(00)7 Sean Connery Bond Outfits That Daniel Craig Repurposed

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Happy 89th birthday to Sean Connery! Connery’s James Bond style is not just influential to fans like us but also to other Bonds. Daniel Craig has paid homage to Sean Connery’s style on numerous occasions, but here are seven of the most significant times that Daniel Craig copied a look of Connery’s.

1. Shawl Collar Dinner Suit: Dr. NoQuantum of Solace

One of the most important outfits, if not the most important outfit, of the James Bond series is the first outfit that we see Bond wearing on screen in Dr. No: Sean Connery’s midnight blue shawl-collar dinner suit made by Anthony Sinclair. This is the outfit that introduces James Bond and ingrains the image of him dressed in black tie. The perfect lines and fit of this suit help make it the special outfit that it is.

For Daniel Craig’s second Bond outing, Quantum of Solace, he wears a closely-inspired dinner suit made by Tom Ford, also in midnight blue with a shawl collar. If that doesn’t sound like anything special, Craig’s suit also copies Connery’s gauntlet cuff (the silk turnback detail on the ends of the sleeves), and Craig also wears a diamond-point bow tie. The influence of Connery’s dinner suit is again seen in last week’s No Time to Die title reveal video when Daniel Craig walks into the frame wearing a shawl-collar dinner suit with gauntlet cuffs. The gauntlet cuffs not only pay homage to Connery but are also a Tom Ford signature look.

2. Grey Glen Check Suit: From Russia with Love  Skyfall and No Time to Die

The grey glen check suit is a staple of Sean Connery’s Bond wardrobe, and he wears it in various weaves, scales and shades. It can be either black and cream or black and grey. Connery wears the black and grey variation in From Russia with Love at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The black and grey glen check suit reappears in the Daniel Craig Bond films, taking inspiration from Connery in From Russia with Love. In Skyfall he wears it in London with a light blue shirt, a navy tie and a folded pocket square, just like Connery does in From Russia with Love. This look will reappear in No Time to Die, but this time it is with a white shirt instead of blue. But here he even wears sunglasses like Connery.

3. Ivory Dinner Jacket: Goldfinger → Spectre

In Goldfinger, Sean Connery established numerous iconic Bond looks. The first of these is a peaked-lapel ivory dinner jacket from Anthony Sinclair, with a memorable reveal when Bond unzips his dry suit and places a red carnation in his lapel’s buttonhole. Connery just about looks perfect in this outfit, even though the jacket has a very full fit by today’s standards. This outfit set the stage for five future white dinner jackets in the Bond series.

The most recent of Bond’s ivory dinner jackets features in Spectre, which like the jacket in Goldfinger has peaked lapels. Not much else about Craig’s Tom Ford dinner jacket is similar, but Craig adorns it with a red carnation in another nod to Connery.

4. Hacking Jacket: Goldfinger  Spectre

Another of Sean Connery’s iconic outfits from Goldfinger is his brown hacking jacket from Anthony Sinclair that he wears with cavalry twill trousers, knitted tie and suede shoes. The image of Sean Connery leaning against the Aston Martin DB5 in this outfit has made this look memorable. One reason why this outfit is special is the elegant low-contrast combination of a light brown jacket and fawn trousers. The difference in texture and enough contrast in colour helps this outfit to be the perfect jacket and trouser pairing rather than looking like a clashing mismatched-suit look.

Costume designer Jany Temime said she was inspired by this outfit when dressing Daniel Craig for the Morocco scenes in Spectre. Craig’s outfit of a light brown wool/linen/silk jacket with hacking pockets from Brunello Cucinelli and khaki cotton trousers also from Brunello Cucinelli is lighter in both weight and colour, but the brown colour family and low-contrast between the two pieces reminds us of the look in Goldfinger. However, Craig’s outfit does not succeed like Connery’s because there is not enough textural contrast between the jacket and trousers to prevent the mismatched suit look with the low contrast in colours. Like Connery, Craig also wears a brown knitted silk tie and suede footwear—this time tan boots instead of brown shoes—with this outfit.

5. Mohair Suits: Thunderball → Quantum of Solace

Sean Connery’s Bond, being from the 1960s, was a fan of mohair-blend suits. Mohair and wool blends were popular in the 1960s for their modern and flashy sheen and crisp tailoring properties, though the cloth was only popular for about a decade and a half before it fell out of favour. Over the last decade it has seen a resurgence, perhaps due to a renewed popularity in 1960s tailoring styles. Mohair doesn’t just look great; it is also a natural performance fabric that breathes well, is hard-wearing and doesn’t wrinkle easily.

Quantum of Solace‘s costume designer Louise Frogely said of mohair tonic to Adam Tschorn of the Los Angeles Times, “It was extremely popular in the ’60s; all the Mods and all the wannabe Bonds wore it. I’m sure Sean Connery would have worn it at least once.” Connery did wear a few mohair-blend suits in his 1960s Bond films, most notably in Thunderball. The dark brown three-piece suit that he wears to M’s office is one of these suits. Daniel Craig also wears a brown mohair-blend suit as Bond in Quantum of Solace in Bolivia, where the brown colour blends in with the surroundings better than it does in Connery’s London. Like Connery, Craig also matches the brown suit with a brown-toned tie.

Though Connery’s brown suit in Thunderball was not likely a direct inspiration for Craig’s, the 1960s idea of the mohair cloth connects Connery’s and Craig’s elegant looks.

6. Light Blue Swimming Trunks: Thunderball  Casino Royale and Skyfall

Light blue is Bond’s colour choice for swimming trunks as it blends in elegantly with the colour of the sea or a blue-painted pool. Sean Connery wears light blue swimming trunks in From Russia with Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball, and it’s the blue Jantzen belt-looped trunks in Thunderball that are his most memorable. Orlebar Brown have now even recreated them.

Daniel Craig, however, is now the Bond most associated with swimwear, be it because of his muscular build rising out of the sea in Casino Royale or his plumber’s crack in Skyfall. He has continued wearing light blue swimming trunks like Connery has, from La Perla in Casino Royale and from Orlebar Brown in Skyfall. The darker waistband on the Casino Royale swim shorts is visually reminds us of the dark belt on Connery’s swim shorts in Thunderball.

7. Blue Polo: Thunderball  Casino Royale

The dark blue polo shirt is now a Bond staple thanks to Daniel Craig’s Sunspel polo in Casino Royale and, to a lesser extent, the Tom Ford polos in Quantum of Solace and Spectre. It is a versatile casual shirt that looks much more elegant than a t-shirt. But Sean Connery wore a blue polo as Bond first in Thunderball, from Fred Perry, establishing the look that Daniel Craig would later turn into an iconic Bond fashion.

There are others looks from Sean Connery that inspired Daniel Craig, but these are some of my favourite Connery Bond outfits that Craig copied.

79 COMMENTS

  1. Great article! Naturally, Craig’s spring complexion (especially the cold blue eyes) makes the high-contrast outfits Connery wore in a relaxed manner look much more serious and menacing.

    That said, I feel like Craig almost never wears warmer colours that work well on his complexion… just the grey linen suit in Casino Royale and the Fumo grey sweater in Spectre?

  2. Saul, there are always sources of inspiration. I guess we could say some the Connery Bond look belonged a bit to Terence Young, actually.

    Excellent article. That’s nicer for his birthday than reviewing Zardoz !
    I still think the best recreated looks were in QOS (that dinner suit looked terrific) and Casino Royale.

  3. Seems that with the Craig-era hacking jacket and grey glen check jacket, the sleeves are too snugly fitted to slip down again after the arm is flexed, so they look badly creased. Is that because the chest is such a clean fit that the sleeve dimensions are constrained (as opposed to a bit of drape allowing the sleeve to start off wider)? Otherwise the modern glen check looks good to my eye.

