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The Literary Bond vs. the Movie Version

How does the 007 of film stack up against the original Ian Fleming books? Author Allen Bara contrasts the Bond of the novels with the cinematic Bond so many more people are familiar with. The agent that Ian Fleming created was not physically imposing, his tastes in food and drink were almost plebeian, he wasn't as lucky with ladies, and he didn't have an arsenal of expensive high-tech gadget at his disposal, like the movie Bond. His enemies were simpler, too: the movies made them out to be comic-book type super villains, when the books dealt with threats closer to home.

This is because they are Communists. The grim visage of Cold War is never far from Bond’s mind in any of the early books. Casino Royale’s le Chiffre, Auric Goldfinger, the hideous and asexual Rosa Kleb in From Russia With Love, Mr. Big, the fierce African-American crime boss in Live and Let Die, were all Communist agents—vermin eating at the vitals of the free world.

A thaw came in 1962 when the film script for From Russia With Love was revised to turn the villains into agents of SPECTRE—an anagram for Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion—a supercriminal organization that Bond needed hugely expensive gimmicks and gadgets to combat. In the books Bond’s constant lament is that other secret services have bigger budgets than Her Majesty’s. In From Russia With Love, he laments, while comparing his armory to the Russians, “If only his service went in for these explosive toys.” In Dr. No (1957), he envies the excellence of the CIA’s equipment and has no qualms about borrowing from us. In Live and Let Die (1954) the CIA makes him a gift of a couple thousands dollars in cash upon his arrival in New York. He thanks his allies and tells them, “I’m glad to have some working capital.”

However, amid all this simplicity, the literary Bond still managed to get himself into and out of situations that kept us on the edge of our seats -and kept us turning pages. Read more about him at The Daily Beast. Link


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as a much younger person than I am now, I came into possession of some of the early prints of the Ian Fleming Bond novels and instantly fell in love. I have read all of them (including all of the post-Fleming authors - very few of whom have come close to the original novels). I've seen, maybe 3 or 4 Bond movies. They just don't excite me the way the novels did.
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