MI6’s Canadian Correspondent, Luds attended the “Vue sur Bond 007” event in Quebec...

Vue sur Bond 007 Event Report - Day One
6th March 2006

Quebec Event

Sir Roger Moore was in Quebec City along with Dame Shirley Bassey (3 time Bond theme veteran), Richard Kiel (Jaws), Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight), 4-time Bond director Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, and The Man With The Golden Gun) and John Barry collaborator Nic Raine, were all in town.

The event, organized by the now Quebec City resident Hilary Saltzman and daughter of the late Bond producer Harry Saltzman, combined free projections of the first 11 Bond movies on the big screen, a ski competition, Q&A with the stars, various lunch and diner opportunities and a Bond themed music performance by Same Shirley Bassey, Nic Raine, and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra.

The “Vue Sur Bond 007” event celebrated Harry Saltzman’s contribution to movies was part of the 7th Festival des 3 Amériques, a festival organized to celebrate movies made in the Americas.

Above: Fairmont le Château Frontenac

Day One

After a 6 hour train ride, I was a bit disappointed that I had missed Sir Roger Moore’s arrival by a few minutes. No worries though, as I would get plenty of opportunities to see Sir Roger later on! Before a good night’s sleep, I visited the beautiful Fairmont Château Frontenac. Built in the early 1900’s, Château Frontenac would be a perfect location for a Bond villain’s lair!

As soon as I closed my eyes it seemed that the alarm clock went off and it was time to get ready for the first day of “Vue sur Bond 007”. No time for breakfast, I jumped on the bus and got to the Galeries de la Capitale mall where the opening ceremonies would be held. As various local contributors addressed the crowd, I was shocked when I saw how tall Richard Kiel was! Sir Roger Moore jokingly said in French: British agent James Bond’s biggest secret is that he couldn’t speak French. Richard Kiel displayed his stand-up comedy talent as he told a few jokes for the crowd. Guy Hamilton also saluted the crowd and explained that while filming Goldfinger, Harry, Cubby Broccoli and himself we just hoping that the series would reach 4 or 5 films, never did they expect it to last past 20!

Star Q&A

Above: Guy Hamilton, Britt Ekland, Sir Roger Moore and Richar Kiel

This lead to a short Q&A session with the representatives of the press. One journalist asked what allowed the series to last so long. Sir Roger Moore and Guy Hamilton answered – explaining that they never cheated the audience. Money was well spent and that was clear to everyone watching the films. Another question was about Sir Roger Moore’s key for success as James Bond.

“I had to let the audience know that I was going to win!”

A third journalist asked Richard Kiel why fans connected to Jaws so much, which lead to a second appearance for Jaws in Moonraker. “I tried to add a dimension to Jaws other than killing with teeth! I would brush off my clothes, get up, and keep going after Bond.” Kiel explained that it was a nice surprise for him to see the fans applauding when Jaws kept getting up and back on his feet. Guy Hamilton added that villains must be “something that folks remember” and that recent villains were rather weak and forgettable. “Good villains lead to good films.”

Finally, another journalist asked the stars for their most precious memory of working with Harry Saltzman. Sir Roger Moore described when he was first signed as Bond. Harry called him and explained that Cubby thought that Roger was too fat. Moore had to work out! A few weeks later, Cubby called him and explained that Harry thought that his hair were too long. So he got a cut, and this game went on and on! Britt Ekland added “Crates of Dom Perognon!” Guy Hamilton added that Harry thought that the crew worked better when full and never spared any expense on food. He delivered great meals.

As I was getting ready to leave and get my free tickets for Doctor No, Guy Hamilton popped up in front of me and I was able to exchange a few words. He told me how all of them couldn’t believe how beautiful Quebec City was and that they had no idea about its beauty before arriving..

Above: Britt Ekland

Fan Opinion

As I was standing in line to get my free tickets, I interviewed a variety of fans and had a chance to listen to an interesting debate between fans of various age groups: a couple in their 50’s, a woman in her 40’s and her son who was almost 20, and another couple in their 40’s.

This lead me to add more weight to my theory – the average Bond fan really enjoys the Bond actor that he grew up with, not necessarily being his favourite Bond, but probably one of the favourite. Indeed, the young man preferred Pierce Brosnan and all others were Connery or Moore fans. None of them liked Dalton’s Bond. As I was taking note, a man in his 30’s interrupted and explained that Dalton was his favourite and wasn’t sold on Brosnan and Moore for their lack of seriousness!