    • The sleeves are separate from the chest. The top of his sleeves fit well, while ready-to-wear sleeves are often too narrow there. The problem with Craig’s sleeves is that they taper too much.

  4. I notice Craig’s lapels are almost as skinny as Connery’s. It’s a nice nods to the 1960s, and he looks good in them.

    • Halleluiah!
      I would call the lapels slim not skinny but in any event I’m sick to death of seeing laughably Travolta-esque lapels being lauded all over the internet while slim lapels get scant praise. It’s fair enough to say that the shrunken skinny fit suits of recent years, reflected to a degree in Craig’s style in ‘Skyfall’ and ‘SPECTRE’ were a bridge too far, but that’s not to say that slim lapels can’t look fantastic. Connery’s suits in the early Bond films, along with Cary Grant’s in NXNW – arguably the most famous suit in the movies – all had slim lapels and all looked great. Better, in my opinion, than shoulder-scraping seventies-inspired wingspan lapels that seem to get reflexive praise on menswear forums.

      • Lapels that reach the shoulder do indeed look laughable and will never date well. But I suspect you’re not actually talking about that.

      • I completely agree, and I hate shrunken fit suits. Although skinny lapels can be taken too far too (like on Roger Moore’s otherwise brilliant jackets in “The Saint”) even then they still look more flattering than the absurdly wide ones from “Moonraker” and TSWLM. Smaller lapels make the shoulders look wider by comparison, and there is also something sleek about them, especially when they are cut very straight with very little curve, like Connery’s and Craig’s are.

  5. Connery’s FRWL glencheck suit is one of the best suits of the entire series. IMO it hardly has ever been topped, not even by any other of Connery’s Bond suits to follow. It’s nice that this outfit will return in NTTD.

    • It looks like Craig’s shoulders and chest will be able to breathe a bit this time compared to Skyfall! As others have noted, the sleeve taper is still a little too aggressive however.

      • “As others have noted, the sleeve taper is still a little too aggressive however.”

        -It is. And trousers are too tight. The NTTD suit differs only gradually from those in SF and SPECTRE but on the whole the fit is a bit better. Furthermore IMO the colour palette is well chosen for Craig’s complexion. In comparison with Connery’s oufit it’s rather a light grey, not a mid grey suit and the tie’s blue is more vivid. One could argue about if a light blue shirt would have been better for Craig, but that would be pedantic (at least the white shirt makes the blue tie blaze).

        Actually I liked the SF pick-and-pick suit if it weren’t for its inferior cut.

  6. Very fine article. I note, though, that your typographical use of closing angle brackets in each heading makes it look like you’re suggesting the earlier versions are greater than the more recent ones. Intentional?

  7. For my money both Connery and Craig look great in all their Bond films whatever they wear. I’m a lot more interested to find out whether ‘No Time To Die.’ sends Daniel Craig’s Bond off into the annals of film history with a bit of humour. Rather than the miserable character who was terribly weighed down by personal issues in the previous films. A fact which, for me, made ‘Skyfall.’ and ‘Spectre.’ terribly repetitive on a thematic level.

    ‘Casino Royale.’ and ‘Quantum Of Solace.’ made one magnificent narrative, but I found the next two films quite forgettable – although ‘Spectre.’ did have its moments.

    In the new film I’d love to see Daniel Craig’s Bond walk off into the sunset with Olga Kurylenko’s character from ‘Quantum Of Solace.’. I think that would be a great way of bringing both (previously emotionally wounded) characters full fircle. But I seriously doubt that it will happen. It would be poetic though…

    • While I don’t fully agree with your scenario I certainly concur that Olga was among the best Bond girls of the entire canon (and he didn’t even get to shag her!!).
      I have a feeling that Dr. Swan may join the list of Bond sacrificial lambs that pepper the series. But even with her out of the way I doubt that Ms. K will make a return. Which is a shame. Still, I was happy to learn that Felix is back. Same actor playing Felix across three films – that’s a record that has been a long time coming!

      • “Olga was among the best Bond girls of the entire canon”

        -I agree – I also like Kurylenko in that role. And in general I think that QoS is a much underestimated and wrongly maligned movie.

    • Unfortunately I doubt that will happen; Craig’s Bond is simply too miserable. This will probably provoke angry reactions from some, but he is the least enjoyable Bond. I want to see pretty girls and dapper outfits, not some poor guy getting his eyes gouged out like in Spectre.

      Connery was able to bring a great sense of humor to Bond while still playing a cold-blooded assassin. Much of the humour was also a bit cold-blooded (‘I think they were on their way to a funeral.’ ‘Shocking. Positively shocking.’ ‘I think he got the point.’). Roger Moore played a more humourous Bond. He was great fun to watch, but wasn’t Ian Fleming’s Bond. His first two films were my favorites (tMwtGG is terribly fun to watch, no matter what anyone else says) because the director of those, Guy Hamilton, pushed Moore to play a rougher and less gentile character than he’d have preferred to play.

      Dalton’s films were much more violent and darker than Moore’s, but neither of them even approached Craig’s. And Dalton was still able to mix humour into his films. They were entertaining, even if LtK didn’t really appeal to me.

      I understand why the filmmakers thought Bond needed to be more serious and dark. The Bourne movie was a big hit, Star Wars started becoming more serious and political and Liam Neeson started doing his revenge movies shortly after CR was released. But Bond’s longevity comes from escapist, enjoyable entertainment that mixes action with humor. You go to see and Bond movie and you get to watch James Bond shoot baddies, drop a one-liner and get the girl. Bond needs more of this and less torture, overly graphic violence and overall misery.

      And before anyone states ‘realism’ as an excuse for the blood and gore, modern movies tend to show a lot more of that then you would actually see in real life.

      • “You go to see and Bond movie and you get to watch James Bond shoot baddies, drop a one-liner and get the girl. ”

        -Well, that’s certainly not why I go to see a Bond movie. Sounds like a Wild-West-Bond, not a British one. A bit too shallow.

        “…he is the least enjoyable Bond.”

        -I must say that I enjoy very much his way of portaying Bond and I hope that after his departure Bond will continue in that fashion.

      • “Dalton’s films were much more violent and darker than Moore’s, but neither of them even approached Craig’s.”

        “Bond needs more of this and less torture, overly graphic violence and overall misery.”

        Did we watch the same movies? The deaths in Licence to Kill were worse than any in Craig’s films, which I would hardly call graphic by comparison. In fact, they had to edit out a few frames of Milton Krest’s death in LTK in order to not get an R rating in the States. The torture scene in Casino Royale can be laid squarely at the feet of Ian Fleming himself — it comes straight from the source material.

      • I do think “miserable” pretty well encapsulates the Craig films. However, I don’t think “realism” is a good descriptor for the difference between these verses the Bond films that came before.

