Posted on October 5, 2018
One of the few pieces of common knowledge that seems (to me, at least) to be 100% accurate is that your favorite Bond is the one you first saw in the theater. Generally, you arrive at the Bond franchise at a young age and if you’re seeing it on the big screen, that actor in that version of the role is going to very likely define your impression of the character and of spy movies.
What do we call the Mission Impossible movies? The American James Bond franchise.
My first Bond movie was Diamonds Are Forever. I was probably 14 when I saw it at the Varsity Theater on Guadalupe right across the street from the University of Texas so I was at the perfectly impressionable age to see Sean Connery play the part for (technically) the last time. Those being the days before Blockbuster, I couldn’t just run out and binge all the previous movies. I had to catch them on television or in second run theaters.
Eventually, I saw them all and got properly situated in the genre by catching the American equivalents like Our Man Flint, Matt Helm, The Man From Uncle, Secret Agent and even Get Smart. In the 60s you could clothe yourself completely in a body suit of spy stuff, but Bond was the only real deal.
And then the worst possible thing happened. Roger Moore took over and Bond got soft and the movies turned campy and it was just so embarrassing I couldn’t watch anymore. Now, I should be clear about this. I am a huge fan of Roger Moore and especially of The Saint, but Moore was just too suave and too weak for Bond.
Then came Dalton and Brosnan who (and I blame all of this on the scripts because those are two fine actors who just got handed a crappy role) made it look more and more like Bond had lost his place in the world.
And then, finally, Bond recovered and we got Daniel Craig, a man simultaneously rough enough and suave enough and modern enough, to be the actual inheritor of the role from Sean Connery.
And now that I’ve said all that, I’m going to watch Diamonds Are Forever again for the first time since, I guess, the late 70s, and see what I think of it. I’ll do a LivePost of my reactions.
As a post script I would add that the idea of seeing Connery as Bond again in the non-canon Never Say Never Again did more to hurt my infatuation with the original than to recapture it. The discussion of that movie is better left for another post on another day.
UPDATE: My Diamonds Are Forever Blog Watch can be found here.