Ian who? Harry what?

OK, enough is enough. Clearly, if the OFFICIAL 007 TWITTER FEED IS ANY INDICATION, Eon Productions hasn’t the slightest intention of recognizing the contributions of Ian Fleming (who created James Bond) and Harry Saltzman (Eon’s co-founder).

ON THIS DAY IN BOND HISTORY: Some old dude none of us 007 Twitter writers recognize showed up on the Goldfinger set.


On March 23, the official 007 Twitter feed noted this:

ON THIS DAY IN BOND HISTORY: 1964, Guy Hamilton shot the GOLDFINGER scene in which Bond meets and seduces Jill Masterson. #007 #SKYFALL

There was something else, based on photographs taken at the time, going on: Ian Fleming showed up on the Goldfinger set to chat with star Sean Connery and supporting player Shirley Eaton. A photograph of the meeting was taken and it’s one of the most-reproduced images of the 007 author showing up during filming of Bond movies. If it’s not the last, it’s one of the last.

Evidently, the 007 Twitter writers (or writer) didn’t know that or have any idea who this Ian Fleming character was. Reader’s Digest version: He wrote some novels featuring a character named James Bond. Without the novels, there aren’t any James Bond movies.

This week the official 007 Twitter account filed its 142nd Tweet. Number of mentions of Ian Fleming? Zero. While we were at it, we checked (based on a tip from the James Bond Dossier) the number of mentions of Harry Saltzman, the partner of Albert R. Broccoli for the first nine Bond films. Number of Saltzman mentions? Also zero.

Put another way, if Albert R. Broccoli had never met Ian Fleming (who created the character) or Harry Saltzman (who actually held the option to buy the film rights), Broccoli would not have won the Irving Thalberg Award in 1982 (an honary Oscar given to a producer). Broccoli likely would not have gotten an obituary in The New York Times. (Albert R. Broccoli, Producer of Hell Below Zero, Dies at 87? Please.)

We’ve brought this up before, including THIS POST and THIS POST. We got feedback that Cubby Broccoli definitely appreciated Ian Fleming and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and stepson, Michael G. Wilson, do too. That, we’re told, also applies to Harry Saltzman.

Perhaps. Even if that’s the case, people in the employ of Wilson and Broccoli (whether they be direct employees or outside contractors) haven’t got a clue.

MGM watch: Craig’s `Dragon Tatoo’ loses money, LA Times says

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, trying to comeback from bankruptcy, had a setback, according to the Company Town blog of the Los Angeles Times: The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, starring Daniel Craig, ended up a money loser.

Here’s an excerpt:

Returns of $231 million in worldwide box office wasn’t enough to turn a profit on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer disclosed in financial results released this week that it is booking what Co-Chief Executive Gary Barber called a “modest loss” on the film. On a conference call with shareholders, he said the independent studio, which covered 20% of the approximately $100-million production budget for the movie co-financed and distributed by Sony Pictures, needed “Dragon Tattoo” to collect about 10% more revenue in order to break even.

You can read the entire story BY CLICKING HERE. According to the Los Angeles Times, MGM is in talks with Sony to reduce the budget for any future installments.

We reference this story for a couple of reasons: 1) MGM owns half of the James Bond franchise along with Eon Productions and “Dragon Tatoo” was one of its first big projects since exiting bankruptcy; 2) Daniel Craig, the current cinema 007, was the movie’s star. When MGM was coping with its financial ills, there was speculation whether Craig would cease playing 007 while starring in “Dragon Tatoo” sequels. Whether any such sequels materialize remains to be seen.

MGM and Sony, meanwhile, are co-financing Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film and the two have committed to collaborate on Bond 24. MGM, as part of its bankruptcy plan, said it wants to get Bond films back on an every-other-year schedule, with Bond 24 coming out in 2014. That, too, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times, in a SEPARATE STORY says MGM has regained control of the United Artists brand from Tom Cruise. UA, when it was actually a studio and not just a label, released the first dozen 007 films produced by Eon Productions. UA got absorbed by MGM after Transamerica Corp. dumped it. The UA name was last on a Bond film with 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.

Homages in Skyfall and Five-0 to past 007 films? (spoiler)

Spoiler involved is fairly minor (especially since the horse is out of the barn) but stop reading if you want to remain spoiler-free.

After looking at images at the Facebook page of Bondklub Deutschland & Friends you have to wonder whether Skyfall, the 50th anniversary James Bond film,will have homages to past 007 movies.

Bond flies past a statue of a stag in Thunderball (left), a statue of a stag at 007's ancestral home in Skyfall as photographed by the Foraging Photographer. Coincidence?


