May 23, 2017

Goodbye to Roger Moore.

"Mr. Moore was the oldest Bond ever hired, taking on the role when he was 46. (Sean Connery, who originated the film character and with whom Mr. Moore was constantly compared, was 33.) He also had the longest run in the role, beginning in 1973 with 'Live and Let Die”' and winding up in 1985 with 'A View to a Kill.'"

ADDED: I don't know if I've ever blogged the obituary of a movie star whose movies I have never seen. The last James Bond movie I saw was "Diamonds Are Forever," the last Sean Connery Bond movie, which we went to see as basically a joke. It was 1971, and we thought James Bond was absurdly passé. So I never saw Moore as Bond or any of the other later Bonds. And I've looked over the list of Moore's movies, and I haven't seen a single one. I might have seen him in some late 50s/early 60s TV shows. (He appeared in a couple episodes of "77 Sunset Strip," which I watched, and I might have followed the season of "Maverick" with Beauregard Maverick.) I really feel no connection to Moore, but I'm guessing some of you may care a lot and want a place to talk about him, so here it is.

100 comments:

Michael K said...

I'd take 89. Good life.

I liked Connery better but Moore was very good.

edutcher said...

I always felt badly for Roger Moore.

He went from trying to replace Jim Garner on Maverick to replacing Connery as DoubleAughtWhatsHisFace.

The one role he could really call his own, Simon Templar, was probably his best.

mockturtle said...

I even remember The Saint. Although I preferred Connery as Bond, Moore better fit the 'old Etonian' character as written.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't know why I didn't watch "The Saint." What was on the other channels at the same time?

Nonapod said...

I'm one of those heretics who liked his Bond portrayal slightly more than Connery's. No doubt a large part of that is because the first Bond movies I ever saw were his.

Yancey Ward said...

For me, Moore was James Bond because the role was his in the movies I grew up watching in the theaters- Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonrakeretc.- the movies made from the mid 70s to the mid 80s. It was only after I was in graduate school that I ever watched the Sean Connery Bond movies (except the odd ball one he did in 1983).

Robert Cook said...

I also have not seen any Bond films since Connery's last fling at the role, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. My two favorites are GOLDFINGER and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. (I've always wanted to live in a gloriously huge and extravagant secret lair hidden inside a volcano.)

rhhardin said...

All the Bonds were okay, but the plot lines degenerated into sad psychobabble when the producer changed to a woman.

rhhardin said...

The thing about the early Bonds was that you recalled American car suspensions.

Saint Croix said...

My favorite Moore movie is not a James Bond movie at all, but a little action movie called ffolks. In it he plays an anti-terrorist specialist who hates women and loves cats. I don't know if they intended it as an in-joke (because he was simultaneously still James Bond) but it's a gruff and fun performance. Gave it an A- in my movie book.

holdfast said...

@Robert Cook - see, we knew you were evil all along - only villains get volcano lairs. ; )

Moore was definitely "my" Bond, though I think the seriously unfortunate "Never Say Never" was the second or third Bond movie that I saw.

JPG said...

I've been a Bond movie fan forever (not a big fan of the books). I have enjoyed the different takes on the title character by each of the actors who portrayed Bond. And I liked Moore very much because he was so different from Connery's version. As for Roger Moore himself, everything I've read tells me he was a good guy. RIP.
JPG

Rob said...

Before the movies there were the books, and the books achieved notoriety because JFK enjoyed them. The different sensibility of the books versus the movies can be seen in how James Bond addresses Pussy Galore in "Goldfinger." In the book, he says, "Miss Galore." In the movie, Sean Connery takes his time vocalizing "Pussy."

Hunter said...

Moore was far too old by the time of A View To A Kill, as everyone knows. But he was still good, and the film had Chris Walken and the best Bond movie title song.

Moore's Bond films were campy, but that made them fun. When I was a kid the first ones I watched were Moore's. When I got to the Connery films, I thought they were lousy in comparison.

Besides, nothing Moore ever did comes close to the sheer ridiculous awfulness of the late Pierce Brosnan era.

mockturtle said...
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Unknown said...

I loved "Moonraker" at the time. Then I saw it years later and it had aged very badly, but still thanks for that one!

BTW 1: "Never Say Never Again" was Connery's last Bond. It was basically a remake of, um, "Thunderball" I think as somehow the rights had not been secured like the others.

