The recent passing of Honor Blackman brings us to thoughts of James Bond films. Blackman played the part of the private pilot of Auric Goldfinger, the villain of the film. We knew her character in American publicity material.
Honor Blackman entered the public contagiousness in her now-classic role, but she shared the screen, albeit briefly, with B-Movie beauty Shirley Eaton as “Bond Girls.” Eaton played a murder victim who suffocated after the bad guy had her painted with gold paint. Never mind the science, it made a spectacular film image.
Albert R. Broccoli produced all the Bond films until his death. His daughter Barbara Broccoli now continues the family business. Albert spent a tiny $3 million to make Goldfinger. It returned a satisfying $125 million at the worldwide box office. The Broccoli family has a good thing going.
Singer Shirley Bassey performed the still remembered theme song. One of the studio musicians on that cut was a very young Jimmy Page. Page later earned rock superstar status as a member of Led Zeppelin. A grateful England awarded him a place in chivalry with the Order of the British Empire.
Even small characters like Q, the quartermaster for the spy agency, and Miss Moneypenny, the secretary for M, the spymaster, and Bond’s boss, appear in most of the films. Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw currently play Moneypenny and Q.
For a pandemic movie binge-fest, a movie fan could do much worse than to watch James Bond films. The main thread of the Bond enterprise amounts to 25 films. The movies span 58 years from 1962 (“Doctor No”) to this year’s “No Time to Die.”
The pandemic has caused a shift in the release date of the latest Bond film until November of this year. This will make the last appearance of Daniel Craig as the title character.
Two additional Bond films appear outside of the official canon. The 1967 spoof version of “Casino Royale” starred David Niven as the suave spy; 1983 saw Bond icon Sean Connery return to the role in “Never Say Never Again.”
Movie buffs might enjoy watching all 24 released Bond films, in order, and could even fit in the two outlying films into the mix. How much fun would that be? The glam, the gadgets, and the girls still delight us, even if the special effects of 50-year-old films cause us to smile or snicker. We don’t, thank God, often get a long period of house arrest. We should watch lots of movies while we can.
In 2012, at 84, Honor Blackman had a prominent role in “Cockneys vs. Zombies,” a grand rollick of a zombie film. Few actresses can have that much fun at that age. Our current Moneypenny, Naomie Harris played in the Peter Boyle film “28 Days Later” which makes the top 10 list of best zombie films ever on most fan’s lists.
Bond films? Yep. Love ‘em.