THE MANY LIVES OF JAMES BOND / AUTHOR: MARK EDLITZ / PUBLISHER: THE LYONS PRESS / RELEASE DATE: 1ST JANUARY
There is something inherently satisfying yet strangely unfulfilling about Mark Edlitz’s new book, The Many Lives Of James Bond. There are interesting interviews, morsels of insider gossip and knowledge, quirky conversations with some intriguing characters and revealing anecdotes. But the book carries an innate feeling of being incomplete, as if we’re only getting 75% of the story behind Ian Fleming’s iconic spy when there is still so much more to know.
In assembling his book Elditz will have compiled a wish list, names who would cast a flicker of light into the darkest corners of the Bond canon. Those people who made the big decisions, who have guided 007 from page to screen and back again via comics, cartoons and everything else. And some are here: John Glen, director of five straight Bond films from Roger Moore’s For Your Eyes Only (1981) to Timothy Dalton’s Licence To Kill (1989) offers an insight into recruiting a new actor to play the role and transitioning from a lighter style of film-making to one distinctly more gritty. Lyricist Don Black, the man who added words to John Barry’s music on the songs “Thunderball” and “Diamonds Are Forever” amongst others, discusses the template for what makes a Bond song so distinctive. And, of course, Sir Roger Moore is always quick with a quip and one-liner.
But where are the producers, the legendary Cubby Broccoli, his daughter Barbara or Michael G. Wilson? The “Bond Women” section feels somewhat light with just two interviews, given that this is such an integral part of the Bond franchise, and there are no interviews with the two actors who arguably vie for the title of “Best Bond,” Sean Connery and Daniel Craig.
Elditz must be applauded for delving deep into the Bond world and uncovering and conducting interviews with rarely spoken about figures who have all shaped the legacy of one of the world’s most renowned characters. But unless you are a Bond superfan, much of this largely interesting content will simply pass you by. A well-written and informative book, certainly, but without doubt one for the more ardent of aficionados.