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  1. The CBn Dossier, August '06

    Welcome to the August 2006 CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the James Bond 007 news and rumours for the month. In this month’s column, we’ll be examining the build-up to 2006’s Casino Royale, the many upcoming literary James Bond releases, the ‘Ultimate Edition’ James Bond DVDs, Sideshow Bond announcements, as well as other 007-related events, news on the next Bond game, and much, much more.

    This month’s CBn Dossier will be delivered by Luke Freeman.

    All aboard the ‘Casino Royale’ bandwagon


    (Finally, a little recognition)

    Casino Royale is now less than 3 months away, and the buzz is definitely starting to build. James Bond is back.

    Oh sure, some of the naysayers may continue to say ‘nay’, as they desperately cling to what has previously been and passed in a manner not unlike having one’s recently deceased pet stuffed and displayed in the living room, but for many previously sceptical about this new Bond and this new direction, apprehension has turned into anticipation. They’ve hopped onboard the Casino Royale bandwagon as it rolls on full steam ahead (I didn’t know wagons produced steam) towards November. Why? Because everything we’ve seen and heard about the film of late looks and sounds so very, very good.

    Entertainment Weekly, excited by the prospect of ‘rougher, rawer, rebooted James Bond’, are calling Casino Royale their “#1 Must-See Film of Fall 2006”, while TIME have the film in their ‘Unavoidable, Unmissable and Uncovered’ list.

    The word from the inside is good too. “He’s everything Bond should be. He’s sexy and charming and virile, but can also be dangerous” explains Barbara Broccoli. “He’s so violent, and we never see James Bond violent. So modern. It’s completely different from the 20 movies before” says Caterina Murino.

    True, they are working on the film with him so they can hardly say “Oh, he’s rubbish. Bring back Roger Moore”, but there’s something real and specific about their praise. This isn’t yet another dusting off of those old worn-out generic stock lines that are used each time a new Bond film rolls around an attempt to create the illusion of excitement. This is genuine excitement. Instead of “she’s not a Bond girl, she’s a Bond woman, blah, blah, blah”, Caterina Murino says she’d tried to “give some humanity to (her character) Solange”. Instead of “It’s like slipping on an old pair of shoes” and (the most dreaded words of all) “peeling back the layers”, we have Daniel Craig assuring us that previously-long-since-forgotten “element of cruelty” to the character will be seen. “Certain things he does should be questionable. I think you should go, “f–k, that’s not nice.” He is an assassin.” says Craig.

    “Continuing the legacy” has been replaced by “There’s no point in making this movie unless it’s different”, the phrase “biggest Bond ever” is nowhere in sight and, contrary to what that normally means, neither is the word “gritty”. And yes, while the F word (as in “Fleming”, as in “Flemmmmmming”, as in “back to…”) has been uttered a couple of times, one is inclined to believe them this time around.

    Of course, we won’t find out for certain until opening night, but jamesbond.de reports that before then we’ll get a sneak peak curtousy of a new trailer, which according CBn forum member dinovelvet will be broadcast during the season premiere of Nip/Tuck on Tuesday, 5 September at 10PM (ET) on the FX channel.

    It’s Game On….


    (Eventually)

    Turns out that the next James Bond game, the first from Activision, is not going to be released until May of 2008 – to tie in with the release of Bond 22. At this rate, we’ll be playing it on the Playstation 5. Sigh, I still remember playing Rare’s GoldenEye 64 way back in 1997-8. It was tremendous fun and after finishing it I couldn’t wait for the next decent Bond game.

    Still waiting.

    Give a hoot, read a book


    (The books of the month for this month)

    With 3 months still to go until Casino Royale, and apparently 21 to go until the next Bond game, you may be looking for something to quench your Bond thirst in the meantime. Fear not, fellow Bond fans, fear not, for there is an abundance of Bond related literature htting stores over the next month.

    Christopher Wood, screenwriter of the The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, and author of the novelizations of those two films, will be releasing a new book in September, as reported by
    Dr. Shatterhand’s Botanical Garden
    . Entitled James Bond, The Spy I Loved, the book will cover Wood’s move to Eon Productions and his work as a screenwriter on two of the biggest films in the series.

    Secret Servant: The Moneypenny Diaries – The second volume of Samantha Weinberg’s (writing as Kate Westbrook) The Moneypenny Diaries trilogy, is set to be released on 2 November 2006, and can now be pre-ordered from amazon.co.uk at a discounted price of £11.21

    With the original edition now out of print, a new edition of Ian Fleming’s James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies, boasting new illustrations by George Almond, clearer translations, and an additional foreward by Raymond Benson is now available, so if you don’t already have a copy, buy one. And if you do already have one, buy another one. You can never have too many. Aim to have one for every room of your house.