BTW 2: Charteris's "The Saint" books and stories are almost forgotten now, but very entertaining, especially the inter-war years.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Saint," beginning in the 1966-67, was on Sunday night at 10. Here are the listings. I would have been extremely interested in watching TV during the 9 o'clock hour, because of "The Smothers Brothers." If I didn't switch channels, which was harder to do in those days, I would have watched "Candid Camera," but I probably got in bed and listened to the radio. I had a thing of getting into bed by 10 so I could listen to Jean Shepherd on the radio, but I'm not sure he was on Sunday nights.

The following year, they moved "The Saint" to 7:30, but it played opposite "The Jackie Gleason Show," which was very popular at the time.

I'm not surprised the show didn't last too long and never cracked the top 30.

There was, obviously, no way to record shows and "time shift," so the shows had to fight for survival within a time slot.

Saint Croix said...

Saint Croix is adding the Saint to his netflix queue.

One interesting thing about Moore to me is that he always seemed way more British than Connery.

Probably because Connery was from Scotland. Maybe that's why I like him more, the Scotch-Irish thing.

Connery is like an upper class guy from Oxford, always calm and no strong feelings.

Shawn Levasseur said...

My favorite Moore film was "ffolkes" (lack of capitalization of the proper name deliberate), though more recently the film has been retitled "North Sea Hijack".

I considered it the Anti-Bond film, as the character of ffolkes was almost 180 degrees from Bond personality-wise.

Fen said...

We grew up on Bond. I remember my brother and I carved guns out of balsa wood and silently stalked mom and dad round the house, two slips of wood and a rubber band and we had cool silencers to slip over the tips.

But we were deprived of Connery. As an adult I was drawn to him and abandoned the prissy Bond, as most did.

I really like the new Bond. And I was set to hate him - can't drive a stick, despises guns, likely an unmasculine pillow biter - hot was I ever wrong.

My favorite scene was the fight in the staircase. He doesn't come out of it with an unwrinkled shirt. And then sitting down with Monneypenny in the shower, letting the shock wash away. Much more brutal and realistic.

Fen said...

I loved ffolks too! Thanks I had forgotten it. Time for DVD night again.

Big Mike said...

I never cared for Moore as Bond. He always seemed to be playing it for yucks, with a knowing wink at the audience to the effect that this is all fantasy.

David Blaska said...

He was a great friend and Gstaad skiiing companion of David Niven and Bill Buckley.

dreams said...
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Fen said...

BOY was I wrong, not hot was I wrong. My smartphone hates me.

Did they really retitle ffolks as North Sea Hijack? Gee, how er creative...

William said...

The Bond movies were a dependable brand. You always got your money's worth of stunts, explosions, and pretty girls. Roger Moore seemed good natured and affable. He didn't add that much to the role, but he never detracted from it either. He seems to have been a good man who led an honorable life and had sufficient humility to appreciate how much luck had shaped his life. Perhaps that hard core of decency and modesty kept him from being a great Bond.

Saint Croix said...

netflix does not have the saint

but I found a few up on youtube

The Checkered Flag

The Inescapable Word

The Latin Touch

any Saint fans want to suggest the strongest one?

(wow, he is so young in that show)

Saint Croix said...

interesting to read about Simon Templar

inspired by Robin Hood

often stealing 10%!

k38 said...

When I saw Roger Moore as Bond at first, I thought it was a joke. But the more (no pun intended) I saw, the more I liked. RIP.

DougWeber said...

Did not catch Moore in the original run of The Saint. The books are fun. Sort of tongue-in-cheekish at times. I think it was the Saint gig that got Moore the Bond one. It was a reasonable interpretation of the character. A bit more laid back.

But nothing was ever better Shepherd. Exclesior You Fat Head

Etienne said...

He was hopelessly non-Jewish, and heterosexual. Two strikes in Hollywood.

He left his wife for another woman, thus living in sin for seven years waiting for the divorce, and then when it couldn't get much worse, he jilted the throne by taking all his money to Switzerland.

Not a bad life.

Saint Croix said...

I'm not a fan of the Moore 007s either (if you want to watch one, I would suggest The Spy Who Loved Me). But I don't think it was Moore's fault.

I feel like the producers had a sort of crisis in confidence with the saga. They started ripping off other films in a big way. Moonraker is the most obvious example, a blatant attempt to attach itself to the Star Wars audience. They did the same thing with martial artists, blaxploitation, and redneck state troopers. They kept stealing from other movies because they didn't have faith in what they were doing. So that hurt Moore's version of the characters.