Thanks to photos appearing on the Foraging Photographer blog, images of a set intended to pass for Bond’s ancestral home in Scotland show there’s a statue of a stag atop a gate post. In 1965’s Thunderball, Bond (Bill Suitor doubling for Sean Connery), using a jetpack, flies past a statue of a stag while getting away from some minor villains.

An homage? If so, it’s fairly subtle. Eon Productions pulled the same trick with 2002’s Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary 007 movie, which was packed with references to earlier Bond films. Many were pretty obvious, such as Q’s workshop filled with old gadgets, everything from what was supposed to be Thunderball’s jetpack to Rosa Klebb’s deadly shoe in From Russia With Love.

Separately, the March 19 installment of the new Hawaii Five-0 series had a “McGuffin” that would be familar to those who’ve seen Die Another Day. The plot centered around conflict diamonds, the same thing that caused Bond (Pierce Brosnan) to pursue Colonel Moon/Gustav Graves in the 2002 Bond film.

You could write that off to coincidence except the Nov. 21 episode of Five-0 also had things in common with Die Another Day, including a North Korean setting, the hero being tortured and dark, murky photography for scenes set in North Korea. Maybe the Five-0 writing staff liked the movie.

Skyfall’s latest `security breach’

They say things come in threes. So it is with “security breaches” with Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie.

First, it was call sheets and related materials that contained spoilers such as character names ended up on fan Web sites James Bond Brasil and 007 Collector. Then a blogger, who primarily takes nature photos, comes across Skyfall filming at an exterior set that’s supposed to be 007’s ancestral home and some more information about the film comes out.

Now, in Turkey, three high school students sneaked into a Skyfall filming area and took photos of a stunt scene being prepared, ACCORDING TO THIS STORY by the Dogan News Agency that appeared on the Web site of the Hurriyet Daily News. An excerpt:

The trio avoided security guards by sneaking through alleys and climbed over a wire fence into the train station. There, they crawled under train cars and reached the repair depot, where they grabbed off-duty workers’ overalls and helmets.

The story says one of the three was searched, but hid his cell phone (with its camera) in his underwear. To see a gallery of the photos shot, CLICK HERE.

The main reason this sort of thing gets attention is because Eon Productions has been more secretive than usual, such as not providing the names of characters played by Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney. Thus, when some information does spill out, it gets played up. In the absence of traditional coverage, there’s a demand for news (with those wanting to remain “spoiler free” straining to avoid it) and these non-traditional methods are filling it.

Only two more months of filming to go. Will any more leaks occur?

No Skyfall novelization, Book Bond Web site says

There won’t be a novelization of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, the BOOK BOND WEB SITE REPORTED, citing Ian Fleming Publications.

Raymond Benson's Die Another Day remains the most recent 007 film novelization. Photo copyright © Paul Baack

Raymond Benson, most recent 007 novelization author


There was no statement on the Ian Fleming Publications Web site as of 3 p.m. Eastern Time on March 18. On the Book Bond site, webmaster John Cox said he didn’t press for the reasons why there won’t be a novelization.

One possibility (our own speculation): director Sam Mendes has had a penchant for secrecy for all matters Skyfall, even to the point of denying in early 2010 he was in talks to direct the film even after his own publicist had confirmed such talks were, in fact, underway. A novelization is typically available before a film’s release and is the ultimate spoiler. One exception: Max Allan Collins, in his novelization for Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy movie, awkwardly told the reader Tracy was surprised who the mystery was without revealing the identity.

IFP controls the literary Bond. Novelizations were published for the four Pierce Brosnan films: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. John Gardner did the GoldenEye novelization in 1995 and Raymond Benson the others, beginning in 1997. In 2002, Benson’s final Bond continuation novel had been published but he was the logical choice to do Die Another Day’s novelization published in the fall of that year.

With 2006’s Casino Royale, IFP re-issued Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel of the same name, and with 2008’s Quantum of Solace, IFP put out two Fleming short stories, including Quantum of Solace, which had nothing to do with the film.

Going further back, Christopher Wood penned novelizations for The Spy Who Loved Me (“James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me”) and Moonraker (“James Bond and Moonraker”) in 1977 and 1979 respectively. Gardner also wrote the novelization for 1989’s Licence to Kill.

IFP has no “regular” Bond continuation novel author. Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver were hired to do one-offs (Devil May Care for Faulks where he was “writing as Ian Fleming” and Carte Blanche for Deaver). Interestingly, based on spoilers that have leaked out, Skyfall has a plot element similar to Carte Blanche. (We referenced that spoiler in a March 17 post, so we won’t mention it here).

