Cool minimalist cover art for the new James Bond 007 audiobooks
07:43 am


James Bond

Good news for Bond fans from SpyVibe:

The Reloaded editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, read by prominent British actors, was re-released yesterday in the US by Blackstone Audio. The collapse of AudioGo last year had Bond fans clambering for out-of-print CDs and box sets, but Ian Fleming Publications was able to strike a deal with Blackstone to keep the recordings in circulation. Each 007 title is available in CD, download, and MP3 CD editions.

The “prominent British actors” reading the novels include the likes of David Tennent, Kenneth Branagh, Rosamund Pike (who acted in the Bond film Die Another Day), and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, among many others. The new audiobooks also sport some extremely cool geometric/abstract cover art. If the artwork looks familiar, it should—these abstractions were used by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer paperback series of the Ian Fleming novels just a couple of years ago. In addition to issuing the new series, Blackstone is also keeping in print a series of Bond audiobooks from 2009, read by the acclaimed narrator and voice actor Simon Vance. That series had a cheesecakey, retro-kitsch cover design scheme, which we thought would be fun to A/B with the new ones—the contrast is awfully stark.


Casino Royale

You Only Live Twice

The Spy Who Loved Me
More after the jump…

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The first screen James Bond was NOT Sean Connery, it was an American actor named Barry Nelson!

Barry Nelson, the “original” James Bond, seated at left

Although this will probably not come as too much of a surprise to fanatical James Bond fanboys, the very first time 007 was portrayed onscreen it was by an American actor named Barry Nelson! Yep, a Yank James Bond, as seen on a live 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale that was part of a CBS adventure series called Climax!

For the live CBS broadcast, Ian Fleming was paid just $1000 for the rights to his novel. Co-starring with Nelson as the villainous “Le Chiffre” was none other than Peter Lorre, whose typically weasley malevolence is the real reason to watch this (as always, Peter Lorre is great in this role). There’s a “Felix Leiter” character, but he’s the British agent and he’s called “Clarence.”

To add to this topsy-turvy Anglo-American sacrilege, Nelson’s not-so-suave Bond (he’s just terrible and horribly miscast) is referred to as “Jimmy” several times! Jimmy!    (When Casino Royale was made into the 1967 spy movie spoof, Woody Allen’s character, the wimpy nephew of David Niven’s Sir James Bond, was also called “Jimmy Bond.”)

This production was presumed to have been lost since its original 1954 live telecast, until an incomplete version on a kinescope was uncovered by film historian Jim Schoenberger in 1981 and aired as part of a TBS James Bond marathon. Eventually the entire show was located (minus a few seconds of credits) and MGM included it as a DVD extra on their release of the 1967 Casino Royale.

An urban legend persisted for years that following his death scene, Peter Lorre got up an walked to his dressing room, unaware that he was still in the shot, but this was debunked by (The story had more than a grain of truth in it, this DID actually happen, but it was on a different live televised episode of Climax!)

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Grace Jones in concert in ‘A One Man Show’
01:22 pm


Grace Jones
James Bond
Jean-Paul Goude

Grace Jones has a theory that “men need to be penetrated…at least once in their lifetime.” The singer, actress and muse thinks it would help men “understand what it is like to receive,” which could (perhaps) “ take some of the aggression out of the world.”

It’s a theory Jones has perhaps held for a while, as during the making of the movie A View to a Kill, in which she played villain May Day against Roger Moore’s James Bond, she (jokingly) tried out her theory. In a seductive scene between May Day and Bond, Jones surprised Moore by disrobing to reveal a large rubber strap-on attached to her body. She then pounced on the unsuspecting 007. The prank left Bond shaken, but not apparently stirred.

Grace learned all about male aggression from an early age. She was brought up by her grandparents, who were devoutly Christian, tough, hard, and violent. She was frequently whipped by her grandfather over anything he considered to be a misdemeanor.

“Sometimes we’d have to climb a tree and pick our own whips to be disciplined with. When you had to pick your own whip, you knew you were in for it.”

Such aggressive behavior taught Grace to hide her emotions form her family, though later it did inspire her to create a fearsome alter ego.

“I think the scary character comes from male authority within my religious family. They had that first, and subliminally I took that on. I was shit scared of them.”

A few years later, Grace moved to America to be with her parents. Without the brutish discipline of her grandparents, Grace started to rebel, and gave up religion for the world of music, art and theater. She became a model, and started to hang-out with Andy Warhol and his Factory scene, and in the late 1970s, she began recording.

Her collaboration with artist and designer Jean-Paul Goude produced several decade-defining fashions, music promos, and ads. In 1982, this perfect balance of Grace and Goude produced a video of Jones’ concert A One Man Show, which along with Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense is one of the best concerts of the 1980s—a brilliant piece of theater and music, which is long overdue a full release on DVD. Track listing, “Warm Leatherette,” “Walking In The Rain,” “Feel Up,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Demolition Man,” “Pull Up To The Bumper,” “Private Life,” “My Jamaican Guy,” “Living My Life,” and “Libertango/Strange I’ve Seen That Face Before.”

