Casino Royale tells a story about how James Bond became the familiar character we knew from before, eschewing the typical plot-driven Bond tale for one focused primarily on the character. Bond’s clothes are typically chosen based on where he is and what he is doing, but for Casino Royale, costume designer Lindy Hemming was able to help tell the story about how Bond becomes Bond through his clothes. We see Bond transform from a cocky and careless ‘blunt instrument’ at the start of the film into the polished, suave and capable 00-agent at the end of the film.
When we first see Bond on screen, he has yet to achieve his 00 status. He’s wearing a pea coat, which while being a very stylish and fashionable garment is something that a young sailor wears. Longer coats like the greatcoat or bridge coat are a symbol of a more mature officer. Bond is not meant to be dressed as a military officer in the opening scene of Casino Royale, but he’s still known to be a military man, and wearing the coat of a younger, less-experienced military man establishes him as such.
Whilst still earning his 00-status, Bond also wears a casual navy linen suit without a tie. Though he’s appropriately dressed for the occasion, and a tie would be overkill, seeing Bond in a suit without a tie paints a picture of a less refined man.
A New 00 Agent
The first time we see Bond as a 00 agent in action, he’s in Madagascar wearing the ugliest and loudest printed shirt we’ve ever seen him wear. Despite being a 00 agent now, he’s still a rookie and does not know what he’s doing, including not knowing how to dress. He’s in a crowd of people, and while some are wearing loud shirts, many are not. He should have taken cues from the people wearing clothes that don’t stand out rather than the people who do. Instead, Bond chooses to have some fun and picks a shirt that matches his brash personality.
When Bond arrives in the Bahamas, he dresses in a suit similarly to how he dresses in the pre-title sequence. He pairs a casual short-sleeve shirt with a grey linen suit and does not wear a tie. Again, this casual way of wearing a casual suit is completely appropriate for the setting, but to see Bond in two suits already without ties shows that he is most comfortable this way. Short-sleeve shirts with suits is an unrefined way to dress, even in hot weather, though this trait is taken from Ian Fleming’s source material.
Later when Bond dresses in an untucked black polyester shirt for a poker game at the casino at the The One&Only Ocean Club, he’s dressed more like he’s a young man going out ‘clubbing’ than like his usual gentleman in a dinner jacket. While a dinner jacket would have been completely inappropriate at this venue, Bond’s still not dressing with the maturity we had come to expect. Bond is also by no means inappropriately dressed at this club, and there are a few men there who look like they’re still dressed for the beach from earlier in the day. But many men there put on linen suits or sports coats to look more sophisticated for the evening, and that’s how a more mature Bond would have dressed.
One item that James Bond wears on many occasions throughout Casino Royale, whether its under the printed shirt in Madagascar, under the Armani leather jacket pictured below, under a cardigan, under a dressing gown, under a v-neck jumper or under a rugby shirt, is the crew-neck t-shirt. Sunspel provided most of the t-shirts for Casino Royale, primarily in heather grey.
T-shirts have rarely been part of James Bond’s style because they’re inherently unrefined garments due to their simplicity. Without a collar to frame the face, t-shirts are amongst the least flattering garments. When snugly fitted, they are able to show off a young, muscular body, but for the less fortunate they offer no assistance. The t-shirt is a utilitarian garment, best worn under other garments where it will never be seen or for housework or exercise. Even the finest of t-shirts will never look refined—though they may feel more refined.
Because Bond is still unrefined in Casino Royale, the abundance of t-shirts throughout the film shows Bond before his discovered his more mature sense of style. At least Bond treats the t-shirt as an undershirt, and it’s never the focus of his outfits. But he has yet to learn the benefits of always wearing a shirt with a collar.
Wearing a suit with disdain
Bond finally puts on a business suit and a tie for his meeting with Vesper Lynd on a train ride to Montenegro, but Vesper is not impressed.
By the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.
From this line, Vesper believes that Bond thinks he has to dress in a Savile Row suit—Brioni is not what someone who went to “Oxford or wherever” would wear, so we’re supposed to believe it’s English bespoke—and tie to prove his place in the world, but doing so is beneath him. This younger Bond in Casino Royale would rather be wearing his t-shirts than playing dress up in what he thinks is merely a stuffy uniform that is necessary to be a part of society.