      • I find myself agreeing with a lot of your posts on this forum Renard. There are a number of reasons why we have all become fans of the canon but ‘humour’ is probably towards the bottom of the list for me. I don’t recall many overt attempts at humour in the books as Fleming himself said his intention was to create a cypher without much interest who he could plug-in into various situations. I would suggest that the first few films followed suit and ‘one-liners’ such as “I think they were on their way to a funeral” served two (crossed) purposes: 1. To convey what a cold callous bastard the assassin Bond was, bereft of any remorse for the death of his opponents; and 2. a shielded attempt to lighten up the death and gore so as not to fall afoul of the censors. Isn’t it true that the first cut of Dr. No had Bond empty his pistol into the dead body of Professor Dent but this was edited to just one shot as it seemed too brutal for audiences of the day?
        Unfortunately the gag lines, like the gadgets, took on a Frankenstein’s monster life of their own until they became a focal point for the series, much to its decline IMO. (‘Thunderball’ is my favourite but a Jet-pack? Really?). Craig’s appearance still doesn’t fit any profile of Bond in my mind’s eye (I still say they should have picked Clive Owen!) but his returning of the series to a serious, brutal, colder (and unfunny) version of the character was more than welcome to me. Even if he doesn’t wear a suit as well as his predecessors, I can take that over the Police Academy direction they were moving in during the seventies and eighties.
        I think I’ve made the comparison on here before to the Mission Impossible series which in many ways has been inspired by the Bond canon and it could be argued has overtaken it in terms of popularity, revenue, stunts, action, and yes, plot. There’s not a lot of overt humour in those films either and they seem to do OK in terms of entertainment. Simon Pegg provides a bit of nerdy comic relief which mirrors Q to some extent (“you’ve got spots!”) and there’s scope for more of that in future Bond scripts if they so wished especially now that he and Bond have established rapport in the last two films, but I’m still not expecting laugh out loud moments and nor will I miss them.

      • “Unfortunately the gag lines, like the gadgets, took on a Frankenstein’s monster life of their own until they became a focal point for the series, much to its decline IMO. ”

        -I fully agree, at a certain point it has become all far too much. But IMO the TB jet pack is nothing in comparison to the “invisible” car in DAD (Bond as cartoon figure). Therefore I very much prefer the more sober approach of the Craig era.

        “…his returning of the series to a serious, brutal, colder (and unfunny) version of the character was more than welcome to me.”

        -Same with me, but I don’t think that Craig is unfunny. There IS humour in Craig’s movies, but not that “In-your-face” one of the Moore and Brosnan eras. It’s far more subtle and drier. For instance I remember many people laughing during the CR parking scene (when Bond deliberately crushes the car of that bling hotel guest), and during many other scenes, too. And in all the other following movies it was quite the same experience.

        “…but I’m still not expecting laugh out loud moments and nor will I miss them.”

        -Certainly not, and I think people waiting for that should watch different movies.

  8. “It would be poetic though…”

    -Poetic? It would be rather a bit kitsch, wouldn’t it? Not right for Craig. I think his Bond needs a dramatic (or even tragic) ending.

    • Renard, “I think his Bond needs a dramatic (or even tragic) ending.” To quote Sir Sean, “You must be joking!” I obviously can’t speak for you, but I am quite confident that most Bond fans (myself included) don’t go to see a Bond movie for the sake of character development or tragic endings; we go to watch the coolest guy on the planet save the world in style and get the girl while traveling to exotic locations wearing beautiful suits. If you want to look for a slightly higher level concept, I could propose that I also go to see good triumph over evil. If you tell me that what I have just argued doesn’t fit Craig’s take on the character, that only confirms my contention that he was a bad choice to begin with. And yes, I know that SF broke the billion-dollar mark, but so did cinematic masterpieces like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides!

      • “If you want to look for a slightly higher level concept, I could propose that I also go to see good triumph over evil.”

        -Quite frankly I don’t think that this is a higher level concept but something that has run its course (and is basically quite naive BTW). It’s a kind of mindset that belongs to the Cold War era. Today it’s much more complex than that. “The villains and the heroes get all mixed up” (René Mathis in QoS).

        “And yes, I know that SF broke the billion-dollar mark,…”

        -Box office never interested me – there are so many junk films which were huge box office successes (I would even say that most box office successes are junk films). I prefer QoS to SF even if it didn’t make as much money as the latter (from a certain point of view that even speaks in his favour). As a rule of thumb (my personal one) the most interesting films are those who got a 50/50 on IMDB.

    • Renard, unfortunately good and evil (and the concept thereof) haven’t run their course. Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime which starves its people to preserve power is evil; ISIS is evil; neo-nazis are evil – I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. You might say I inhabit a simplistic moral universe, but then so does James Bond, who often thinks of himself as St. George out to slay the dragon. Since you seem fond of book-Bond, let me quote from the Wikipedia entry for Goldfinger (the novel): “Benson identifies a theme of Bond acting as Saint George in Goldfinger which, he says, has run in all the novels, but is finally stated explicitly in the book as part of Bond’s thoughts. This is after Goldfinger reveals he will use an atomic device to open the vault[59] “Bond sighed wearily. Once more into the breach, dear friend! This time it really was St George and the dragon. And St. George had better get a move on and do something”.[60] Jeremy Black notes that the image of the “latter-day St. George [is] again an English, rather than British image.”[53] According to Ladenson, by making Bond St George, “Goldfinger himself … is a mere obstacle, the dragon to be got rid of before the worthy knight can make off with the duly conquered lady.”[45] In the short story “For Your Eyes Only”, M is conflicted over sending Bond to kill von Hammerstein because it feels like private revenge. Bond cuts through M’s moral conundrum by saying “Foreign gangsters can’t get away with killing innocent tourists.” (I am quoting from memory) It doesn’t get any simpler than that: evil people must be prevented from hurting the weak and innocent by any means necessary. I would also remind you of Bond’s reply to M when, in DAD, she tells him “The world changed while you were away” (meaning, I assume, that it’s gotten more complicated) Bond’s reply? “Not for me!”

      • “evil people must be prevented from hurting the weak and innocent by any means necessary.”
        -The literary Bond also hurts the “weak and innocent” (women f.i.) and sometimes he even does it with pleasure (his sadistic tendencies are quite apparent). Simplistic “good-and-evil” concepts can’t be easily applied here.

      • Renard, I can see there is no convincing you, but I have a simple question: if James Bond really were the amoral, sadistic brute you so obviously want him to be (for motives I find incomprehensible), then why has the public followed him so faithfully for over half a century? Why have most men (in the Western world at least) stood in front of a mirror at some point in their lives (when no one was looking) and said the immortal line “My name is Bond, James Bond”? Are we all closet sociopaths?

    • Renard,
      As far as I know, I am not taking any ‘risk’ in my comments.
      Neither would I indulge in comparing ours.
      Craig is a fairly good actor, I admit having forced myself to watch other, non-Bond movies to get some objective opinion. And frankly I was not thrilled, in all honesty.
      Total lack of charisma some other Bond actors had. I would refrain from using the term ‘excellent’.
      And by calling him ‘most popular’ (without the odd need to quote your entire paragraph) you seem to delve into the same temptation as people who rate movies based on box office figures. An inclination boldly castigated by one of your former comments, if I remember.
      Fairly good, yes, but still not Bond.
      I suggest you read the books, if not already done. Great doses of dark, sarcastic humour that only a British mind can dispense, in my opinion..
      Now, he is popular, in the strict sense of the word, i.e. not elitist. One can achieve class without snobbery and without a black Amex Centurion. Maybe this kind of elitist touch is what we are missing, after all.
      Maybe recent audiences are happier to recognise/reassure themselves in the downward push towards mediocrity than in the effort to stick out, above the crowds?
      Or perhaps it is me (and my Cold War values !) ageing after all ?

      This being said, I certainly do not wish to resemble a badly suited hero, with a chip on the shoulder. Who on top on taking if his bow tie, mumbles through a full mouth during dinner with Vesper. Even caviar does not justify it.
      So far away from the book’s scene.

      • Stan, I agree with your statement “Maybe recent audiences are happier to recognise/reassure themselves in the downward push towards mediocrity than in the effort to stick out, above the crowds?” James Bond used to be an aspirational character – better-looking, more competent, more knowledgeable and better-dressed than any man has a right to be. Now we have a proletarian Bond that most of us wouldn’t trade places with even if we could.

      • Your statement about Craig is testimony to the fact the fact that Bond is character that is true to himself rather than the times we live in. It’s a bit cavalier and yet justified that Craig is certainly the people’s Bond, however I’m reminded of Mr. FLEMING’S literary work when he mentions the term “Unwashed.” Of course self interpretation of that particular term is certainly cause for conversation is it not?