None of the folks had heard of Daniel Craig, but after a quick update on the direction of the next film, most of them thought that this new direction was a great idea as the series was getting out of hand. Only the young man had seen all the Brosnan movies, the others felt that the newer movies lost touch with reality.

One fan explained: “I feel that Brosnan movies have lost touch with the essence of the series and aren’t really Bond movies.” The younger fan countered explaining that he felt that this is what younger fans preferred – more action while keeping it in true Bond style. However, the young man did mention that a down to earth approach would indeed feel fresh after the lack of seriousness of the latest movie, Die Another Day.

All of us were delighted when the door opened and the crowd was free to take seats in the theatre.

Big Screen Bond and Q&A with Moore

There is nothing like watching a Bond movie on the big screen for the first time. It’s hard to describe, but the whole experience is simply most enjoyable and extraordinary. It’s unlikely a delight that one will get to relive. Many fans wanting to attend the following screening decided to leave half an hour after the start to ensure that they could get tickets for the next show, not leaving anything to chance. After all, missing 2 minutes of each movie is a small price to pay to guarantee that you would be able to see the next one!

After Doctor No was Sir Roger Moore’s first, Live And Let Die. Fans were delighted when Sir Roger Moore and Guy Hamilton made their way in the theatre for a brief Q&A session before the start of the movie. Of course, one fan asked if Roger could say the timeless “Bond, James Bond”, which he did – to the crowd’s delight. Hearing Sir Roger Moore speak these words live, one meter in front of you, is an exhilarating experience!

Above: Sir Roger Moore

I was fortunate enough to ask both legends of the Bond franchise a question to which they elaborated for 10 minutes. I had goose bumps when Sir Roger Moore looked me in the eyes and answered my question! I could barely remember his words moments after they left! I asked them how they dealt with the pressure of ensuring a succesful movie after Sean Connery’s departure from the leading role of 007.

“The only worry I had was before I had to say ‘Bond, James Bond’ and it wouldn’t sound like [Connery’s] Bond, James Bond. [...] We knew from the start that we had to avoid anything that would draw comparisons. I never said things such as ‘vodka martini, shaken, not stirred’”.

Above: Guy Hamilton

Guy Hamilton added that he understood that he would have to adapt the script to the actor’s strengths. “Sean was better than Roger at many things!” which lead to a huge laugh from the crowd. Hamilton added, “and Roger was better at others”. Hamilton explained that Connery was better at running “but hated to get his feet wet”. However, Moore was great with the water scenes, but couldn’t run at all. Roger interrupted and added “I learned early in life that I didn’t have to win a race to get a box of toffees!”

Sir Moore went on this anecdote, explaining to the crowd that he once was given a box of toffee out of pity as he finished last in a race as a child. He then explained that for Live And Let Die, as he was not good at running they didn’t make him run much in other films. Hamilton added: “There’s much more to the story than that!” which brought another laugh from the crowd. Hamilton went into more detail, explaining the scene where Bond chases the fleeing Rosie Carver in Live And Let Die.

I would suggest that fans pay attention to that scene next time they watch the movie as there are absolutely no scenes where Roger actually runs. We see Rosie running, which cuts to Bond popping up out of a few bushes to notice her body on the ground. As Hamilton explains, the entire sequence and a whole afternoon of shooting was cut!

After all the excitement of the Live And Let Die screening, I managed to gather more of the fan’s comments. One lady explained that she preferred the Roger Moore movies as they were more comedic and contained a bit more action. She felt that the Connery movies were just too slow. Her husband didn’t agree, he was a Connery fan and felt that Moore simply didn’t have Connery’s presence on screen.

Next in line were two of the very best: From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. No need to say, these two films were the most popular of the day. I thought that this amazing feeling that had overcome me – watching the Bond movies on the big screen – would eventually pass, but it didn’t. Watching Connery’s 2nd and 3rd movies felt just as special as watching Doctor No. I saw an older fan almost in tears after Goldfinger, possibly the first time he’s seen the movie on the big screen since his childhood. I can just imagine how he felt. Older fans may not be comfortable with media such as the internet and DVDs, or simply don’t have the money to purchase them in DVD or Video format. Just as many fans can only see the Bond movies during TV marathons.

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The views and opinions expressed by this author are not necessarily the views and opinions of mi6-hq.com. Thanks to Luds, Hilary Saltzman & Geneviève de Montigny for their assistance.