The Spy Who Loved Me

The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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The James Bond Files

After wading through the MGM bankruptcy hiatus, pre-production, principal photography, marketing and release anticipation, the latest James Bond adventure is finally upon us. (If you live outside of the U.S., there’s actually a good chance that this wait ended a week or two ago, but we’ll let that go.) Skyfall hits theaters early in IMAX on November 8 and then in wide theatrical release on November 9. Now you have a chance to finally see the brand new, completely original Bond. Sort of. One of the great things about Bond movies is they have a certain level of familiarity. If made well, you can expect some common elements that make it feel like a quintessential Bond film. Sure, we all like originality, but you can trust almost any James Bond film to cover familiar territory. Here’s a James Bond history lesson and how it relates to the upcoming film.

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Bond 50 Blu-ray

James Bond has been outwitting bad guys and bedding the ladies onscreen for half a century, and even as the films’ tones, quality and lead actors fluctuated the character of Bond has remained an icon of cinema. Six actors have played him across twenty two films, and there are folks who champion each and every one of them. The key to calling a favorite seems to depend on which ones you saw first and at what age as well as your individual constitution for puns, crazy action sequences, talkative villains and films ending with lifeboats floating at sea. For the record, before digging into this set and watching all 22 films Daniel Craig was my favorite Bond and Casino Royale my favorite Bond movie. But also for the record? I quickly came to realize I had only seen a fraction of the Bond films. One of 2012’s biggest and most anticipated Blu-ray sets is Bond 50 which celebrates fifty years of Bond with special feature-filled Blu-rays for each film. Most have already seen HD releases, but the set includes Blu debuts of You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The set breaks the 22 films into two halves, twelve from 1962-1981 and ten 1983-2012, each in their own sturdy book. Due to the sheer volume of material this Disc Spotlight will be broken into two halves […]

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Casino Royale Director Martin Campbell

Martin Campbell has resurrected James Bond from the dead. Twice. So why is he not the permanent James Bond director?

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