Bonus compilation of Grace Jones’ rarities, after the jump…

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Ichiban Bond: Gorgeous Japanese James Bond posters
12:27 pm


James Bond

Lovely vintage Japanese James Bond posters.




More posters after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The story behind James Bond and his weapon of choice

We are in the land of bewhiskered firearms experts, secret agents, and eccentric Majors, where the quality of weapons are considered by their effectiveness to kill, without thought to the consequences of this function. It’s a fictional land, but with much bearing in fact.

Geoffrey Boothroyd liked to read spy novels, and in 1956, he was much taken by the latest thriller from Ian Fleming. But there was something wrong with this novel that featured the dashing Secret Service agent, James Bond, “certain inaccuracies” that made Mr. Boothroyd contact the author, to tell him:

“‘I don’t think Bond was going to last very long if he used a 25 Beretta pistol…

If we look at the series of James Bond novels, we can see that in the first, Casino Royale, Fleming armed his hero with a .25 calibre Beretta M418. This was a small pocket pistol that had limited stopping power. Bond kept this weapon in a chamois shoulder holster, which sounds overly fashionable (and done so as not ruin the line of his jacket), but it is not practical for a quick draw, as the soft leather catches onto the pistol. This is why holsters are usually made of solid, hard leather, for easy access.

Boothroyd wrote a politely critical letter to Fleming, in which he stated:

I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.

May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?

Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming try out a pistol for James Bond.
Ian Fleming was greatly impressed by Boothroyd’s knowledge, and wrote back:


31st May, 1956

Dear Mr Boothroyd,

I really am most grateful for your splendid letter of May 23rd.

You have entirely convinced me and I propose, perhaps not in the next volume of James Bond’s memoirs but, in the subsequent one, to change his weapons in accordance with your instructions.

Since I am not in the habit of stealing another man’s expertise, I shall ask you in due course to accept remuneration for your most valuable technical aid.

Incidentally, can you suggest where I can see a .38 Airweight in London. Who would have one?

As a matter of interest, how do you come to know so much about these things? I was delighted with the photographs and greatly impressed by them. If ever there is talk of making films of some of James Bond’s stories in due course, I shall suggest to the company concerned that they might like to consult you on some technical aspects. But they may not take my advice, so please do not set too much store by this suggestion.

From the style of your writing it occurs to me that you may have written books or articles on these subjects. Is that so?

Bond has always admitted to me that the .25 Beretta was not a stopping gun, and he places much more reliance on his accuracy with it than in any particular qualities of the gun itself. As you know, one gets used to a gun and it may take some time for him to settle down with the Smith and Wesson. But I think M. should advise him to make a change; as also in the case of the .357 Magnum.

He also agrees to give a fair trial to the Bern Martin holster, but he is inclined to favour something a little more casual and less bulky. The well-worn chamois leather pouch under his left arm has become almost a part of his clothes and he will be loath to make a change though, here again, M. may intervene.

At the present moment Bond is particularly anxious for expertise on the weapons likely to be carried by Russian agents and I wonder if you have any information on this.

As Bond’s biographer I am most anxious to see that he lives as long as possible and I shall be most grateful for any further technical advices you might like me to pass on to him.

Again, with very sincere thanks for your extremely helpful and workmanlike letter.

Yours sincerely



G. Boothroyd, Esq.,
17, Regent Park Square,
Glasgow, S

Indeed, Fleming did take on Mr. Boothroyd’s advice. In the fifth Bond novel, From Russia With Love, the Secret Service agent was greatly imperiled when the silencer on his Beretta snagged on his favorite chamois holster. This was the last novel in which Bond used a Beretta 418. In the subsequent novel, Dr. No, Bond was armed with a Walther PPK.

As a “thank you” to the Glasgow-based firearms expert, Fleming created the character Major Boothroyd, who first appeared in the sixth novel Dr. No as Bond’s service armorer. This character became “Q” in the Bond films, who was first played by Peter Burton in Dr. No, then from the second film, From Russia With Love, onwards, he was played by Desmond Llewelyn, until the actor’s death in 1999. John Cleese then took over the role right up to the arrival of Daniel Craig, where “Q” disappeared from the film series, until Ben Wishaw took up the role in Skyfall (2012).

Boothroyd also helped design the three-quarter trigger guard pistol used on the cover of Fleming’s From Russia With Love. Due to his interest in handguns, Boothroyd gave advice to the police during the murder investigation of American-Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel.

Boothroyd died in October 2001.