In the films made before Casino Royale, Bond was typically comfortable in his suits and took pride in the clothes he wore. Ian Fleming’s Bond, on the other hand, is like Craig’s younger Bond and is at odds with the formalities expected of him. Fleming’s Bond rebels against suit-wearing conventions by casually accessorising his suits with short-sleeved shirts, knitted ties and moccasin shoes. Craig’s Bond in Casino Royale chooses to stick to the conventions rather than rebel by making himself more comfortable while still wearing a business suit.
Dinner Jackets and Dinner Jackets
James Bond: I have a dinner jacket.
Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table.
James Bond: How the … it’s tailored!
Vesper Lynd: I sized you up the moment we met.
Vesper looked through Bond’s luggage and saw that his own dinner jacket would not pass muster. We never see the dinner jacket that Bond already has, but we can assume that is one of the cheap models from the time that has two or three buttons on the front and notched lapels, being essentially no more than a black suit with satin silk (or polyester) trimmings. Or perhaps it’s was something too flashy, like what a villain would wear.
Bond is so immature in Casino Royale that he needs to be taught what a proper dinner jacket is so that other men will respect him and trust he knows what he’s doing at the poker table. But once Bond dons the dinner jacket and admires how perfect it looks in the mirror, he has taken a step forward to becoming the proper, more sophisticated Bond.
That is, until he removes it at the Casino table before the end of the game. It’s an ungentlemanly thing to do that shows he’s cocky and gotten too comfortable. It shows that he has let his guard down. It also makes him look like the croupier. While it does not work against him in the game, it’s not something that Bond would or should do, especially if everyone else has kept their jackets on.
“The name’s Bond, James Bond”
The final scene of Casino Royale shows Daniel Craig as a fully formed James Bond wearing a three-piece suit as he says the famous words, “The name’s Bond, James Bond”. This three-piece suit demonstrates that Bond is now the more suave, confident and mature character from the previous twenty films. The only men who wear three-piece suits are the ones who want to; there’s no occasion when a three-piece suit is necessary when a two-piece suit wouldn’t do. Bond no longer has disdain for wearing a suit since he’s wearing something he chooses to wear.
Vesper Lynd has proven herself to have a good understanding and appreciation of proper menswear, and she is the one throughout Casino Royale who notices and corrects Bond’s clothing mistakes. Bond’s love for Vesper influences him to better appreciate dressing well and change the way he dresses, and he no longer has disdain for the suit. Bond now understands the suit and channels its power on his terms.
Considering Bond’s background as a public-school educated man, he should have been taught how to dress properly as a young man rather than learn at 38 years of age. He would have been more comfortable wearing a tie and owned a proper dinner jacket. It’s a bit unrealistic to expect a 38-year-old to suddenly start appreciating and feeling more comfortable in tailored clothes. For Bond to not have established his own style until this point in his life is absurd. Most people become set in their ways and are who they are by the time they are 30. However, significant life events can also help a person change, and perhaps Vesper’s death inspired Bond’s change of heart towards dressing well as a way of remembering her.
Though we find out that James Bond is still learning the ropes in the next film, Quantum of Solace, he is dressing much more maturely and stylishly on his own.
There’s only some slight contradiction: As you have stated Bond already is wearing suits before the dinner suit scene takes place – and those suits aren’t too bad but rather in quite good taste. Except for the waistcoat there’s no difference to the one he is wearing in the final scene. So your “coaching” theory has a weak point. Perhaps the “Vesper influence” makes him think more about refining his outer appearance but that’s all one can say.
I tend to agree – the two suits Bond wears before the “dinner jacket” scene are quite nice. The only thing that might have changed later on is that Bond no longer “disdains” fine clothes. Maybe the director just wanted a shot of Bond thoughtfully looking at his reflection while wearing a tux!
“Maybe the director just wanted a shot of Bond thoughtfully looking at his reflection while wearing a tux!”
-Indeed – it has something of an inauguration…
I agree with your last point. The only thing I can possibly think of is he knew better and didn’t care until she showed him how being “proper” made a difference or the writers simply wanted him more relatable to audiences of all stripes.
What an excellent idea for a post, which you have executed wonderfully. Thank you, Matt.
The short sleeved no tie and otherwise t-shirt wearing Bond is closest who Bond is in private. (to further illustrate this: take a look at his beautifully decorated apartment in Spectre)
In Casino Royal M tells him to stop being the blunt instrument that he is and that he needs to start looking at the bigger picture.
