- My BA Blog

Ian F. Hunt

By

Investigative Study – 50 Years of James Bond Essay

50 Years of James Bond Essay – an essay by Ian F. Hunt

50 Years of James Bond

50 Years of James Bond Essay. Nationalism, Violence and Sex (an Essay by Ian F. Hunt)

This year the Bond Film Franchise celebrates its fiftieth year. The first Bond Film Dr. No (Terence Young. 1962) opened fifty years ago and the premiere of the latest film in the series, Skyfall (Sam Mendes. 2012) has just opened in the cinema. Bond films adhere to a successful formula, they are known for their depiction of National identity, Bond’s Britishness, which I will consider first and how Nationalism is one of the central elements to the success of the films at the Box Office.

James Bond & Tiffany Case

James Bond & Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever

Bond films are also famous for their Bond Girls I will look at gender and consider how the Bond films portray women on screen and the roles that they play, for example the femme fetal and the love interest and how this has changed over time. From Sean Connery’s Bond of 1962 where women were portrayed as second-class citizens as either the love interest, or in less prominent roles, to the present where the balance between the sexes has been somewhat addressed.

Then I will discuss Bond’s Villains; the adversaries who Bond must overcome, their importance to the films and the unique way they are portrayed on screen as mentally or physically scared, or otherwise deformed sexual deviants. Then go on to looking at how Bonds villains change with the political status from the time of the communists to megalomaniacs with their own agendas. The portrayal of Violence, an integral part of Bond films. I will consider how this has developed over time and in particular how the portrayal of this on screen has changed and has been influenced by recent films of the same genre as much as a change in audience expectations.

Finally in the conclusion I will make the argument that the Bond Film Franchise with this proven formulae of Nationalism, Violence and Sex continues to appeal to followers of Bond and now attracts a new generation of fans with the Franchise reboot of 2006 and the casting of Daniel Craig in the lead role.

There have been many changes in the Bond films over the decades, the films always reflecting upon the National/International politics and social conventions of the time. In the Cold War years, Bonds adversaries, the villains were typically from the Soviet Union, the Eastern Block and the Far East in fact Communist countries, which included China and North Korea. These were interspersed with megalomaniac’s, typically heads of International Corporations or Crime Organisations.

In comparison the political allies of Britain are almost always portrayed positively. There is a good reason for this, for example Americans are portrayed in this way, for as a large English speaking country America would also be the largest market for the Bond films outside of Britain and therefore generate the greatest box office returns.

Nationalism and in particular the waving of the British Flag features in the narrative of most if not all of the Bond films, Bond is British, this national identity and its associated iconography feature throughout the films. For example the suits that Bond wears, the cars that he drives and especially the film sequences featuring well-known landmarks filmed in London. Some of this is message is delivered subliminally, the imagery of Britain and its icons is used to reinforce National Identity, Bond is British. Bond without this nationalist link is unthinkable; the films would lose an essential part of their identity. Even though the films target a global audience, without the reinforcement of Bonds Britishness, Her Majesties Secret Agent the films could become just another action movie.

James Bond Union Jack

James Bond Union Jack

We can infer that it is to the filmmaker’s financial advantage to include scenes depicting nationalist identity; they have a direct link to box office returns. Iconic landmarks of London and other capital cities are used to great effect and not just to inform the audience of the films location. The film Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster, 2008) appeared to be particularly successful in China, it featured scenes from Shanghai. In fact the overall box office receipts were bolstered by the Chinese link, making up for shortfalls in box office receipts in Bonds more traditional markets, the United Kingdom and America. McNary, D. (2012) says ‘Its beefy $9.1 million Chinese debut represented the second largest ever for a non-Chinese pic, ‘

London’s Palaces, Buckingham and Westminster typically make an appearance as does the iconic Black Taxi and the Red Busses of London. Nationalistic imagery featured most notably in a parachute design used for the opening sequences of The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert. 1977). Where Bond played by Roger Moore ski jumps off a mountain seemingly to fall to his death only to pull the release of a hidden parachute revealing the Union Flag design. I remember the gasps and cheers in the cinema as the parachute opened.

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=PzA5R9aSFCI&w=560&h=315]

This scene was replicated recently in the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics. Daniel Craig filmed in a meeting with the HRH The Queen seated at her desk and then followed by a scene that featured what still appeared to be the Queen jumping from a helicopter over the main Olympic stadium using a Union Flag designed parachute. This sequence in many ways shows the extent that the Bond character has become integrated into a central figure within the National identity of Great Britain and also part of our heritage; it may well be that for some, that James Bond character is an actual real life person and that Bond is Great Britain’s top Mi6 Spy.