During the filming of the third James Bond movie, Goldfinger, at Pinewood Studios, England, in 1963, Sean Connery took time-off to present a brief film on the history of Bond’s weapon of choice.

Connery introduces Geoffrey Boothroyd, who explains the background to his interest in the character, the differences between the Beretta 418, Walther PPK and Boothroyd’s preferred gun, the Magnum 44—Dirty Harry’s favored tool of his trade.

H/T Letters of Note

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James Bond: The men who auditioned to play 007 in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’
08:07 am

Pop Culture

James Bond
George Lazenby

Sean Connery quit the role of James Bond after You Only Live Twice, having “grown tired of the repetitive plots, lack of character development and the general public’s demands on him and his privacy (as well as fearing typecasting).

With a new Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, imminent, director Peter Hunt compiled a long list of potential replacements for Sean Connery. This was then reduced to a shortlist of five actors, who were all given screen tests for the role of James Bond in 1967.

The five asked to audition were:

John Richardson, who was then best known for his performance as Tumak in One Million Years B.C.. At the time, he was considered a potential favorite, however, he did not win the part, and went on to star in On A Clear Day I Can See Forever, before having a long career as an actor in Italy.

Anthony Rogers a character actor who appeared on the verge of achieving stardom. However, his career never quite recovered from failing to win the Bond audition.

Robert Campbell an unknown actor/model, who seems to have vanished after his screentest for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Hans De Vries had already appeared in You Only Live Twice, and had a string of roles in TV and films behind him. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and De Vries went on to work with Connery in the western Shalako, and Michael Caine in Ken Russell’s The Billion Dollar Brain, before having a career as a character actor in film and TV.

George Lazenby a former car salesman and successful model (reputedly the highest paid in the world at that time), who best known for appearing in the Big Fry Turkish Delight adverts, had been spotted by Bond producer Cubby Broccoli when getting their hair cut at the same barber. Though he was not an actor, Lazenby impressed at his audition, in particular with his skill at fighting. Lazenby later recalled:

“I had no acting experience, I was coming from the male model point of view. I walked in looking like James Bond, and acting as if that’s the way I was anyway. And they thought, ‘All we have to do is keep this guy just the way he is and we’ll have James Bond.’”

Director Peter Hunt thought Lazenby a natural for the role, and said:

“I aim to make people forget Connery as James Bond once they see Lazenby.”

Alas, this was not to be, for although George Lazenby was one of the best James Bonds, he did not make the audience forget Connery, who had made the role very much his own. However, Lazenby presented a “much more human Bond” with his frailties and inner conflicts.

However, what could have been a highly lucrative and very successful Bond career for Lazenby was soon over, as he announced he would quit the role after the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This when Lazenby had already signed-up to film four Bond movies over a seven-year period. As the site MoonrakerBondStation explains, “The big dispute between Lazenby and Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli was over the rules in Lazenby’s contract.”

He actually could be fired for something as simple as not shaving every day while not even filming a Bond movie. There was even a clause in his contract that stated that he had to get his dinner guests approved by Cubby Broccoli before he could be seen dining out with them in public. There were numerous clauses of this nature in his contract and none of them sat well with Lazenby.

The Bond producers finally realized that they had to let Lazenby out of his contract because he was not going to behave as they wanted him to unless they did so. For example, Lazenby’s wearing a beard and long hair in public, hanging out at nightclubs and bars, and saying he was quitting the role numerous times. This sort of thing was done by Lazenby so that he could get the 7 film deal he wanted, but minus all the Draconian rules it had contained within it. In order to do that he first had to get out of the original contract that he had signed.

You can read about the whole background to the dispute here.

Other actors who had been considered for the role of James Bond include Stanley Baker, Rex Harrison and David Niven, who all lost out to Connery.

Terence Stamp was said to have too many radical ideas; while Michael Caine, did not want to be typecast.

Oliver Reed came very close to winning the role, but his off-screen reputation frightened producers.

Timothy Dalton turned down the role twice before accepting it in 1986.

The unlucky Jon Finch turned down Live and Let Die, and would later lose his role as Kane in Alien after taking ill on set, being replaced by John Hurt.

Lewis Collins, best known as Bodie in the TV series The Professionals was considered to be too aggressive.

James Brolin was set to play Bond, before Moore agreed to return in Octopussy.

There was also Richard Burton, Cary Grant, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan, Rod Taylor, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Adam West, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, who all turned the role down. A full list can be found here.
Composite photograph of the actors who auditioned to play James Bond in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’
For your eyes only, more pix of the other potential Bonds, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
James Bond movie posters in the style of Saul Bass
03:53 pm


James Bond
Saul Bass

A lot of concept art inspired by a specific artist completely fails to capture the spirit of their work, but I’ve been in love with Saul Bass’ aesthetic ever since I saw the opening credits for the 1963 Audrey Hepburn thriller, Charade, and these James Bond posters are dead-on. From the groovy color palette to the abstractions of geometry and scale, artist Alain Bossuyt really knows his Bass.

