Happy 106th birthday, Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Today, May 28, is the 106th birthday of James Bond creator Ian Fleming (and the fictional Ernst Stavro Blofeld, for that matter).

Anyway, a lot of things, this blog included, wouldn’t be possible without the author.

Not a whole lot happening for Mr. Fleming’s birthday this year. However, later in 2014, there will be the first in a new series of Young Bond novels. UPDATE: The Book Bond website reports the cover image is out and the title will be Shoot to Kill.

A year from now, there will be even more to talk about related to Fleming’s birthday.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie will have been out (and may be out on home video already). It will be interesting if Fleming receives some sort of credit for naming the Napoleon Solo character or is mentioned in the movie’s publicity. Also, The filming for Bond 24 should either be finished or fairly close to it.

MI6 Confidential features Armstrong, Picker in new issue

David Picker

David Picker

MI Confidential is out with A NEW ISSUE that, among things, includes features on stuntman/second unit director Vic Armstrong and former United Artists executive David V. Picker.

Armstrong worked on the 007 film series in such films as You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He was interviewed for John Cork-directed documentaries about those movies, providing some behind-the-scenes perspective about how stunts were performed. From 1997-2002, Armstrong assumed the helm as stunt coordinator and second unit director for three Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan.

Picker was among the UA executives who reached a deal in 1961 with producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to get the 007 film series started. His memoirs were published last year, including A CHAPTER ON THE BOND FILM SERIES.

Also included in the issue are stories about Lana Wood and her experiences filming Diamonds Are Forever and Ian Fleming’s taste in cars.

The price for MI Confidential No. 25 is 7 British pounds, $11 or 8.50 euros. For more information about the contents or to order, CLICK HERE.

James Bond Radio

James Bond Radio isn’t so much radio as a couple of 007 fans getting together to discuss what’s going on with their favorite fictional character.

The format is simple: the two participants (Chris Wright and Tom Sears) appear in a split screen format and have a wide-ranging conversation. There have been seven installments so far, including reviews of the first three 007 films and a look at the “lost music” of Bond.

James Bond Radio has a WEBSITE, a FACEBOOK PAGE and a YOU TUBE CHANNEL. The podcasts are also available on iTunes.

Here’s the second installment, in which the hosts discuss what may happen in Bond 24 and beyond. Topics include whether the gunbarrel logo will ever appear at the start of a 007 movie (at least during the remainder of Daniel Craig’s run), how many computer-generated special effects should be in a Bond film and possible successors after Craig retires from the role.

Ian Fleming’s entry on a ‘literary embarrassments’ list

Cover for the first edition of The Spy Who Loved Me

Cover for the first edition of The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond creator Ian Fleming has shown up on a list he’d probably wouldn’t like.

The BOOK DIRT BLOG has posted a list of eight books THEIR AUTHORS WISHED THEY HADN’T WRITTEN and are considered “literary embarrassments.”

For Fleming, it’s The Spy Who Loved Me, his 1962 007 novel that’s written from the first-person perspective of a woman and where Bond doesn’t show up until the last third of the story.

Here’s an excerpt of a fairly short entry.

(Fleming) sold the rights to the title only, after the book proved to be sort of a bomb. He refused a paperback reprint of the book in the UK, effectively trying to bury it completely.
(snip)
Critics fell over themselves to pan it. “His ability to invent a plot has deserted him almost entirely,” wrote the Glasgow Herald.

There’s not that much more, but our policy is to only put in excerpts to encourage readers to check out the original source material.

The thing is, Fleming has some notable company on the list. The Book Dirt blog also references books by Neil Gaiman, Martin Amis, Harlan Ellison and Louis L’Amour among others. To read the entire list and accompanying commentary, CLICK HERE.

Thanks to The Rap Sheet, where we spotted the Book Dirt blog entry.

Deaver, Benson edit new spy anthology

ice cold

Two authors of James Bond continuation novels, Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson, have edited a new anthology of spy stories.

Ice Cold, presented by the Mystery Writers of America, includes contributions from 20 authors. Here’s a description from the HACHETTE BOOK GROUP WEBSITE:

Nuclear brinksmanship. Psychological warfare. Spies, double agents, femme fatales, and dead drops.

The Cold War–a terrifying time when nuclear war between the world’s two superpowers was an ever-present threat, an all-too-real possibility that could be set off at the touch of a button–provides a chilling backdrop to this collection of all-new short stories from today’s most celebrated mystery writers.

(snip)

In Joseph Finder’s “Police Report,” the seemingly cut-and-dry case of a lunatic murderer in rural Massachusetts may have roots in Soviet-controlled Armenia. In “Miss Bianca” by Sara Paretsky, a young girl befriends a mouse in a biological warfare laboratory and finds herself unwittingly caught in an espionage drama. And Deaver’s “Comrade 35″ offers a unique spin on the assassination of John F. Kennedy–with a signature twist.

The hardback book has 400 pages. It goes on sale on April 1 with a $25 price. You can CLICK HERE to see the book’s listing on Amazon.com.

Deaver wrote 2011′s Carte Blanche, which featured a rebooted James Bond and had no continuity ties to any previously published 007 novel. Benson was the author of continuation novels from 1997 through 2002, and also penned some movie novelizations and short stories.

2014: numerous big 007 anniversaries

"Order plenty of Bollinger -- '55, of course."

“Order plenty of Bollinger — ’55, of course.”

We were reminded that 2014 will mark a number of significant James Bond film anniversaries. Thus, there’s more reason than normal for 007 fans to dip into their home video copies.

50th anniversary of Goldfinger. The first mega-hit for Agent 007.

45th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. An early attempt to bring 007 back down to earth, but one that wasn’t judged a success by United Artists.