As Sullivan (2012) suggests ‘Ian Flemings Bond character is sometimes identified as being based upon Ian Fleming himself and the real life experiences of Commander Wilfred Dunderdale who apparently had a name for fast cars and beautiful women. The members of group of commandos associated with Fleming in the war years are also suspected as being a source for Fleming’s books, but Bonds character may in fact be based on an amalgam of all of these real life characters’

Holly Goodhead

Holly Goodhead

pussy galore

Pussy Galore

Bond film portrayal of sex on screen relies almost exclusively on innuendo and in earlier films with a degree of humor particularly during Sean Connery and Roger Moores time cast in the role of Bond. Who could forget the female characters Pussy Galore and Holly Goodhead. Full nudity has never been portrayed in Bond films, neither has graphic violence. This is almost certainly due to satisfying the censorship requirements of countries key to the success of the film. For example the American market had an almost puritanical approach to certification; the filmmakers would aim to obtain a certificate rating as sufficiently low as possible in order to make the films as accessible to as wide an audience as possible. While at the same time not diluting the portrayal of sex and violence shown on screen to such an extent that audience expectations for the film remain unrealised.

This aim of the producers to secure the lowest film rating certificate has also been identified by Jenkins (2005) who says ‘When adapting Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” novels into films, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman chose to neglect the sexual and nationalistic deviance apparent in Fleming’s works, despite the novelist and his books’ popularities. Most of the filmmaker’s decisions, however, rested on American public opinion and on censorship during the 1960s’

The Bond audience expects to see non-explicit sex and violence certainly a key factor in the Bond Film formulae. Bond films themselves have set the standards of what the audience expects to see when viewing a Bond/Spy film. However Bond films are certainly not without sex and indeed the portrayal of sexual deviancy.

Mr Wint and Mr Kidd

Mr Wint and Mr Kidd

Sexual deviancy has been touched upon in many Bond films. Usually this sexual deviancy is restricted to those characters playing the role of villain because it would be unthinkable for the hero to be a sexual deviant for this would break one of the key conventions for a hero. The hero figure is portrayed as an upright citizen with strong moral beliefs. When considering Bonds villains and associated sexual deviancy there are many examples. One example would be the portrayal of the homosexual assassins in Diamonds Are Forever, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. However the limit of homosexuality is limited to scenes of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd holding hands and the effeminate voice of Mr. Kidd. Then again in the final scenes through Mr. Kidd’s facial expressions, as he appears to enjoy what can only be interpreted as pleasure as Bond forces Mr. Kidd’s hands between his legs.

A good example of the portrayal of a villain’s sexual deviancy is from the scene featuring Rosa Klebb’s character a KGB Colonel interviews who interviews Bonds love interest Tanya in a memorable scene from Russia With Love (Terence Young. 1963). The scene is sexually charged and with a menacing overtone but visually it is low-key, just the caress of hand upon cheek, the slap of Klebb’s whip on the table top, a suggestion of what maybe in store for Tanya. Rosa Klebb uses her position of power to make overt lesbian sexual advances to Tanya Romanova in this scene, which is strongly rejected by Tanya and with a degree of revulsion. But again the sexual deviancy is inferred rather than shown.

Rosa Klebb & Tatiana Romanova

Rosa Klebb – Tatiana Romanova

Sexuality and Nationalism appear to go hand in hand in Bond films, as Jenkins. 2005. P309-317 says ‘English nationalism is not only embodied in Fleming’s villains; the novels also reveal perceived cultural supremacy through the bodies and sexuality of the series’ women. In From Russia with Love, Bond is able to seduce Tatiana Romanova, a Russian agent who is originally sent to seduce and destroy Bond; this plot twist links O07’s sexual prowess to his national potency by literally placing Britain on top of Russia’

Some villains project a degree of sexlessness, appearing to neither need nor want the companionship of the opposite or indeed same sex. Bonds most notorious and reoccurring adversary the disfigured Ernst Stavro Blofeld appears sexless in the Bond films, a white cat his only companion. However there are Blofeld scenes where women feature, but again no inference is made to there being any form of sexual relationship between Blofeld and the women.Blofeld In most cases Blofeld uses them for decoration, or for his own diabolical plans, in for example OHMSS (Peter R. Hunt 1969) featured Blofeld’s women being brainwashed into being his angels of death, these women who would through the brainwashing help him to spread his sterility virus to decimate the Worlds food supply.

Looking deeper into this we should ask why a sterility virus and why women were chosen for the distribution of this virus, was this an attempt to portray Blofeld’s distaste for women and their sexuality? Blofeld would also display women as his conquests from battle, in effect the spoils of battle between Blofeld and Bond. For an example look to Diamonds are Forever (Guy Hamilton 1971) and the character Tiffany Case, who is captured by Blofeld and is then shown in subsequent scenes with Tiffany wearing only a bikini. Looking deeper into what this symbolism could be interpreted as Mulvey. 1975. P6-18 says ‘She is isolated, glamorous, on display, sexualised. But as the narrative progresses she falls in love with the main male protagonist and becomes his property, losing her outward glamorous characteristics, her generalised sexuality, her show-girl connotations; her eroticism is subjected to the male star alone. By means of identification with him, through participation in his power, the spectator can indirectly possess her too’