    The Science Of James Bond by Lois H. Gresh and Robert Weinberg is shipping early from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. The Science of James Bond covers (make sure you’re sitting down for this) the science of James Bond: the gadgets, cars, and technology. It’s out now in the US, and will available in the UK from 6 September.

    And originally set for a 1 September 2006 release in the US,James Bond In The 21st Century: Why We Still Need 007 has hit book shelves early. While not yet released online at amazon.com, it can currently be pre-ordered there for a discounted price of $12.21. The UK release is set for 7 September.

    Bond, Young Bond


    (Weapons and women, coming up)

    We were treated to two helpings of Young Bond news this month, both reported by the Young Bond Dossier.

    First off, confirmation from author Charlie Higson of the apache weapon (as discovered by Commanderbond.net forum member ‘K1Bond007’) that will feature in Young Bond Book 3.

    Higson says: ‘Nice work on the apache pics. You’ve nailed it. Although my version has a slight adaption to the knuckle dusters in that the gun doesn’t have to be reversed to use them. I saw some pictures of these nasty little guns… and just knew that I had to use them in the book.’

    Sounds just like the one I got for my eighth birthday.

    That was followed by some Young Bond Book 4 news, with it revealed that the main villain in the fourth book, most likely to be released in 2008, will be a female.

    Sideshow Attractions


    (Juggling the figures)

    The Sideshow Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby Legacy Edition figures are now available to pre-order from Sideshow Collectibles.

    These new 12” figures are the fourth and fifth in the new “Legacy Edition” line of James Bond figures. No news yet on a “safari-suit clad Roger Moore with judo chop action”, but we live in hope. Each of these “Legacy Edition” figures includes an authentic portrait, fully articulated body with 30+ points of articulation, expertly tailored fabric costume, and a number of different accessories.

    The new figures are both estimated to ship in the fourth quarter of 2006, and can be pre-ordered at Sideshow for $44.99 each. So what are you waiting for? Pre-order Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby figures now. Do you hear me? NOW! Don’t bother with the rest of the dossier, you won’t be missing much. Just me waffling on about stuff that’s already happened (and stuff that wont even be happening).

    Ultimate Edition DVDs


    (Just how ultimate are they?)

    The Ultimate Edition DVDs and been released recently in UK (July 17) and Australia (August 14). For this new DVD release, the films have been restored with a “breakthrough digital process” by Lowry Digital, greatly improving both picture and sound, though according to some fans, with varying degrees of success. Apparently GoldenEye is rubbish (and the picture quality isn’t that great either – zing!), while Dr. No and Moonraker on the other hand look like brand new films.

    So are these Ultimate Editions a) very ultimate, b) pretty ultimate, or c) not yet ultimate enough?

    With the improved picture and sound, the all new extras, and the Roger Moore commentaries where he can be talking about the change in tone of For Your Eyes Only one moment, then jump into the story of how he took the part in Cannonball Run the next, it’s a definite “a” from me.

    Details on the Region 1 release where announced. They will be released as four separate volumes of 5 films each, with Volumes 1 and 2 due out on November 7th and Volumes 3 and 4 on December 12th. Doesn’t worry me as I’m about as American as humble pie, but many Stateside folk seem none to happy about the broken up release dates and the serious lack of attache case.

    Click here for CommanderBond.net’s round-up of all the latest James Bond 007 ‘Ultimate Edition’ DVD news: front and back cover art, worldwide release dates, menu and screen caps, new certificates, pre-ordering details, special features, technical specs, and more.

    Class Reunions


    (Together again, for the first time)

    Just a quick heads up about two upcoming James Bond “reunions” being held in September. The James Bond reunion at Collectormania 10 from Friday 29 September through Sunday 1 October with feature George Lazenby, Yaphet Kotto, Madeline Smith, Martine Beswick, Caroline Munro and Burt Kwouk.

    Also The STARCONUK show, which is set for 23-24 September 2006, will feature over 40 stars from the 007 films, including Bond girls Maud Adams, Maryam D’abo, Shirley Eaton, Britt Ekland, Eunice Gayson, Caroline Munro and Lana Wood.

    Breaking news: The following will not be happening…


    (Not that they were ever going to anyway)

    ‘I’ve signed up for two more, and then I can get on with my life!’ says Daniel Craig. Does this count as our first official bit of Bond 24 news (i.e. that Craig will not be doing it (at this stage (although of course things could change (but they probably wont (or at least everyone I know says they wont)))))? I think it does.

    Here are a couple of other things that we learnt will not be happening:

    The OHMSS theme will not be featuring on the Casino Royale Score

    Roger Michell will not be directing Bond 22

    That is all.

    CBn – The Bondiest Bond site on the web


    (and getting Bondier by the minute)

    You may have noticed that our main page has undergone a bit of a facelift. It now boasts a cool new colour scheme, a calendar of upcoming Bond related events and a Casino Royale countdown clock. Don’t like it? Well, start an online petition and get it signed by Bodnfan, BrosnanGirl79, and Bodnfan using a different alias (a delightful little entourage who refer to themselves as “most people”, and whose opinions / barely-coherent ramblings have been proven to carry incalculable weight , if the overwhelming success of previous online petitions is anything to go by (I’ve just discovered that sarcasm works better spoken than it does written)).

