Movie Class 101 – Week 009 – Martinis, Travel and Women as well as Intrigue and Adventure

July 9, 2012

James Bond.  A name that immediately evokes a drink order “martini, shaken, not stirred” and the image of a beautiful but disposable woman.  A single spy that spans decades.  A library of books and a whole catalog of films.

Bond started as the brain child of Ian Fleming.  Fleming’s life is worthy of a novel or film.  Oh wait – they did make a movie out of it… Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming.  On top of all the crazy things that happened in his life AND being the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming wrote the novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Yes, it was a book first.

He wrote the first Bond book, Casino Royale, in 1953.  It was a sensation in England but not for any reason you would think of today.  In 1953, England was just coming out of the food rationing from World War II.  So to have a story where the hero traveled freely and ate an avocado pear… that was the end all be all in escapism.

All told there are about 13 books and a collection of short story.  The movies over took the books long ago.  There are 22, soon to be 23 official films with six men playing Bond.

It’s always been my feeling that the first man you see playing Bond will always typify Bond for you.  But the default is always Sean Connery.  That being said, Ian Fleming said that George Lazenby was the closest to the character he wrote in his novels.

One last note before we get to the movies.  The martini.  For the love of all that is holy do NOT order a martini shaken.  You stir a martini so as not to ‘bruise’ the alcohol.  The only reason you would want to shake a martini is if you were using very old school potato vodka that needed to be shaken so that the oils dispersed.  Since we don’t drink potato vodka anymore, there is no need to order your martini this way.

And now … this week’s film list:

1. Dr. No (1962) – Sean Connery
2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – George Lazenby
3. Live and Let Die (1973) – Roger Moore
4. License to Kill (1989) – Timothy Dalton
5. GoldenEye (1995) – Pierce Brosnan
6. Casino Royale (2006) – Daniel Craig

Additional Films:
Pick a Bond

Discussion Questions:
1. Who is your favorite Bond and why?
2. Given changes in world politics, is there still a place for James Bond at the table?  Why or why not?
3. This is a film series that has spanned 50 years.  How well do you think it has fared over all that time?

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