As the James Bond film franchise decides what to do next, it faces a bit of a dilemma:
Should it continue to seek more critical respect (Casino Royale and Skyfall) or should it embrace its roots, the way SPECTRE, the most recent 007 film, did?
The last two Bond films were directed by an auteur, Sam Mendes.
In 2012, Eon Productions co-boss Barbara Broccoli told ComingSoon.Net that the franchise didn’t hire journeymen directors: “(W)e’ve never been one to hire directors for hire. We always wanted someone who was a great director in their own right and a storyteller.”
Yet, in the first four movies of the series — which generated some of the most memorable scenes for the franchise — were directed by journeymen Terence Young and Guy Hamilton. Young, in particular, dealt with cost and schedule overruns on Dr. No and From Russia With Love.
Young even had part of his Dr. No fee impounded until costs were recouped at the box office because of the overruns. Bond was a much more modest undertaking in those days.
2012 also saw something that summarizes the divide between respect and tradition.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversayr of the Bond films. So Tom Jones appeared to perform the title song to Thunderball, the fourth 007 film.
The audiences was full of artistes. Yet they seemed to be having as good a time as audiences did in 1965 when Thunderball first came out.
On some occasions, respect and tradition can coincide. Something to keep in mind as Bond 25 undergoes its journey in development. Here’s Sir Tom in 2012: