Page to Screen: The Living Daylights (1987)

The Living Daylights
based on characters by Ian Fleming

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As a nail polish fiend and pop culture junkie, the licensed nail polish collection is seemingly tailored to me specifically. Ever since I missed the chance to buy the perfect multicolor glitter from the OPI Alice in Wonderland collection a few years back, I’ve been keeping a keen eye on such offerings. When OPI produced a James Bond collection to celebrate Skyfall and Fifty Years of Bond, I knew I had to get at least one—a nail polish inspired by such a butch franchise? How could I not? Alas, I could not actually find them, so I was floored when my awesome friend Natalya (who must be name-checked in every Bond review I write) gave me one of them as a gift. How is this relevant? That nail polish was called “The Living Daylights”. So not only have I been looking forward to watching Timothy Dalton step into Bond’s impeccable shoes, but I already feel like I should like the film, since I like the nail polish so much.

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Page to Screen: A View To a Kill (1985)

A View to a Kill
based on characters by Ian Fleming

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A View To a Kill is the first Bond movie I remember learning about outside of Goldeneye. (I may not have seen the film, but even I remember the majesty of the video game. It saturated the Nintendo 64 years like a glorious vodka martini-scented halo.) It was the one with Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. It was the one where Roger Moore’s age had become laughably apparent. It was the one from the mid-eighties, when the whole eighties aesthetic had stabilized and hadn’t soured yet. It was the one I was destined to love, for just as Meyerian werewolves imprint upon their soulmates in utero, I, too, imprinted upon the eighties at a tender age. Bring it on.

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Page to Screen: Octopussy (1983)

Octopussy
based on characters by Ian Fleming

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1983 was a weird year for the Bond franchise. You see, Thunderball had a weird, long copyright battle that ultimately resulted in Ian Fleming retaining the film rights to the novel itself, while writer Kevin McClory retained the film rights to the screenplay upon which the novel was based, which he, Jack Whittingham, and maybe Fleming had written together. In the mid-seventies, McClory began working to get a Thunderball adaptation to the big screen, and he finally succeeded with 1983’s Never Say Never Again, starring the original Bond himself, Sean Connery. So Roger Moore’s Bond, wry and aging rather gracelessly, was pitted against Connery’s Bond, the suave savage. Pecuniarily speaking, Octopussy won out, in terms of box office, but does it still hold up?

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Page to Screen: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes Only
based on the short story collection by Ian Fleming

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At last, the Bond films enter my beloved eighties. If you’re new around here, I am an eighties freak of the highest order—to celebrate the end of my college career, I threw the San Dimas High School Prom for the class of 1989. It’s like that. Plus, the eighties means two things for the Bond franchise: Grace Jones and Timothy Dalton. A View to Kill (which also boasts one of my favorite Duran Duran songs) has been long bandied about as one of the worst Bonds, and given my positive reaction to supposed stinker Moonraker, the results can only be good. And, as much as I like Moore, I can’t wait to get to Dalton, who I’ve built up as some sort of perfect Bond in my head. But let me stop myself from getting ahead of myself.

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Page to Screen: Moonraker (1979)

Moonraker
based on the novel by Ian Fleming

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I’ve been consulting with my friend Natalya, who inspired my Bondathon with her own, throughout this process. In our conversations, Moonraker has definitely come up. “Oh, Clare,” she told me, shaking her head, “it’s certainly something.” That tone of voice can only mean one thing: prime riffing material. So I’ve been very much looking forward to Moonraker, with both fear of the series hitting its nadir and delight at perhaps finding the silliest Bond movie (after Live and Let Die, of course). I saved it for just the right evening, too. I thought I was going to get the gleeful worst of Bond; instead, I got my favorite Roger Moore Bond film. Thanks, universe!

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Page to Screen: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

The Spy Who Loved Me 
based on characters by Ian Fleming

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This post goes up in July, but it was written in April, just after the entire Bond canon reappeared on Netflix Instant. So thank you for your patience while I’ve been complaining about availability issues over the past two months of scheduled posts while the canon was right there the entire time. Bless. In any case, I keep chugging along the Bond canon, patiently waiting until the Roger Moore films run out so I can tackle the two Timothy Dalton films. For some reason, I have decided that I am going to adore them, and I don’t think it’s related to the fact that it’s the perfect collision of the “Bond is a Time Lord” theory and Dalton having recently played a Time Lord. I’m just ready for the late eighties.

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Page to Screen: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

The Man With The Golden Gun
based on the novel by Ian Fleming

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The miracle of scheduled posts (to which I owe any illusions of timeliness) means that you, dear reader, get to follow along with my adventures with James Bond every other week or so, even as I suffer through a cinematic dry spell. Before my spring break (God bless scheduled posts), I didn’t have time to watch movies outside of my weekly Film Depreciation gatherings—and I missed it. Plus, I’d convinced myself that it was hard to find the Roger Moore Bond films, even though I had Videodrome down the street and only four out of the remaining sixteen films (including this one) require me to cough up three bucks to rent it on iTunes. Sometimes, I am just dumb. In any case, I kicked off my spring break with The Man with the Golden Gun. Moore’s Bond already tackled blaxspolitation films—what about martial arts movies?

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Page to Screen: Live and Let Die (1973)

Live and Let Die
based on the novel by Ian Fleming

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I was driving home with a few friends in the car, on the way back from something, when “Live and Let Die” came on one of Atlanta’s classic rock stations. I usually play Russian radio roulette while in Atlanta since they took my beloved the Journey away, but I paused. “Hold on,” I said. “I think I recognize it.” “It’s that Bond song Paul McCartney did,” my friend Isobel informed me. “Back up, Paul McCartney did a song for James Bond?” Much riffing (on McCartney, Bond, and my own ignorance) ensued. So, as you can see, between Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, the James Bond franchise is an empty desert dotted by the occasional Grace Jones. I had literally no idea what to expect from Roger Moore, so I went into Live and Let Die utterly blind.

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Page to Screen: Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Diamonds are Forever
based on the novel by Ian Fleming

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Well… that’s it. I’m done with Sean Connery as Bond. Well, there is Never Say Never Again, which I imagine I will eventually watch, but it’s not an Eon production, so it’s not canon. If I was an extra-canonical (thanks, Holmesians) completionist, I would never get anything done. My attention span is simply not suited to that much of a commitment. After the heights of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and becoming rather fond of Lazenby’s take on the super spy, it was a bit of a bumpy road back to Connery, especially since I loved On Her Majesty’s Secret Service so much (well, comparatively). Can Connery reclaim his territory once and for all? Well… not so much.

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Page to Screen: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
based on the novel by Ian Fleming

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As a seasoned fan of Doctor Who (albeit not as seasoned as any of the old-schoolers to whom I tip my metaphorical hat), I have to admit—I really look forward to regenerations. I realize I’m spoiled, as they happen quickly on the new series, but there’s something exciting about seeing an actor’s take on a character who, despite his variations, manages to remain archetypical. So when it came time for George Lazenby’s crack at the man with the golden gun in my Bondathon, I was excited. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is usually only remembered for its last five minutes by casual fans, but I think deserves a bit of a better reputation.

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