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  1. The 80's Bond Films

    For lunch last Tuesday, for no other reason than that I had a hankering for it, I went to the Hard Rock Cafe and had that “old southern delicacy” known as the Pig Sandwich. Oh yes, you heard right, the Pig Sandwich. It’s the piglet that became a pig, the pig that became a sandwich, the sandwich that became a legend. Tremble at the sound of its name, worship the ground it walks on, gaze upon it with wonder and awe. All will bow down before it! Oh almighty sandwich, we are not worthy of thee. We are not worthy.

    Select pork, hickory smoked for a minimum of 10 hours, then hand-pulled so it’s tender and juicy. “An old southern delicacy” with their famous vinegar-based barbeque sauce. They say that “If you’ve been to the Hard Rock Cafe and haven’t had a Pig Sandwich, you haven’t been to the Hard Rock Cafe“, a claim that, while technically not entirely accurate when taken in its most literal form, does gives a fair indication as to the sandwich’s prominence. It’s not just a sandwich, it’s an event.

    Just as I was about to tuck into my Pig Sandwich, I noticed one of the TV monitors, which said that coming up next was a song from a James Bond film. I assumed it would be Live and Let Die. It’s always Live and Let Die. Which is fine because I quite like Live and Let Die. But surprise, it wasn’t Live and Let Die at all. But rather Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill. Rejoice!

    A rare mention to the Bond films of the 80’s, and it made me realize. If Shemp is the forgotten stooge, and Iran is the forgotten evil, then the 80s are surely the forgotten era of Bond. Everybody remembers Dr. No, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, GoldenEye and Die Another Day, but 80s seem to be completed glossed over, relegated to merely a footnote in Bond history.

    You know, the 80’s weren’t just about Transformers, Acid Washed Jeans and Magnum, P.I. Need I remind you all that there was also a little something called Wham!? Oh, and don’t forget that James Bond was still in action too, with Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton all playing 007 during this decade. Connery die-hards were treated to a trip down memory lane, Moore fanatics got to see their hero grow old, and Dalton supporters welcomed a darker, edgier Bond with open arms. Yep, the 80’s had something for every type of Bond fan, and proved be a very important decade in Bond film history…

    For Your Eyes Only – I don’t read James Bond reference books very often. They’re usually written by people who don’t know anything about James Bond (but know allot about regurgitating popular opinion, quoting tired old “trivia” we’ve heard 50 times before, and licking the boots of “The Man”). But I will occasionally, in a moment of weakness, flip though one at the book shop. One of the better Bond reference books, Bond Films: Virgin Film by Jim Smith and Steve Lavington, describes For Your Eyes Only as “the one nobody remembers”, which sums it up quite nicely. The forgotten film of the forgotten era.

    Never Say Never Again – Two Bond films in the one year. These days we’re lucky to get one every three years, in 1983 they had two in the one year. Never Say Never Again finished in second place in the 1983 “Battle of the Bonds”, but second ain’t no disgrace. What is a disgrace, however, is that lack crummy merchandising that would now be worth a fortune. A home version of the “World Domination” Game as seen in the new hit James Bond film Never Say Never Again was a toy just aching to be made (but naturally, “The Man” kept too close an eye on the unofficial film’s proceeding to allow that). Missed opportunity.

    A View to a Kill – The title was originally set to be From A View to A Kill, but was changed late in production when it was feared that American audiences wouldn’t understand what the word “from” meant. This was just part of the great “Americanization” of the Bond films (a move no doubt instigated by “The Man”). Roger Moore was getting on in years, but was still up to his old tricks, drinking martinis, bedding women, making one-liners, and noticeably changing appearance whenever he performed a stunt. Goodbye Roger, thanks for the memories.

    The Living Daylights – No clown suits, no Beach Boys tunes, no talking parrots (except for that one talking parrot). Timothy Dalton came into the series, like a breath of fresh air coming into something that needed a breath of fresh air. A change in direction was what the people wanted and a change in direction was what they got (could it have been that “The Man” was finally listening to the fans?).

    Licence to Kill – The Box Office Champion of the Bonds, Licence to Kill proved to be such a huge financial success that the producers didn’t need to make another Bond film for nearly six years. “The Man” was able to live quite comfortably on the film’s enormous earnings up until the mid-90s. If “The Man’s” Rolls Royce got bird poo on it, “The Man” just bought a new one. Life was good for “The Man”. But ofcourse, not even the vast sum of money made from Licence to Kill could support this extravagent lifestyle forever, and eventually James Bond returned.

    What a decade!

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Bond Films: Virgin Film – I recommend this. At first glance it looks like a bland, generic “Book on Bond”, with all the typical subcategories and so on, but don’t be fooled by it’s appearance. It has inner beauty. It’s a solid, insightful read by people who know their stuff.. Very refreshing when compared to glossy, “semi offical” tripe like another certain Bond book that shall remain nameless (hint: It’s title misleadingly has the word “Essential” in it).

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-10-29
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