      • “the amoral, sadistic brute you so obviously want him to be (for motives I find incomprehensible)”

        -No, it is not that I want him to be like that, it is all to be found in the books – which you should know since you seem to have a rather profound knowledge of their content. I, for my part, find it incomprehensible how one can ignore all that.

      • Stan,
        “Taking the same risk as you” means that I also took the risk of repeating myself with my answer to your comment.

        “Total lack of charisma some other Bond actors had.” – Each to his own. I find that Craig – alongside with Connery and Dalton – is the most charismatic Bond actor.

        “you seem to delve into the same temptation as people who rate movies based on box office figures.”
        -No, it’s the contrary – I stated quite clearly that his popularity doesn’t interest me. It’s his qualities as an actor which count. Just reread my comment.

        “dark, sarcastic humour that only a British mind can dispense.”
        -Craig is a Brit and therefore perfectly familiar with that kind of humour.

        “Maybe recent audiences are happier to recognise/reassure themselves in the downward push towards mediocrity than in the effort to stick out, above the crowds?”
        -That’s the question which always appeared in my mind every time I left cinema after having watched a Brosnan Bond movie. To me, Brosnan’s interpretation of Bond is mediocrity itself.

        “mumbles through a full mouth during dinner with Vesper. ”
        -Again, the literary Bond’s behaviour is much worse than that. I think it is a misconception to think of him as a gentleman (he certainly is none).

        All the best,
        Renard

      • Renard, “Again, the literary Bond’s behaviour is much worse than that. I think it is a misconception to think of him as a gentleman (he certainly is none).” – Book Bond may not be a traditional English gentleman in the Rudyard Kipling/Brideshead Revisited sense of the word, but he is a man of taste and dislikes vulgarity and ostentation, witness his visceral dislike of nouveau riche characters such as Goldfinger and Hugo Drax who like to dress over the top and to show off their wealth. Even someone as hostile as Red Grant refers to Bond as an “English gentleman.” Granted that one doesn’t get a license to kill without a certain capacity for violence, I still see no evidence of Bond being a sadist, i.e., one who derives sexual pleasure from the suffering of others. As for his treatment of women, he is certainly a promiscuous lecher, but he is also quite chivalrous and protective of women when the chips are down – witness his treatment of Honey Rider, Domino, Tracy, etc. when they are in danger. In Casino Royale there is a brief mention of his having trysts with “similarly disposed married women”, but that particular moral shortcoming is never mentioned again, perhaps (but I speculate here) because Ian Fleming began to realize that his creation was becoming a role model of sorts.

      • “I find that Craig – alongside with Connery and Dalton – is the most charismatic Bond actor.“

        Connery, yes. Dalton and Craig… what?!

  9. @ Renard – It’s a matter of taste isn’t it? But personally, I tend to think of the British as having a good sense of humour, not dour and miserable like Craig’s Bond can be.

      • I have. British are very, very reserved. But I wouldn’t call them dour. And the British sense of humour is known across the world. I liked that they put vinegar out on the table when you went to a restaurant. I’m from Newfoundland and we always put vinegar on our fries. Elsewhere in Canada you have to ask for it and they sometimes even look at you funny.

  10. While taking the risk of repeating myself: with Craig, we are in a galaxy far, far away from the era when ‘women wanted to be with him, and -more importantly- men wanted to BE him’.
    Quoting some, I too long for the escapism, the fantasy, etc.
    And shrunken suits, moreover overpriced, with the infamous ‘triangle of shame’ do not belong to my concept of fantasy.
    Let us hope a wind of reason blows on Eon after the crepuscule of Craig.
    And this comment is made by a fan of the Fleming books, read numerous times. Apart from the sandals+short sleeves shirts combination, everything most was enjoyable.

  11. “with Craig, we are in a galaxy far, far away from the era when ‘women wanted to be with him, and -more importantly- men wanted to BE him’.”

    -Well, I am taking the same risk as you, but I think that it is quite the contrary: Craig is undoubtedly one of the most popular Bonds of all time, and he has numerous both female and male admirers. I don’t give much on popularity, but Craig is also an excellent actor who has resurrected the character after almost 30 years of lacklustre Bond movies (with the exception of the Dalton era). That is a merit which cannot be valued high enough..

    • Nah, each Craig film is worse than any of the Bond films that preceded it. Give me an invisible car over brother Blofeld any day. With regards to Mission Impossible: I agree these are great films, but Cruise uses just the right level of humor in the Ethan Hunt character to make the films quite fun, as do most of the best action heroes (e.g. Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Clint Eastwood and their various characters). It is certainly possible to have a great hero without humor (e.g. Liam Neeson’s various roles), I feel a little goes a long way.

      • “Brother Blofeld”
        -It’s a new approach to the character, why not? IMO it’s far better to keep an open mind on the Bond universe than to repeat the same old plot line time and time again. That’s the reason why Brosnan’s Bond films bore to death, whereas Craig’s are fresh and creative.

      • Wasn’t “Brother Blofeld” already done in Austin Powers Goldmember? How was that fresh and creative…

  12. Renard,
    I noticed that for some reason, my comment of September 4, at 03:47 should have been posted right after yours, on September 2, at 11:28.
    Sorry about that.

  13. Stan,
    It’s all right – I answered to your comment of September 4 on September 5, at 11:11 (see above).

    Best,
    Renard

    • All right, thanks, Renard.
      We are now at the same level, at least in terms of time. For the rest… well, I can only agree with Dan’s views, who seem more mature and nuanced about the literary Bond.
      He is a gentleman, no matter what skewed definition might be considered appropriate nowadays. He is a gentleman, who knows his manners (especially table ones, (completely overlooked by Craig) but in the same time is revolted against his origins, and their inherent stiffness.
      He drives an old Bentley, while preferring coffee to tea, which he considers as ‘mud’.
      He comes from old money, and despises nouveaux riches’ ostentatious manners.
      This is why I hate Craig’s unbuttoned sleeve button. He is the only one who does this.
      Sadly. That propels him to the level of the Draxes or Scaramangas of this world.

      You comments about the famous dinner scene from Casino Royale make me think that you ought to read the book, again.

      In other words, he is a gentleman (or a ‘snob’ as some would hastily say) in the sense that he -knows- about education, can spot the lack thereof in others, and can also afford some personal shortcuts, precisely because he knows about this universe.
      The villains, on the other hand, make mistakes and faux-pas because they -don’t know- thus making the said mistakes stick out even more.
      Fish with Chianti is just an example.
      Although I like all colours of wine with fish.

      Read Lampedusa’s “Il Gattopardo” for illustration of old education vs new one.
      The 1963 movie is also a nice illustration, although less developed.

      Craig being a Brit does not mean he is genetically predisposed towards humour. A thing we tend to regret, indeed. The word ‘miserable’ used by another contributor seems perfectly justified.

      The quip ‘do I look like a give a damn ?’ to the waiter who asks Craig how he would like his dry martini is a sign of poor education (one does simply not talk this way to any personnel). And it is not any form of humour either.

      ‘Positively shocking’.

      To be continued..

  14. “We are now at the same level, at least in terms of time. For the rest… well, I can only agree with Dan’s views, who seem more mature and nuanced about the literary Bond.”

    -Stan, I don’t want to belabour all those points again and again (did it numerous times). IMO what Dan does is rather wishful thinking – he wants him to be a gentleman so he has to be a gentleman. I wouldn’t say that this is more mature and nuanced.