    The results of our member survey to find the 50 greatest moments of James Bond movies, books, and videogames are in, and it make for a truly fascinating read. Thank you to all who contributed. No doubt we’ll be running future surveys at some point, so be sure to join up on the CBn forums so that you can have your say.

    CBn is now on MySpace. It’s all part of our plot for internet domination. We start bombing Google in 5 minutes.

    If I could think of anything else worth mentioning I’d mention it.

    Stay in school,

    Freemo

    Related Links

    Luke Freeman @ 2006-08-31
  2. It Takes All Kinds

    If “James Bond fans” be a group of people, then it be a group that contains quite a number of subgroups. With many books by different authors and many films starring different actors, the James Bond series that’s been going for several decades now, so it’s hardly surprising that there are many different types of fans, each with unique likes and dislikes, and each to whom being a “James Bond fan” means something different.

    There are of course the groups defined by their age, like the Moore Generation, who grew up during the 70’s and early 80’s, when “Rodge” was Bond. To them those were the good old days of shameless fun and pure entertainment. And while they may occasional stray over to the Connery or Dalton camps, they can never stay away, and always come back to their sentimental favorite sooner or later.

    Formed in a similar vein are The Brosnan Birgade, an odd mix of young newbies and committed female admirers truly in awe of their hero, spreading the good word and making Photoshop tributes to him while blissfully unaware that there were indeed James Bond films made before 1995.

    With youth and enthusiasm on their side, they’re definitely one of the more vocal groups, but if they (or anyone for that matter) speak out too loudly, too often, you can be sure that they’ll be quickly put in their place by the old-school blazer-and-tie Fleming Traditionalists, to whom the movies as merely “gimmicky, cartoonish twaddle”, completely unworthy of the phrase “Ian Fleming’s James Bond”.

    “Bond’s too much of a super-man” they cry. “We want gritty, back to Fleming, faithful adaptations” they demand. Would you like some cheese with your whine gentlemen? But press them hard enough and they’ll concede that Living Daylights and Licence to Kill “were okay, I suppose, best of the bunch at any rate”.

    But this group are not to be confused with the Daltonites, a small but merry band with a song in their hearts and genuine love for the fourth 007. Still a little bitter towards “The Man”, they consider Dalton’s forced departure from the series the biggest blunder since the Catholic Church elected that Pope who turned out to be a Satanist (I don’t remember his name, but you know which one I mean. Was around during the 50’s, I think. Used to prance around the Vatican in a red frock. Had those big sideburns Anyway, it’s not important).

    Don’t forget the Music Buffs, the most recent subgroup to pop up, interested primarily in the Bond soundtracks, discussing music cues and that “techno number by David Arnold, which is new and fresh but contains just a subtle Barry tribute” or whatever, which has the rest of us scratching our heads and wondering just what the hell they are on and where can we get some.

    Without a doubt, the black sheep of the Bond fan family is The Insider. Passing on to the rest of us fans details about plots, titles and locations, but frustratingly neglecting to mention just where the information comes from. Some believe him to be part of the production crew, others scoff at his claims and are convinced that the only “source” he has is the White wine and Mushroom he puts on his Tortellini (that jokes works better spoken rather than written)(no it doesn’t). Either way, he always causes quite a stir.

    And then there’s Johnny Collector, the envy of everyone, who has managed to get his hands on every paperback edition, every teaser poster, every bit of merchandise ever released (even that rare early Moonraker script where ”Moonraker” was actually the name of the villain’s pet monkey), all of which are proudly displayed on the shelves of his home, a home of which he desperately needs to update the security system of.

    We Bond fans truly are a diverse bunch, and while differences of opinion may see us argue and bicker from time to time, we’re all here for the same reason, James Bond. I like to think of us as a one big happy dysfunctional family.

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Luke Freeman @ 2005-02-11
  3. 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
  4. The Blades Library Book Club: From Russia, With Love

    Welcome back to The Blades Library Book Club – the place for quality discussions of the books of James Bond!

    Every two months a book is chosen for the club members to read. A thread is posted in the club forums listing locations on where you can find the novel. Discussions about the book will go on as the book is read and when it is finished. Another thread will be created so that club members can post their review and give a rating on the current book.

    All fans of the Literary Bond are eligible for membership. All you need to do to sign up is register for the CBn Forums and then post your name in the sign up thread.

    The Book Club’s Fifth Book:

    From Russia, With Love

    Currently we are progressing though the novels in chronological order, since quite a number of members are using the club as an opportunity to read the books for the very first time.Therefore, From Russia, With Love will be the book in the hands of readers for September 2004. From Russia, With Love, written in 1957, is Fleming’s fifth Bond novel. And rated by many as one of the best.

