Friday, August 3, 2007

From Ian Fleming, with love

I suppose you have to be a certain age to have read a lot of Ian Fleming. I went through every one of his James Bond books as a teenager, starting with Dr. No when I was about 13. I found the sex and violence and diabolical plots so intoxicating that I quickly located the first Bond book, Casino Royale, and read the rest of them in the order they were written. I may be one of the few James Bond fans who can honestly say he read each book in the series before seeing its corresponding movie.

The movies were mostly terrible and eventually devolved into self-parody, but I loved them too. Objectifying women, killing uniformed minions by the dozen, and outwitting all manner of exotic assassins, usually while wearing a tuxedo -- just the sort of role model a teenage boy can unabashedly embrace.

I got to thinking about Bond after seeing this post by my friend Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders. He's talking about John LeCarre, and "that golden era of international spying." LeCarre's spies, of course, were far more cerebral than Bond, and the conflicts they faced were far more ambiguous. Teenage boys are not big on ambiguity. I didn't read LeCarre until much later in life.


Peter said...

I actually found myself thinking a bit more about John Le Carre and James Bond when I made that post. I'm not nearly the Bond fan that you were, but I knew enough to recognize that the remake of Casino Royale was more tough-minded than some of its predecessors and went fairly light on the self-parody.

I suspect that not many people will admit with a straight face that they liked most of the old-line Bond movies, except maybe as a kind of guilty pleasure. But it would be interesting to hear from such people what they thought of the new Casino Royale.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Dave Knadler said...

Daniel Craig's Bond is the first one to make you forget about Sean Connery. I think that has a lot to do with the lean script and superb direction. I never really minded the outrageousness of the later Bond films (with a couple exceptions), but it's good to have the character being taken seriously, too.

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