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 (2)
18th July 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 and we posed a series of research challenges to the society’s
leadership for inclusion in MI6’s continuing education series
over the next several months to coincide with the release of Casino
Royale. MI6 will be printing their responses from a series
of questions over the next few months. Read the first six choices
in part one of ther James Bond
Top Twenty One Countdown.
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.
7) The Golden Girl in Goldfinger-
One of the most mesmerizing sequences in film history is
James Bond’s discovery of one-night paramour Jill
Masterson’s body covered head to foot in gold
paint - a punishment enacted by Auric
Goldfinger for her betrayal.
The scene still has stunning impact today. The sequence
caused such sensation in 1964 that it landed actress Shirley
Eaton, who appeared for only several minutes as Jill Masterson
in the final cut of the film, onto the cover of Life magazine
and made her one of the most photographed women of the year.
Right: Shirley Eaton and Sean Connery
prepare for Jill Masterson's final sequence in Goldfinger.
8) James Bond Meets Dr. No
This sequence set the tone for a hallmark of the series: the introduction
of the larger-than-life villain. As embodied by Joseph
Wiseman, Dr. No is a cultured intellectual who hides his menace
behind a veneer of polite conversation - another aspect of the
series that would become a mainstay. What Bond movie would be
complete without the villain preceding his plans for a horrendous
death for 007 by inviting him for a sumptuous dinner and duel
of wits? If there is anything lacking in Bond films of more recent
vintage, it is the absence of these old-fashioned megalomaniacs
for run-of-the-mill pretty boys who look like they stepped off
of a calendar.
9) Q's exit in The World is Not
Since assuming the role of gadgets genius Major
Boothroyd (aka “Q”) in From
Russia With Love, Desmond Llewelyn would become a main
ingredient of the series (with the unpardonable exception
of Live and Let Die wherein
the scriptwriters unwisely left his character out of the
script - a mistake they would not make again.). Llewelyn,
a kind and gentle man in real life who ironically had no
ability to even master working with common household appliances,
became the defacto Goodwill Ambassador for the producers,
traveling the world and enchanting audiences with his tales
of being the only series regular to have worked with all
five Bond actors. Llewelyn knew that his advancing years
would ultimately mean his retirement from the series and
it was his suggestion that the character of his assistant,
played by John Cleese,
be introduced to take over the reigns. No one could have
foreseen, however, that Llewelyn’s final appearance
in a Bond film would be so laden with unexpected irony.
Left: Pierce Brosnan and Desmond
Llewelyn talk about the BMW Z8.
10) The Laser Table Sequence in Goldfinger
Back when laser technology was the stuff of fantasy, we found
Bond strapped spread-eagled on a metallic table as Auric
Goldfinger’s deadly laser gun aimed its beam slowly
and unstoppably up to 007’s most treasured set of gadgets.
The brilliance of the sequence was that - despite the fact that
we know Bond will escape - he must rely on his wits to do so.
In desperation he asks Goldfinger, “Do you expect me talk?”
The infamous reply is a casual, “No, Mr. Bond- I expect
you to die!”
11) La Cage aux Folly
Yet another sequence from Diamonds
Are Forever that never fails to make Club S.P.E.C.T.R.E members
grimace is the cross-dressing getup Blofeld wears to avoid capture
at the casino. The fact that actor Charles Gray looks like Ed
Sullivan in drag is the least convincing aspect of this scenario.
The very idea that the notorious mastermind of S.P.E.C.T.R.E would
have to resort to such tactics makes us actually empathize with
the would be world-dominator. On the positive side, the scene
seems to have inspired a far more successfully directed sequence
in the comedy classic The Birdcage.
12) Computer Generated Windsurfer
in Die Another Day
One of the mainstay elements of the Bond series has been
the consistent use of live stunts and avoidance of trickery
in its special effects. This trend came to a screeching
halt in DAD when CGI technicians created cheesy images of
Bond converting his destroyed ice racer into a metal windsurfer
which he rides to safety atop a churning tsunami. All this
after having survived a virtual avalanche of snow while
he dangled precariously from an icy cliff. The effects were
so “over the top” we half expected the Road
Runner to emerge atop the surfboard with 007. Fans pined
away for the (relative) sobriety of Moonraker
where one only had to contend with an amphibious gondola
and the sight of Jaws flapping his arms like Big Bird when
his parachute fails. MGM actually issued an apology of sorts
for the poor SFX work in DAD and the producers have wisely
promised to stick with traditional stuntmen for the next
Above: A very real Pierce Brosnan hangs
from a crane for the landing after his alleged windsurfing.
13) One Giant Leap in Logic: Bond Flies the Moonraker
Part of Bond’s appeal is his ability to adapt to any emergency.
We’re willing to stretch a certain degree of credibility
and believe he could leap into a Moonbuggy and steer it through
the Nevada desert in Diamonds Are
Forever - partly because the script at least show’s
him to be rather inept at the controls. However, in Moonraker,
Bond finds himself aboard one of the first space shuttles (it’s
1979, after all) and manages to fly it with less difficulty than
a Yank driving a rental car through a London roundabout. All this
is achieved without even consulting the “owner’s manual”.
Very impressive for those of us who can’t even figure out
how to turn the dome light on in a new car.
Discuss the Club S.P.E.C.T.R.E opinions at MI6
* 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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