But he himself was always likable and a good sport.

Saint Croix said...

The Spy Who Loved Me, of course, has a character named Jaws. Who has sharp teeth.

It's a mildly amusing rip-off, I guess. They did too much of that, though.

PackerBronco said...
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Dave D said...

My (newly divorced) mom took herself and a carload of kids to a double feature at the drive in (my first). She thought it would be OK for kids or at least funny by the titles:

1) You only live twice
2) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Bo was she wrong. But BOY was a 9 year old Dave D. drawn in. Action movies for me from there on, with LOTS of Bond toys for Christmas.

Roger Moore was a passable Bond, but NOONE compares to Connery. The thing that impressed me most during the Moore era was that we COULD have done nearly everything they portrayed in Moonraker with current technology. RIP Sir Roger.

Saint Croix said...

It was 1971, and we thought James Bond was absurdly passé

Interesting to track Bond through American culture

JFK was a huge fan of 007.

And he watched the movie right before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

JFK had a private screening of "Dr. No" at the White House, and the documentary even quotes JFK with saying, "I wish I had had James Bond on my staff."

It's a little frightening to imagine the Cuban Missile Crisis being managed by a guy who is so actively engaging in male fantasies.

(Not surpassing that Kubrick was inspired to make Dr. Strangelove a year or two later)

Char Char Binks said...

The Saint goes back pretty far. He was played on the radio by Vincent Price and Tom Conway, and in the movies from 1938 by Louis Hayward and others, notably George Sanders, and later Val Kilmer.

Moore was never highly regarded as an actor by critics, or by himself. He was self-deprecating to an almost painful degree, but he was well-liked by the public, and his friends. He did well when he was cast well, and he had a flair for comedy, especially considering that he was primarily in action movies.

He was known for his charitable and humanitarian work, and seemed like a totally decent sort.

Bay Area Guy said...

Loved him, and did not think he was such a terrible replacement for Sean Connery (whom I loved too!).

"Live and Let Die" was excellent, "The Man with the Golden Gun" sucked, but the "Spy Who Loved Me and "Moonraker" (which I saw 10 times), were really enjoyable. Jaws (the character, not the shark) scared the crap out of me.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Moore.

Unknown said...

>The Saint goes back pretty far

1928 for _Meet The Tiger_, which I have only seen in print once, in the Menlo Park CA library around 1985. Still impossible to find at a reasonable price last time I looked for some reason. But book 2, _The Last Hero_ is pretty easily available.

One of The Saint movie series morphed into "The Falcon" when they decided they could make essentially the same movies without paying Charteris for the rights to the name "The Saint".

Brando said...

Moore was the first Bond I'd ever seen, having seen Octopussy a gazillion times (the hotel we were staying at for a month had that and a couple other movies on a continuous loop, and no other English language TV). Liked Connery too but thought his movies were too serious and lacked the goofiness that Bond deserved. Only later did I realize Connery was sticking closer to the Fleming version.

brylun said...

I was at Roger Moore's James Bond Island 5 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khao_Phing_Kan

Earnest Prole said...

Bond films are pure spectacle and the same half-dozen old jokes. Here’s the four-minute tracking shot that opens the most recent one, Spectre, set in Mexico City. Trust me: visually stunning, and contains the full DNA of every other modern Bond film so you don’t have to watch them.

The Godfather said...

I was a BIG fan of Sean Connery as Bond (and as every other role he ever played), but what I liked about Moore was that he didn't try at all to play the role like Connery. He'd have been awful if he'd tried to do it that way. I suppose he played it like Simon Templar. (It's been a long time, but was it Simon Templar who drove a Volvo sports car on the TV show?)

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...

(I was a little unhappy to find out that I was born 1 hour after James Bond Day (October 5)

As another famous spy said…

"missed it by that much"

rcocean said...

Moore was my 2nd favorite Bond - he lacked Connery's toughness and always seemed more comfortable cracking a joke then shooting a gun.

"Diamonds are forever" has to be one of the worst Bond movies - certainly the worst Connery one. It was a silly parody of the previous movies. The books isn't very good either.

Quaestor said...

I'm not a fan of the Moore 007s either (if you want to watch one, I would suggest The Spy Who Loved Me). But I don't think it was Moore's fault.

Bingo. Roger Moore could have been an excellent Bond had Brocolli been really interested in continuing the character as Ian Fleming envisioned him.