    Obtaining The Book:

    Ordering online should be quite easy. From Russia, With Love can be ordered online from the following sources:

    Online sources for other older versions of From Russia With Love:

    Discuss other places to buy From Russia, With Love or where you got your
    copy in this
    thread
    .

    Discuss The Book While Reading:

    Want to talk about the book while reading it. Post a new thread in The Blades Library. Be sure to title the thread with “From Russia, With Love” and the chapter number you have read through.

    Review And Rate The Book:

    After you have finished reading From Russia, With Love, you can dicuss it with other club members in The Blades Library,
    and give the book your personal rating out of five in this
    thread
    .

     
    If you have any questions or suggestions just post them in a new thread. Happy reading.

    Previous Books Read

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-09-01
  5. The Blades Library Book Club: Diamonds Are Forever

    Welcome back to The Blades Library Book Club – the place for quality discussions of the books of James Bond!

    Every two months a book is chosen for the club members to read. A thread is posted in the club forums listing locations on where you can find the novel. Discussions about the book will go on as the book is read and when it is finished. Another thread will be created so that club members can post their review and give a rating on the current book.

    All fans of the Literary Bond are eligible for membership. All you need to do to sign up is register for the CBn Forums and then post your name in the sign up thread.

    The Book Club’s Fourth Book:

    Diamonds Are Forever

    For now, we’ll continue though the novels in chronological order, since quite a number of members are using the club as an opportunity to read the books for the very first time. Therefore, Diamonds Are Forever will be the book in the hands of readers for July 2004. Diamonds Are Forever, written in 1956, is Fleming’s fourth Bond novel.

    Obtaining The Book:

    Ordering online should be quite easy. Diamonds Are Forever can be ordered online from the following sources:

    Online sources for other older versions of Diamonds Are Forever:

    Discuss other places to buy Diamonds Are Forever or where you got your copy in this thread.

    Discuss The Book While Reading:

    Want to talk about the book while reading it. Post a new thread in The Blades Library. Be sure to title the thread with “Diamonds Are Forever” and the chapter number you have read through.

    Review And Rate The Book:

    After you have finished reading Diamonds Are Forever, you can dicuss it with other club members in The Blades Library, and give the book your personal rating out of five in this thread.

     
    If you have any questions or suggestions just post them in a new thread. Happy reading.

    Previous Books Read

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-07-01
  6. Unused Audio Commentaries

    When did it all go wrong? When did the relationship between supplier and consumer deteriorate? I think it may have been around the time that milk bars started selling bottled water, but it could have been as far back as when newsagents began putting their dirty magazines into plastic wrapping so that you couldn’t read them for the articles without purchasing them first. Whatever and whenever the moment was, that moment marked the decline of civilisation as we know it. Businesses, manufacturers, suppliers, they just don’t care about the consumers anymore. The desire to produce a quality product that meets or even exceeds the consumers’ demands is long gone. Now it’s all about the money, bleeding the customers dry and forcing them to make do with second-rate products.

    One example of this is the James Bond DVDs. Sure, they were okay, but the could have been so much better. It’s great to have the films on DVD, but how about some decent extras? There are barely any deleted scenes or original interviews, and while some of the audio commentaries are quite good, others leave a lot of be desired. There really is no reason for that. There are plenty of deleted scenes and interviews gathering dust in old archives, aching to be cleaned up and transferred to DVD for the enjoyment of viewers. I know fans would love to see the deleted scene from Moonraker where Jaws goes undercover as an Elvis Impersonator, or the hear the Desmond Llewellyn interview where he made those slightly out-dated comments regarding black slavery. What’s even more startling than the absence of these extras is the fact that there are several original audio commentaries in existence in voiced by actors and directors that were recorded but never made their way onto the DVDs.

    Below is a list of some the commentaries that we are missing out on.

    Diamonds Are Forever (Mankewicz / Robinson)

    Tom Mankewicz voices a full commentary, in which he offers an explanation for Blofeld’s abundance of hair and Bond’s lack of that ties into the plot, and gives detailed back story for each of the funeral parlour gangsters. Joe Robinson (Peter Franks) makes a brief cameo in the commentary, where he denies the rumour that he adiently pulled off Sean Connery’s hairpiece in the elevator fight scene, but confirms that, for authenticity purposes, he really did have the diamonds shoved up his, uh, yeah. Commentary may sag in the third quarter where, for filler, Mankewicz yawns and then wonders out loud why it is that the murderer is never Colonel Mustard with the candle in the kitchen.