Blogger ceases taking photos of Skyfall set (SPOILERS)

Warning: spoilers begin midway through this post

The blog The Foraging Photographer said March 16 it’s ceasing taking pictures of an exterior Bond set in Scotland after some pressure was applied.

007 relaxes at the pool after the latest Skyfall leak has been sealed off.


The blogger explains in a post you can read BY CLICKING HERE. An excerpt:

Weeeeeeell… I don’t know where to start, really. Or indeed where to finish. I arrived at Hankley this morning, with dog and child, friend and dog, expecting our normal walk around the common only to be enlivened by the film shooting. I greeted, in naive innocence, the (lovely) lady on the main security gate, only to have her call after me “…are you [my name]…?”, and tell me that I was in (and had created) a lot of trouble. They kept me there while they radioed the location manager to come and discuss things with me.

As it turns out, I’ve been a wanted woman on Hankley Common since yesterday, when it became apparent that I had breached military byelaw 4(13). On reading and re-reading this byelaw, I can’t say I’m yet entirely clear about how I’ve breached this, but I’m taking them at their word, and certainly the military police were perfectly serious about finding me and arresting me – the policeman I talked to later told me that if they’d found me first I would have been arrested, cuffed and charged.

(snip) What did distress me is that I seem to have dropped some of the site crew right in it. This really does upset me, because everyone I’ve spoken to on-site has been absolutely lovely, and I’ve greatly enjoyed having chats with them….I have been genuinely enthralled by the development of the set, and the incredible skill displayed therein. I love taking photographs of beautiful things, and, to me, the creation of this fake reality was an amazing thing to witness.

SPOILERS FOLLOW. If you don’t want to know any details bail out now.

The set in question is supposed to be James Bond’s ancestral home, known as the Skyfall lodge. Bond and M head up to Scotland, but Skyfall apparently will be attacked and destroyed. In a post you can view BY CLICKING HERE, you can see photos taken by the blogger, including the headstone for Bond’s parents, Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix Bond as well as headstones for other relatives that have names taken from Ian Fleming relatives. There’s also a chapel that has been constructed.

The Foraging Photographer’s images have been reproduced on fan Web sites and message boards. This is now the third crackdown related to the 23rd James Bond film and the third starring Daniel Craig. Two fan sites, James Bond Brasil and 007 Collector had published images of Skyfall call sheets and related materials sold on eBay that revealed character names and other details. James Bond Brasil took down the images it published. 007 Collector took down a photo of the list of Skyfall character that was included with the call sheets.

UPDATE: The Foraging Photographer added this to her blog entry (MoD means Ministry of Defence):

just want to make very clear that I did not at any point go anywhere that the public were not free to go, nor was I at any point asked not to take photographs. I did not at any point go inside any fences around the structures which were up during construction. Once the fences were removed, I assumed the boundary to be the ‘flooring’ around the sites (the plastic roadway stuff that protects the ground underneath). Only once did I set foot on that flooring, and that was with permission. There was full public access to the site throughout construction (it’s MoD land), and lots of members of the public taking photos and videos. It was only during filming that the security guys were present. I do feel that if the chapel site was such hot property, then the production team should have made the construction team very aware of this, and put security on the site. It’s not like I was skulking around – I was there with two loud children and a dog!

James Bond’s connections to Ireland

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer and another one!

In the spirit of the holiday, maybe point you in the direction of Ireland’s largest newspaper, the Independent. The venerable organ has recently put together a list of items connecting the Emerald Isle with the world of James Bond. Sadly, it’s not a long list, and to quote even a small portion would probably put us in violation of fair use laws. Nevertheless, you’ll probably enjoy checking it out (especially with a Guinness or two under your belt), and possibly even learn something new. So hie your fine self over to their website for some 007 Irish Connections, and read up on it.

The paper also had recently run an entertaining history of the James Bond film series,
Ah, Mr. Bond: We weren’t expecting you to last 50 years, which starts off with a terrific anecdote:

On a boiling hot afternoon in early 1962, four friends were walking along a beach in Jamaica when, from across a sand dune, a man shouted at them to lie down.

The man was Terence Young, director of the first Bond film Dr No and he was about to shoot the soon-to-be-famous scene in which Ursula Andress strides, goddess-like, from the sea, wearing a barely-there bikini and an elusive pout.

The quartet of pals had unwittingly walked directly between the camera and Andress as she was about to emerge from the surf. They were poet Stephen Spender, critic Peter Quennell, playwright Noel Coward — and Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.

It’s one of our favorite behind-the-scenes stories of James Bond filmmaking, and a great way to start off an entertaining and informative read. Enjoy!