Goldfinger was the last Bond produced with Fleming's participation. Gadgets were always a hallmark of the series. In Dr. No the gadget was Bond's forced adoption of a .32 Walther PPK as his personal weapon, harking back to Fleming's own experience in SOE during the war, but the gun was character development, not a plot driver. They gave the gadgets more importance in From Russia with Love. The "simple black attaché case" was inspired by a real gadget issued by SOE, a piece of luggage with a hidden cache of gold to be used to pay informants or to bribe one's way out of trouble. Since Bond used those gadgets to save his life they became plot devices. Fleming grew fond of the Q character as played by Desmond Llewelyn, consequently, Q had to make an appearance in the next feature, Goldfinger, a film so lavishly budgeted that Eon Productions could afford an Aston-Martin DB5 modified with entertaining gadgets of it own. The fancy car did Bond little good, but it did illustrate something Fleming harped on in his novels — a spy must rely on his own resources to carry out his mission and survive. During the war, the boffins of SOE and OSS produced many more absurdities than actually useful devices. The tricky DB5 was an example of what such inspired madness can bring forth. After Fleming's demise, Eon ran wild. They transformed Bond into a cipher — he stopped being a man and became essentially a gadget-armed sex robot. After Goldfinger — my opinion the high point of the whole franchise, including the Daniel Craig reboot —the only interesting characters were the villains. Sean Connery sensed the changed and became increasingly restive in the role. As soon as his contract permitted he lobbied to get out of the movie spy business, even going as far as publicly denouncing the series.

Saint Croix said...

It's been a long time, but was it Simon Templar who drove a Volvo sports car on the TV show?

I have a Volvo!

But it's a sedan, not a sports car

"missed it by that much"

Michael K said...

"After Goldfinger — my opinion the high point of the whole franchise, "

Yes. I agree.

The gadgets are a British thing, I think. Hobart's "Funnies" were a British innovation for D Day and some were quite effective. The flail tanks were very effective and the Germans were intrigued with the idea.

Seeing Red said...

I liked him as The Saint.

I loved the Bond relaunch with him.

He was a class act.

Jay Vogt said...

RIP, I'm sure he was a good guy and it looked like his was a life well lived

It's as though the "Bond" producers wanted to spice Connery's cool masculinity onto Patrick McGoohan's quirky intellectualism and something went horribly awry.

Nerver cared for him as 007

DanTheMan said...

>>Goldfinger — my opinion the high point of the whole franchise

Agreed...A great movie, with great dialog! e.g. Bond on the table about to be cut in half by a laser...
007: Do you expect me to talk?
GF: No, Mister Bond. I expect you to die!

DanTheMan said...

And if you haven't seen Connery in Zardoz... well, you should. It's so bad it's good.

Chuck said...

David Blaska said...
He was a great friend and Gstaad skiiing companion of David Niven and Bill Buckley.

That was what I was going to post, word-for-word. And by the accounts I am aware of (mostly Buckley accounts), Niven and Moore were men of substance, who could hang with the other Buckley compatriots, including Galbraiths and the Milton Freidmans.

Martin said...

I never thought much of Moore as Bond--he played it too much as an inside joke for my taste. Tho, maybe that is what the producers and directors wanted, and it certainly worked, commercially.

But he was really good as Simon Templar in "The Saint" TV series.

Sydney said...

I haven't been able to watch a James Bond film without laughing since Austin Powers. Mike Myers ruined them for me, I guess.

DougWeber said...

Remember seeing the first Austin Powers at a matinee in a theater filled with teens. I do not think they understood why I was rolling on the floor. Context is all.

Anthony said...

My little homage to Roger Moore. Sort of.

The movie was 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun, with Roger Moore in the starring role. I’ve lately come to see Moore as a rather under-appreciated Bond, so I hope this post will do at least a little to burnish the reputation of that generation of Bond flicks. True, he often didn’t have a lot to work with (Moonraker? Moonraker?), but in retrospect, I think Moore captured the elegance and levity of the series particularly well, and the earlier entrants in the Moore series were, IMO, quite good.

Quaestor said...

The PPK had an interesting history. During the war, there was considerable debate within SOE, an organization charged by Churchill himself "to set Europe ablaze", as to what role firearms should play in the training and equipment of its agents. Some believed that a gun was worse than useless, that an armed agent faced by a routine checkpoint was much more at risk than an unarmed operative. And if it came to shooting, what chance would a lone Englishman armed with a tiny pistol have against German soldiers armed with rifles and machine guns? The pro-gun lobby countered with an unanswerable question, what chance has a lone and unarmed Englishman have in any case?

