MI6 Editors caught up with several members of the social organization Club S.P.E.C.T.R.E to reflect on James Bond and his adventures...

Opinion - S.P.E.C.T.R.E. James Bond Top Twenty One Countdown (1)
25th May 2006

MI6 Editors caught up with several members of the social organization Club S.P.E.C.T.R.E.* at their annual meeting and retreat in the US. We posed a series of research challenges to the society’s leadership for inclusion in MI6’s continuing education series to coincide with the release of Casino Royale. MI6 will be printing their responses from this series of questions over the next few months.

The first of these questions was as follows:

”In keeping with the mounting interest in Bond 21 Casino Royale, what would you list as the 21 most memorable Bond moments and least favorable from the film series?”

The Club humorously acknowledged that fans are free to agree or disagree, but to keep in mind that anyone who seriously challenges these conclusions may well get a dip in Largo’s shark pool, or more inhumanely, be forced to watch the 1967 Eurotrash spy film Operation Kid Brother.

The 21 responses will be published in no significant order or ranking over the coming months.

Most Memorable

1) Honey Ryders beach entrance in Dr. No-
Perhaps the most memorable screen entrance of any actress in film history. Ursula Andress rising from the Jamaican surf clad in the legendary white bikini epitomizes the ultimate image of the James Bond girl. Don’t believe feminist claptrap that most Bond women are brainless bimbos. With few exceptions, the 007 heroines are bright, courageous and resourceful. Of course, those notorious exceptions admittedly set the validity of this argument back several hundred years. (i.e. Tanya Roberts in A View to a Kill and Britt Ekland in The Man With the Golden Gun.)

Right: "Ursula Andress emerges from the ocean as Honey Rider setting hundreds of pulses racing"

2) Introduction of the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger-
The famed, lethal mode of transportation was not the first Bond gadget, but it launched the gadgetry as a staple of the series for all future films. So fanatical was the audience response to the fully armed DB5 (complete with ejector seat) that it became a star in its own right and toured the world to enthusiastic crowds. The car still remains a recurring “character” in recent Bond movies. This sequence also established the edgy relationship between Desmond Llewelyn’s Q and 007 that would become a mainstay of the series.


3) Bond Arrives with Mr. Jones’ Corpse in Dr. No-
Tthis otherwise nondescript scene is ultimately vital to the development of Bond’s character. Until this point, the first Bond film presented the hero as a standard tough guy. However, after he battles an enemy agent disguised as his chauffeur, the man dies from ingesting a cyanide-laced cigarette. Not wanting to be late for a meeting with government officials, Bond simply sits the dear departed bloke in the back seat of his convertible and drives to his intended destination, advising the security guard to “see to it he doesn’t get away.” Bond then calmly attends the meeting with barely a word about the ordeal he has just experienced. This was the first instance of overt wit into the series that set Bond apart from other screen heroes and set the trend for the witticisms that would characterize the series henceforth.

Least Memorable


4) Bond Meets Robocop in Die Another Day-
In a scene that would make Ed Wood proud, Die Another Day has the dubious distinction of presenting a truly miraculous scientific achievement. This occurs when Gustav Graves, dissatisfied with the glove controller for his killer satellite Icarus, orders his assistant, the engineering wizard Vlad to construct a suitable outfit to enable him to carry out his devious plans to cause a war between North and South Korea. How an article of clothing can enable a catastrophic world conflict is never satisfactorily explained, but suffice it to say on a moment’s notice the amazing Vlad manages to construct a bizarre, hi-tech Robocop-type uniform in an insanely short period of time. The resulting effect looks like the illegitimate offspring of a mating ritual between Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze and the rusty hulk of 1967 Buick.

Left: "Yes, Mr. Bond...Not only will my Robo suit aid me in gaining control of the world, but it also allows me to pick up satellite TV and radio stations without paying monthly subscription fees!"

5) Moonraker “Bondola” Sequence-
In terms of bad Bond moments, Moonraker is the gift that keeps on giving- a virtual smorgasbord of wince-inducing moments of embarrassing humor. Choosing the worst scene, however, is like shooting fish in a barrel. The elaborate boat chase sequence in the canals of Venice becomes Theater of the Absurd when Bond converts his gondola into a high tech speedboat culminating in the craft becoming an amphibious vehicle that Bond steers around St. Mark’s Square to the astonishment of onlookers. Not even the devastating floods throughout history have done more damage to the reputation and image of the historic city.

Right: "Death in Venice- Bond style! In this case the deceased is 007's reputation which suffered fatally from his employ of this goofy jet-age amphibious gondola that he drives around St. Marks Square. Given the scarceness of parking spaces in major cities, it's not surprising that this is one Bondian vehicle that did not instigate an international trend."



6) Bond’s “60 Second Sales Call” in You Only Live Twice-
We’re second to none in our admiration and enjoyment for the fifth Bond epic, but the spotty script represented the first occasion in which logic was completely suspended on any number of levels. For example, Bond poses as a corporate buyer of industrial chemicals in order to get a meeting with mega mogul Mr. Osato at his Tokyo HQ. Naturally, both he and Bond realize that neither man is who he claims to be. Osato recognizes Bond as an MI6 agent and Bond knows full well Osato is a high ranking member of SPECTRE. Nevertheless, the cursory business talk is absurdly brief. Bond has flown to Tokyo to obtain a license to manufacture Osato chemicals- a deal that is literally wrapped up in a matter of seconds with time to spare for Osato to caution Bond about his smoking habits! We realize Bond may have read “The One Minute Manager” but cutting even that timeframe seems to erase whatever thin veneer his cover has.

Left: "Bond discusses the purpose of his trip from London to Tokyo- to purchase chemicals from Mr. Osato. The entire meeting takes less time than the trip on the lift to Osato's office!"

* Like most private societies, Club S.P.E.C.T.R.E. membership is by invitation only and is dedicated to fellowship and a "Flemingesque" pursuit of the James Bond lifestyle- fine wines and liquors, cigars, exotic travel and beautiful women. The members represent a diverse and international social group consisting of James Bond authors, scholars and enthusiasts who share their common interest through outings and meetings geared toward celebrating all things relating to 007. The group's name ironically does not originate from the evil crime organization found in the James Bond novels and films. Rather, the name relates to the groups founding on Italian actor Adolfo Celi's birthday. (Celi portrayed the S.P.E.C.T.R.E villain Emilio Largo in Thunderball.) Thus, the organization was formed and a definition was assigned to its title: Society to Promote and Celebrate Celi's Triumphant and Remarkable Endeavors. Absurd? Naturally, but a hell of a lot of fun for its members.

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