connery’s second. And I can understand that to some extent, because quite often an actor’s exciting debut in a role can influence a viewer’s personal expectations of any later reprise of the role.

.

-Ross Barlow.

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Did Ayn Rand make any comments on James Bond? I think she did, but am having trouble remembering.

From the Objectivist Newsletter, January 1965:

The social status of thrillers reveals the profound gulf splitting today's culture-the gulf between the people and its alleged intellectual leaders. The people's need for a ray of Romanticism's light is enormous and tragically eager. Observe the extraordinary popularity of Mickey Spillane and Ian Fleming. There are hundreds of thriller writers who, sharing the modern sense of life, write sordid concoctions that amount to a battle of evil against evil or, at best, gray against black. None of them have the ardent, devoted, almost addicted following earned by Spillane and Fleming. This is not to say that the novels of Spillane and Fleming project a faultlessly rational sense of life; both are touched by the cynicism and despair of today's "malevolent universe"; but, in strikingly different ways, both offer the cardinal element of Romantic fiction: Mike Hammer and James Bond are heroes.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Did Ayn Rand make any comments on James Bond? I think she did, but am having trouble remembering.

Also from the January 1965 Objectivist Newsletter article:

If you think that the producers of mass-media entertainment are motivated primarily by commercial greed, check your premises and observe that the producers of the James Bond movies seem to be intent on undercutting their own success.

Contrary to somebody's strenuously spread assertions, there was nothing "tongue-in-cheek" about the first of these movies, Dr. No. It was a brilliant example of Romantic screen art—in production, direction, writing, photography and, most particularly, in the performance of Sean Connery. His first introduction on the screen was a gem of dramatic technique, elegance, wit and understatement: when, in response to a question about his name, we saw his first closeup and he answered quietly: "Bond. James Bond"—the audience, on the night I saw it, burst into applause.

There wasn't much applause on the night when I saw his second movie, From Russia with Love. Here, Bond was introduced pecking with schoolboy kisses at the face of a vapid-looking girl in a bathing suit. The story was muddled and, at times, unintelligible. The skillfully constructed, dramatic suspense of Fleming's climax was replaced by conventional stuff, such as old-fashioned chases, involving nothing but crude physical danger.

I shall still go to see the third movie, the current Goldfinger, but with heavy misgivings. The misgivings are based on an article by Richard Maibaum who adapted all three novels to the screen (The N.Y. Times, December 13, 1964).

Bill P (Alfonso)

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In a culture of "silly" it is interesting to watch the Bond movies, from "Dr. No" to the current "Quantum of Solace" and see the degeneration of not just the character, but the idea of James Bond. Casino Royale brought back the "spirit" of Bond that Fleming idealized in his books, but then some of that was lost on Solace. The third movie in this trilogy will be interesting to see, and to see what direction the writers take Bond in this third "adventure". Although on Casino Royale M suggests Bond is a "blunt instrument". In the novels he is anything but a "blunt instrument".

What is shameful is Hollywood's bastardizing of the Bond character that Ian Fleming gave us, but what is more appalling is that most of the public does not realize there is a Bond that lies outside the confines of those awful films, the worst of which I think had Roger Moore playing Bond.

The literary Bond, the one that most people know nothing of, is the individual that anyone would want on their side when their ideals of "virtue" would be threatened. He's the "agent" that most of us never hear of on the news, never have any idea exists, and most people would shudder at what it is he does, but secretly are thankful that there is someone out there with the juevos to get the job done.

In a world of willing-to-do-anything terrorists, and willing-to-do-nothing-politicians, I think we can only hope there are individuals out there such as James Bond looking out for our interests.

O43

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Heh, Rand would have hated most of the subsequent Bond films, but I can't imagine any of them would have seemed more contemptible to her than Goldfinger. From Russia With Love, for all it did to devolve Bond's character to the level of a playboy with no values, still took him seriously. Bond, even if on a lesser scale, was still heroic. Compare this to Goldfinger, which turns the character into a certifiable clown. He somehow manages to botch up almost anything he tries to do. His only distinction, and the only thing that makes him the film's "hero," is that he is rewarded for his incompetence, and gets a chance to stop the bad guys at the end. But only through sheer thick-headedness on the part of the villain(s). Bond is so loutish that he even manages to botch up his skirt-chasing and gets a number of girls killed throughout the film.

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In a culture of "silly" it is interesting to watch the Bond movies, from "Dr. No" to the current "Quantum of Solace" and see the degeneration of not just the character, but the idea of James Bond. Casino Royale brought back the "spirit" of Bond that Fleming idealized in his books, but then some of that was lost on Solace. The third movie in this trilogy will be interesting to see, and to see what direction the writers take Bond in this third "adventure". Although on Casino Royale M suggests Bond is a "blunt instrument". In the novels he is anything but a "blunt instrument".

What is shameful is Hollywood's bastardizing of the Bond character that Ian Fleming gave us, but what is more appalling is that most of the public does not realize there is a Bond that lies outside the confines of those awful films, the worst of which I think had Roger Moore playing Bond.

Yes, Casino Royale does make something of a brute out of Bond, but it is still, by far, the most heroic portrayal of him in the cinemas since Dr. No. Note that a sense of individualism, self-confidence, intelligence, and respectability had been restored to the character. Note also that for the first time in decades audiences were again presented with a Bond that didn't chase any random broad who wandered within sight of him. He has one relationship in the film, and it is a deeply passionate and compelling one at that.

I'd say Pierce Brosnan is the worst offender. He gave the Bond character all of the suave of a used car salesman.

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I have never enjoyed, and except for the tolerable Casino Royale remake, never watched and entire Bond film. They are mostly laughable. But I have not watched Dr. No, and think I will check it out at some point.

I very much enjoyed Connery in 1964's Marnie, (one of Hitchcock's best films by far) which is a much more interesting, adult, and Randian story than any of the Bond movies.

marnie%20Alfred%20Hitchcock%20-%20Masterpiece%20Collection%20DVD%20Review.jpg

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On 10/15/2008 at 3:48 PM, algernonsidney said:

The only Bond movie I have watched is Casino Royale. It seems that most Bond fans still regard Connery as the best Bond. I mainly watched that particular Bond flick because of Eva Green.

What Bond does have is the clear defined battle of good and evil. Rand often appreciated that element in fiction.

I'm also curious regarding Rand's opinion of Connery as an actor.

Daniel Craig is a great Bond  for pretty much the same reasons that young Sean Connery was. 

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