During this extended period of quarantine, I have relied more and more on sheer entertainment value. In terms of film, nothing fills the bill quite like the James Bond films—almost irrespective of the actor that plays 007. I have just seen The Living Daylights starring Timothy Dalton as the ace British spy. It doesn’t seem to matter that the plots are highly unlikely. In compensation, there are the Bond girls, in this film, Maryam d’Abo fills the role quite appetizingly.
Ever since my freshman year in college when Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, and Joseph Wiseman starred in Doctor No, I have loved the Bond films. Not only that, during my college terms, I managed to read most of the Ian Fleming novels written to date. And since I graduated, I read all the rest of them that followed.
I suspect that John LeCarré and Len Deighton wrote spy novels that were more true to life, but it really doesn’t matter. The continuing characters of M, Q, Felix Leiter, and Miss Moneypenny help provide continuity. The only James Bond film I did not like was 1967’s Casino Royale with Peter Sellers as 007, which I saw as a somewhat leaden spoof. Plus, it just doesn’t fit in with all the other Bonds, and it is in no way true to the Ian Fleming novel of the same name.
There are still about eight or nine Bond films I haven’t yet seen. It is my intention to remedy that oversight before the end of the year, if I can. In this year of ultimate unreality, the unreality of James Bond is curiously soothing.