Tiffiny Case BikiniWe could infer from Mulvey theory that Blofeld has forced Tiffany to wear the bikini not for his visual or sexual pleasure but proclaiming his power over her, to denigrate her as a second-class citizen by denying her clothes. Blofeld also uses the capture of Tiffany to proclaim his superiority and sexual potency over Bond by in effect stealing his woman. Blofeld announcing his success to Bond when he remarks upon her change in loyalties in the scene where he catches Bond trying to sabotage his plans for World extortion. Blofeld has or shows no other purpose for keeping Tiffany close to him other than as Jenkins. 2005. P309-317 suggests ‘reflected the national deviancy-sexual deviancy theme embedded in the American 1950s Cold War mentality, which supported the view that sexual “perverts” had intentions to weaken the nation’s moral fiber and established heterosexual desire’

The Bond film OHMSS (Peter R. Hunt. 1969) portrayed Bonds first attempt at a stable relationship in Bonds short-lived marriage to Tracy. Bond films portrayal of women and Bonds relationships with them are generally purely for the audience’s satisfaction, the male gaze, voyeurism and the opportunity for Bond to reveal his overt masculinity. The female protagonist, succumbing to Bonds charms. Bonds use of sex, as a distraction to gather information through sexual conquest, to advance his cause towards a successful conclusion is another key part of the Bond film formulae.

Violence in Bond films. In 2006 the Bond Franchise was re-booted with the release of Casino Royale (Martin Campbell. 2006) and the casting of a new Bond in the guise of Daniel Craig. This is a different Bond, hard and unsmiling, the action sequences seemingly more violent and more personal. No doubt influenced by the Bourne series of films including The Bourne Legacy (Doug Liam. 2002), which had seemed to steal Bonds place in the Spy genre and at the same time giving America its first successful homegrown Bond. But Bond is back with a vengeance retaking his position at the top of the spy if not the action film genre as well.

We are re-introduced to Bond as he achieves his 00 status, the opening sequence is shot in black and white and there are many elements of the cold war visible in the miss-en-scene, the villain wears a fur hat, reminiscent of the Soviet Union in style, it’s also obviously cold which makes the audience think of Siberian winters. casino royale fur hat

The filmmakers want us to believe that even though this is a Bond film set in 2006, it also includes many visual clues for the audience to relate to from the 1960’s films. Delving deeper into the reasons behind this opening sequence it could be inferred this is done to create a direct link between the films of the 1960’s and the 2006 reboot. The audience is therefore manipulated into thinking this is a new Bond and yet also the Bond we know from the 1960’s. The filmmakers go on to reinforce this thought process by making certain that all the usual elements are in place; the cars, the girls and the gadgets but these appear secondary to Bond the emotionally flawed and yet reborn action man.casino royale toilet scene

The portrayal of women in Bond films has also been rebooted. The love interest Vesper appears to view Bond with distain and avoids his initial sexual advances. Vesper shares equal status with Bond, this is not business as usual. Vesper is not the usual Bond girl although she seems to fit the requirements, beautiful and available. Vesper plays the femme fetal a double agent working both for the British Taxpayer in charge of the money Bond needs to defeat the villain Le Chiffre and simultaneously working for Le Chiffre albeit under duress.

Vesper LyndThe femme fetal is a recurring theme in Bond films and may explain Bonds inherent mistrust in women. Bond is reluctant to consider a lasting relationship with women, for they generally prove to be untrustworthy. In Casino Royale the femme fetal, Vesper uses Bonds attraction to her to lead him into a trap, which in turn leads to Bonds torture and predictable death. But she in contradiction is also responsible for saving Bonds life after attaching the defibrillators electrodes to shock him back into life after he has been poisoned. There is conflict in her emotions, on one level she as double agent, the femme fetal who must work to stop Bond from achieving his aim. To prevent Bond from winning the poker tournament and thus defeating Le Chiffre while balancing that against her love of Bond. This creates emotional conflict in Vesper who is already falling in love with Bond and shifting her loyalties to his cause, this feeling of love and betrayal eventually leads to her death as she realises that Bond knows she is a double agent and so decides that she prefers death rather than living with betrayal.

Bonds emotions are also tested, his machismo image takes second place as his love for Vesper causes him to forgive her. To the new emotionally flawed Bond she is not just another sexual conquest. The loss of Vesper cuts into Bonds psyche and even though he knows she has betrayed him this makes no difference when Bond seeks personal vengeance on the ex boyfriend who trapped Vesper into being a double agent and in Bonds eyes is ultimately responsible for her death.

With the re-boot the roles of women depicted in the films continue to strengthen towards equality, no longer are they portrayed as second-class citizens. Strong female characters play key roles in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. For example Judi Dench’s role as ‘M’ is carried over from the previous films starring Pierce Brosnan. At the time of these films release, in real life the head of Mi5 was a women and Bond films are nothing if not contemporary in its portrayal of the social attitudes and politics of the time by casting Judi Dench as M.

