Anyone who reads this column with any regularity knows that I’m a James Bond fan. I know it might seem like a strange contradiction, because I have some hard opinions on women’s rights, and Ian Fleming was, by all accounts, a wildly sexist, racist individual who loathed women. Alas, ever since I first watched Licence To Kill with Timothy Dalton, I haven’t been able to shake my affinity for this perennial series. Dalton is my favorite Bond (The Living Daylights is the best), followed by Pierce Brosnan (because I’m a child of the ‘90s), Daniel Craig, Roger Moore (for sheer camp), Sean Connery, and George Lazenby. I didn’t so much mind Lazenby as Bond, but as he was only in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he didn’t really get a chance to feel out the character (although he repeatedly turned down the chance to make more Bond films).
I know many of you fellow Bond enthusiasts are probably balking at Connery’s low placement on the list, let me explain. First of all, I know it was probably closest to how Fleming must have envisioned his creation. However, my stance on sexism being what it is (i.e. I don’t share Fleming’s belief that men are “the only real human beings”), and Connery being (by far) the rape-iest Bond, he loses points. Lest we forget in Diamonds Are Forever, where Connery’s Bond nearly chokes out a girl with her own bikini top. And if you’re tsk-tsking me right now for not being able to separate the character from the actor, go ahead and Google “Sean Connery Diane Sawyer,” and watch the interview wherein Connery discusses his position on slapping women. But I digress.
My favorite little jewel that emerged from the Bond franchise was Desmond Llewelyn, who played the original Quartermaster, AKA “Q” throughout most of the films. This curious man, whose eyebrows resembled a child’s art project of caterpillars made of dusty cotton balls, spent most of his screentime sighing in exasperation and (not covertly) reading cue cards. I’m not entirely sure what my fascination is with him. Suffice it to say he’s like sunshine to my broken brain. Old, doddering sunshine. I think what I liked best about him is his obvious and unabashed love for his role of Q.
Favorite moments in Bond films include (but are not limited to), the pigeon double-take scene in Moonraker, the duck-hat intro in Goldfinger, Licence To Kill when Dario (a very young Benicio Del Toro) responds to Felix Leiter’s question “Where’s my wife,” with “Don’t worry. We gave her a nice honeymoooooooon,” in a way that only Benicio can pull off. And finally, when villian Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) is blown up like a balloon. Exactly like a balloon. Like a Kananga shaped balloon, that (sort of) looks like the actor. Hmm…. I went on for so long about Bond I forgot what I was even going to cover in the first place. Oh yeah, the modified Lotus Esprit submarine car (one of them, anyway), that was used in the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me is being sold on eBay for one million dollars. But, unless one of you has that amount lying around that you’d like to lend (see also: give) me, it’s really neither here nor there. If you need me I’ll be dressing up a neighborhood cat like Oddjob to reenact the fight scene in Goldfinger.