The new issue of HMSS has arrived!

The publishers and editors of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant are pleased to announce the publication of our latest issue. This one — our best yet, we think — is packed with interesting reading about all matters Bondian.

We have some old friends returning and some new ones joining us for the first time. Our good pal Deborah Lipp checks in with two fascinating articles; one about Live and Let Die‘s monkeying around with tarot cards, the other about recurring themes of voyeurism and concealment in You Only Live Twice. Ron Feyereisen returns with a contrarian view of the ongoing Daniel Craig “reboot” tenure; suffice it to say that he’s not a satisfied customer. Speaking of reboots, regular contributor Derek Austin Johnson casts his gimlet eye on the latest 007 literary adventure, Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (the James Bond watches man, Dell Deaton, offers a rebuttal). On the subject of the latest Bond novel, we’re rerunning Mark Henderson’s excellent interview (first published last April here on the blog,) with the author. We’re excited to welcome Stuart Basinger (that’s “Dr. Shatterhand” to you civilians) to the fold with his imaginary interview with former CIA director (and friend of Ian Fleming) Allan Dulles. James Bond is discussed. Ian Fleming Foundation member Colin Clark regales us with the story of the discovery and acquisition of Franz Sanchez’ escape plane — the Cessna we saw Timothy Dalton’s 007 lasso in Licence to Kill. And our stalwart senior editor Bill Koenig unearths the amazing story of what 1979’s Moonraker could have been like, if only Eon’s budget had matched the screenplay’s requirements. Bill’s story also covers script-to-screen changes in Diamonds Are Forever and Tomorrow Never Dies.

So set aside a little time, mix yourself a cool martini, and point your web browser to HMSS.com, for some thought-provoking entertainment and a heaping helping of, as the French say, le jamesbonderie (even though they probably don’t). Enjoy!

Could 007 be forced to economize in Bond 23?

Now that Bond 23 has a release date of November 2012, the entertainment media is seeking details. The Hollywood Reporter’s Web site has a story saying Paramount be the leading contender to cut a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release the film. But down deep in the story is something else that caught our eye:

The next Bond film — tentatively called Bond 23, to be directed by Sam Mendes and starring (Daniel) Craig — will likely cost less than $150 million. It is not clear whether MGM will finance all or part of the film, though one source with ties to Paramount believes MGM would like to finance the film and cover marketing costs. Obviously that could be one of many points of negotiation.

This is interesting because the most recent Bond entry, 2008’s Quantum of Solace, cost a reported $230 million, according to the Numbers.com Web site. A $150 million budget, while ample, would represent a substantial reduction.

That wouldn’t be all bad. Many fans, including a number of HMSS reviewers felt Quantum of Solace didn’t match the quality of 2006’s Casino Royale, which skimped by (relatively speaking) on a $102 million budget (Numbers.com’s estimate). If the $230 million figure for Quantum is correct, it’s hard to see where the money went. It wasn’t for production values, editing or the script.

Now, we approach the Hollywood Reporter report with some caution concerning Bond 23’s budget. The trade publication doesn’t specify where it came up with the “less than $150 million” figure, or if it’s based on actual reporting of it’s an educated guess. It’s not even attributed to “sources.” Still, given that MGM just got out of bankruptcy, it makes sense that Bond 23 would be a more a more thrifty production than Quantum of Solace. And you can still make a good movie for $150 million and spending $230 million isn’t a guarantee of success.

(Belated) happy birthday to Luciana Paluzzi

June 10 was the birthday of Luciana Paluzzi, who played the femme fatale Fiona Volpe in Thunderball.

In the most recent issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she was the sixth favorite Bond girl in a survey of HMSS editors and ranked as the hottest in that same survey.

Here’s one of the reasons why.

That was in 1965. Nine years later, she’d be reunited with director Terence Young in a movie called The Klansman. It didn’t get very good reviews (and didn’t help the reputations of stars Lee Marvin and Richard Burton), but if you want to check it out, you can CLICK RIGHT HERE.

Missed Opportunities in the Bond Series

In the next issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant (on-line imminently) we examine what some believe to be the biggest missed opportunity of the series. Look for “Ugh! Siamese Vodka?!” and other terrific pieces, including a grand pictorial of our favorite and hottest Bond girls.

What might you consider to be some of the bad decisions the producers of the Bond films made that effected the series? The “comedic” direction of the films throughout the 1970’s? Revolving actors in the Leiter role? Letting Dalton walk?

Share your thoughts.

HMSS Weblog on Twitter

We’ve only mentioned this in passing in responding to comments on some posts: the HMSS Weblog is also available on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/hmssweblog. It’s a modest presence, but we’re linking posts here.