Skyfall M and BondM’s character is strong and virtually merciless comparable to that of a Bond villain, for she has no compunction of using Bond to achieve her cause even when it seems it must be at his almost certain death. This mercilessness is revealed when she feels that Bond has disobeyed her orders. She immediately disavows him, cancelling his 00 status and ordering his capture or death. She also expects Bond to ignore his feelings for Vesper and warns him against taking vengeance even though she too was betrayed by Vesper. M’s feelings do not appear to come into how she does her job,

She is a strong female character not one to let emotions interfere with her job and she expects the people who work for her to be the same. But at the same time the audience is made to feel that secretly she does have some feelings for Bond, as she appears to allow him too much free will. In several scenes we watch her at a key decision point where she gives Bond another chance. To see if he is on the track of something or that he is indeed carrying out her orders but not necessarily in the way that she intended. Bond understands this relationship with ‘M’ knowing that if he breaks the rules he must deliver on her trust in him, or her wrath if he fails her.

Looking deeper we can compare this relationship to that between a boy and his mother he’s free to do whatever he does but at some point he must explain to his mother what he has done and why. But Bond instinctively knows that at the same time a mother always forgives her boy no matter what he does – doesn’t she?

Bond appears less machismo sexually but without effecting his masculinity, which has been achieved by switching the emphasis of Bonds character away to some extent from his womanising and replacing this with more action sequences and therefore violence. Bond’s most recent films depict him as being almost monogamist. Speculating we can assume that the changing attitudes to sex of the viewing public has been taken into consideration, the portrayal of promiscuous sex and its relationship to sexually transmitted diseases. So rather than specifically identifying this issue in the films. The films now just show Bond as having one, possibly two sexual partners and unusually for Bond films there is now more than a hint of an emotional link between Bond and his love interests. In comparison to earlier films such as Dr. No (1962), Bond had several sexual partners and in particular the sexual attentions of the femme fetal, Miss Taro who attempted to lure him to his death while engaged in a sexual escapade at her home in the Jamaican hills. Although in this film the true allegiances of Miss Taro were obvious to Sean Connery’s Bond and therefore the trap easily avoided, unlike the scenario faced by Daniel Craig and his femme fetal Vesper.

Bonds character changes to fit the times as Lodderhose. Variety. P70 says ‘Both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” offered auds a taste of a how 007 was evolving to fit the times: Daniel Craig’s James Bond proved to be more rugged and raw, darker and more emotive than previous Bonds and made for a cool fit for the younger generation. “Skyfall” helmed by Sam Mendes, looks set to see Craig’s character continue the tough-guy-with-feelings trend as Bond faces his most interesting and challenging villain to date, Silva (played by Javier Bardem), who “certainly puts James Bond through the paces,” says producer Barbara Broccoli’

Part of this change in Bonds character is reflected in how the violence depicted in the most recent films appears more personal and graphic. Sequences where Bond is shown fighting hand to hand or shoots from close range proliferate. In one scene in Quantum of Solace Bond kills not with his ever present shoulder holstered Walther PPK but with his bare hands and everyday items that he finds in a hotel room when he is discovered mid search. This scene is very reminiscent of the rival Bourne film franchise The Bourne Legacy (Doug Liam 2002) the film sequences where Bourne also generally disdains the use of a gun and kills using his bare hands and seemingly ordinary items to hand, the innocuous biro pen, a rolled up magazine to incapacitate and kill his enemies.

This is an example of where the Bond Franchise has had to take back the high ground from the usurpers of Bonds crown these include the Bourne films and recent television programs, for example Spooks, a BBC television series. But in order to regain its position Bonds character has had to adapt, become tougher and less smiling, he appears on screen unshaven dirty from the chase, the battle. But there are incongruities, Bond faces his enemies suited and even after the most strenuous of chases and battles all it takes is a wave of the hand to brush away the dust, a quick straightening of the tie and a pull on the shirt cuffs to return Bond back to the image of the supercool suave gentleman spy. This is toughness taken to the next level, the less smiling Bond reflects upon current times, people are generally more serious, times are hard, the excesses of the previous decade are gone and Bonds character has had to change to match this new social climate.

Skyfall Movie PosterThe audience is more likely to emphasise with the new Bond, times are indeed harder, the Public sector is being cut back, budgets have been cut and so Bond has had to reflect this. In Casino Royale, for example Vesper a representative of her Majesties Treasury accompanies Bond on his mission to ensure that the public gets value for money even when fighting terrorism. This gritty and grimmer Bond character has been reinforced by the release of the follow on films, reflecting a more serious demeanor, with Bond now limited to just a few wry comments.