40th anniversary of The Man With The Golden Gun. A box office misstep after Live And Let Die set a worldwide 007 box office record (though not in the U.S. market).

35th annivesary of Moonraker. Producer Albert R. Broccoli’s extragant follow-up to The Spy Wh Loved Me.

25th anniversary of Licence to Kill. A controversial Bond entry that preceded a six-year hiatus for the series.

15th anniversary of The World Is Not Enough. Pierce Brosnan’s third 007 entry and a preview of attempts to bring a more dramatic take to the world of 007.

UPDATE: As reader Stuart Basinger reminds us:

60th anniversary of the CBS television broadcast of Casino Royale. The first, and so far only, adaptation to feature an American (Barry Nelson in this case) playing Bond.

50th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s death on Aug. 12. 007′s creator passed away the month before the film version of Goldfinger’s U.K. debut.

And one more that’s related:
50th anniversary of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Debut of the series featuring Ian Fleming’s other spy, Napoleon Solo, co-created with television producer Norman Felton.

Medical study concludes 007 drinks too much

Sean Connery in a From Russia With Love publicity still

Sean Connery in a From Russia With Love publicity still

A new study published in the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL shockingly concludes the literary James Bond drank too much.

The study lists three authors and says two of them read all 14 James Bond books by Ian Fleming. (Two of the books were short story collections but that hasn’t prevented some outlets SUCH AS THE BBC as referring to 14 Bond novels.)

“Contemporaneous notes were taken detailing every alcoholic drink taken,” according to the study. “Predefined alcohol unit levels were used to calculate consumption. Days when Bond was unable to consume alcohol (such as through incarceration) were noted.” The authors calculated he consumed 92 alcoholic units a week, excluding times when alcohol was unavailable. He had a daily high of 49.8 units, the study said (hic).

“We were struck, while reading the original James Bond books, that his alcohol consumption seemed rather high and wondered whether he would realistically have the capacity to perform (in all aspects of his life)…at his high level of alcohol intake,” the authors wrote.

“Ideally vodka martinis should be stirred, not shaken. That Bond would make such an elementary mistake in his preferences seemed incongruous with his otherwise impeccable mastery of culinary etiquette. We examined Bond’s alcohol consumption to determine whether he might have been unable to stir his drinks because of the persistent shaking of alcohol induced tremor, making it more socially acceptable to ask for his drinks ‘shaken, not stirred.’”

The study also included a graphic indicating Bond started out drinking a lot in 1953, cutting back, more or less, through 1957 before escalating again.

You can guess where this is leading.

James Bond’s weekly alcohol intake is over four times the advisable maximum alcohol consumption for an adult male. He is at considerable risk of developing alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, impotence, and other alcohol related health problems, together with being at serious risk of injury or death because of his drinking. Although we appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high stakes gamblers, we would advise Bond be referred for further assessment of his alcohol intake and reduce his intake to safe levels.

We conclude that James Bond was unlikely to be able to stir his drinks, even if he would have wanted to, because of likely alcohol induced tremor.

To view the study, CLICK HERE.

MI6 Confidential’s new issue teases Moore’s debut as 007

Separated at birth: MI6 Confidential's cover image...

Separated at birth: MI6 Confidential’s cover image (featuring a flipped image of a Live And Let Die publicity still used for Sir Roger Moore’s book about the filming of Live And Let Die)…

MI6 Confidential has teased the content of its next issue, which includes a cover celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roger Moore’s debut as 007 in Live And Let Die.

According to the magazine’s WEBSITE, the new issue’s contents include:

– Becoming Bond – Sir Roger Moore reflects on his casting and time as 007
– No Kind Of Doomsday Machine – Hilary & Steven Saltzman celebrate Harry’s work
– In Deep Water – Peter Lamont recounts recceing and shooting Live And Let Die
– A Perfect Match – On the bond between 007 & Aston Martin throughout the decades

...and an U.N.C.L.E. first-season image

…and an U.N.C.L.E. first-season image featuring Ian Fleming’s other spy, Napoleon Solo, a name Ian Fleming Publications used without mentioning the connection to the TV show

– Origins Of The Aston – A rare Aston Martin that may have inspired Ian Fleming
– On The Trail Of 007 – Retracing 007’s route through Kent countryside in ‘Moonraker’
– Boyd Is Bond – A report from the star-studded launch of the new book, ‘Solo’
– The Bond Connection – Reliving the on-screen espionage of Saltzman’s Harry Palmer

The price is 7 British pounds, $11 or 8.50 euros, not including postage and handling. For more information about ordering, CLICK HERE.

Director exits Ian Fleming film, TheWrap says

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Duncan Jones, who had been scheduled to direct a film based on the life of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, has exited the project, according to A STORY BY JEFF SNEIDER on The Wrap entertainment news website.

According to the story, the director’s commitment to work on a movie being developed by Legendary Entertainment and to be released by Universal forced Jones to part ways with the Fleming film. Here’s an excerpt:

With Legendary’s “Warcraft” starting production early next year, director Duncan Jones has been forced to part ways with “Fleming,” the upcoming biopic of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, TheWrap has learned.

Jones was keen to direct “Fleming” but scheduling became an insurmountable obstacle, as the producers were unwilling to wait nearly two years for him to finish “Warcraft,” which Universal will release on Dec. 18, 2015.

“Warcraft” is an adaptation of the popular video game “World of Warcraft,” and the big-budget tentpole calls for a long post-production process. Travis Fimmel and Paula Patton are expected to star.

“Fleming” is based on Andrew Lycett’s biography of Ian Fleming.

Sneider’s story says “Fleming” is now looking for a new director, with plans to do casting in 2014.

To view TheWrap’s story, CLICK HERE.

Happy birthday, James Bond!

Happy birthday, James Bond!

Happy birthday, James Bond!

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