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Lazenby / Hunt / Picker / Wilson)

    The plan was for star George Lazenby, director Peter Hunt, former Untied Artists President David Picker, and Michael G. Wilson to each provide a separate solo commentary, with the four getting sliced together into one superb effort. Lazenby tells of how he and Hunt had a major run in on the set. Hunt claims that there was on animosity between himself and George Lazenby. Picker goes into detail explaining that despite the fact that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service wasn’t as successful and the Connery outings, it still did good business at the boxoffice. Wilson reveals “the film took a long time to make it’s money back”. Apparently the commentary was scraped due to confusion.

    For Your Eyes Only (Glen / Moore)

    This commentary by Roger Moore and director John Glen was canned due to technical reasons, which is a shame because Moore and Glen appear to have good chemistry, even giving a marvellous rendition of the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine. But sadly, on many occasions throughout the commentary the audio doesn’t properly pick up what has been said, hence why it was unused. For example: Moore reveals that this is the only one of his Bond films where he didn’t sleep with one of the female co-stars in real life. Glen is quite startled by the revelation, and enquires about A View to a Kill. Roger mutters something about “that bird in the pre-credit scene”, but sadly the microphone doesn’t fully pick it up.

    The Living Daylights (Brosnan)

    Possibly the best commentary of the all, the commentary of The Living Daylights by Pierce Brosnan. For years fans have dismissed it as little more than a myth, an urban legend, but I can assure you that it does exist, deep within the MGM archives. Brosnan is tied to a chair and forced to watch the film that he was denied the opportunity to star in. As Dalton walks along the gunbarrel opening, we hear Brosnan proclaim “that should be me up there”. From then until midway though the Q scene, he gives a bitter recount of the events that prevented him from being in the film. But the real highlight comes in the second half, where Brosnan breaks down into tears as he comes to the realisation that the film is 50 times better than any of ones that he has starred in.

    A plea to MGM: Please, please, include these audio commentaries on the 2005 DVD releases. It’s what the fans want.

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-05-21
  7. The Blades Library Book Club: Moonraker

    This month sees the long awaited return of the The Blades Library Book Club – the place for quality discussions of the books of James Bond!

    Every month a book is chosen by the club members to read. A thread is posted in the club forums listing locations on where you can find the novel. Discussions about the book will go on as the book is read and when it is finished. Another thread will be created so that club members can post their review and give a rating on the current book.

    All fans of the Literary Bond are eligible for membership. All you need to do to sign up is register for the CBn Forums and then post your name in the sign up thread.

    The Book Club’s Third Book:

    Moonraker

    After Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, the club members have voted to continue reading the novels in cronological order. Therefore, Moonraker is to be the book in hands of readers for the month of May 2004. Moonraker, written in 1955, is Fleming’s third Bond novel.

    Obtaining The Book:

    Ordering online should be quite easy. Moonraker can be ordered online from the following sources:

    Online sources for other older versions of Moonraker:

    Discuss other places to buy Moonraker or where you got your copy in this thread.

    Discuss The Book While Reading:

    Want to talk about the book while reading it. Post a new thread in The Blades Library. Be sure to title the thread with “Moonraker” and the chapter number you have read through.

    Review And Rate The Book:

    After you have finished reading Moonraker, you can dicuss it with other club members in the Blades Library, and give the book your personal rating out of five in this thread.

     
    If you have any questions or suggestions just post them in a new thread. Happy reading.

    Previous Books Read

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-04-30
  8. The Codename Theory

    You know they say that you can find anything and everything on the Internet, but yesterday, despite hours of searching, I couldn’t find one decent picture of Carrie Fisher in the gold bikini from Return of the Jedi. Sure, there were a few blurry images and the odd poorly scanned photo, but they were nothing special, nothing to e-mail home about. I thought they’d be entire websites and message boards dedicated to it, after all, there are websites for “Traffic Cone Worshipping”, “Kermit the Frog: The Vegas Years”, and “Hitler’s Favourite Recipes”. But no, as completely and utterly baffling as it may sound, there are next to none on Princess Leia. Personally, I think that the lack of quality images on this subject is a disgrace. An absolute disgrace. When are they going to do something about it?

    What you can find plenty of on the Internet though, is rumours and theories and speculation on all matter of subjects, including James Bond. Some of these are quite ridiculous, such as “Were Roger Moore and Maud Adams sleeping together during the making of The Man With the Golden Gun?”. I mean, come on, obviously they weren’t. Just look at the facts: Roger had a wife and a mistress at the time of that film. Does he really strike you as a three-timer? Ofcourse not. Get your minds out of the gutter people. Roger Moore is a gentleman, and would certainly have never cheated on his wife and mistress. Any suggestions otherwise border on slander quite frankly, and I for one won’t sit idly by while Roger’s good name is tarnished. It’s time that these baseless rumours and theories were squashed, once and for all.