Vesper showed him how to up his game, in more than one way. Being critical of him made him look in the mirror.
After her death he could have stayed out of MI6 but he decided to go back in.
Now with more effort than ever before, looking at the bigger picture, going after the big bosses.
So he started wearing his new armour, no one would ever hurt him again.
Brilliant idea for a post Matt – thoroughly enjoyed it and it has enhanced my appreciation of Casino Royale. Looking forward to more like this!
I think Vesper’s saying about the “disdain” does not fit to what Bond wears in the scene. She is a bit more provocative than his clothes actually justify.
It’s not about the actual clothes so much as its about Bond’s attitude.
Whether or not this was the intention of the producers this idea of his clothing expressing his “development” as an agent wasn’t clearly explained to the audience. All I saw was an “unrefined” (as you correctly describe it) Bond and it just reminded me of Dalton ( who had no excuse to fall back upon) and this coupled with a personality which irritated me (his expression in the still from the train which you show) made me switch off on Craig and the rebooted character.
May I ask what in your considered opinion is wrong with Craig’s face expression?
I suppose you prefer this one instead:
Or this one:
Yes, it is true that Craig appears cocky in that scene but in my book that is still far better than looking sleazy or like somebody acting in a bad theatre play. In any case that is not a sign of a refined character either.
Now boys, let’s not get into the old Craig versus Moore pissing match. This site has had quite enough of that.
I’ve no intention, Jovan. I’ve no interest in “debate” with someone who seemingly hasn’t the maturity to accept the simple fact that other contributors may have opinions which don’t coincide with his own.
“I’ve no interest in “debate” with someone who seemingly hasn’t the maturity to accept the simple fact that other contributors may have opinions which don’t coincide with his own.”
-That’s not the point – it is rather that your invectives are off focus with regard to this particular topic (and also with regard to many other this blog has already covered). Everyone who comments regularly here knows what your attitude towards Craig as Bond is – I really can’t see why you have to repeat it AD NAUSEAM.
I was contemplating a response, but then I decided “You know what – I’m tired of this !”
When bond goes to poker night at the ocean club, would brosnans suit in in Cuba when he torches the clinic been more appropriate?
Is there anything that bond shouldn’t be wearing at all?
For me the t shirt thing reminds of Miami vice and as for Alfani , I used to sell it when I worked in retail , and it was an awful brand.
I think Brosnan’s Cuba outfit could have worked very well, especially considering he wore a dark shirt with it.
I might have had him wearing the grey linen suit from earlier. Its jacket had a woefully short appearance before he whips it off to drive.
Did you work at Macy’s? The brand seems to be exclusive to them. The Alfani shirt is indeed unfortunate. It could have been a last-minute replacement for something else that had fallen through.
sure did, ran across deep navy shirts all the time. These are just a few of the bond items that I would rather go the bespoke route rather than off the peg even bond did wear the latter.
But we do see Bonds other dinner jacket; when Bond fights with Obanno and his henchman, his “The Latter” gets trashed. Bond therefore has to resort to his only dinner jacket he has left.
Le Chiffre notices this, but for some reason the script has him to remark that Bond had changed his shirt, instead of dinner jacket.
We do not see Bond’s other dinner jacket. The clothes Bond changes into are identical to what he wears at the start of the poker game. It’s a missed opportunity to show Bond in his own dinner jacket after “the latter” gets trashed. Le Chiffre notices that Bond puts on a clean shirt after he knows Bond was in a bloody fight. He’d have no reason to comment on the dinner suit because the suit is the same. The jacket does not get bloodied in the fight, so he’s likely able to have a valet press the suit before the game resumes.
Realistically, Obanno’s machete should have at least done some damage to it. Did Vesper get him any spares? Who knows. The filmmakers were probably more focused on having him tend to his wounds, refresh, and come back looking just as well-dressed than any logic here.
About spares, I would’ve thought Vesper could’ve gotten him a spare pair of trousers considering the sitting around he does throughout the poker scenes.
Wonder if Bond kept the jacket to remind him of Vesper. Would be nice to see it in Bond 25 as a reminder of how he started the Bonds.
