Movie Musings: From Dr. No to Goldfinger

I recently was casting about for something to watch, and happened upon the idea of watching the most recent James Bond outing. But of course, a stupid idea got in the way: why don’t I watch all of the Bond films in order, to ensure continuity?

Yes, because continuity has always been the most important thing to the Bond franchise.

Well, it had begun. I fully expected this to end badly, mostly because I had reread all of Ian Fleming’s Bond work in 2012  and ended up loathing both the author and myself for doing so. You see, I was an enormous Bond fan when I was younger. Before I knew what a lot of the stuff in the book was on anything other than an intellectual level, I had read them. I’m pretty sure the librarian thought it a little odd that a 10-year-old would be reading From Russia With Love, but then I was a bit of a nerd. And obviously, back then, I wasn’t someone who could appreciate just how fucked – and omnipresent – the racism and sexism were in the works. Then there’s the frankly inexcusable bit in Casino Royale about “the sweet tang of rape”, and the bit in The Spy Who Loved Me which mentions who “all women love semi-rape”.

(And I say this as someone who enjoys Sax fucking Rohmer, though maybe that’s because his prose has slipped from the near past of Fleming into the bounds of the ridiculous. Then again, I’m expecting that when I mount a rereading expedition into the Fu-Manchu series I’ll feel like plucking out my own eyes once more.)

Anyway, I had not really seen many of the films since I had been a child. Mum and Dad took a trip once, and my brother and I had watched The Spy Who Loved Me – that car! – almost every day of the six weeks they were away. I was resolutely a Moore kid, and when new films would come out, we’d go as a family to the movies to see them. For me, they seemed so exciting – it was very much a boys’ club kind of production, all gadgets and faraway places and breathtaking stunts, sort of at once escapist and aspirational, like a government-employed lads’ mag.

I fell off the wagon with the Brosnan years – I think Goldfinger might’ve been the only one of his I saw at the movies – but had latterly very much enjoyed the Craig films, largely because they eschewed most of the gadgetry and attempted to convey some of the legitimate awfulness of the character in the way the stories were told. Bond’s a dick, once more.

While watching Dr. No I was also farting about on Twitter, and so ended up making some comments about the film. It would, eventually, see the creation of a monster.

From Russia With Love, one of my shortlist for best Bond film (and the last ‘serious’ film until the Craig run, pretty much, with some shockingly brutal moments) was next, and received even shorter shrift.

Because, well, this.


Then came Goldfinger, which obviously features the best villain line in the series – “No, Mr. Bond – I expect you to die.” – and another two-tweet wonder.

By this time, Bond’s dickery had started to rub. It’d taken three films, but it had begun. I’m watching my way through this series alone, so there was nobody to discuss this stuff with. So, I decided to tweet commentary as the next films progressed, in the hope that someone might find my musings witty. Or fuckwitty, I don’t know.

Anyway, that’s how these movie musings started. Me noting stuff in the flicks that either tickled or offended me. The tweetstorms grew as the series progressed (at the time of writing I’m up to For Your Eyes Only – almost halfway!) so I figured I’d gather them all here because reasons. It’s my way of staying sane through the 24-film series, and I hope you enjoy, or sympathise. There’ll probably be other movies receive the same treatment, but I suspect none will be quite as large a generator of eyerolls as 007.

(As I put more of the conversations up, I’ll link them here. This will be your ONE STOP for BOND WHINGING, folks.)


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