1. Bond on the Dance Floor

    By Luke Freeman on 2002-08-23

    Five men have worn the James Bond tuxedo with pride and distinction over the last forty years. And over this time Bond experts and wannabes alike have argued constantly over which one is the best. Ofcourse it wasn’t much of an argument back in the mid-sixties, back when Connery was the only Bond and smoking was still good for you. But when Lazenby came and when, and Moore burst onto the scene, the citizens of the world were divided forever, and they continue to be divided, with Dalton and Brosnan in recent times putting their hand up as candidates for “Best James Bond”.

    It saddens me to say it, but after forty years the arguments are getting tired. No one has managed to convince anyone to defect, to change his or her mind on who the “Best” Bond is. Countless polls have been taken, but all the people who don’t have a clue just say “Connery”, and Pierce Brosnan keeps rigging the votes. Truth is, there is no way to determine who is the “Best” Bond because the title “Best” on its own is too subjective. Best at what ? Best at delivering witty lines, best at love scenes, best bumper car driver, the title “Best” is too hard to define, and that is why the Best Bond award can never be given out.

    But there is a title that can be awarded to one of the five actors, the title of “Best Dancer”. Yes, “which Bond is the best dancer?” an age old question that has been debated for generations. Now this is a question that can be resolved, no, will be resolved, right here today. You readers should consider yourselves very fortunate indeed to witness this one in a lifetime event, of which you may only see once in your live.

    There wasn’t allot of dancing in Doctor No, especially after Professor Dent’s tap dancing number was cut out shortly before release. The history of Bond dancing can be probably be traced back to the gypsy dancer in the following Bond film, From Russia in Love. Ofcourse Bond himself getting on the dance floor didn’t happen until a couple of years later in Thunderball, where he dances with Fiona Volpe at the Kiss Kiss Club. It was only for one song, and Fiona got shot before the dance was finished, but it was an instant success, and this little taste of Bond dancing was enough to whip audiences into a frenzy. People went back to the theatres again and again to watch Bond dance, hence why Thuderball is the most successful of the Bonds in terms of ticket sales.

    After the success there it looked like dancing may become a regular feature of the Bond films, as much a part of the formula as the girls, the guns and the gadgets, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Roger Moore took over the role and since he uses a stunt man for pretty much everything, the producers decided Bond would dance no more. Any scenes with Bond grooving were given to other characters, which explains those people dancing with glee during the funeral in Live and Let Die (and why Bond doesn’t appear in the pretitle scene of that film). Imagine how much better The Man with the Golden Gun would have been if Bond had done the dance scene instead of the dancer with the bullet in her belly button. When it was first declared that Bond’s dancing and prancing days were over, fans were furious, many boycotting The Man with the Golden Gun in protest (hence why it’s one of the least successful Bond films). But after that it was accepted that while Moore was a great Bond, he wasn’t a great dancer, and eventually dancing in Bond films was pretty much forgotten.

    When Timothy Dalton took over, dancing was slowly eased back into the pictures. There was some dancing during Felix and Della’s wedding in Licence to Kill and subtle grooving touches in both The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. This was to prepare fans for the 17th Bond adventure set for release in 1991, which, as I’m told from a very reliable source, was going to be an all out musical, with singing and dancing by all the characters, the works. But then all the legal hassles started and the plans for the musical Bond film were put on the shelf. When Bond returned in 1995, we were treated to Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, but sadly the production of the musical Bond film was never resumed.

    Now that you know the history of Bond on the dance floor, you can get an appreictaion of just what this award mean, what it symbolises, what it stands for. But when it comes to judging which Bond should be crowned best dancer, it’s really only a one horse race. You see, because of his haircut, Timothy Dalton is the only Bond that one can picture in a Saturday Night Fever pose, and frankly, that’s enough for me to judge him the winner of this prestigious honour.

    Three cheers for Timothy Dalton.

    Until next time,