The story of how Albert R. Broccoli’s Eon Productions started the James Bond film franchise and how it has coped with the economics and stresses of the film industry, critical reactions, box office hits and misses, competition from rival action movies, and changes in society, is told through 120 primary interviews with cast and crew that spans the 1960s to the present day.
For good measure, Ford and Chowdhury, themselves two self-confessed Bond film fans, also refer to published interviews and information from magazines, newspapers, radio, television and websites.
The foreword is by George Lazenby, who starred as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. At the time this former male model got a roasting for not living up to the standard of Sean Connery’s Bond, yet over the years fans have warmed to the film and his take on Bond.
Through chapters on Bond creator Ian Fleming and producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman we find there was a web of film and television ideas pitched and rejected before Dr No hit our screens in 1962. The authors quote Connery’s approach to the character as “James Bond is very much for breaking the rules. He enjoys freedom that the normal person doesn’t get. He likes to eat. He likes to drink. He likes his girls. He is rather cruel, sadistic.”
At times critics have expected Bond to die due to his out-dated misogyny and his relationship with women. Roger Moore in particular shamelessly undermined the Bond mystique, which at times brought it down to the level and humour of Carry On films. Nonetheless Moore was able to keep Bond alive during the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, the ‘Bond Girl’ formula gave way to more assertive women, and with the arrival of Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989) there was the introduction of the ‘Bond Woman’ who can challenge and equal Bond. It is noteworthy that in the publicity for Spectre, a ‘Bond Girl’ is underlined as being equal to Bond, though we have yet to get an ugly, older or overweight Bond girl!
Over the decades, styles and expectations have changed and this book is a worthy chronicle of how Bond has continued to bring action and glamour to our screens.
SOME KIND OF HERO: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF THE JAMES BOND FILMS / AUTHOR: MATTHEW FIELD, AJAY CHOWDHURY / PUBLISHER: THE HISTORY PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 5TH