Peppered with fun facts and cheeky asides, actor Roger Moore’s book looking back on the golden anniversary of James Bond on-screen is a treat for 007 fans. He takes us on a lively spin around the milestones of cinema’s longest-running franchise.
Page after page of photos display the villains, the gadgets and the girls, making Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies a kind of 007 family album for those who grew up with the British secret agent – and never outgrew the fantasy of driving a fast car with an even faster girl on the way to saving the world.
You can still start a fight arguing whether Moore was a better Bond than Sean Connery, though that might show your age as much as your taste in 007s. Moore says he developed his approach to the character after noting a line from one of Ian Fleming’s novels: “Bond did not particularly enjoy killing.”
Indeed, in his seven outings as Bond, Moore brought a light humor that set him apart from Connery’s more serious and at times sadistic manner.
Did you know:
• Unlike Connery, Moore’s Bond never smoked cigarettes. The actor writes that he had quit a few years before Live and Let Die, his first Bond movie.
• Actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played armament expert Q’ in 17 of the films, was a technophobe who could barely operate a video recorder.
• Moviemakers would dress up an air base near Britain’s Pinewood Studios, home to the Bond franchise, so it could stand in for air bases as needed – in Cuba, Azerbaijan and even America’s Fort Knox.
• Actress Lois Maxwell contacted Dr. No director Terence Young, a friend, in search of a job to tide over her family in the wake of her husband’s heart attack. A two-day gig as lovelorn secretary Miss Moneypenny in the first Bond film led to appearances in 14 films spanning 23 years.
• What vanquished arch-villain Blofeld and his evil organization SPECTRE? It wasn’t sharks or lasers but lawsuits. Moore says a dispute over who created SPECTRE resulted in its being dropped from future films.
Other books have far more trivia and making-of material from each of the films. Moore, understandably, is most chatty about his own experiences, though he is too much a gentleman to criticize his colleagues without a smile. An exception might be one-shot wonder George Lazenby, portrayed as a bratty Bond who took the blast of fame that came with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service all too seriously.