From The Editor’s Desk: The Value of Real Bonding

Oct 18, 2021 | Arts, Opinion, Visual | 1 comment

by Jarret Liotta

WESTPORT — For a third week running I planned to broach some serious topics relating to local news, but at the last minute I decided I’d serve the town better by talking about James Bond.

In preparation for the latest release — No Time To Die — I’ve been re-watching a lot of the catalogue — enjoying many memorable iconic moments … and cringing at how others play like poor-taste parodies of insensitive misogyny … (I think it’s Goldfinger where the sound Foley on Sean Connery’s slap of the woman’s bottom cracks like a tree branch snapping.)

Bond Books, Broccoli & Me

While there isn’t a lot in this world that I know much about, I am something of an expert on 007. I not only can offer an arrogant filmmaker’s perspective on 24 movies that I’ve watched multiple times, but as a kid I was such a fan that I read all 14 Ian Fleming books — multiple times! (Yeesh!)

(Don’t get me started on some of that outdated content, though descriptions of both Bond’s gambling experiences and the minute details of what he would eat remain priceless.)

I even shook hands with veteran producer Albert Broccoli, whose daughter inherited the franchise. It was at a Moonraker premiere in 1979 — back when I still shook hands with people — and I was truly the geekiest of youngsters there, accosting him about what they planned to do for movie titles when they ran out of books.

Of course, I don’t stay abreast of the myriad fandom forums that continue to delve into analysis. My son informs me that various ratings of films, actors and best Bond songs are plentiful in the virtual world, however.

Craig vs. Connery

While I was always a Connery fan first — and will always hold fondness for his accent, if nothing else — I’ve ultimately arrived at Daniel Craig as the best Bond, if only because his movies are simply a strong mark above the rest in terms of quality filmmaking.

Roger Moore is too southern British — too priggish — though Live and Let Die is a high mark and was the first Bond I saw, at a drive-in in Florida ironically. (The alligator hopping scene at the Florida gator farm remains one of the best moments in Bond history and was actually carried out by a stuntman — the kind of brilliant practical moment computer effects have assassinated.)

Pierce Brosnan is great, but then some would say he’s no George Lazenby. (I wouldn’t say it, but some would.)

Timothy Dalton is underrated, although the way his hair looks in some scenes is reason enough to make him suspect.

Paul, Lulu, Shirley, et. al.

As far as theme songs go, I stand by Paul (McCartney) with Live and Let Die, and also adore anything Lulu lends her voice to (The Man with the Golden Gun).  Other favorites include Alicia Keys and Jack White’s Quantum of Solace song, and of course all things Shirley Bassey.

From a filmmaking standpoint, the new movies are relatively brilliant, with Sam Mendes taking the prize for Skyfall — ably assisted by a tremendous script, the best use of The Animals’ song “Boom Boom” ever, and Naomie Harris shining light years past Lois Maxwell as Eve Moneypenny.

Martin Campbell is close behind for both Casino Royale and Goldeneye, which rates as the best Brosnan for me.

007: A True American Hero … Kind of …

Isn’t it ironic that there’s nothing quite as American as this British secret agent?!

An artistic friend of mine once put it succinctly when I expressed my surprise to him that he actually liked James Bond movies too.

“I’m an American male,” he said simply.

That, of course, means so many different things in 2021, on so many different levels, but this week I’ll refrain from waxing too philosophical (or going anywhere near a discussion of the “Bond Girls”).

I will say, however, that like America, the legacy of Bond is clearly tarnished up the wazoo — what with his quasi-Neanderthal carryings-on, his cold-hearted violent streak, militant nationalism, multiple bad-hair moments …

And yet, like America, we still love him!


1 Comment

  1. Todd Tracy

    Jimmy Page played guitar on Goldfinger


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