You may have noticed already, I’m ever-so-slightly a Bond fan. You also may have noticed that there is a new Bond film coming out very soon (26th of October). As the next 10 or so days are going to be somewhat of an endurance test for me, I thought I’d try some light therapy and compile a list of my top 100 favourite Bond moments. Please note, these aren’t in any order of preference, but they are in the order of the films. I will split these by film entries, so without further ado, let’s start right back at the beginning with Dr No!
01. Gun barrel
The. Most. Iconic. Bond. Moment. Ever!
A Bond film just wouldn’t be the same without it. Does anything beat that the atmosphere and anticipation of watching a new Bond movie the cinema – awaiting those dots and that theme? The gun-barrel sequence itself is the brain-child of Maurice Binder who took a picture of a gun-barrel through a pin-hole camera. Think that is Sean Connery in there? Think again! It’s Bob Simmons the stunt co-ordinator. The opening for Dr No is slightly different to later entries in that it opens with some weird ambient electronic noises before “that tune” kicks things off. It’s a perfect opener to the films. I really have to question the wisdom of putting one of the most iconic opening sequences at the end of the film in Quantum of Solace. The impact was completely lost, EON – please take note!
02. Bond, James Bond
Obviously one of the coolest introductions in film history. Bond lights his cigarette, playing chemin de fur against the beautiful Sylvia Trench, delivering the line in a cool, confident manner whilst appearing slightly like a lazy predator who has just had his fill. Perfect!
03. You’ve had your six
Half way through the movie, Bond escapes a trap which has been set for him and proceeds to set a trap of his own. The evil Professor Dent fires six rounds into what he believes is Bond’s back whilst sleeping. Bond turns the tables and gets the Professor talking. The crafty Professor tries one final attempt to shoot Bond, but has run out of bullet. With a cigarette in his mouth, Bond calmly retorts “That’s a Smith and Wesson, and you’ve had your six”, before shooting him in cold blood. I can only imagine the uproar a scene like this would have caused in the day. And originally it was even more violent with Bond firing additional shots into the Professor before the censors told the film-makers that some needed to be removed.
04. Ursula emerges
The Goddess that is Ursula Andress emerges from the lush blue sea. In that bikini. With a knife belt. Do I really need to say much more? “Are you here for shells?” her character Honey Ryder asks innocently. Bond replies “No, I’m just looking”.
05. Stupid policeman.
Dr. No appears quite late in the actual picture, but his menacing presence is felt through-out the movie. Originally Ian Fleming wanted Noel Coward to play the part. In fact in an early draft of the script Dr. No was actually a malevolent monkey (I joke not!). Thankfully everyone saw sense and it went to an actor called Joseph Wiseman who played the part beautifully. Bond has dinner with the doctor, and it’s brimming with tension and cutting comments. Eventually the doctor loses his patience, but not his cool with Bond who has been trying to provoke him from the start. “I under-estimated you” announces the good doctor who goes on to say “You are nothing more than a stupid policeman”. There is the slightest hint that Bond’s pride has just been pricked. After which he takes a more physical beating. Take that Mr Bond, and remember your table manners next time.
Other great moments:
Three blind mice, “that damn Beretta again”, “both hands on the wheel Mr Jones, I’m a very nervous passenger”, hairy moments with the Tarantula, “I think they were on their way to a funeral”, Dr No’s slippery demise.
The rather unconvincing fire-breathing dragon.
From Russia with Love
06. Let his death be a particularly unpleasant one
There are so many good moments in this film, I was hard pressed to pick my favourites. However I’ve always loved this particular scene where mastermind Kronsteen unhatches his plan (and the plot) to an unseen “Number 1” who strokes a white cat. We later learn that Number 1 is of course Blofeld, Bond’s chief nemesis from many of the earlier films. In the background of this scene are Siamese fighting fish. “Fascinating creatures, but dumb” notes Number 1. They plot the downfall of Bond for killing their SPECTRE operative Dr No. By the end of the scene he feeds one of the dead fish to his cat. “Let his death be a particularly unpleasant one”.
One neat in joke is that Blofeld in the end credits is played by “?”. Actually it is actor Anthony Dawson who played Professor Dent in Doctor No. He also plays Blofeld in Thunderball.
07. She should have kept her mouth shut
A wonderful surreal in-joke sees Kerim Bay snipe one of his enemies who emerges from an escape hatch in Anita Ekberg’s mouth from a poster of Call Me Bwana, which is a film produced by the Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. It’s a lovely scene with a nice taut atmosphere. After the deed is done, it is perfectly capped off with Bond’s delivery of “She should have kept her mouth shut”, with a catchy blast of the Bond theme and shortly afterwards followed by yet another “gag” about Tatiana’s mouth being too big. “No, it’s the right size… for me, that is” says Bond rather disarmingly.
08. Girl fight
The girl fight was probably deemed quite brutal at the time. Bond is told “No matter what happens now, say and do nothing”. At the point the fight is about to turn really ugly, an assassination attempt on Kerim Bay’s life occurs and all hell breaks loose. More fighting ensues. Interestingly, one of the gypsy girls (Zora) in the girl fight is Martine Beswick who would go on to play Paula in Thunderball.
09. Red wine with Fish
In my favourite scene in the film, Bond is in big trouble. Red Grant disposes of Bond’s contact Nash in a brilliantly handled tracking scene. Grant then poses as Nash and Bond soon find’s himself at the complete mercy of the psychopathic who is physically superior. Bond is on his knees with his hands behind his back whilst Grant points a gun in his face. “Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.” quips Bond. Those quips soon end. “The first one won’t kill you; nor the second, not even the third…” boasts Grant. “not till you crawl over here and you kiss my foot”. It’s all said with such venom by the brilliant Robert Shaw. Thankfully Q branch come through in Bond’s hour of need. But not before there is one of the best fights in the series aboard the orient express.
10. She had her kicks
For some reason the idea of poison tipped shoes scared me to death as a kid. In the final showdown, Bond pins the desperate toad Rosa Klebb to the wall with a chair so she can’t kick him easily. Physically stuck holding her there – it is left to Tatiana to dispose of her. “She had her kicks” says Bond afterwards. Interestingly a similar scene was also in the novel. The difference being that Bond actually gets scratched and passes out (presumably dead). Ian Fleming was originally going to kill Bond off at this point, but much like Sherlock Holmes after a certain Reichenbach fall, he miraculously survived due to public demand.
Other great scenes:
Many. In particular the pre-title sequence, any scene with Rosa Klebb/Red Grant/Kronsteen, the talk to the camera scene, Kerim Bay’s “daily exercise” along the sewer, the helicopter attack and the boat chase.
Slapper! Bond obviously has a fetish for slapping ladies bottoms – as witnessed in this and some of the other entries in the series.
Part 2 (hopefully tomorrow): Goldfinger and Thunderball.
Images (C) 1962/1963 Danjaq/EON.