Enjoyed reading your commentary per usual Matt but disagree with your final comment: “It’s a bit unrealistic to expect a 38-year-old to suddenly start appreciating and feeling more comfortable in tailored clothes. For Bond to not have established his own style until this point in his life is absurd.” I retired from from active duty service as a military officer this summer after 22-years. I owned a lone, off-the-rack, poorly fitted cheap suit through my 20s and early 30s. I wore a camouflage uniform almost everyday and didn’t require much of a civilian wardrobe. At the age of 36, I was assigned to work at an intelligence agency. During my inprocessing with my new civilian boss I was asked how many suits I owned and after answering was told to purchase at least two more suits, several dress shirts and ties, along with a proper pair of oxford dress shoes, and that I would need to wear them to work often. Over the three years I spent in that assignment, I started reading GQ and Esquire Magazine along with many James Bond blogs such as your own. By the time I retired this year at the age of 44, I had developed a preference for wearing tailored, designer clothing and had saved my pennies to invest in a very nice wardrobe that now includes many of the current 007’s favorite brands. Point being that the Bond character was an orphan and a career military officer – its neither unrealistic or absurd that he would wind up in a job that expanded his sartorial tastes.
And just to clarify as my above post makes my career sound a little too Bond-like to be true, while I spent the first seven years in the Army jumping out of airplanes, repelling from helicopters, and crawling around deserts/forests/swamps, I wrecked both my knees (requiring surgery) and suffered permenant nerve damage in my left foot. The remainder of my military career was mostly spent “shining a chair with my ass” as described by Colonel Trautman in First Blood. While working in the intelligence field I never practiced “tradecraft” or carried a pistol while wearing a suit. Nonetheless I remain a huge fan of the Bond books & films.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!
You may not have been used to wearing a suit, but it doesn’t sound like you had disdain for wearing suits like Bond did. The difference with you and Bond is that he had been wearing tailored clothes his whole life. Vesper points out that he learned to wear a suit from the stodgy people at his university. And he would have had to wear tailored clothing as a younger man at school in his teens. Considering he is a commander in the Royal Navy, he would have had to wear a tailored dress uniform for certain occasions, which isn’t much different from the cut of the suits that people who went to “Oxford or wherever” would wear.
I’ve always wondered if Bond is really 38 in this movie, or if he’s supposed to be younger than Craig was at the time. It’s complicated by the Craig movies’ tangled continuity and the lack of specifics about what his version of Bond did before he joined MI6; however, a lot of what he says and does (and wears) in CR is more characteristic of a younger man than of someone who’s pushing 40. It’s also worth noting that EON’s second choice for Bond was Henry Cavill, who would have only been in his early 20’s at the time.
I agree. Bond scholars (James Chapman and others) state the cinematic Bond (who says he has been using a Beretta for ten years before Dr. No) is supposed to be in his late thirties. Therefore, as the writers intended Casino Royale to function as a prequel, they likely intended the CR Bond to be in his late twenties. They also have the trickiness of Bond essentially not being allowed to have any life before becoming 007. I think Broccoli ‘n’ Wilson try to keep such details vague so the screen Bond can adhere to Fleming’s creation, while still trying (and not always succeeding) to make him seem like a plausible man who exists in the 1970s/80s/90s/2000s. It’s a tightrope as so many of Fleming’s details are rooted in the World War II experience. We are unlikely to see Craig’s successor refer to buying a 1930 4.5-litre Bentley “almost new” or losing pocket-book and virginity in Harry’s Bar in Paris!
Additionally, I tend to think the theme of “Becoming Bond” is inconsistently applied in the film. But I suppose a film where Bond is poorly dressed until his final scene would hardly have found favour with those many valuable sponsors and product-placers!
That sounds about right. I remember reading an interview with Sean Connery where he said Bond’s age was “always 35,” and that seems like a pretty good answer. For the record, Bond scholar John Griswold estimated that the literary Bond would have been 29 in “Casino Royale,” which sounds plausible. Old enough to have earned his rank in the Royal Navy and gotten his feet wet at MI6, young enough to still be relatively new to the job and have many more adventures to come.
Matt, I respectfully disagree with you. I don’t see at all why Bond’ own dinner jacket should have been a poorly designed model (2-button jacket and other sartorial horrors) since he is wearing two very classically designed and nearly tailored suits from Brioni (ok, maybe the sleeves of the charcoal are a bit too long). In the train Bond looks, to quote Vesper, as a man who belongs at that train. It was a hit and miss idea from the script I guess. They would have had Craig to wear a terrible suit in the train too so this idea would work. But indeed there a few oddities in the script.
