BBC says MI5 suspected 007 screenwriter of being a Communist agent

Wolf Mankowitz has only one official 007 screenwriting credit but his influence extends beyond that. Anyway, the writer was monitored by the U.K.’s MI5, which suspected Mankowitz of being a Commnist agent, the BBC reported this week, citing newly released government records.

You can read the full story BY CLICKING HERE. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Born in London’s East End, Mr Mankowitz attended the University of Cambridge where he joined the university’s Socialist Society and met his wife Ann, a Communist Party member.

MI5 first became interested in Mr Mankowitz in 1944, when the couple were living in Newcastle.

Mankowitz is one of the credited screewriters of producer Charles K. Feldman’s 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale. But a few years earlier, he introduced Harry Saltzman, who held an option on Ian Fleming’s 007 novels that was running out, with Albert R. Broccoli. That fateful meeting resulted in the 1961 formation of Eon Productions, the company that produces the official Bond film series.

Mankowitz worked on the new company’s first project, Dr. No, along with Richard Maibaum but, according to the documentary Inside Dr. No, pulled out, fearing the project would be a disaster.

Also, according to film historian Adrian Turner’s 1998 book on Goldfinger, Mankowitz sold Saltzman an idea that was incorporated in to that 1964 film. Turner quotes Mankowitz as saying he came up with the idea of having a Mafia chief put into the trunk of a car that would be run a car crushing machine. The price: 500 British pounds.

Also, here’s a shoutout to Jeremy Duns, author of the spy novel Free Country, from whom we learned of the BBC story on Mankowitz.

Ian McKellen to Play “Goldfinger” in New Radio Production

Ian McKellen to Play “Goldfinger” in New Radio Production

Toby Stephens will voice James Bond and Rosamund Pike will play Pussy Galore in this BBC Radio 4 production that is to be a faithful dramatization of the Fleming novel.

Interesting concept with some major talent involved. Though “Goldfinger” was really one of Fleming’s weaker novels, I’m very interested to hear this version.

Tom Zielinski

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