In conclusion and in many respects evidenced by the phenomenal success of the release of Skyfall the Bond formula apparently continues to work. Skyfall a British based Bond film with the majority of the on screen action taking place in London and the wilds of Scotland, with only the briefest of forays into China and Turkey. From a nationalist viewpoint Americas absence from the films narrative is surprising when considering box office returns or is it? Chinas economic growth and new world position would have been a major consideration when the filmmakers decided to locate some of its storyline in China possibly in anticipation of higher box office returns as it enjoyed with Quantum Of Solace. However this absence of any American National interests from the narrative does not seem to have affected the American box office returns, which at time of writing stand at according to Child (2012) ‘$89 million, which have been the highest for any Bond movie on its opening weekend’

Skyfall’s release confirms the continuing appeal of the Bond franchise in this its fiftieth year. The Britishness of Bond is center to this as is the other key elements, the violence and machismo sex of Bond’s character. The Skyfall villain remains true to form. Eberts (2012) says of Skyfall’s villain ‘Silva’ a Gay bleached megalomaniac; the filmmakers have brought us full circle’

Skyfall’s Bond has much in common with the Bond of 1962. The world has changed and Bond has adapted to it yet he remains the same, a contradiction by any sense but we are left with the conclusion that the formulae works and we can look forward to yet more years of James Bond, British secret agent. Collett-White (2012) says that ‘the 23rd film is the most successful in the Bond Franchise as the latest box office figures puts Skyfall at the top of the UK box office records taking in over $152 million therefore surpassing the previous holder Avatar’ .

The reboot positions the Bond Franchise back on track and with the UK high box office returns currently in excess of £100 million, this can only ensure that there will be an even greater incentive for the producers and studios to make more Bond Films. Bond followers can therefore look forward to more of Bond, perhaps another 50 years of Bond. Albeit an ever changing Bond, reflecting current politics and social trends yet a Bond that stays the same, following the proven Bond formulae that includes the elements of Nationalism, Violence and Sex.

Bibliography

Campbell, M. (2006). Casino Royale. [Film]. UK, USA: Columbia Pictures, Eon Productions, Casino Royale Productions.

Cameron, J. (2009). Avatar. [Film]. USA, UK: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners.

Child, B. (2012) Skyfall is Bond’s biggest debut at US box office. Latest James Bond film enjoys highest ever opening for a 007 movie in the US, taking an estimated $89m in its first weekend, [Online], Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/nov/12/Skyfall-bond-us-box-office [Accessed 12 November 2012].

Collett-White, M. (2012) “Skyfall”, the 23rd official James Bond movie, has become the most successful film in British box office history, earning 94.3 million pounds ($152 million), its producers said on Wednesday, [Online], Available from: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/uk-jamesbond-record-idUKBRE8B40DU20121205 [Accessed 5 December 2012]

Dougall, A. (2000) James Bond The secret World of 007: London: Dorling Kindersly.

Eberts, R. (2012) A Great Deal Of Solace, [Online], Available from: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/11/a_great_deal_of_solace.html [Accessed 21 November 2012]

Forster, M. (2008). Quantum Of Solace. [Film]. UK, USA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, Eon Productions.

Gilbert, L. (1977). The Spy Who Loved Me. [Film]. UK: Danjaq, Eon Productions.

Greengrass, Paul. (2004) The Bourne Supremacy. [Film] USA: Universal Pictures. The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Motion Picture THETA Produktionsgesellschaft.

Hamilton, G. (1971). Diamonds Are Forever. [Film]. UK: Eon Productions. Danjaq.

Hunt, Peter R. (1969). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. [Film]. UK: Eon Productions. Danjaq.

Jenkins, T. (2005) James Bond’s “Pussy” and the Anglo-American Cold War Sexuality: The Journal of American Culture: Vol. 28, No. 3: September. pp. 309-317.

Liman, D. (2002) The Bourne Legacy. [Film]. USA: Universal Pictures. The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Hypnotic.

Loderhouse, D. (2012) 50 Years of James Bond: PROMISES HUMAN HERO: Variety: Vol. 427. No. 1: May 14-20: 70.

McNary, D. (2008) Quantum’ rules foreign box office. [Online], Available from: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117995548?refCatId=13 [Accessed 12 November 2012]

Mendes, S. (2012). Skyfall. [Film]. UK, USA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Danjaq, Eon Productions.

Mulvey, L. (1975) Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, [Online], Available from: http://www.jahsonic.com/VPNC.html [Accessed 30 November 2012]

Nelmes, J. (2007) Introduction to Film Studies 4th Edition: Oxon: Routledge.

Sullivan, R. (ed.) (2012) 50 Years of James Bond: vol. 12, No. 17: New York: Life Books.

Young, T. (1962). Dr. No. [Film]. UK: Eon Productions.

Young, T. (1963). From Russia With Love. [Film]. UK: Eon Productions. Danjaq.

By

Investigative Study – Film Poster Design

film poster design

Investigative Study – 50 Years of Bond

bond-white

New for this unit was the requirement to create an image/poster as a front cover for the 4,000 or 8,000 word dissertation that was subject representative, as my thesis was about Bond films I decided to create a Film Poster Design.