It was decided that guns would be the personal prerogative of the agent. Any gun would do as long as it was concealable and used a commonly obtainable caliber. No kind of ammunition was readily available in occupied Europe, as the German seized every gun and cartridge they found, and what remained in hiding was a hodgepodge of calibers, including many obsolete and proprietary types. Experience dictated that pocket pistols made by FN, Beretta, or Walther in either .25 ACP or .32 ACP were the best choices. The Beretta were most concealable, the Walthers most reliable. Though he was never deployed as an agent in Occupied Europe Fleming equipped himself with a .25 Beretta 418 which he carried in the waistband of his trousers. James Bond carried the same firearm in his introductory novel, Casino Royale. Later on, Fleming received correspondence from one Geoffrey Boothroyd of Glasgow. Boothroyd expressed admiration of Fleming's work but criticized Bond's choice of firearms. Boothroyd decried the Beretta 418 as suitable only for a lady's handbag. He said that a "licensed to kill" agent would carry a much more lethal weapon. He suggested a .38 Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver, specifically one with the trigger guard removed, as Bond's carry gun. Fleming was convinced by Boothroyd's arguments, but after inspecting a real Airweight and the recommended special quick-draw holster Fleming decided a .38 revolver was unsuited to Bond's impeccable taste in tailoring. Whatever he carried would have to more discreet. After more consultation with Boothroyd, it was decided Bond would give up his cherished Beretta and adopt the Walther PPK. Fleming honored Boothroyd by featuring his modified Smith & Wesson on the cover of the first edition of From Russia with Love any by the character called Major Boothroyd in Dr. No.

Many of Fleming's plots involved the use of "silencers", which were only fanciful devices concocted to allow Bond to engage in gunfights without the complications real gunplay typically involves. As an experienced SOE officer, Fleming knew full well that real silenced weapons were not conducive to be being carried under the tailored dinner jacket of a man about town. Nevertheless, Fleming invented such silencers as needed by his plots. In the film Dr. No Bond gets his PPK for the first time. Later in the story 007 confronts an assassin using his PPK with silencer attached. Unfortunately for Eon's property department, no such Walther could be found. An FN M1910 pistol was used instead.

Brando said...

No love for his role in "Cannonball Run"? The scene where he gets floored with one punch by a biker made the whole movie.

That, and the idea of a "Kill a Commie" association in Missouri.

rehajm said...

It's been a long time, but was it Simon Templar who drove a Volvo sports car on the TV show?

Here's the car!

I still have lust for the P1800.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I wonder if you could get permission to recast Live and Let Die with Lena Dunham as Bond and her various boyfriends from Girls as the Bond Boys. Allison Williams (Marnie) could play Moneypenny, Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) could play Q, and Jemima Kirke (Jessa) could play M.

Would you need to ask permission? Maybe not, if it's a parody, copyright law is funny that way.

jr565 said...

I actually liked Roger Moores Bond a lot. BUt the movies around him were kind of corny. Except for Spy Who Loved Me. That may have been the first James bond movie a I ever saw actaully. And it still holds up as a good James Bond movie.
Some of the other stuff strained credibility though. Like the followup Moonraker, where people are firing lasers at each other in outer space as if it was Star Wars. Ugh. Until that scene I liked Moonraker as a movie. His other James Bonds are campy rather than realistic, and while some degree of silliness is to be expected they went over the line a bit too much on the silly side.
Another one I enjoyed was Octopussy. Not a terrible Bond movie (though in truth I havent' seen it in more than a decade. It might SUCK on the rewatch).

Dont really know much more about Moore exacept that he was in the saint, which I never saw.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Bond films are pure spectacle and the same half-dozen old jokes. Here’s the four-minute tracking shot that opens the most recent one, Spectre, set in Mexico City. Trust me: visually stunning, and contains the full DNA of every other modern Bond film so you don’t have to watch them.


You have managed to displease me again with your words, but without diving into that, I will merely note that the Spectre scene you describe is new and different from the other Daniel Craig vehicles, a return or homage to that style you decry (the scales playing as he falls and comes to a sudden stop was priceless). BTW, at what point do you cleave "modern/pre-modern" Bond?

Also you say "pure spectacle" like it's a bad thing. More Laslovian wheat and oranges for you, then?

Moving on...Can anyone name the movie where he spoke this line?