    • Ahaaaaa, welcome back, Mr Renaaaard:)
      we were expecting you 😉

      Now, seriously, you may not like my, Dan’s, or others’ opinions, but that is beyond the point. The fact that we may have different opinions does not really matter. On the contrary, I find your opinions refreshing, and vivifying. They allow me to expand my horizon, and challenge my own opinions, ideas and/or dogmas.
      I can only encourage you to continue in your efforts, even though you may feel a bit tired in the exercise. Don’t despair.
      Now, coming back to opinions, it is important to differ, as uniformity could be boring as hell. There is nothing more interesting than a real debate. We are in for a long journey, or a quick race, where veracity and logic can emerge.

      You seem to challenge Dan’s concept of Bond being a gentleman, labelling it a wishful thinking ? So be it.
      It would be interesting to know what elements you have, or use, to prove the contrary. Or, even more intrinsically, what is your definition of a gentleman?
      That would be truly illuminating.

      If you wish, I can gladly yet humbly share mine.
      A gentleman is not someone who knows how to make a proper kiss on the hand, or mix the right wine with the right meal (although it seems to contribute, while helping to stay alive by spotting the villains) it is not necessarily someone who can quote Cicero by heart or name the entire royal genealogy from Alfred the Great down to Meghan Markle. Nor one who could play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with his big toe either;)

      It is, quintessentially, someone who makes other people around him feel at ease. Simple as that. Regardless of their origins, extractions, pigmentation or orientation. Someone who is keen to erase discrepancies instead of magnifying them,
      Someone who treats people above him the same way that he would treat people ‘below’ him. With respect. Hence my example of the poor barman in Casino Royale.
      This is just unacceptable.
      And please spare me the silliness of the ‘rebooted Bond’, suddenly evolving from zero to hero within 144 minutes. Total BS.
      And a waste for an otherwise good movie, courtesy of a good book behind.

      Now, to the books, precisely.
      The literary Bond may have anti-conformist, rebellious thoughts, and that is what appeals to pretty much every one of us at the certain point of our lives. But he never acts nor speaks in a vulgar way.
      He knows his manners, and may occasionally attempt to circumvent them, but he finds it hard to escape his -world- his roots, his origins. He is surrounded by vulgarity, which he abhors and fights (‘à la St George vs the Dragon’, admittedly).
      Out of curiosity, and also to show I am ready to be proved wrong, I would like you to cite me one example in the books where he acts in a vulgar way, at the antipodes of a gentleman.
      I am ready to settle for a good Vesper or a nice meal if I’m proved wrong. And I hope I would lose it as ‘graciously as you win’.

      What I mean by more mature and more nuanced with Dan’s comments, is that they tend to underlie a more thorough analysis of the books, and their main characters’ various facets.
      Unless you prove us totally wrong.

      And the same applies to ‘sadism’.
      Where on Earth is Bond supposed to be a sadist ?

      Fleming ironically summarised his books as revolving around ‘sex, sadism, and snobbery’.
      Sex ? Yes, definitely.
      Snobbery, of course. For both parties, villains as well as Bond himself. The difference lies in the fact that Bond knows more than the villains, but he does not pretend to be (or become) what he is not. He is not a fraud in that respect.
      The real snobbery inherent to the nouveaux riches is the pretension of quickly forgetting where one comes from.
      When Vesper says that she wants Bond to ‘look as if he belonged to the table’, something is wrong. It would have never happened to the other fellows;)
      They did belong. And did not have to try their best to prove it.

      Again, back to sadism: I can’t remember Bond acting in a spontaneously sadistic way.
      Again, drinks are on me if my memory plays tricks on me.
      At my age, recognising errors and displaying humility have also become part of my arsenal of arguments.

      We are just joyfully fencing with words at this stage. I liked Brosnan’s quip in DAD : shall we continue ?

  15. “On the contrary, I find your opinions refreshing, and vivifying. ”
    -That’s nice to hear.

    “Don’t despair.”
    -I won’t, rest assured.

    “someone who makes other people around him feel at ease.”
    -IMO that’s a concise definition I can agree with. But don’t you think that it clashes with your characterisation of the Bond character? You think of him as both a snob and a gentleman. But given your definition of a gent that’s contradictory: A gentleman is, according to your opinion, someone who makes others feel at ease. But a snob is exactly the contrary – someone with the intention to make others feel inferior (to him). And that certainly doesn’t make sense to me.

    So, as it seems, unintentional you have proven that Bond indeed is not a gentleman since I think that there can be no doubt about him being a snob.

    • Actually for someone who has been described as a “blunt instrument” Bond is surprisingly polite even to his enemies (even though one could argue that he is playing cat-and-mouse games with Largo at Palmyra, with Khamal Khan in the casino, etc.) As for his snobbery, even though he has strong opinions about other people’s choice of clothing, food, drink, etc., he usually keeps those opinions to himself, except in the case of Benz and Red Grant in FRWL. In the final analysis, I have to ask you Renard – do you even LIKE James Bond in any of his incarnations?

      • “In the final analysis, I have to ask you Renard – do you even LIKE James Bond in any of his incarnations?”

        – Let me put it that way: I never belonged to those standing in front of a mirror saying to themselves “My name is Bond, James Bond”. And IMO the literary Bond is not a very likeable person. But for one reason or another I like Connery’s, Dalton’s and Craig’s Bond portraits.

    • Of course your arguments are interesting, as they are refreshing. It is always good to welcome new arguments, also in order to test one’s own. And observe if they can stand objective, constructive criticism.
      So far, so good.

      Funny that you seem to focus mainly on the part that deserves an extra layer of clarity.
      Let me thus engage in the ‘belabouring’ task of clarification :
      Bond is perceived as a snob by the mass of ignorants who suffer from inferiority complex vis a vis his culture.
      A good example is Grant in FRWL. In spite of his numerous attempts to pass for a British agent with gentleman’s manners, his cover is blown. His only compensation is to say that Bond might know about the right wines, but he is the one on his knees..
      Bond may also consider himself as a snob, at times (although I would have to find out the right chapter) but he still sticks to reality, when he sarcastically refuses the title of ‘Sir’, claiming that he is a ‘Scottish peasant’ at the end of TMWTGG.
      I praise that. It is exactly what I meant when I said that he does not pretend to be what he is not. That is, to some extent, the pinnacle of snobbery. Be it an urban legend or not, but the etymology of snob could well be “Sine NOBilitate” or without nobility, yet pretending very hard to be part of it.

      So: for me, he is -not- a snob.

      Now, I would be interested in your opinion, and what arguments you would rely on to qualify him as a snob.

  16. “So: for me, he is -not- a snob.”

    Well, that is a bit of an about-face (with reference to your penultimate post: “Snobbery, of course. For both parties, villains as well as Bond himself.”). And your last posts contain so many equivocations with regard to Bond’s snobbery that I cannot help thinking that you are skirting around the issue.

    “vis a vis his culture.”
    -Is he really cultivated? Is it enough to know the right wines and cigars? Someone who merits to be considered “cultivated” should have a wider horizon. And if he only knows about wine and cigars, than that is the typical “snob knowledge” which is used first and foremost to make others feel inferior and which is not necessarily the distinctive mark of a (truly) cultivated person.

  17. I still do not see the equivocations you refer to, after my last clarification, but feel free to indicate which ones you consider as such.

    Skirting ? Whilst I love the root of the word, I don’t think so. Would I take the time to write about it at such length, or write full stop, had it been the case ? You got to ask yourself the question.

    Now, more importantly : is Bond really cultivated ?
    Well, yes. Not the smartest, or most knowledgeable, when compared to rocket scientists or pure technicians, but he has his share of culture. And I am talking about things like history, numerous cultural references, that you can spot in the books. (He never pretends to master a topic when he does not. Except in the case of a weak, short-lived cover, perhaps)
    In the films, his culture veers towards exaggeration, like giving the Latin name ‘Pterois volitans’ for the lion-fish to an inquisitive Stromberg, or providing the vintage of sherry in DAF. But that is part of the fun we (‘the older, yet hopefully discerning, generation’) enjoyed, until a very miserable Craig was parachuted into the equation.