Fortunately there are so many iconic images associated with the Bond films, choice should not have been an issue, but coming up with something unique, would be that much harder. I decided to take the title of my thesis literally. Therefore the final image would have to represent 50 years of Bond; include an image of something that was very British and include an image representative of the sex in the films.

Investigative Study – Film Poster Design Elements

RAF_Who_TargetFirst up in my Film Poster Design was to decide on the background image, which I decided just had to be the Union Flag representing the Nationalism in my thesis. I looked at variations of the rectangular flags, from the standard design to the design used by the London 2012 Olympics with its all blue colours. But instead of the standard flag I remembered the target design that the Who used on one of their albums, which by design also represented the flag (iconic symbol used by the RAF) and also doubled up as another way of representing the iconic symbol of a gun-sights targeting image, which features in the opening of all Bond films. The image of the iris that fills with blood when Bond turns and fires.

The foreground had be of images of the first Bond, Sean Connery and his successor Daniel Craig, I searched until I found images of both actors in similar iconic poses. It then became a simple matter to cut them out from their backgrounds and add them as new layers positioning the first Bond image to the left and slightly recessed to the 2nd image to represent the difference in years. The juxtaposition of these images in front of the target I felt highly representative of the Band Franchise.

Finally to complete the film poster design I added the thesis title text. After some research I identified some of the fonts used in the Bond films and one in particular I came across was a font called Goldeneye as used in the Bond film of the same name. I used this font for all the titles adjusting the kerning, height before I was happy with the final positioning.Ursula Andress - Honey Rider - Dr. No

At this stage I still had to represent the sex aspect, which would have been easy with so many images of beautiful women to choose from but in the end I decided these would detract rather than add anything to the poster I had designed. But here is my alternative design which included all three elements of the thesis title. Ursula Undress as Honey Rider n that iconic image as she appears from the Ocean with two large sea shells.

Alternative Film Poster Design

bond-white-andress

 

By

Investigative Study – Skyfall Box Office

skyfall box office

Skyfall Box Office - Investigative Studies Research

Skyfall Box Office – Most Successful Film

Skyfall on track to be the most successful film in the Bond franchise and the UK’s most successful film at the UK Box office history.

Beating Avatar’s previous record, but note these are un adjusted figures.

++++++++++++++++

(Reuters) – “Skyfall”, the 23rd official James Bond movie, has become the most successful film in British box office history, earning 94.3 million pounds ($152 million), its producers said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato (2012) Latest James Bond movie breaks UK box office record, Online. Accessed: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/uk-jamesbond-record-idUKBRE8B40DU20121205 [8th December 2012]

By

Investigative Study – SKYFALL

SKYFALL

SKYFALL 50 Years of Bond (Caution Spoilers)SKYFALL Poster

SKYFALL the latest film in the Bond franchise and the most contemporary to date. Bond is battered, bruised and broken and like in the film ‘You Only Live Twice’ he has just come back from the grave, resurrected in the opening sequences of the film. Daniel Craig’s Bond continues from where he left off, grittier less smiling but still with a few wry comments aimed at his enemies and associates alike.Bond has lost the polish of earlier Bonds, he appears unshaven in many scenes and at only one point in the film does the tuxedo make an appearance only to be dirtied and scuffed in a fight scene following a brief foray into a Shanghai casino.

Where are all the gadgets? the new Q supplies Bond with a minimalist kit, the bare minimum of gun and radio possibly reflecting again on current Government cutbacks. There is no expensive supercars, just a battered Land Rover Defender and a Honda trails motorbike. The ever present Aston Martin has gone although Bonds standby DB5 makes an appearance only to be consigned to the scrap yard in the closing scenes.

The greatest percentage of the film is shot on location in London, the studio and brief (for Bond Films) International locations including Turkey and China. Perhaps another example of Budget reductions in this new age of financial collapse, budget deficits and public spending cutbacks.

On a positive note the new financial climate and reducing budgets has led the filmmakers to be more creative, getting the most from their budget and produce what some critics are saying is the best Bond yet.

But where are the Bond girls? apart from a brief liaison in a shower with Sévérine  the femme fetale, Bond is surprisingly bereft of female companionship in this latest offering with the exception of Eve (The future Miss Moneypenny) who is anything but Bonds sexual companion.

So the Bond formula is all there but with subtle changes all aimed to bring us full circle. The reboot that began with Casino Royale brought us a younger harder Bond, we now have a young geek for a Q and a new Moneypenny. Daniel Craig signs up for one more Bond outing so can we expect a new younger Bond after that. When that happens the reboot will be complete and with good writing the Bond franchise looks good for years to come.

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=6kw1UVovByw&w=560&h=315]

By

Investigative Study Research

investigative study research

Investigative Study Research – 50 Years of Bond

Now that I have narrowed down my subject ideas and have decided to go with basing my Investigative Study essay on 50 years of Bond, researching the subject has begun in earnest.