    Well, the rumours are pretty harmless I suppose, they’re usually dismissed by readers pretty quickly. Most people don’t believe that the costumes for Octopussy were made cheaply thanks to sweat-shop labour, or that Daniel Kleinman was using recreational drugs while designing the title sequence for The World is Not Enough, and they generally don’t believe the false rumours either. No, the rumours don’t concern me so much (except that nasty one suggesting that they didn’t really go into outer space when filming Moonraker. Blasphemy!), not as much as the theories anyway. There are many fan-created theories running around, concerning various aspects of the Bond series, the worst of all no doubt being “The Codename Theory”.

    The Codename Theory proposes that “James Bond” is not a real person but a codename given by MI6, and that every actor to play James Bond has been playing a different agent using the “James Bond” codename. The intention of this theory is to explain why James Bond never ages, and why he changes his appearance every, well, every time there is a change in actors. I suppose it’s also open the door for a black or female or black female James Bond to be cast sometime in the future. This idea has generated a little bit of support among fans, but I personally have always despised it because it totally ruins the mystique of James Bond. “There’s only one man” after all. This Codename theory is gimmicky and pointless. Now everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and like I said, the theory does have some supporters, but I don’t buy it. It’s sort of like saying that Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney were playing different Batmans (or should that be Batmen?), or that Alan Reed and Henry Cordon were voicing different Fred Flintstones. But what the hey, we’ll play along.

    So, every Bond actor played a different character who was assuming the codename “James Bond”? This would mean that there have been five James Bonds: Connery/Bond, Lazenby/Bond, Moore/Bond, Dalton/Bond and Brosnan/Bond. With Connery/Bond being the first, right? A bit odd then that Connery/Bond is replaced by Lazenby/Bond only to later on return. Perhaps Lazenby/Bond got compassionate leave after his wife died (his wife died, remember that for later)?. But Lazenby recognises gadgets from Connery missions (recognises, he’s not just clearing out his predecessors desk, hey, what’s that there in the bottom draw? Oooh, very kinky), so that’s not going to quite work. Perhaps Connery and Lazenby were playing the same character, while Moore, Dalton and Brosnan were playing different ones. This would mean that there have been four James Bond – ConneryLazenby/Bond, Moore/Bond, Dalton/Bond and Brosnan/Bond.

    But in The Spy Who Loved Me Sheikh Hosein remembers Moore/Bond from Cambridge, which would mean Moore/Bond was using the Bond Codename during his University years, before ConneryLazenby/Bond. Did Moore/Bond possibly have a brief stint using the Codename before passing it on to ConneryLazenby/Bond, only to get it back 11 years later? Not likely. Maybe Moore was playing the same character as Connery and Lazenby, while Dalton and Brosnan were playing different ones. This would mean that there have been three James Bond – ConneryLazenbyMoore/Bond, Dalton/Bond and Brosnan/Bond.

    The Dalton Era is the one that’s the most damaging for supporters of The Codename Theory, primarily because Dalton/Bond resigns from the Secret Service in Licence to Kill. Why did he get to keep the codename? According to the theory, shouldn’t he have relinquished the codename and gone back to whatever his name was before he replaced ConneryLazenbyMoore/Bond as James Bond. We’ll ignore this fact and assume that MI6 are slow with paperwork (M’s still waiting on that mini refrigerator she ordered for the office last September), but he was lucky that they didn’t give the James Bond codename to someone else while he was off hunting down Sanchez. The other thing about Licence to Kill is that Felix Lieter acknowledges Dalton/Bond as the one who “was married, a long time ago”. Perhaps Dalton/Bond was also married, perhaps to a hairy-knuckled Scotswoman named Gladys. Or Perhaps Dalton was playing the same character as Connery, Lazenby and Moore, while Brosnan was playing a different one. This would mean that there has been two James Bonds – ConneryLazenbyMooreDalton/Bond and Brosnan/Bond.

    As we move along to Brosnan, I think you can see where I’m heading. There’s no dead wife references to save me this time though, but there is something else; Doesn’t the pre-title scene of the first Brosnan/Bond film, GoldenEye take place nine years earlier? Before The Living Daylights? Before Brosnan/Bond took over the codename. Is Brosnan playing ConneryLazenbyMooreDalton/Bond for this one scene ? Does Brosnan join the ranks of Charles Grey and Joe Don Baker with the honour of playing two different characters in the Bond series ? Probably not, since later on Brosnan/Bond clearly remembers the events of the pre-title scene. It’s also unlikely that Trevelyn (shouldn’t that be a codename as well?) would want to take revenge on “some else who just happens to be assuming the code name once used by the person who betrayed me”. Unlikely but not impossible I suppose, but it definitely seems that Brosnan was playing the same character as Connery, Lazenby, Moore and Dalton. This would mean that there has been one James Bond – ConneryLazenbyMooreDaltonBrosnan/Bond, James Bond, the one and only. Nobody does it better.

    I think that’s sufficient evidence showing that they are all most probably playing the same James Bond, but I can’t prove it beyond all doubt I suppose. What I can prove beyond all doubt though, is that Robert Brown and Judi Dench were playing the same M. But that will have to wait for another day.

