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 (4)
9th October 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
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
favourable 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 have been published in no significant
order or ranking over the last few months. As true Bond fans we're
unable to stop at 21, though. Below are a few extra moments.
- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. James Bond Top Twenty One Countdown (1)
- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. James Bond Top Twenty One Countdown (2)
- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. James Bond Top Twenty One Countdown (3)
22) The Fencing Sequence in Die Another Day
Above: Pierce Brosnan crosses broadswords
with Toby Stephens
One of the few saving graces in a Bond film overladen with embarrassing
sexual quips and even more embarrassing special effects is the
one “old fashioned” action sequence depicting a fencing
match between Bond and the villain Graves.
Starting as a traditional bout (filmed in London’s Reform
Club), the battle quickly escalates to an intense battle with
actors Pierce Brosnan and
Toby Stephens quite impressive
not only in their physical dexterity but also in the intensity
of their emotions. If only the rest of the film had side-stepped
the shoddy CGI effects in favour of such stirring sequences.
of Judi Dench as M
Many fans anticipated Dench’s first appearance as
M in GoldenEye
with trepidation, fearing it would simply be a politically
correct gimmick. Within seconds, however, Dench asserted
herself as being worthy of her notable predecessors, dressing
down Bond in a no-nonsense manner. Until this point, the
relationship between Bond and previous M’s
(Bernard Lee and his successor Robert
Brown) was more or less paternal with 007’s crusty
superior often criticizing his “offspring” even
while it was apparent he admired his talents, if not his
The introduction of Dench’s M, however,
introduces the unexpected element of outright hostility
between she and Bond and the dialogue bristles with tension.
There are ultimately signs that Bond’s new boss also
has a degree of respect and admiration for 007, but this
aspect of their relationship would remain nicely understated
throughout the course of the Pierce
Right: Dame Judi Dench
takes on the role of Bond on Martin Campbell's suggest
24) Use of Music and Gags for Humour
It’s called “cartooning” in the film business
- the use of music, sound effects and trick shots to accentuate
a humorous event. This has been a staple of the industry from
the silent era to present day. Yet, what worked for The Three
Stooges was somewhat less effective for Agent 007, as evidenced
by the preponderance of cartooning during the Roger Moore era.
Whenever it was employed, the technique destroyed the impact of
otherwise impressive stunt sequences – most notably the
famed canal jump by Bond’s AMC Hornet in The Man With The
Golden Gun. This landmark achievement was the first stunt to be
calculated on a computer but its impact was negated by the inclusion
of a ludicrous a pipe whistle at the precise moment the car goes
into an incredible spiral.
In other crimes against humanity, the device
was employed as Bond snowboards to “California Girl”
in A View to a Kill and braving the desert to the strains of Maurice
Jarre’s theme from Lawrence of Arabia in The Spy Who Loved
Me. Other cartoonish transgressions were not limited to an assault
on fan’s ears. In several of the Roger Moore films there
is a weird obsession with animals doing double-takes. The double-take
also pertains to an actor who appears as an extra in several films
who can be seen “hilariously” questioning his sobriety
when he witnesses Bond’s incredible stunts. Given the embarrassing
way both man and beast are presented in these sequences, it’s
amazing Eon was not picketed by both animal rights groups and
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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