This week, there was a dialogue among proprietors of 007 Web sites among connections between James Bond and director Alfred Hitchcock. Perhaps one of the most direct ties (behind the camera) is also the most obscure.
One of the most cited examples was how North by Northwest’s crop-duster plane sequence inspired a scene in From Russia With Love where a helicopter dive bombs 007. The U.K. Daily Mail wrote up how Ian Fleming hoped Hitchcock would direct a Bond film before the Eon Productions series began production.
However, the most direct connection is the 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale that aired on CBS, starring American actor Barry Nelson. It was co-scripted by Charles Bennett (1899-1995). Bennett was a screenwriter on a number of Hitchock films, including The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936) and Foreign Correspondent (1940). Bennett also co-authored the story that was the basis of the 1934 and 1956 versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
By the 1950s and ’60s, a period that included the first Casino Royale adaptation, Bennett was mostly writing for television. His work also included one episode of The Wild, Wild West, “The Night of the Eccentrics,” that introduced Count Manzeppi, intended to be a recurring villain. Manzeppi, played by Victor Buono, would only return for one additional episode (which Bennett would not write). Still, the episode is rather quirky, and includes Richard Pryor as one of Manzeppi’s henchmen.
Filed under: James Bond Films, The Other Spies | Tagged: 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1954 Casino Royale, 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Alfred Hitchock, Barry Nelson, CBS, Charles Bennett, Foreign Correspondent, From Russia With Love, James Bond Films, Joel McCrea, North by Northwest, Secret Agent, The 39 Steps, The Other Spies, The Wild Wild West | Leave a comment »