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February 14, 2013

Book looks at 50 years of James Bond movies

When I was in elementary school, James Bond was all the rage. For some reason I didn’t see any of the early films with Sean Connery playing the infamous 007 British spy, but my siblings and several friends certainly did. There was something for everybody in Bond movies. They had chase scenes, clever gadgetry, spectacular scenery, sadistic geniuses, and, of course, gorgeous women. 

There has to be something uniquely appealing about a character that has lasted more than 50 years with six different actors.

Connery set the standard for the ultimate Bond. This was a man who was incredibly sophisticated, never lost his cool, wore perfectly tailored suits, and attracted women like ants to a picnic. He traveled the globe for the British secret service and tried to rescue the world from the most evil of madmen. Along the way he survived death-defying stunts and always got the girl. It’s no wonder he never lost his appeal.

I actually didn’t start watching James Bond until Roger Moore took over the role from Connery, but I was immediately hooked. Moore seemed ideal for the part since he played a similar character, Simon Templar, in the television series “The Saint.” Connery had made six Bond films with a relatively unknown actor named George Lazenby taking up the role once in-between Connery’s fifth and sixth appearances. For you sports buffs, Lazenby may be better known as the ex-husband of former tennis star and current ESPN analyst Pam Shriver.

Moore made seven Bond pictures between 1973 and 1985. By the mid-’70s Bond movies were a staple of Sunday night movies on ABC. I saw enough of those to realize how entertaining they were and have missed few since on the wide-screen. “Moonraker” was the first for me and it would be hard to match that one for excitement, comedy, adventure and just pure fun. But somehow they all manage to come close or exceed it.

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