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-04-23
  9. Driving Miss Moneypenny

    Now sit down if you are not already seated, because what I have to tell you all may come as a shock. I have it on pretty good authority that Hollywood is running rather low on film ideas at the moment. Now I can’t divulge the names of my sources, because they aren’t real and I’ve just made them up to impress you, but these sources tell me that studios, producers and writers and in an absolute panic. That’s why established franchises and comic book adaptations are all the rage at the moment. They guarantee reasonable success without having to be especially creative or original. And with ticket sales, DVD sales, rentals, merchandise, video games and TV cartoon series, it means plenty of money in the bank, which can be used to make even more of these films.

    In the last few years we’ve seem comics like X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil and The Hulk brought to life on the big screen, as well as other franchise like Star Wars, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and ofcourse, James Bond. And there’s always talk of Batman and Indiana Jones making a return to movie theatres. Still it could be worse. In the mid-90’s we had that god awful “films based on 60’s TV shows” craze which, in comparison, doesn’t make this current franchise frenzy look so bad come to think of it.

    In this current franchise frenzy, studios and producers are always on the lookout for a new franchise to make a film out of. And if they can’t find one or create an original one, they’ll do the next best thing, Spin-off. The Spin-off genre appeared dead until The Rock (do you smell what he’s cooking ? Mmmm, burritos) jump started it again starring in The Scorpion King. When Die Another Day was unleashed upon the cinema going public, there was talk of Halle Berry starring in her own series of Jinx Spin-off films. There was something about the idea of the most undeveloped character in the history of the series getting her own film franchise that appealed to EON, and Purvis and Wade were immediately hired to put crayon to paper and come up with a Jinx script. But the Jinx Spin-off didn’t eventuate, and Ms. Berry went off to do Catwoman instead. Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll never see a Spin-off come from the Bond series, oh no, not at all. It just means that they’ll have to find another character of which to base the Spin-off film on, and I have a few suggestions….

    Charles Robinson Crusoe – Discontent with his job as the token black guy of MI6, Robinson makes plans to sell top secret codes to the Russians. He steals a helicopter and makes way for Moscow, then remembering that Russia is no longer a Communist country, changes course and heads for Cuba. But he crash lands and winds up on a uncharted desert island. He meets other castaways and enjoys the paradise lifestyle, until the island is invaded by a Robot Army. The Robot Army challenge the castaways to a game of Basketball, with ownership of the island going to the winner. Worried that the Robots will cheat to win, the castaways bring in the Harlem Globetrotters as ringers to level the playing field. The plan succeeds and the Robot Army is driven off the island, and least for now.

    The Goodhead, The Bad, and The Ugly – It’s been 25 years since Moonraker, but finally, CIA Agent Holly Goodhead makes her long awaited return to the big screen. This time she teams up with Nick Nack and Jaws (who provide the comic relief, fighting over which one of them is “The Bad” and which is “The Ugly”. The three of them ride off into the heart of the desert, to foil a villainous plot ripped straight from the headlines involving a hot air balloon, a bottle of Tequila, some African Conflict Diamonds and a three-legged goat.

    The Thunderball Run – Auric Goldfinger in his Gold Rolls Royce, Sheriff JW Pepper in his Police Car, Doctor No in his Dragon Tank, and many more of your favourite characters from the Bond series come together to compete in The Thunderball Run, a road race across America and back again. With a grand prize of $1 million cash and a free pass to the National Air and Space Museum, competition is sure to be cut-throat, and there’s bound to be plenty of thrills, spills, and yes, because you demanded it, kills. And in this kind of race there are only two rules: Rule #1 – There are no rules, Rule #2 – No invisible cars allowed.

    Driving Miss Moneypenny – The Queen, Prince Charles, and the rest of the Royal Family are tragically killed in a fox hunting incident. Expert genealogists are brought in to determine who is next in line to the throne, and discover that it is none other than Miss Moneypenny. So Moneypenny quits her secretary job at MI6, is crowned Monarch, and moves into Buckingham palace. Queen Moneypenny brings sweeping reform to the Kingdom, booting out Scotland to make way for Bangladesh, selling the Crown Jewels on E-Bay, and hiring James Bond (Pierce Brosnan in a guest appearance) as her chauffeur. At first she enjoys ruling over the common folk, but soon the pressure gets to her and she turns to heroin for relief. And when Bond inadvertently blabs to a gossip columnist about driving her to rehab, the plot thickens.

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-02-20
  10. James Bond Trivia 101

    Is there anything more thrilling than trivia? I seriously doubt it. There is no sensation that compares to the adrenaline rush one gets from showing off their trivia skills to the amazement of onlookers. And James Bond and trivia go hand in hand. When I think trivia, I think James Bond, and when I think James Bond, I think trivia. James Bond trivia is far more interesting than trivia regarding non-Bond related subjects. Tell people which country won the first Soccer World Cup, or how many episodes of The Partridge Family were made, and they smile politely and yawn. But tell people that Roger Moore is older than Sean Connery or that The Spy Who Loved Me ends to the sound of a pack of drunken sailors singing the title song, and they’ll be hanging on your every word.

