Shaken but not
The Blended Bond
How the James Bond films
fit into the WNU
One of the more puzzling mysteries in our interpretation of WNU related materials are the James Bond films and how they relate to the history and chronology of the person of James Bond depicted in the series of accounts written by Ian Fleming, Robert Markham, John Gardner and Raymond F. Benson.
The purist is quick to dismiss the films as aberrations, as purely fictional exploits based on the novels and exaggerated by the film makers. In some cases this appears to be true such as in Live and Let Die or The Man with the Golden Gun but in other cases such as Diamonds are Forever or You Only Live Twice the filmed version is so different from the novel that the only connection to the original novel are the title and the names of the main characters.
The common belief is that these changes occurred when novels and stories were translated onto film because the producers did not think that the books as written were visually exciting or that the novels were seriously dated and so needed updating. This belief is partially true but not entirely true.
One of the major reasons for the changes between the film and novels was because the film producers wished to tell more a more complete version of James Bond exploit than Ian Fleming had been allowed or been able to do. The film producers wanted to chronicle more of the biography of 007, going beyond the novels and detailing more of his case histories. These started in some of the earlier films where the writers had corrected some of Ian Fleming's editorial changes to the case studies. The writers added scenes that Fleming had excluded for various editorial reasons, most often to make the novel have a crisp, smooth narrative flow. Fleming's editorial changes also reflected his perception of the James Bond “character” and also reflected Fleming's viewpoint on social and political issues. Not all of the changes that the film writers made in the earlier films were necessarily corrections and these will be dealt with as well.
We were unable to examine Fleming’s contracts with the Ministry of Defense or their joint contracts with the producers of the Bond films. We can therefore only speculate that due to the contractual agreements that the screenwriters had made with the Fleming estate that they often used the main characters and the basic plot of a Fleming book but also created their own characters or drastically altered the storyline.
In altering the storyline and creating new characters the producers were accomplishing two things. Firstly producers and writers of the films often used the springboard of the novels and stories as a means of showing the general public even more of James Bond' biography even if it were only small bits and in a rather disorganized fashion. What I mean by this is that some of the main deviations from the storyline of the film from the novel are not so much deviations of storyline but rather parts of other previously unrecorded adventures blended into the film's storyline. The blending was done is such a way so that the regular fan of the James Bond films who was unacquainted with the novels would not notice anything, whereas the James Bond aficionado would immediately notice the changes.
Secondly the producers of the films as a service to the 007 and to the BSS continued the campaign of disinformation begun by Ian Fleming, the purpose of which was to convince the general public and Britain enemies that James Bond was a fictional person. The films often went over the top in terms of budget and by paddng storyline in order to make the cinematic Bond seem larger than life and hence convince the general public that these exploits were completely fictional.
I will try to
examine the films
of James Bond up to Casino Royale (2006).
Although the films after The
Living Daylights up until the recent version of Casino
are adventures of James Bond independent from the written works of Ian
they do deserve some examination.
1942 Deal the Blood Red Death Basis for CASINO ROYALE (1954 and 1967)
1952 January-February Live and Let Die (novel)
1952 May Moonraker (novel)
July-August 1954 Diamonds are Forever (novel)
1956 February-March Dr. No
1957 March-April The Hildebrandt Rarity (short story)
May 1957 From a View to a Kill (short story)
1958 May-June Goldfinger
1958 September-October For Your Eyes Only (short story)
1958 October Risico (short story)
1959 May-June Thunderball
1960 Late Summer The Living Daylights (short story)
1960 October The Spy Who Loved Me (novel)
1961 June The Property of a Lady (short story)
September 1961-January 1, 1962 On Her Majesty's Secret Service
1963 Octopussy (short story)
1964 June The Man With the Golden Gun (novel)
1967 Lucent in the Sky with Diamonds AKA Diamonds are Forever
1972 Gold and Sun AKA Man With the Golden Gun
1973 Never Say Never Again
1977 Atlantis Complex AKA The Spy Who Loved Me
1978 Moon Reich AKA Moonraker
1980 The Greek Interpreter AKA For Your Eyes Only
1982 Circus of Death AKA Octopussy
1984 Chip and Shake AKA A View to a Kill
1986 Living Daylights
1988 License to Kill
1996 Tomorrow Never Dies AKA Tomorrow Never Lies
1999 The World is Not Enough
2000-2002 Die Another Day
2005 Casino Royale
© 2007 Dennis Power