Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Bonds On The Shelf

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I'm quite proud of the double meaning I put into my title.
"Sitting on the shelf" was a horror vision for girls in former times (though I found out in career advising that even the tough modern ones are still afraid of it - and "bonds" and the stock market seems to many of them more dangerous than an adventurous Bond).
Up till now I have seen very few Bond films. I saw some with Roger Moore (because I adore Roger Moore), and I saw all films with Daniel Craig, because I'm besotted with him.
But as "I don't want to die dumb", I bought now The Complete Bond Box - 23 DVDs (and one empty box for "Spectre", which I have already watched in cinema).
And - being an orderly person - I started with "Dr. No" from 1962, the very first Bond film, starring Sean Connery.
Surprise: I liked it immensely!
And he was a big surprise to me, too: an utterly beautiful man (in my eyes).
Wiki affirms that my innate tape measure was right: Sean Connery is tall - me, being 1.78m, learned quickly to estimate height (I'm also able to fortell with certainty which tiny man will ask me for a dance - there is one kind full of good self-esteem - a lot of them live in Bavaria or in Russia - who take a tall woman into their arms and proudly announce: "All mine!")
Back to Sean Connery: he is 1.86m. Beautiful hairstyle - almost like the heroes of the Fifties - and if there was a toupet, as rumour goes, be it on the head or on the chest, I don't care. Today young men shave off every single body hair meticulously, everywhere - which, of course, I only know by hearsay :-)
What I noticed:
this first Bond-film showed the same frugality as the Fifties were famous for (think of wineglasses with 0,1 litre, think of strawberry punch and small flats) - and Ian Fleming wrote the novel in 1958:
- Bond has only his Beretta - which he has to hand over to M for a Walther PKK - and he has his muscles and his brain. No technical gimmicks from Q. Bond cuts a reed for Honey Rider and himself, to be able to breath under water, when the guards come with dogs.
- The story: simple.
- The Bad Guy, Dr. No,: simple.
- The people of Jamaica: still very naive - to believe in that misterious "dragon" on Dr. No's island you must be able to speak Pidgin English, too.
- The Bond Girl - Ursula Andress - so coy!
Though even she succumbs to James Bond's charme --- and who wouldn't?

PS: Can you imagine that I know a person who was caddie for Ian Fleming? My friend David, a Chelsea Pensioner, told me about his first "job" as a schoolboy  - and Mr. Fleming later gave him a watch as a present!
PPS: the photo I took in the London exposition (2014):

©Brigitta Huegel



18 comments:

  1. I owned every Bond that Fleming wrote, and read them several times. I saw most of Connery's Bond films. Grand, the books and the actor.

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    1. Great, Joanne. The books are different, but I enjoy them too.

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  2. How interewting that you know someone who knew Fleming! I saw Sean Connery a couple of times as a child - i was in the same class as at school as his stepdaughter Giovanna (Diane Cilento's daughter) and he came to the school to open a fete once, and his little boy Jason. i had no idea who he was - had never heqrd of james bond, didn't see the films until much later.

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    1. Wow, Louise, that is wonderful! To be in the company of someone famous without knowing that he is famous makes it easier to behave the way one is - though as a child one does it anyway. I didn't know he has a stepdaughter. Good to see you here!

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  3. We used to go to the early Bond films when I was at school. We were not allowed in without an adult because of the certificate the films carried in UK cinemas. We would latch on to any adults we could see in the queue (and the queues at the cinema box offices were always long) and sneak in. Finding a way into the cinema without an adult was as exciting as the film for us at 12 or 13.

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    1. Ha, Rachel - my parents were very strict about films (and comics) - can you imagine that the very first film I saw was "The Knack" with Rita Tushingham? Then "A Hard Day's Night" - but before (being a very well-behaved child - which I changed radically later) I didn't go.
      Son was speechless, when I told him - "Why didn't you do it clandestine?" he asked, and I thought a very long time: Why didn't I do that, why??

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  4. I was never a massive fan of the Bond films and I'm still not that keen Britta { although, Daniel Craig could take me ' down from the shelf ' if he ever felt inclined !! }
    Harry Saltzman, the producer of the earlier Bond films, was a patient of ours .... that's my connection to James Bond !!!!!!! XXXX

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    1. Let's wait for Daniel Craig then, Jackie! :-)
      To know Harry Saltzman is interesting too!

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  5. I have not been a huge fan of James Bond. Most of the movies are well written and the actors have done a good job. It is just not the kind of movie I enjoy. To me Sean Connery is James Bond. And the man stays as appealing as he was when he was a younger man.

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    1. That, Emma, is what I thought a long time too. All those gimmicks and those madmen who want to rule the world were not for me - but now I love to see the films also as a document of their time.

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  6. Bond films are not for me either, but Sean Connery used to be an attractive actor with his Scottish burr - I saw a photo of him the other day - he is now 82 years and sadly not the man he was.

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    1. Yes, Rosemary, Sean was a big surprise to me. I saw a picture of him that was taken in 2008 and thought: "He still looks good!" - others I haven't seen.

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  7. 23 Bond DVDs, eh? That should keep you occupied during those snowbound winter nights!

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    1. Haha, Sue: isn't it good that I saw the 'Complete Inspector Morse' - 33 DVDs - already, and more than once?

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  8. I liked the early Bond films but now I think they are too violent and the Bonds these days just don't have that charm that they used to. My favourite was Connery I once had a very sexy dream about him when I was younger - we were in one of those submersibles - and well, I will leave the rest to your imagination.

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    1. I see that violence too, Elaine, and do have problems to remind me it is "only fiction".
      Yes - I do have imagination :-) - and do I only imagine it, or is the early Bond more civil to women ? I will be on the look-out for that while watching the next 22...

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  9. I think Sean Connery is the best Bond man compared to others who came after him. The first BOND movie I watched when I was young was FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. I have also seen Dr.NO, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER,GOLD FINGER with Sean Connery as the Bond. Somehow I am not very impressed with the other bonds although movie making techniques and graffic effects have advanced considerably over the years.

    Interesting post. I enjoyed it.

    Best wishes

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    1. Thank you, Joseph - "From Russia With Love" will be the second DVD I'll watch. I know that I have seen it in cinema long time ago - the only thing I remember are those knife blades that came out of the shoes of an awful woman.
      I'll be glad if you look in when I do tell of my other Bond-impressions.

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