    You don’t need fancy clothes, a fast car, or even good looks to impress. You can get along just fine with a bit a James Bond trivia. Now I’m sure most of you already have a fair bit of Bond trivia up your sleeves. You can probably run off all the films and books in your sleep, tell stories about what actors were originally considered for what rolls, and quote the licence plate of Bond’s BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough. Heck, You may even be able to accurately describe what colour Roger Moore’s hair really is in A View to A Kill. You may know all that and more, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t brush up on your James Bond knowledge every once in a while. Think of this article as a refresher course, and think of me, Freemo, as your wise old tutor with his cardigan and pipe. Together, we will hit the books, and study a few points of 007 trivia not known outside these university halls..

    “The first actor to play two different characters in the James Bond series was…. Sean Connery”.

    The honor role of people who have had the privilege of appearing in multiple roles in the 007 flicks is a long and distinguished one. From Charles Grey, Maud Adams, Martine Beswick and Joe Don Baker in rather large roles, to the repeated cameos of Shane Rimmer and Michael G. Wilson, popping up every now and then as different minor characters. But if watching the films in order, preceding all those people was Anthony Dawson, who played Geologist Professor Dent in the first Bond film Doctor No, before returning a year later as the hands of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in From Russia With Love. With that in mind, most aficionados would most confidently that he was the first. Those people would be wrong. Now before you look at me as if I’ve just slapped your mother, think about it for a minute, and you’ll agree that the first actor (stuntmen not included) to play multiple characters in the Bond series is, infact Sean Connery. He, of course, played 007 in Doctor No and From Russia With Love, but also played a SPECTRE agent wearing a James Bond mask in the pre-credit scene of From Russia With Love. Connery is in the scene, running around the maze, and the character he is playing is not James Bond. That scene coming being before Dawson’s scene as Blofeld, making Connery, technically, the first actor to play multiple characters in the James Bond film series.

    “The only Bond film not to have a major villain is…. Tomorrow Never Dies“.

    Talking about a Bond film with no major villain will thrill and wow your audience no end. Many would say that From Russia With Love is the Bond film missing the major villain, with Red Grant and Rosa Klebb in a double act role. But I’d have Klebb as the major adversary and Grant as merely the henchman. After all Grant’s only interested in swiping some gold sovereigns and getting Bond to kiss his feet. Klebb is the one out for glory. But, Tomorrow Never Dies, there is a film without a major villain. At first glance, Elliot Carver seems to fit the bill nicely, but was Elliot Carver really so bad? When you look at the film closely, it’s clear that he isn’t really a villain at all. I mean, surely he’s one of the nicest, most honourable media moguls you’ve ever seen. For one, the stories he printed were true, without any of the cheap tricks or persuasive messages the media so often use. “17 British Sailors Murdered”. I mean, 17 British sailors really were murdered. Sure Carver may have been the one responsible, but he’s reporting the news better than most. Most newspapers or TV news programs run sleazy headlines fresh from the rumour-mill, about attention-seeking celebrities trying to resurrect their failing careers. “Madonna in love triangle with Brittnay Spears and Francis the Talking Mule”. Bombarding us innocent readers with stories like this is surely a far greater crime than anything Elliot Carver ever did. Even worse, they spelt “Britney” incorrectly. When you look at it like that, it’s reasonable not to consider Carver a villain at all, let alone the major villain.

    Quarrel Junior (seen in Live and Let Die) isn’t really…. Quarrel’s biological son.

    Well, I can’t actually prove this one for certain, but it’s well known that Mrs. Quarrel “got around”, if you know what I mean. Hard to forget those rumors about her and Puss Feller, or the ones with Commander Strangways. She probably named the child “Quarrel Junior” so that her husband wouldn’t get suspicious, a very crafty scheme indeed. Quarrel was probably too busy filling and refilling that rum bottle of his to ever notice the lack of family resemblance between him and Junior anyway. Hmmm.

    So there you have it. Three more precious pieces of James Bond trivia to improve upon your expansive knowledge (well two, third ones a bit doubtful. If anyone can prove it one way or the other, send me an email). And it’s on that note that conclude the lesson for today. For homework, find out which John Garnder novel has the most words. Sorry we didn’t have time to discuss who currently owns the 2CV Melinda drove in For Your Eyes Only, or to go into what the “J.W” in Sheriff J.W Pepper really stands for. Those are pieces of Bond trivia that will have to wait for another time.

    Oh, and by the way, Uruguay won the first Soccer World Cup, and there were 96 episodes of The Partridge Family.

    Until next time,

    Freemo

    Luke Freeman @ 2004-02-06