    I wonder why, but I can visualise my last sentence being copy/pasted and being exposed, between quotation marks, in a future post 😉

    Now, going back to your text: « wine and ….cigars ?? »
    Although I may enjoy one occasionally, I did not mention cigars at any moment, did I ?

    I wonder if you may not be confusing with Sherlock Holmes, who was capable of identifying cigars by their ashes ?
    Open to discussion.

    Moore was a former cigarette smoker, who transcended the habit by switching to cigars. Yet the literary Bond stuck to his Morland specials (and hated double-breasted jackets, another ‘Moorism’), considering cigars as part of the old world establishment, and certainly too snobbish for his taste.

    If I had not just started to know you a bit, Renard, I would tend to say that your lines belong to someone who clearly has a chip on the shoulder. And of the bitter type, at that. Instead I gladly challenge this reductive prejudice: I am still very curious to learn about your personal arguments that underlie your categorisation of Bond as a snob.

    And again, the only occasions when Bond uses his knowledge (call it upper class if you will) and his overall ‘culture’ as a contemptuous weapon against someone, it is when the said someone pretends to be who and what he is not, and thus forgets his place (love this old-fashioned, yet so eternal expression).
    The opportunity to mock the fraud is too good to be overlooked.
    Yet Bond would never show gratuitous disdain to anyone from a lower (or higher, as well) extraction than his.

    This is why I solemnly hate Craig’s obnoxious attitude to the bartender in CR.
    Crass. And positively shocking.

    Now: your definitions of a snob, and what makes Bond one, by all means, please (!!)

  18. Stan, As a biologist, I especially appreciate and enjoy movie Bond’s knowledge of scientific names: Pterois volitans, Nymphella polychlora, Orchidea nigra – love it! I really used to enjoy Bond’s cheerful omnicompetence, until, as you said, “a very miserable Craig was parachuted into the equation.” Frankly, I think the true snobs are those Craig fans who try to persuade themselves that they are watching serious, psychologically deep moviemaking because just having fun at a movie is beneath them.

      • Renard, you are confusing “fun” with “enjoyment”. You might enjoy Craig’s “darkandgritty” interpretation, but I doubt anybody would characterize it as “fun.” The Roger Moore movies were FUN by any standards (lots of puns, beautiful locations, beautiful clothes), even though some book Bond purists argued that Bond shouldn’t be funny.

  19. @Stan
    ‘Equivocations’:
    What strikes me about your comments is that they often have the character of “Yes, but…”, f. i. ‘Bond is a cultivated person, but not the smartest or the most knowledgable’. To me that clearly points in the direction that actually he is NOT truly cultivated. With your way of putting it you simply try to evade admitting it.

    Now, as to the snob issue:
    “Bond is perceived as a snob by the mass of ignorants who suffer from inferiority complex vis a vis his culture.”

    -But what if he also suffers from that kind of complex? Bond grew up as an orphan, his parents were not rich. A key scene to illustrate that is the CR train scene when Vesper actually demasks his demeanour as a clear sign of an inferiority complex (“You don’t come from money, and your fellow students always made you feel that”). All his expensive tastes are nothing but a means to hide his rather humble origins, not least from himself. She seems to be the first to make him think about it, make him aware of that.
    And as to his ‘duels’ in snobbery (with the villains): They might feel as inferior as he does; someone more self-assured would simply not join in that kind of game.

    So in this context I think he qualifies for being a snob.

  20. Hello, Renard,
    Thanks for your prompt reaction. In my comments, I’m trying to be as nuanced as I can as a matter of fact. I think you might be confusing ‘equivocations’ with ‘nuances’, after all?
    If you prefer, I can clearly and bluntly indicate that Bond is more cultivated than the vast majority of people. I have no problem with that. And certainly no inclination to evade anything. The trouble is that whenever somebody says things that bluntly, he will almost quite immediately be qualified as an elitist. And that I’ve heard enough in my existence.
    Also, why just simply bouncing back on my comments? I don’t deserve so much interest. On the other hand, everyone would be interested in -your own- definition of what a cultivated person is.

    As for your illustration of Bond’s implied snobbery, I was expecting something a bit more thorough from you, to be honest.
    You simply refer to the cinematic interpretation of the character.
    And whilst I enjoyed this train scene with Vesper, (warning: nuance) it is erroneous to claim that Bond did not come from money.
    Even though, again in all honesty, Craig’s version clearly shouts the opposite..

    Bond discovering the merits of a tailored suit (without measurements nor fittings) is an insult to tailoring, as well as to his origins and upbringing.

    Again, please read the books.
    Do you really think that anybody, in 1953, could state something like: “The problem is not to get enough caviar, the problem is to get enough toasts” without having enough financial resources, other than his meagre civil servant salary ?

    And you can add annual golf club membership fees, maintenance of a vintage Bentley, etc. Not really indicators of truly ‘humble’ origins.
    He descends from a baronet, unless I got it wrong. Not a duke, or earl, but still, not really a ‘proletarian’.

    As for somebody more self assured not joining the duelling with snobs, instead of in ‘snobbery’: although it starts as an interesting way, I think your argument veers most erroneous. He is not duelling in snobbery, he is just appalled at the level of snobbery and implied stupidity the villains can display, and choses the luxury, and with an immense pleasure at that, of provoking them, and prove them how vain and shallow they can be. And to prove them that all the money in the world cannot buy taste, let alone, class.

    It is often the case of old money making fun of the new one, but without much diplomacy here. A real delight to read.

    I hope your next attempt will reveal where your real talent lies.
    This being said, I am glad you left the ‘wine and cigars’ non-event aside.

  21. Stan,

    “I was expecting something a bit more thorough from you, to be honest.”
    -I must say that I am really grief-stricken about that. 😉

    “Wine and cigars”
    -That was just a haphazardly chosen example – I could have said just as well “whisky and Morland cigarettes” or anything else.

    “he is just appalled at the level of snobbery”
    -IMO a statement like “The problem is not to get enough caviar, the problem is to get enough toasts” reveals an equal level of snobbery, furthermore it shows that its bearer is rather a gourmand and not a gourmet.

    “Also, why just simply bouncing back on my comments? I don’t deserve so much interest.”
    – 🙂 That’s a clever move.

    “having enough financial resources, other than his meagre civil servant salary ?”
    -Bond is not married and has no children, and I don’t think that he is the type saving money for the time of his retirement. I don’t know about his salary, but I could well imagine that he is a bit better paid than an ordinary civil servent.

    “Not really indicators of truly ‘humble’ origins.”
    -Or again clear signs for his (deparate) efforts to belong to the “better” part of society, which would point to a parvenu / upstart mindset. And furthermore descendig from lower nobility (‘baronet” is an INFERIOR kind of baron – here we are again) doesn’t necessarily mean to be born rich. However, Wikipedia says that his father was an engineer (?) So that’s middle-class and not nobility.

    “Again, please read the books.”
    -Quite honestly I don’t see any need for this, because you (and Dan) always provide me with the most relevant quotations from the novels. I read some of the Bond novels, but I must admit that I am not exactly a Fleming aficionado. Certainly it’s not great literature (rather pedestrian).

    “Bond is more cultivated than the vast majority of people.”
    -I really wonder what makes you believe that (?!) I cannot find that. From my point of view, it needs considerably more to be considered cultivated. IMO a truly cultivated person has to be a well-educated one, and that needs a bit more than only being a member in a prestigious golf club and knowing about wine and – cigarettes. I am not sure if Bond really is a match for truly cultivated people in the above mentioned sense – to me it seems that he is a rather simple-minded individuum.

