At first Bond Films: Virgin Film, co-authored by Jim Smith and Stephen Lavington, looks simply like a brief outline of each of the James Bond films. However, delving deeper reveals that compiled within the Bond Films is actually quite a wealth of information from a variety of sources.
Bond Films: Virgin Film
Each film has a standard set of sections devoted to it, which are all discussed in the books introduction. Some of these sections include information on fashion decisions in the films, the advancements of particular continuing characters including M and Miss Moneypenny, the box office returns for the films, award nominations and film trivia. The most interesting sections, and those which make this a successful book, are those which discuss scenes cut from the film, source to screen information, real world influences and parallels, product placement details, critics responses to the film and social references in the film. It is the latter which may prove to be the most interesting to Bond fans as they summarise information which hasn’t previously been made readily available.
Despite some ‘gem’ sections there are two which could easily have been left out. The first is ‘quotes’, everyone enjoys particular quotes for varying reasons and it seems unnecessary for the authors to attempt to define which are the best of a particular film. Also unnecessary is a section called ‘The One With’; a section that informs you how to remind a friend which film you mean. For instance, The Living Daylights is given as “The One With: the rock of Gibraltar, the milkman and the cello”. Some may find the section interesting, the ‘hardcore’ Bond fan will find it a statement of the obvious.
It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into summarising material to include in the book, particularly for some of the aforementioned sections.
It’s good to see areas dedicated to the majority of Bond films, Never Say Never Again included. While 1967’s Casino Royale is included in the book it is disappointing to see that the 1954 version of the book is not. While, admittedly, it was only a telemovie it is undoubtedly an important part in the history of the cinematic James Bond.
Bond Films, co-authored by Jim Smith and Stephen Lavington, isn’t the best Bond book ever, but it’s obvious that the authors never intended for it to be. They had an intention from the start, stuck to it and in doing so successful created an interesting source of information.