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Cheap And Tawdry

16th September 2014

At the height of Bond mania, Sean Connery slammed the merchanising as 'cheap and tawdry' and criticized 'Goldfinger' as too gimmicky

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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"Sean Connery Sets Own Course" - 12th October 1965 (Nashua Telegraph)

He didn't look like James Bond in that corduroy jacket and those baggy tweed pants. And, I ask you, does James Bond chew gum?

Nevertheless, various citizens tapped at the window of the limousine and asked for the autograph of James Bond. Sean Connery repeatedly lowered the window, scribbled his name on scraps of paper, then raised the window with a heavy sigh.

The ruggedly built Scotsman had sought shelter from the sharp autumn wind that whipped around the Park Avenue location of his latest film, 'A Fine Madness.' His non-Bondlike garb was because he is portraying a Greenwich Village poet, of all things.

Above: Paul Newman visits Sean Connery on the set of 'A Fine Madness'.

Above: Connery posing for a photoshoot in New York City in 1965.

The casting switch may startle his public, but it pleases him, and that's what counts in the world of Sean Connery. He is a man who pursues his own course with disregard for the opinions of others.

I asked how he felt, as of this moment, about his intimate association with his opposite number, 007. "The Bond pictures?" he mused. "I don't mind them. Why should I? They obviously made me prosperous."

"What I do not like is all the junk that goes with them. All this merchandising of the Bond name on toy guns, deodorants, underwear. It's garbage, that's what it is. It's cheap and tawdry and I dislike it intensely."

Above: Sean Connery in 'A Fine Madness' with Jean Seberg.

Connery insisted that his dislike for the gimcracks that capitalize on the Bond mania has nothing to do with the fact that he has seen no proceeds from their sale. This seemed incredible.

"But true," he assured. "Oh, my original contract called for 8½% royalty from sales of merchandise, but I haven't seen any of it. In England they can use your likeness on a bedsheet; unless you can prove that you were damaged in some way, you have no recourse in the courts."

Connery displayed no great discontent with Bond himself, although he did grumble that 'Goldfinger' was inclined to be "too gimmicky." He opined that the coming attracting, 'Thunderball,' is more on the track.

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