Apart from viewing the films themselves I will also research the library and the internet for any relevant academic resources. These may be directly relevant texts or come from Film analysis, something that I have some limited experience of following studying the subject at College.

Dr No

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=myoVLMnKw2M&w=375&h=275]

Released in 1962, this first James Bond movie remains one of the best and serves as an entertaining reminder that the Bond series began (in keeping with Ian Fleming’s novels) with a surprising lack of gadgetry and big-budget fireworks. Sean Connery was just 32 years old when he won the role of Agent 007. In his first adventure James Bond is called to Jamaica where a colleague and secretary have been mysteriously killed. With an American CIA agent (Jack Lord, pre-Hawaii Five-O), they discover that the nefarious Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) is scheming to blackmail the US government with a device capable of deflecting and destroying US rockets launched from Cape Canaveral. Of course, Bond takes time off from his exploits to enjoy the company of a few gorgeous women, including the bikini-clad Ursula Andress. She gloriously kicks off the long-standing tradition of Bond women who know how to please their favourite secret agent. A sexist anachronism? Maybe, but this is Bond at his purest, kicking off a series of movies that shows no sign of slowing down. —Jeff Shannon
Edition details

  • Inside Dr. No (PG)
  • Terence Young: Bond Vivant
  • Audio commentary featuring director Terence Young and members of the cast and crew
  • 1963 Dr No “featurette”
  • Dr. No gallery of pictures
  • Radio advertising
  • Trailers for Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger
  • Goldfinger and Dr. No TV advertising

On the DVD: “He was James Bond,” remarks several interviewees of the late Terence Young, the suave, globetrotting, hard-living director who played a major role in defining the look, humour and tailoring of the Bond movies, making the extras on this DVD something of a cinematic festschrift to his talents. Since this was the first film in the franchise, the “making of” featurette goes into some detail about the Ian Fleming novels and how Sean Connery came to be cast, and made-over, by Young. The featurette also has excerpts from one Young’s last interviews, spliced together with observations from his daughter, Ursula Andress (Honey Rider) and many of the other actors, production-designer Ken Adam, composer Monty Norman and host of other talents who took part in the making of the film. Many of their quotes are integrated into the commentary track. Also included is an amusing black and white doc from 1963 narrated by a podgy guy with specs who appears to be cousin of Harry Enfield’s Mr. Cholmondley-Warner. —Leslie Felperin

Product Description

Secret Service agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Jamaica to investigate the murder of one of his colleagues. It transpires that the island is being used as a base for the terrorist organisation SPECTRE, who, under the guidance of the despotic Dr No (Joseph Wiseman), have developed technology to divert rockets launched from Cape Canaveral. The first big-screen outing for 007 features original Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerging from the ocean in memorably revealing swimwear.

Amazon.co.uk Accessed 21/10/2012

Casino Royale

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=u4T551JuZkA&w=375&h=275]

 

When you get to a modern James Bond film, your expectations are surely that you’ll get expensive action sequences, expensive locations and a production that doesn’t skimp on anything. That holds particularly true for the Blu-ray versions of such films, where the hope is for a best-in-class transfer and sound mix. With Casino Royale, not only do you get that, but you also happen to get one of the finest 007 movies of recent times, too.A reboot for the franchise that ushers in Daniel Craig as a rawer, younger Bond, Casino Royale works a lot better than its follow-up, Quantum Of Solace by simple virtue of having a much better story at its core, going back directly to an Ian Fleming novel for it. Furthermore, in the casino sequence itself, it has a tense event to glue everything around, and it’s only in the final sequence or two where Casino Royalestarts to feel like a conventional Bond film. That aside, it’s a superb piece of modern action cinema.The film also looks stunning in high definition. From the overhead shots of a glistening beach, to the darker, faster car chases and action sequences, Casino Royale is a fabulous workout for a home cinema rig. The audio mix punches hard, mixing in subtlety when needed with the bombastic subwoofer-workout you might well be hoping for. And the end result is pretty much demo material. Given the strength of the film too, this is surely one of the best Blu-rays of a modern-day film you can buy. And what a way to keep watching the film… —Jon Foster

Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Giancarlo Giannini Director: Martin Campbell

Amazon.co.uk Accessed 21/10/2012

Quantumn of Solace

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=f6acw690AqQ&w=375&h=275]

Daniel Craig hasn’t lost a step since Casino Royale–this James Bond remains dangerous, a man who could earn that license to kill in brutal hand-to-hand combat… but still look sharp in a tailored suit. And Quantum of Solance itself carries on from the previous film like no other 007 movie, with Bond nursing his anger from the Casino Royale storyline and vowing blood revenge on those responsible. For the new plot, we have villain Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), intent on controlling the water rights in impoverished Third World nations and happy to overthrow a dictator or two to get his way. Olga Kurylenko is very much in the “Bond girl” tradition, but in the Ursula Andress way, not the Denise Richards way. And Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini are welcome holdovers. If director Marc Forster and the longtime Bond production team seem a little too eager to embrace the continuity-shredding style of the Bourne pictures (especially in a nearly incomprehensible opening car chase), they nevertheless quiet down and get into a dark, concentrated groove soon enough. And the theme song, “Another Way to Die,” penned by Jack White and performed by him and Alicia Keys, is actually good (at times Keys seems to be channeling Shirley Bassey–nice). Of course it all comes down to Craig. And he kills. –Robert Horton, Amazon.com