The final suit also striked me as not so well fitting as the first two, as yourself mentioned it in your article. Waistcoat, sleeves… it looks like they ran out of time to make the final alterations… but is such thing possible in a Bond movie ? I even thought the suiting of the 3-piece was a bit uninteresting compared to the other two. Even the blue shirt and tie looked a bit self-on-self and flat compared to the other ties. Another good original idea from the script but which ended poorly executed. That being said, I agree with the main idea of your article, of course.
Craig looked like he borrowed his father’s clothes everytime he wore brioni. Brioni was just too powerful for him.
I completely agree. I’m sorry to state the obvious, but I always wondered why you said those things about Craig in Brioni. It wasn’t until recently that it hit me. He had powerful enough shoulders, so he really didn’t need the extra padding, which made Brioni was a bad choice for Craig.
About the disdain artitude, I think people are making too big a deal of it. Especially when they don’t like Craig’s portrayal of Bond. I personally see it as a simple way/ cinematic trick to show an interesting tension and immediate opposition between Bond and Vesper. Both have the similar attitude when they met in the train anyway. And Casino Royale is clearly (in my humble opinion) one of the best Bonds not only because of Craig’s performance but because the main Bond girl has such charisma and personality. She is clearly Bond’s equal just like Tracy is in OHMSS.
I also still think the ‘Oxford’ remark of Vesper is just a way to mention the quality of his suit. The average viewer of a Bond movie doesn’t know the differences between Roman and British style anyway.
Just my two cents ! I will stop now ;)
I fully agree with your statement!
The three-piece suit at the end of the film fits the same way as the other suits in the film; no better, no worse, and the fit of all the suits is supposed to be good (we’re in the minority who would notice the small problems). Bond’s suit on the train has to be a high-end suit to make sense in the script. We’re supposed to believe it’s the kind of suit an Oxford graduate would wear. What has changed from the train suit to the three-piece suit is Bond’s attitude towards wearing suits. Daniel Craig’s acting is primarily what is at work, not the suit, though the waistcoat is there to make a statement about Bond’s clothing tastes.
Great post Matt and good discussion. I always hoped it was the film makers’ intent to illustrate the evolution of Bond from a ‘blunt instrument’ in raggedy clothes to the sophisticated agent we already know in his well fitting three piece, and you’ve done a great job of outlining this.
I do wish that with so much money involved in making the films (and surely the knowledge that no small amount of Bond nerds like us will examine every detail!) that they wouldn’t leave such plot holes like the discussion above relates over how well his dinner jacket survived the machete fight in the stairwell – five seconds of dialogue could have put that debate to bed. Others I have mentioned before, like in Spectre – where did they get their evening clothes from for the train journey (and why would they be in evening clothes for a train journey, aside from a gratuitous need to shoe-horn Bond into a dinner jacket?) – to say nothing of why Blofeld would first send Mr Sixx to kill Bond on the train, then send a Rolls to pick him up at the station and demonstrate his plans to rule the world.
Anyway apologies for the digression. My other clothing-related gripe which I’ve mentioned here before is that book Bond has a very utliltarian approach to many aspects of his life including his clothes, and that utilitarian lifestyle is reflected when we see his apartment in Spectre. Would a man with orange crates for furniture really have an extensive wardrobe that has endless amounts of designer suits, overcoats, watches, sunglasses, etc? I preferred the slightly more realistic approach of the Connery era when we’d occasionally see items reappear in successive films like the Submariner and the tweed hacking jacket
But even in the Connery era Bond’s apartment was elegant and well-furnished (at least what we see of it in Dr. No). The apartment we see in LALD, of course, is a little over the top, as all things Moore. I simply can’t understand Craig’s “orange crates for furniture” decor, especially in light of his elegant and well-accessorized wardrobe.
I agree that the unkempt flat was a bit of a miss in Spectre. But there were no orange crates. The furniture and decor was actually very tasteful – merely u organized. And the flat itself was stunning. Either way, I think it was consistent with Craig’s portrayal of Bond.
