Evolution of a meme: Helm to 007 to Kingsman

The Year of the Spy (in the United States, anyway) shifts into another gear this month with the debut of Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn, strives for a return of the escapist spy film in a century known mostly for the grim and gritty, first popularized by Jason Bourne and then by a rebooted James Bond franchise with Daniel Craig.

Kingsman’s emphasis on escapism even extends to the movie’s ad campaign, which involves a meme that’s been around for decades.

In the ads, members of the Kingsman’s cast, including star Colin Firth, are depicted striding toward a woman with prosthetic feet (a character in the film) who’s holding a drink and a rifle.

A poster for Kingsman: The Secret Service

A poster for Kingsman: The Secret Service

The image evokes the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, in which Roger Moore’s Bond is standing before a swimsuit-wearing Melina, holding a crossbow.

FYEO U.S. Insert

But 007 wasn’t the first spy character to use such an image.

Fifteen years earlier, The Silencers — produced by Irving Allen, former partner of co-founding 007 producer Albert R. Broccoli — had an illustration of a woman in a similar pose. Matt Helm (Dean Martin) isn’t standing in front of her but his presence is noted regardless.

silencers ad

In any case, Kingsman already is out in Europe. The R-rated movies arrives in U.S. theaters on Feb. 13.

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One Response

  1. the aricle above claim’s that director matthew Vaughn’s film strive’s
    for a return of the escapist spyfilm in a century known mostly for the
    grim and gritty, popularized by Jason bourne and the rebooted james
    bond franchise, with Daniel craig,
    however I don’t entirely agree with the article. but what I’ve abserved
    is, the director is pushing towards a roger moore’s 70s type of
    film. which is seen in the poster for this film like you said the similar
    style like ‘for you’re eyes only’ teaser poster.

    as it’s been mentioned this year is dubbed as ‘the year of the spy’
    taken 3 has set the bar. so theres no room for so much campiness
    in a spy film. so in my opinion ‘spectre’ still might rule at the ending
    of this year 2015.

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