1. 'For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond' Exhibition

    By Devin Zydel on 2007-08-17

    The wheels are starting to turn in preparation for the Ian Fleming centenary celebrations next year.

    The Times reports that the first comprehensive exhibition–entitled ‘For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond’–exploring the Bond phenomenon and the life of his creator is set to open next April at the Imperial War Museum in London.

    The exhibition, which is just one of many planned events designed to examine Fleming’s legacy in honour of his centenary next year, will bring together both personal effects of the author and an ‘unparalleled range of Bond memorabilia’ in order to discover where the identity of the debonair spymaster and journalist ended and the fictional secret agent began.

    James Taylor, the curator of the exhibition, noted that the author and his creation were both very similar in terms of their love of luxury. ‘It was said of Churchill that he was easily satisfied with the best of everything, and I think you could say the same of Fleming.’

    But there were also well-defined differences. ‘They were two different people. Bond is, in some ways, who Fleming would have liked to have been. During the war he worked in Naval Intelligence but it was a desk job. He wasn’t able to partake in any frontline operations. Bond also acts as a mouthpiece for Fleming’s own world view, particularly as regards Britain’s role in the world.’

    Items to be on display will include Fleming’s research notes for From Russia with Love, prototypes of the flick-knife shoes worn by Rosa Klebb in the film, Goldfinger’s golf shoes, a ‘blood-splattered’ shirt worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale and Halle Berry’s bikini from Die Another Day.

    In addition, the exhibition will also feature the manuscript for the non-Bond, but ever popular Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, annotated Bond manuscripts, notes for the scandalous Thrilling Cities series, the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver presented to Fleming by the Colt company and a map of the Mercury News Network, established by Fleming in the 1950s to collect information and intelligence from Sunday Times foreign correspondents.

    The organisers of the event also hope to track down the golden typewriter that Fleming used to write many of his Bond adventures and to secure a letter to the author written by a Major Boothroyd, advising him on what handguns for 007.

    ‘We are looking at the phenomenon that the films became, because they offer another way of looking at Fleming’s work. We want to put across the idea that the film Bond is a very different man from the literary Bond. He has a sense of humour, he sleeps with far more women and he has much less of a conscience than the character on the page.

    ‘Cubby Broccoli took Fleming’s ingredients and turned them into his own dish.’

    For further details on the exhibition, read the entire article from The Times.

    Ian Fleming’s centenary takes place on 28 May 2008, the same day Devil May Care, the all-new Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, is set for release.

    Stay tuned to CBn for the latest details and coverage of the Ian Fleming centenary events.

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