For reference, check out the video at the bottom for the opening credits of Charade.
More after the jump…

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Now YOU can own James Bond’s 1977 Lotus submarine car!
04:25 pm


James Bond

James Bond
The Spy Who Loved Me has everything you could want in a Bond film —action, adventure, corny sexual jokes, fabulous Bond girls (my favorite, actually, Ringo Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach), and completely impractical spy technology. You just can’t get more impractical than an amphibious car!

After filming wrapped, this functioning submersible car (adapted from a Lotus frame for over $100,000) was tucked away in a storage unit on Long Island and eventually purchased for a pittance at a blind auction when the rent went overdue. Soon, it will be up for auction through a Sotheby’s affiliate, and you could be the one to own it! (I assume most of our readers are eccentric millionaires with proclivities for elaborate toys).

Below you can see this little beauty in action. While some shots were done with a miniature model, most of the footage is of the actual car, driven by a retired Navy SEAL. Even the initial “dive” is the actual car, though the vehicle was “manned” with stunt dummies for safety.

Via Messy Nessy Chic

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The Ultimate Bond: Every James Bond actor morphed into one face
11:33 am


James Bond

Every damn James Bond actor ever morphed into an image to create one bad-ass Super Bond. This totally works for me.

To refresh your memory, here’s a list of all the actors who have played 007: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. (I don’t think David Niven, who played the retired “Sir James Bond 007” in the 1967 Casino Royale spoof is included here.)

Via i09

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007 trailer fest: Previews for all 23 James Bond films
09:25 pm


James Bond

Having just seen Skyfall and finding it thoroughly entertaining and unquestionably one of the best of the Bond films, I thought I’d share this collection of previews from all 23 of the series. Enjoy.

Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery)
Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery)
Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery)
You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery)
Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore)
Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore)
For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore)
Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore)
A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore)
The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton)
Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton)
GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan)
The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan)
Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan)
Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig)
Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig)
Skyfall (2012-Daniel Craig)

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Ken Adam: The Man Who Designed for James Bond and Stanley Kubrick

You will know Ken Adam for the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. Or, perhaps his car design for Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. And of course, his unforgettable designs for the James Bond movies - from the specially adapted Aston Martin car, to his vision of Fort Knox in Goldfinger; the jet pack in Thunderball; or his stunning rocket base, within a hollow volcano in You Only Live Twice - Adam has created some of the most brilliant and unforgettable set designs ever filmed.

The 007 Set: A Profile of Ken Adam tells the story of cinema’s best known production designer from his birth in Berlin, between the wars, to his escape to England after the rise of Hitler, his training as an architect, and his career as the Royal Air Force’s only German fighter pilot during World War 2. First broadcast in 1979, this is a fascinating portrait, with great archive and an excellent interview with Ken Adam.

With thanks to NellyM

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Pulp’s unused James Bond theme, 1997
02:25 pm


James Bond

Another disused James Bond theme, this time from Pulp. In 1997 the Britpop band submitted “Tomorrow Never Lies,” but the the film was re-titled and their song shelved in favor of a Sheryl Crow number, instead.

“Tomorrow Never Lies” came out as the B-side to “Help the Aged.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Thunderball’ opening credits with the theme song that Johnny Cash submitted

Alice Cooper’s unused 1974 James Bond theme

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All the James Bonds together in one chase scene
11:40 am


James Bond

In celebration of Sky Movies 007 HD launching on October 5—yes, an all-James Bond channel—here’s some fancy editing of all six Bonds pitted against each other in one glorious car chase scene.

The footage used is from Dr No, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, The World Is Not Enough and Quantum of Solace

Via High Definite

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Alice Cooper’s unused 1974 James Bond theme
01:43 pm


Alice Cooper
James Bond

Alice Cooper’s pretty awful attempt at a title tune for the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun, was given to Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, but they chose instead to go with Lulu’s far more lascivious number, the raunchiest of all the Bond themes.

I think they made the right call. Some people hate the Lulu song, but it’s one of my top favorites, up there with Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” and Tom Jones belting out “Thunderball.”

“The Man With The Golden Gun” would appear on the final Alice Cooper group album, 1974’s equally tired Muscle of Love.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Thunderball’ opening credits with the theme song that Johnny Cash submitted

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy birthday, Paul McCartney!
08:43 am


Paul McCartney
James Bond

Macca turns 70 today.

There are only two Beatles left, celebrate them while you still can.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The William S. Burroughs/Beatles Connection

Below, from One Hand Clapping, Wings perform an absolutely astonishing “Live and Let Die” in rehearsal, during the Red Rose Speedway recording sessions:

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