With the world premiere of Casino Royale just around the corner with only days to go, This Is London has collected together reviews from several film critics and Bond autbors (including Charlie Higson, Samantha Weinberg, and Simon Winder) of their personal favourite James Bond films…
Charlie Higson – You Only Live Twice
Charlie Higson, author of the current Young Bond series, which includes SilverFin and Blood Fever, cites 1967’s You Only Live Twice as his personal favourite.
‘My favourite is You Only Live Twice (1967). It’s probably not the best Bond movie, but I was nine when it came out and I remember being absolutely obsessed by it.’
‘The script was by Fleming’s friend Roald Dahl and it was the first Bond movie to deviate significantly from the book, which was no bad thing as it was not one of Fleming’s best. Dahl picked out a few elements–the Japanese setting, the volcano, Bond working alongside the Japanese secret service with their ninja tactics–and spun them off into an outrageous fantasy.’
Samantha Weinberg – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Samantha Weinberg, author (writing as Kate Westbrook) of the Moneypenny Diaries series (which includes Guardian Angel and Secret Servant, the latter just out this month) chooses 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
‘An unfashionable choice, perhaps, but it’s the one in which, in 1969, 007 is played by Australian model George Lazenby–who even if he wasn’t a bad actor, would have failed simply by not being Connery.’
‘It still makes me gasp and laugh and, uniquely among Bond films, cry. The plot is the closest to Fleming’s original story, in all its imaginative preposterousness. There is a great ski chase, some realistic fights, a sharp script and, in Blofeld and his sidekick Irma Bunt, gloriously overblown villains.’
Simon Winder – From Russia With Love
Simon Winder, author of The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond, which was released earlier this year says 1963’s From Russia With Love was the best.
‘From Russia With Love stands head and shoulders above the other Bond films. It is the only one to offer a wide range of really juicy acting roles. It is the only one to use a great location (a blue-grey, grimy Istanbul) in a non-postcard way. It has some spectacular sets by Syd Cain–the Spectre training camp, the Venetian chess-contest palazzo, Blofeld’s boat. The theme song is pretty awful, but John Barry’s orchestration comes to the rescue.’
Other reviews include Derek Malcolm (From Russia With Love), Charlotte O’Sullivan (Diamonds Are Forever), Andrew Lycett (Dr. No), and Nick Curtis (Goldfinger).
Stay tuned to CBn for all the latest literary James Bond news.