New York compares Rupert Murdoch to 007 villains

New York magazine’s editor, Adam Moss, and its star essayist, Frank Rich, engaged in a dialogue on the publication’s Web site about the unfolding phone hacking scandal involving News Corp. and its chief executive, 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch. Inevitably, there were comparisons between the media mogul and the adversaries of a certain gentleman agent.

Here’s the key excerpt:

Adam: There really is no one like Murdoch in the world — and no company like his, which manages to be both a rogue operation and a hugely successful corporate behemoth at the same time. That’s a neat trick to pull off. (snip) And News Corp. — what a name! Could have been coined by Ian Fleming (or a whole host of more conspiratorial fantasists). In fact, Murdoch has always seemed to me more like a James Bond villain** — with their placid exteriors and raging interiors — than any other corporate executive I know. He revels in it. Most corporate cultures are bland as a matter of strategy. But not his.

Frank: To me, the Rosebud** that animates Murdoch is the “me-against-the-world” chip on his shoulder — he is indeed a Bond villain to the core.

To further make the point, the Web site includes a still of Gert Frobe playing the title character of Goldfinger, the third James Bond film. New York, though, passed up the chance to include an image of Elliott Carver (Jonathan Pryce) from 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, a character who was a media baron. This clip begins with a scene of Carver addressing his underlings, one of whom was played by Eon Productions co-boss Michael G. Wilson.

1979: Frank Rich reviews Moonraker

Frank Rich is considered one of the most important journalists in America. He writes a weekly column for The New York Times and has been a contender for the Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious U.S. journalism award.

A long time ago, the 1970s to be precise, he was the movie critic for Time magazine. And one movie he liked a lot was 1979’s Moonraker. An excerpt:

Producer Albert R. Broccoli, the major-domo of the James Bond movies, is the proverbial Jewish mother of cinema: he is not about to let anyone go away hungry. In Moonraker, the eleventh 007 opus, Broccoli serves the audience a space-shuttle hijacking, a jumbo-jet explosion and a protracted wrestling match between two men who are falling from the sky without parachutes. All this happens before the opening credits. From there, it’s on to gondola chases in Venice, funicular crashes in Rio and laser-gun shootouts and lovemaking in deep space. Meanwhile, beautiful women come and go, talking (ever so discreetly) about fellatio. When Broccoli lays out a feast, he makes sure that there is at least one course for every conceivable taste.

Want more? Here it is:

The result is a film that is irresistibly entertaining as only truly mindless spectacle can be. Those who have held out on Bond movies over 17 years may not be convinced by Moonraker, but everyone else will be. With their rigid formulas and well-worn gags, these films have transcended fashion. Styles in Pop culture, sexual politics and international espionage have changed drastically since Ian Fleming invented his superhero, but the immaculately tailored, fun-loving British agent remains a jolly spokesman for the simple virtues of Western civilization. Not even Margaret Thatcher would dare consider slowing him down.

These days, Rich tackles larger, more imporant topics. To read his latest NYT column, just CLICK HERE. Meanwhile, if you’d like to read his Moonraker review in full, just CLICK RIGHT HERE.