    If you would like to keep up our little competition, I am at your disposal. But we are now heading for 80 (!) comments, so perhaps it would be wise to continue on another occasion. And there will always be such, I have no doubt about it.

    • Hi, Renard,

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply, or more accurately to comment on my comments.

      Thanks for the clarification about wine and cigars. The way you introduced the topic gave the impression that it was important to you. Otherwise, why mention it ?

      I really do mean that I was expecting something more thorough from you, because I believe you are capable of it. There is no negative nor condescending aspect to my remark.

      Also, whilst I laughed at your quip, about my comments not deserving so much interest, the purpose of my sentence was really to extract the quintessence of -your own- opinion, instead of simply bouncing back on mine.
      Hope keeps us alive.

      The more I read you, the more I have the impression that you like to question, challenge other peoples opinions, which is right, however without revealing yours, and more importantly what reflection process contributed to generate them.

      The ‘caviar and bread’ example is one I carefully selected to provoke a reaction, and I think I did bet the right horse 😉
      I could have chosen many others, I gather, but this one was just too tempting.

      As badly perceived as it may be, his remark is actually quite right. Back then at least, one did eat caviar on a toast, and not directly from the dish with a spoon.
      So if you focus in depth, it is more to prevent looking like a barbarian at a table.

      Salary wise, I once read about it, but was not really fascinated. To finance his occasional luxury inclinations, winning at baccarat is one privileged source.

      Humble origins or lack thereof:
      There are no desperate efforts to belong to the better part of society, except in the recent reboot with Craig. Which to me is a complete nonsense, once you have tasted not only the former movies but more importantly the books.
      And Casino Royale was meant to reboot the whole series in order to stick to the book, right? Hence a double nonsense.
      Such a good book, such a good movie overall, but the characterisation of Bond is a waste. Most of it at least.

      Clearly you do not wish to spend time to discover the character by reading the books. Well, I guess we have to respect that. But then where do you source your knowledge about Bond ?
      How do you expect to construct your opinion, I wonder?

      The Bond of the books does not envy people from upper layers than his. He knows who is, where he comes from, makes fun of himself, and especially makes fun of those who pretend to be who they are not. Frauds. Parvenus. Cheats.
      Now, lower nobility: yes, you are right.
      But still not a prole. And he does not really care about this lineage. Nor does he wish to climb the social ladder. One of the reason why he refuses the title of Sir at the end of TMWTGG.

      Bond being more cultivated?
      He knows quite a bit, without pretending to waffle on topics he does not know.
      And his opinions, although sometimes very personal, are based on reflection, not simply copy/pasted from his social roots, upbringing or environment.
      He proves on more than one occasion that he is capable of doubt, and of questioning himself and his world, which is already a sign of evolution towards culture.
      Wouldn’t you concur?

      Bond’s father being an engineer makes him middle-class and not nobility (!)
      Well, if this is not a shortcut…

      You would be surprised to know how many people come from nobility, be with money, or loss thereof (and not only lower, sorry ‘inferior’ nobility) and still made it to this become an engineer..
      You would probably refrain from such spurious arguments.

      Who ever said that being a member of a prestigious club made you an educated person?
      Even evoking it the way you did is a powerful , unequivocal surmise of this erroneous appreciation.

      Please do yourself a favour: do read the books. Counting on Dan and I to provide you with some quotations will never replace your own, true appreciation.
      Also it will allow you to judge Fleming as a writer and a man, instead of reducing him, in a rather presumptuous way, I must say, to pedestrian literature.

      For the time being, he faces greater chance of being taught at school or universities than our modest exchanges over Matt’s blog 🙂

      This being said, all the above is not meant to be a ‘competition’ at all. Just an exchange of ideas, and more importantly, their origins.
      I find this exercise rather distracting and pleasant, to be honest.

      But if it were too embarrassing at any point for you to exchange on such a nice forum as this blog, we may continue on a private basis. You can freely ask Matt for my contact details, if you will.

      Quantity wise, I see this post is just North of 72 comments, but in all modesty, we only produced a reasonable portion of it, didn’t we?

  22. I certainly enjoy these comparisons and after reading this I can’t help feeling that Craig’s outfits seem a tad too contrived, I also feel at times the suits are wearing him rather than the other way around although I do love the Tom Ford suits in Quantum.

  23. Stan,
    As a general remark: A comment should be brief and concise. But what we have posted (at least as far as this article is concerned) are rather essays, not comments. IMO a blog like this is not the right place for that, and I have always the awkward feeling that we really try poor Matt’s patience since we are so much off-focus now (this article is about comparing Connery’s to Craig’s outfits).

    “Clearly you do not wish to spend time to discover the character by reading the books. ”
    -The character is not going through much of a development, he basically stays the same (stereotypical). So IMO there’s no need to read all the novels – after having read two or three you should have got to the quintessence.

    “Bond’s father being an engineer makes him middle-class and not nobility (!)
    Well, if this is not a shortcut…”
    -Right, I had better said that there is no mention of nobility. What you wrote about nobility and middle-class professions is of course true – nowadays.

    Fleming’s novels being pedestrian: Certainly he is no Shakespeare, he is no Shaw, he is not even at the same level as one of today’s light fiction authors. His faculites as a novel writer were rather limited. Just think of his rather rough character depictions (quite predominantly black-and-white) which are sometimes, from today’s point of view, absolutely hilarious (or more precisely even ridiculous), f.i. the cat-eating odd-job in GF. That might have appealed to the readers in Fleming’s times, there was no internet then and people didn’t travel that often and not that far. But from a today’s perspective, that is quickly debunked as cheap thrill. And furthermore the way how he constructs his plots is often a bit inapt.

    Fleming himself seems not to have been a particularly bright mind – he had to leave both Eton and Sandhurst prematurely. Yes, he excelled there at athletics, but that’s something which might have made matters even worse (“Well, he hasn’t got brains, but at least…”). And there were many other failures to follow (f.i. examinations for the Foreign Office). So IMO he can’t be considered really well-educated. He was rather a happy-go-lucky fellow and an airhead. Also very much addicted to nicotine, alcohol and gambling. Cultivated? Knowledgable? Not at all.

    • Renard, I will take your advice and keep my comment brief and concise. Your statement to the effect that “The character is not going through much of a development, he basically stays the same (stereotypical). So IMO there’s no need to read all the novels – after having read two or three you should have got to the quintessence” is simply incorrect. The Bond character DOES develop through the novels. In the early ones he is indeed a humorless cypher, but by the time Dr. No rolls around he is actually wondering whether Heaven and Hell exist, and if so, where he is going to end up. By the time OHMSS rolls around he is considering quitting the Service and is open to marriage and children. As portrayed in YOLT, book-Bond has pretty much converged on Sean Connery’s stoic, sardonic characterization.

    • Renard, I also feel compelled to say a word or two on behalf of Fleming’s writing. He was no literary giant, but he was very good at descriptions. Even when he got his facts or his details wrong, he wrote with such elan and conviction that the reader is just carried along by what has been properly called the”Fleming sweep.” I also think it’s unfair to apply present-day standards in judging his writing. For example, I am a Karate expert and know that at the time of GF’s writing there were more than three black belts in the world (GF claims Oddjob is one of the three.) I also know that as a Korean, Oddjob would have practiced Taekwondo and not Karate, but none of that takes away from the vivid and frightening character Fleming managed to create. In the 1950’s and early 60’s the Asian martial arts were still mysterious and exotic, and that’s exactly what Fleming counted on in creating the Oddjob character.

