Fifty years ago, my high school girlfriend and I went to the movies on Friday night. We went every week because the theater offered student discounts. She lived in Venice, California, a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, just west of Los Angeles proper.
As we approached the box office, we looked at the marquis and were somewhat disappointed. Under the “now playing” banner was a poster advertising a foreign film. The title was “Dr. No”, and the star was no one we ever heard of, an actor by the name of Sean Connery.
We were already there, so we decided to go in. If nothing else, we could “make-out” for a while. (For those of you under 30, that meant kissing, and maybe a little 1st base over the sweater action).
Once the movie started, I don’t think we looked at each other. The concept of a spy with number, and a “license to kill” was mesmerizing. And when the first “Bond Girl” ever, walked out of the water in a bikini, I found new fascination with the film. She was the legendary “Ursula Andress”.
The movie was action filled and the lead actor was debonair and believable, mostly. Although by today’s standard the special effects were a little “cheesy”, they worked with the plot and the action.
In the end Bond beat the bad guy, and got the girl. Perfect ending.
When the movie was over they showed a trailer for the next “James Bond” film, “From Russia With Love”. We couldn’t wait.
And the second film was better. To this very day, I believe the fight scene on the train between the villain and James Bond, was the most realistic and violent I have ever seen. And, in the end, Mr. Bond beat the bad guy and got the beautiful Russian girl.
The third film is the one most remember, and insured “Bond” films would be around for a very long time. It was called “Goldfinger”. The plot was so implausible that it became a fantasy, and was totally captivating. Who can forget a Rolls Royce made of gold, or “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus”, and, of course, “007’s” tricked up Aston Martin? The Aston Martin was the most expensive prop ever used in a motion picture at the time. It cost a whopping 275,000 dollars. And, in the end, 007 beat the bad guys and got the girl.
How many times have I watched a James Bond film? If I had hair on my head, it would probably exceed the number of hairs I could comb.
Several men have had the opportunity to play the role of “007”. Sean Connery will always be Bond. His persona created the character. I enjoyed all of them, some more than others. In the last three films, Daniel Craig has been perfectly cast, and with the computer generated special effects of today, the movies are much more dramatic.
I compare James Bond films to the “B” movies made by John Wayne. I used to watch them on Saturday mornings instead of cartoons. He was invincible, even when he faced dozens of “bad guys” by himself. The good guy always won, and he always got the girl.
Columnist-The Guardian Express