(somebody): What killed them?
Roger Moore character: The same thing as always. Digging for gold.

R.I.P., Sir James.


Bad Lieutenant said...


I wonder if you could get permission to recast Live and Let Die with Lena Dunham as Bond and her various boyfriends from Girls as the Bond Boys. Allison Williams (Marnie) could play Moneypenny, Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) could play Q, and Jemima Kirke (Jessa) could play M.

Would you need to ask permission? Maybe not, if it's a parody, copyright law is funny that way.

Thank you Charles, LALD was sublime just as it was.

I'm not sure why the above was worth saying, though. IIRC there were three Bond girls in LALD: Solitaire, played by the ineffable Jane Seymour; Rosie Carver, played by Gloria Hendry; and Madeline Smith as the yummy Miss Caruso. These would be improved upon by (anybody who would touch Dunham's undead flesh) in what way? I guess if you hated the Bond oeuvre this would be an effective way to defile it. I know three Chihuahuas who would be better casting than yours.

Quaestor said...

(somebody): What killed them?
Roger Moore character: The same thing as always. Digging for gold.


Gold (1974)

Quaestor said...

I apologize for the numerous typos in my 1:27 comment.

The Beretta were most concealable, the Walthers most reliable. Should read: The Berettas were the most concealable, the Walthers most reliable.

Later on, Fleming received correspondence from one Geoffrey Boothroyd of Glasgow. Should read: Later on, Fleming received correspondence from one Geoffrey Boothroyd of Glasgow on the subject of firearms.

Fleming honored Boothroyd by featuring his modified Smith & Wesson on the cover of the first edition of From Russia with Love any by the character called Major Boothroyd in Dr. No. Should read: Fleming honored Boothroyd by featuring his modified Smith & Wesson on the cover of the first edition of From Russia with Love and by the character called Major Boothroyd in the film Dr. No.

Rabel said...

My first trip to Beijing in the mid-90's was strange in many ways. One of the strangest and somehow unforgettable was a tour of the Forbidden City. You were given a cassette player and a headset which offered an audio guide of the walk-around tour in your language.

The calm, cultured and reassuring voice on the tape - Roger Moore. It just made the weirdness weirder.

Malesch Morocco said...

What? Are you all forgetting the great George Lazenby?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Gold (1974)

Thanks Q!

Malesch,

No, OHMSS was his one-and-done but stands among the top of the genre. Bond isn't for everyone. Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan are fine actors but... Of course by then Fleming had been more or less exhausted, or perhaps forgotten.

Virtually Unknown said...

Simon Templar! That was good.

rcocean said...

In a way, Roger Moore always reminds me of British James Garner. Both men were handsome, did Maverick, and were good with a joke or a quip. Both were at their best on TV, where their humor and general likability wore well.

As for Moore's Bond films, my 2 favorite are "For your eyes only" and "Live and Let Die" - both films are more serious and focused more on plot and character then most of his other films. Probably the only thing bad about "live and let die" is the awful southern sheriff and dull speed boat chase. Well, and the death of the villain, which is more comic than thrilling.

rcocean said...

BTW, I can well understand going to "Diamonds are Forever" as a joke. The whole film was a joke.

Darrell said...

One of the most famous pistols from the Bond posters is actually an air pistol--the Walther LP-53 Air Pistol. It is the long-barreled pistol that Sean Connery is holding in the From Russia With Love posters. The Bond producers didn't send any props over with the actors for David Hurn's photo shoot, so the photographer dug up an air pistol he owned. It most recently sold at a Christies' auction for $439,000.

http://www.imfdb.org/images/7/7b/GW347H428.jpg

edutcher said...

For the record, "The Saint" began in black and white and was syndicated beginning in '62, creating a nifty little sub-genre of British gentleman adventurers in the early and mid-60s (think John Steed, among others).

I think NBC only woke up in the last couple of years and aired the color episodes

Quaestor said...

What? Are you all forgetting the great George Lazenby?

Lazenby was a good Bond, perhaps better than Pierce Brosnan. It's unfortunate his stint in the role was so brief.

Speaking of alternative Bonds I'm quite fond of Timothy Dalton's interpretation, more of a knight errant longing for a reckoning than a cool beast out for blood.

Darrell said...