    • Renard,
      Your conception about about the appropriate or socially accepted length of a comment is your own.
      Matt is a ‘clever, resourceful man’, and he, himself, has the freedom not to post whatever he deems inappropriate. Or too long.

      Quoting Fleming:
      « I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them » is a parallel that can be drawn with the length of posts, especially when they are not appreciated, and serve little purpose in trying to widen some readers’ horizon, about all things Bond to start with.
      I appreciate nuances, if not mine, the ones of others, and I am afraid they have little to do in a culturally exiguous, 140-characters world.
      You will never be judged for disliking Fleming’s style or his character. Nor for not having read more than 2 books. Beati qui nesciunt. But to produce such an elliptic conclusion as yours on Bond’s character lacking development denotes a serious level of complacency or shallowness.

      Quite the same about (pre)conceptions of nobility (today and then), a topic best left unexplored when not slightly studied or mastered.

      Fleming not being bright as the cause of his departure from Eton and Sandhurst 😉
      For someone like you who seemingly enjoys challenging prejudices, I am sure you can do better than that.
      The world is filled with famous dropouts, with a different type of brightness, or a late bloomers. Categories that have only recently started to gain recognition.
      A ‘Victor Ludorum’ back then was not synonymous of Forrest Gump

      One can also doubt why Rear Admiral Godfrey would have used Fleming as an assistant without the latter being equipped with some elementary IQ.
      Not sure either that wartime Naval Intelligence would employ airheads.
      Let alone let them supervise operations.

      On a more personal touch, my great uncle and his wife knew Fleming, without being closest friends. ‘Not bright’ or ‘uncultivated’ were not the first qualities attributed to him.

      What saddens me is that we do not see any passion in your words, Renard. Just some sort of hastily denigrating, in-constructive comments.

      I personally like to read other members’ comments and views, even if different from mine. I like to understand what leads them to think in a specific way, get to know how their opinions are forged. What we can learn from them.

      Again, if you feel too embarrassed to disclose your elaborated deductions and educated opinions here, you may ask Matt to provide you with my personal details. But you should not, in any case, feel compelled.

      And I agree, it is much more pleasant to discuss sartorial elements than sometimes remote, inaccessible concepts like class, education, level of culture or nobility. But I’m not sure I brought those into the discussion in the first place

      • Stan,
        Please remember back to from what we started. It should come as no surprise that such a bold statement like yours that Bond would be envied by the rest of the world simply because they would feel inferior to his level of culture is very much prone to being challenged, especially by such “iconoclasts” like me. And IMO it would be unfair if you were the only one enjoying the privilege of provocation. 😉 “Airhead” might be a bit over the top, and it was not meant to offend you (of course I did not know about your relatives befriended with Fleming). But I had the feeling that our debate wasn’t making any progress and therefore decided to throw that little bomb.

        “a topic best left unexplored when not slightly studied or mastered. ”
        -You are right. Being not English, I can’t really claim to have such an intimate knowledge about English nobility as you seem to have. But again, the question from which we got to that was if Bond came from money (not necessarily from nobility). Rather accidentally I got in touch with a subject I am not familiar with.

        “Beati qui nesciunt.”
        -There is knowledge and knowledge: That which can be considered a resource, and that which can’t. I saw the movies first and then read some of the novels, with the result of a rather great disappointment. The first novel I read was GF, and I must say that IMO the results of Maibaum’s work in order to turn it into a film script are largely superior to the original. F. i. he dispensed with Fleming’s rather naive plan of Goldfinger’s robbing Fort Knox and instead came up with contaminating the gold. And as to the other ones I read – well, if YOLT would have been filmed according to script very close to the novel the resulting film would have been a rather weird comedy. Perhaps now you can better understand why further reading appeared to me as a waste of time. It could have been different had I first read the novel and watched the movies afterwards. I don’t know your age, but perhaps you went that way, at least partially (?)

        “Fleming not being bright as the cause of his departure from Eton and Sandhurst ”
        -What I meant is that he certainly was not an educated man in the classic sense. Without more ado I concede you that he very well might have been a truly life-experienced man. But I stick to my point of view that he was rather an adventurer and no classically cultivated, well-eduacted man. I am not concerned at all with drop-outs or late bloomers in general.

        “I like to understand what leads them to think in a specific way, get to know how their opinions are forged.”
        -Well, don’t you think that perhaps you want to know too much? Whoever comments regularly and elaborately on this blog gives others the possibility to “read between the lines” if they wish to do so. But then a blog is no place for a “credo” if it is that what you are looking for.

        “What saddens me is that we do not see any passion in your words,”
        -That’s simply untrue – I am very passionate with regard to Bond’s clothes. Otherwise I wouldn’t comment here. But it’s true that I am considerably less passionate about Fleming’s Bond novels as a literary product.

        “And I agree, it is much more pleasant to discuss sartorial elements than sometimes remote, inaccessible concepts like class, education, level of culture or nobility.”
        -Your way of making ironic remarks is quite apt – compliments! 😉 But please don’t get me wrong: It is not that I wouldn’t enjoy the discussion with you (quite the contrary!), but I think we really get carried away. Discussing only one of the subjects you mentioned could easily lead into a feature-length debate, even more so if done remotely and not F2F. And as you rightly said, a blog as a phenomenon of our today “cultural exiguous” world is not the right place for it. But I will think about your offer to continue the discussion on a private basis.

        All the best,
        Renard

  24. I like iconoclasts.
    But documented ones, if possible.
    And those who use their own reflection, i.e one that went through the many necessary questioning before producing a statement.
    As for a ‘credo’, well, yes. Maybe. Being more of an agnostic than an atheist, I prefer (pure ?) logic to assertive statements, but love to question these, just to check the authenticity of their origins, and their validity.
    I blame the behaviour on Socrates, having been influenced by his practice. Indirectly, of course.

    I am not English either, and was referring to nobility in general. As much as I like Britain, they don’t have the monopoly of that topic .

    I just turned 49, and remember with great nostalgia and fondness the first Bond I saw in the movies: Moonraker. Loved or loathed. So obviously developed a penchant for this period and for Roger as a role model. Classy in spite of flaring fashion.
    Surprisingly back then they allowed 9 year old kids to go and see such movies, where one of Bond girls had the main role in ‘Story if O’ and gets devoured by Dobermans.
    But so much less graphic back then.

    I started reading the books at around 10-11, and got hooked during teenage years. Reading of the books being interwoven with movies watching.
    Of course I do agree with you about the oddity of YOLT’s Dr Sigmund Shatterhand’s castle in Japan, and alia..
    Not the mention Fort Knox’s train robbery or Oddjob’s catmeal (!)

    If I were you I would give it a try to FRWL and OHMSS. Some very good historical references.
    No worries about the airhead remark, and certainly no offence about my relatives. Just as Fleming, I did not choose them;)

    As for literary Bond clothes: well, although I like some code-crashing, I am glad they did get beyond the ‘rebellious’ short-sleeved shirts and sandals.

    I too am passionate about Bond’s clothes, but all the complex world behind it too.
    That is maybe the problem.
    What bothers me is when people are so enthusiastic about Craig being so close to the ‘original, literary, rebooted’ Bond.
    I do admit there is a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ of truth, or intention in it. But the result is arguable. And still few people who agree with the above intention have read the books, hence a little frustration about it.
    Although being a good actor, as I admitted a few times, for me Craig is still not Bond, at least not ‘mine’ or the ones I grew up with, both film and book-wise.
    The literary version was not perfect, but would have not behaved like Craig did/does onscreen.
    (That is why I still cannot accept the rude behaviour to this poor waiter in CR…)

    Thanks for appreciating my irony, I like this quality in people, so I do take it as a compliment.
    And please feel free to continue the conversation, be it here or elsewhere.

    Enjoy the weekend
    Stan

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