Moore’s coffee machine was quite a (good) gag. But I agree with you completely. And it’s not such a big deal to show a nice single man’s flat onscreen, even for less than a minute, something which ideally would have been decorated in a style between classic and modern. They did a great job with M’s own flat in Casino Royale. So I just think there is a complete lack of taste after CR, QOS being average (only good thing of the movie is the nice wardrobe).
PS – was the pea coat in CR the same as the Billy Reid one in Skyfall? If so then there’s some vindication. If not it doesn’t say much about the longevity of such a supposedly hardy garment if it needed replacing after a few short years, unless it got shot up in some violent off-screen inter-film assignment!
The pea coat in Casino Royale is not the pea coat in Skyfall. However, there are many similar items that appear in multiple Craig films: navy pea coats, navy polos, beige cotton trousers, light blue swimming trunks and more. You could think of these as different costume designers’ interpretations of the same pieces. Remember, the navy striped suit at the end of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are supposed to be the same suit since only moments have passed between the two films. It’s just different interpretations of what James Bond thinks are one suit.
OK I see where you’re going with ‘themes’ of clothing rather than the exact same items used from film to film. It’s a bit of a stretch but I can roll with it!
It’s the best you’re going to get, especially with changing costume designers and sponsors. But even if sponsors stay the same, they want Bond to wear new things to sell new clothes! Realism was never a concern of the Bond films.
“So I just think there is a complete lack of taste after CR, QOS being average (only good thing of the movie is the nice wardrobe).”
-I respectfully disagree – I can’t see that lack of taste in QoS. IMO the decor is quite nice – the luxury hotel he is staying at in Bolivia, M’s flat, the minister’s office etc. In SF there are some things which I like less (the Macao casino interieur looks a bit cheesy), but M(allory)’s office again is very fine.
Generally I have to take up the cudgels for QoS: I can’t understand why on this blog it is often referred to as one of the worst Bond films. The story is apt, there are nice locations, Craig’s portrayal of Bond is fine (even a bit better than in CR, i.e. maturer) and the wardrobe outmatches that of CR. I can’t see the point of all the criticism.
Good points, I grant you that the set and locations of QOS are very nice. In my opinion I was disappointed by QoS because (although it’s always hard to have a follow up movie as good as the first ) of the script. It was really a weak point -the screenwriters were in strike, and you have the feeling of a not totally finished script. Some scenes are hardly understandable sometimes at the first viewing. The camera work was also much too fast and a bit showy / over the top for my tastes (beginning car pursuit, fights). And I also did not care much for the villains and the girls. Not the same presence and charisma as in CR.
But maybe the lack of taste I mention started coming with Skyfall, you may be right. Since Skyfall I have the feeling our hero is some kind of hipster and too fashionable for my tastes. I agree that the QoS suits flattered Craig better than the Brioni and we do have some memorable outfits in QoS (dinner jacket, DB overcoat, mohair suit, polo and jeans outfit).
“Some scenes are hardly understandable sometimes at the first viewing. The camera work was also much too fast and a bit showy”
-I agree with that! Nevertheless IMO the rest did make up for those shortcomings. SF was really over the top (and Silva a villain I do not like), SPECTRE however much better.
I agree with you Renard (again!) – I think QoS gets a bit of a bum rap. I learned after the fact that the production was a bit rushed due to the strike and allegedly Craig and the director contributed to the dialogue etc but this wasn’t apparent when I first saw it and it remains for me a taut well executed film for which I don’t really understand the strength of the backlash. All about opinions I suppose. The villain may not have been a Dr Evil super villain but he was believable and his crime was pertinent. I also thought Olga Kurylenko was a fantastic Bond girl and he never even got to shag her! Would have loved to see her reappear in the planned part three of the loose trilogy but that moment has passed since Mendes wanted to put his own stamp and move in a different direction.
My favorite part about Camille was that they never consummated their romance. I always felt like they drew inspiration for that from Gala Brand in Fleming’s exceptionally good Moonraker.
And, not to stray too far off topic, I think QoS ranks second to OHMSS for the most stylish film in the series.
Thank you for your support!
I never found the whole Bond is becoming Bond transformation in Casino Royale convincing. Especially to do with Bond and suits, as Matt has said a man at 38 isn’t going to suddenly go from Jason Bourne to Cary Grant in relation to wearing suits, dinner suits or even a blazer or sportcoat. Many men in this day and age have one or two suits and if they’re lucky a sportcoat of some kind. I love wearing suits and they are part of my job. I have many ranging from formal to casual suits, but I would still love them if I had a job they didn’t require them because I love tailored clothing and formal wear. I have since I was a late teenager.