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond 007 in the globe-trotting franchise for which the term action movie was invented. After being betrayed by Vesper in Casino Royale, Bond (Craig) turns his sights on those who controlled her. Interrogating Mr White (Jesper Christensen), Bond discovers that the shadowy organisation responsible for blackmailing Vesper is a lot more powerful and dangerous than he ever imagined. Tracing a link to Hawaii, Bond soon crosses paths with Ukrainian beauty Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who leads him to megalomaniacal businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), head of the organisation known simply as Quantum. Wishing to control one of the world’s natural resources, Greene’s organisation has a finger in every government agency worldwide, and it falls to Bond to keep one step ahead of his friends, and enemies, to stop Greene holding the world to ransom.

Amazon.co.uk Accessed 21/10/2012 

 

By

Investigative Study – Bond James Bond

Investigative Study

Investigative Study – 50 Years of Bond

The world is celebrating 50 years of the Bond Franchise and with the imminent release of the latest installment, the film Skyfall due to go onto general release I thought it would be opportune to take a personal look at the Bond franchise for my investigative study project.  casino royale poster

The Bond franchise has been recently re-booted with the casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale. Casino Royale has been made previously as a spoof film starring David Niven, although this was not part of the Bond Franchise, the first of these was Dr No starring Sean Connery, the first and therefore original Bond.

The Bond Franchise needed this re-boot, after all Bond typically portrayed as being in his 40’s would now be in his 90’s without this re-boot and reinvention of the character.

Bond films have always had a contemporary look and basis usually picking up on the politics of the day, current technology albeit taken to the next level. But despite this the early films are still watchable even though the technology feature as state of the art in its day has all been superseded by current technology.

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=fl5WHj0bZ2Q&w=400&h=275]

For this investigative study project I plan to look at why the Bond Franchise is the longest running and most successful in the World. To touch upon the Social and Gender elements of some of the recently released films, making a comparison, on how they differ, or indeed their similarities with the earlier films.

Key points to discuss

  1. The character M is now a women, does this reflect on real life that at the time of the re-boot in 2006 with Daniel Craig in the Bond role that the head of Mi5 was also a women Eliza Manningham-Buller until she retired in 2007.
  2. The male gaze has long been satisfied by a string of Bonds women in fact it’s known for it but in 2006’s Casino Royale a nod to the Female Gaze was made with Daniel Craig’s appearance emerging from the sea. This scene harks back to Ursula Andress’s appearance in the first Bond Movie Dr No released in 1962.
  3. The female characters appear stronger in the later movies, resisting Bonds charms appearing to reject them. Although there have been strong female characters in the early movies for example Pussy Galore played by Honor Blackman in 1964 film Goldfinger the latest films take this to a new level.
  4. Reflecting Political change, the early films were made in the Communist Era at the height of the Cold War, current films have had to move their storyline away from this and appear to have embraced the idea of Terrorism being the biggest threat to World/British Security.
  5. Conventions – in effect the Bond franchise has re-written the conventions for  a Spy. Previously the image was of a shadowy figure in a long coat and wearing a hat, head titled forward, the brim of the hat casting the face into shadow. The Spy hiding their identities and moving in the shadows. Bond however is antithetical (the opposite) instead he is the sharp dressed British Spy moving in the open, often recognised, using his name openly. Bond still has all the trappings of the modern spy, the cars, the guns and gadgets, the tools of his trade used and then discarded. I could cry when he destroys yet another Aston Martin. Bonds character Instead relies on charm, the rules of the game that his opponents must adhere to, for example he can’t be assassinated there must always be some impediment to prevent this, there must be the opportunity to escape and of course the female character must supply the information he needs and/or assist him in order for him to achieve his aims.
  6. Social conventions – I think we can assume that Bond’s character ignores most of these, he exists outside of these generally in a world without Global Recession, Economics, Taxes, Family. Bonds character  the Globe trotting Spy means that any normal idea of relationships, family life is impossible. His associations are brief and rarely re-visited. He is of no fixed abode he appears to only own what he carries with him the only exception appears to be the Aston Martin DB5, which presumably is parked securely somewhere in London. I suspect he yearns for a more permanent relationship as hinted at in Casino Royale but this could never happen with the life he has chosen, This does not mean that his character does not aspire to that level of relationship and his response to when that is taken away is brutal, again hinted at in Casino Royale and the final sequence when M asks is he still alive referring to when Bond catches up with the man who was involved in the death of Vesper Lynd his love interest in Casino Royale.