George Lazenby was an relatively unknown Australian model/actor that had talked to the Savile Row tailor that made Sean Connery's suits for the Bond series and put all the money he could get his hands on to buy one for the casting call. His skiing background (two Australian championships) and general athleticism made hi a contender for the part. Breaking a stunt man's nose during an audition fight scene cinched it. He spent most of his off-time on the location shoots for On His Majesty's Secret Service getting drunk and acting nasty to the other cast and crew, including Diana Rigg. Producers were happy that he refused to sign the seven-year contract they had offered him before the shoot started. Lazenby didn't see a future in spy movies.

St. George said...

Ah, but Patrick McGoohan's 'Secret Agent' was the best all....

rhhardin said...

Pierce Brosnan is surprisingly awful at acting anger. See for instance Taffin.

Guildofcannonballs said...

In Brittain "roger" means screw, and screwing more is the best bond two people can have when done appropriately.

Intimate bond, not James shaken or stirred.

But anyways, that is why Roger Moore is the best Bond (in terms of the name of the actor playing Bond, James).

The Godfather said...

@rehajm: Thanks for confirming that Simon Templar drove a Volvo sports car -- and providing a photo of the actual car! As a very-much-not superspy, I've owned two Volvo sedans, both of which lasted forever, and my wife drove a Volvo station wagon for years. But the idea that Volvo could make a sexy car always seemed kind of sci-fi to me. I may have to reconsider Area 51.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I'm not sure why the above was worth saying, though."

I appreciated the joke as a reference to Ghostbusters and felt even a brief tinge of a bond between the author of it and I, appropriately.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I appreciated the joke as a reference to Ghostbusters


Ohhhhh, now I get it. (cringes)

TBH that's how I feel about Idris Elba.

Francisco D said...

I have avoided this site for a while due to an excess of bumper sticker leftist trolls and Larry's idiosyncratic editing and deleting.

So, I will brazenly put forth my views on Roger Moore. Its not that controversial.

He was the James Bond that Ian Fleming envisioned, at least based on my adolescent reading of the original books. Fleming's Bond was a smallish man whose greatest ability was persistence and the ability to withstand pain. He was not the very physical kick ass hero portrayed by Sean Connery.

However, the movie version of James Bond will always be Sean Connery.

Bad Lieutenant said...

6ft tall, black hair, blue gray eyes.

Bad Lieutenant said...

It is true that the 007 of the novels was not some kind of fearsome martial artist, although he was indubitably a crack shot. He was more than once overcome by enemies with superior technique or size, though he was not small, and made a habitual study of the world's systems of unarmed combat in order to be able to deal more efficiently with people like Oddjob or Le Chiffre's thin man. I agree that a capacity for pain was a key element in his character. He was also not all that confident all the time. There's much more to him than the movies portray.

Francisco D said...

@ Bad Lt.,

I agree.

If I remember correctly, Fleming's Bond was 5'10 and 160 lbs. Connery s 6'3 and much more physical. The literary Bond was more cerebral.

Alex said...

I'd take Roger Moore over Daniel Craig any day. Life is too short to take everything SO SERIOUSLY all the time. Roger Moore's Bond knew how to have a good time.

rcocean said...

I read "Casino Royale" last year, it was surprisingly good and of course nothing like either movie. Fleming was a good enough writer that he carries you along with the action and plot without you noticing all the plot holes and silliness.

Its only after you've close the book covers that you that think "James Bond did what?"

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I always remember people deriding Moore over Connery as the worse actor, and I don't doubt that he was. But A.O. Scott's obit was right. Moore exemplified the glitziness of a post-golden age of cinema Bond. He was smooth and didn't need that rough-around-the-edges grittiness of some of the other Bonds.

This didn't bother me. The character was English, after all.

Char Char Binks said...

Fleming described Bond as 183 centimetres (6 feet) in height and 76 kilograms (168 lb), a tall, thinnish man back in the fifties when it was written, although tough and athletic, but who would be a twink now. He also had black hair and blue-gray eyes. All the actors but Craig have been taller than that, and all have been heavier, based on their looks, but none fit the description completely. Fleming pretty much described himself, or a better version of himself. He purposely made him tough, a former school boxing champ,well-trained and capable, but with weaknesses, and not the nearly superhuman character he was made to be in the movies.

Moore was pretty close to the description in personality,although lighter in tone -- and in hair color, but at least he was English, unlike Connery, although Fleming gave Bond a Scottish father after Connery's first turn as Bond.

Marc Puckett said...

Found The Saint on Amazon Prime not too long ago but discovered it was the series with Simon Dutton starring in it; had never seen that particular version. Was not too impressed. No wonder I very rarely got to watch The Saint, if it was broadcast on Sundays at 10:00 pm-- but wasn't Mission: Impossible on Sunday nights too? I seem to recall watching that fairly often.

Brando said...

"TBH that's how I feel about Idris Elba."

I feel the same--a friend of mine was saying Elba would be a great bond, and my response was that while I like Elba as an actor, there are certain characters that have to be played by someone of a particular race. Bond in the books is Scottish/Swiss, but thoroughly British, and white--he's part of the "dying Empire" and that informs who he is as a character. Put a black man in the role and it would simply be a very different character, like casting a white actor to play Shaft. If you want to make a new character played by Idris Elba, that's fine, but it wouldn't be the colonialist Bond that Fleming created.

Also, Fleming always said Bond had a scar and looked like Hoagy Carmichael. Which modern actor looks most like that?

Another thing is the books were just a lot more realistic than the movies--Bond never single-handedly took out hundreds of goons in set-piece battles, often lost fights, and used wits more than brawn.

Bad Lieutenant said...

If you want to make a new character played by Idris Elba, that's fine, but it wouldn't be the colonialist Bond that Fleming created.

Just so, and I regret Elba as Roland in The Dark Tower. Stephen King has gone PC and endorsed it, but we all know he was thinking of Clint Eastwood. Where are the bombardier's blue eyes?

Also, Fleming always said Bond had a scar and looked like Hoagy Carmichael. Which modern actor looks most like that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbie_Williams

His audition for the role:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_(song)
Music video[edit]
The tongue-in-cheek video for "Millennium", directed by Vaughan Arnell, features Williams parodying James Bond, complete with tuxedo and references to Bond films like Thunderball and From Russia with Love.[3] The video was filmed at Pinewood Studios, home to most Bond productions. During the end of the video, Williams drives away in an economy car, a fittingly chosen Bond Bug, instead of 007's Aston Martin DB5, which later drives past him while he's having car trouble.[4] Future celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale made an appearance in the video as one of the 'Bond Girls'.[5]

At the 1999 BRIT Awards, "Millennium" won the award for Best British Video.


Or, Harry Connick Jr.?


Actual images of Carmichael:

https://www.google.com/search?q=hoagy+carmichael&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRh9i30YjUAhVl2IMKHd_jDJcQiR4ImAE&biw=1212&bih=591

(or watch To Have and Have Not)

Ian Fleming's original sketch impression of James Bond:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c5/Fleming007impression.jpg

Jeff said...

I have to disagree about Idris Elba. He is a very capable actor, and the camera just loves him. He can do debonair right up there with Roger Moore, he's unbelievably handsome, and he's physically impressive enough to be at least a little bit believable in the stunt and fight scenes. And he's got a great voice.

Yes, he's different from the other actors who've played the role. But the franchise needs to change, it's getting boring. Elba's strengths could be just what the writers need to do something different.

Brando said...

"I have to disagree about Idris Elba. He is a very capable actor, and the camera just loves him. He can do debonair right up there with Roger Moore, he's unbelievably handsome, and he's physically impressive enough to be at least a little bit believable in the stunt and fight scenes. And he's got a great voice."

Those are all good arguments for making Idris Elba a star of a new franchise, about a black British (or he could play American) agent. But the point is that James Bond is a character who doesn't just happen to be white, but his whiteness is a key part of his identity as a colonial holdover during the end of Britain's empire (for the same reason, I also think the series should have locked in time in the 1950s and 1960s, rather than going into the post-Cold War years). A black guy being a British imperialist just wouldn't really work. It'd be like casting Yaphet Kotto as the Godfather, or Jimmy Smits as the Bandit.

richardsson said...

I was never able to accept anyone other than Sean Connery as James Bond. Silly, but true. I liked Roger Moore as The Saint on television. That and Mission Impossible were the last regular entertainment shows I watched on television. I had some fairly heavy reading lists in college and no time for TV especially the last two years. After getting out of the TV habit, I never got back into it again.

TWW said...

I thought Don Adams was the best. "Missed by...that...much."

Leora said...

I recwntly watched a British TV series called "The Persuaders" with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore on Amazon Prime. Very amusing in a Man from UNCLE kind of way. Moore is a British aristocrat and Curtis an American millionaire and both are playboys originally blackmailed into righting wrongs by a retired British spymaster. I think the comparison of Moore with James Garner is spot on. They were both fun to watch without being great actors.