I never found it convincing either. But I think they clearly attempted this transformation-through-clothes thing, albeit half-heartedly, and so it is certainly legitimate for this blog to document the attempt. The idea of discovering oneself through outfits is more plausible for characters like Batman, Superman, Darth Vader and so on, and the thread worked better for those reboots/prequels. The idea of “re-discovering” the character by reappearing in a suit is different, and I think works better for Bond. For example, in Die Another Day (after returning from North Korea and having a shave) and in Goldfinger (on the jet).
I quite agree ! It seems to work even better as we know Bond isn’t such really damaged, just a bit messed up. Like as you say in Goldfinger where he is just a bit dirty and not shaven. Or in DAD when he came back from North Korea with just a beard, having gained more weight than ever ! Was the torture being forced to eat four times a day ?! Nevertheless that was quite hilarious.
This question is for everyone. When it comes to using bond as an influence can someone take it too far? And how?
If you lose your own identity, that’s a problem.
Absolutely, Matt. I use Bond’s style as an inspiration only, and if it doesn’t suit me, I don’t wear it. I certainly don’t try to be Bond!
I used to have this problem with Doctor Who where I’d spend inordinate amounts of money on replicas of costumes. Coats, bowties, shirts. It looked terrible all worn together, like I was wearing a costume, which of course I was. Now, I still own a lot of those items but I use them as what they are meant to be, pieces of clothing. I still wear my green moleskin coat, but nowadays I don’t pair it with the bowtie and clip-on braces. It works much better as a simple nice coat.
Same with Bond. Matt has said it before, you shouldn’t wear a suit to feel like Bond, but to feel truly yourself.
saul & Timothy, interestingly I wrote a bit about this subject on my blog. I even included an example using Doctor Who costume pieces!
Out of curiosity, Jovan, I decided to look it up. And I must say, you hit the nail on the head, and put it much better than I did! I actually dropped quite a bit of money on Matt Smith’s purple frock coat and I’ve managed to get a bit of wear out of it, though it’s not something I could call tasteful. Alas, it’s relegated to parties and other eccentric affairs now, but at least it’s not just rotting in the closet. Bond is much easier to organically introduce into one’s wardrobe.
I also think it is not an accident that Bond has a cell phone in the last scene. Not only has he grown up through is clothes, but having the cell phone makes him a Bond for modern times.
I also thought it was interesting that in the last scene is the first time we heard the famous line, ‘Bond, James bond’ and the familiar theme music. Further proving that Bond is now Bond.
Best. Film. Moment. Ever!
“In the films made before Casino Royale, Bond was typically comfortable in his suits and took pride in the clothes he wore.”
True. For having read all novels, repeatedly, I can conclude that Bond is a rebel, admittedly, but he certainly clings on to the (old) world he originates from, and is quite keen to judge any nouveaux riches who claim to belong to it, or anyone who would make a faux-pas. And examples abound. He is far too observant of details to afford being a perfect rebel. He is forced to deal with both traditions and modernity, and hence is in a perpetual fight between his ‘Superego’ and his ‘Id’.
Just as can be demonstrated by his relationship to women. (“Mummy-I-love-you, but-I-am- being-vengeful-to-all-women-because-of-the love-I-did-not-get- from-you, etc, etc…..”)
But enough of cheap Freudian psychology ;)
You got the picture, I am sure.
Apart from some mysterious monstrosities such as the sandals or the short sleeves, Bond is fairly traditional. Mocassins shoes (depending on the model) can sometimes make it, surprisingly. Leather quality, last, shape and finition count, of course.
Fleming’s Bond was his own man; he did what he wanted to do with out worrying about the approval of other people. His dislike of tea was a symbol of him rebelling against the establishment. He rebelled in subtle ways.
Renard, thanks for posting the pictures of the late and much missed Roger Moore.
I actually miss him, his natural class. Which perspires even through moments which you might associate with sleaziness. Your opinions are your own. I once met him, and exchanged a few words with him. Some people are nice in real life. Roger was as nice on screen as he was in real life. (Could he really ‘act’ is another debate, but honestly I could not be bothered) The few interviews of Craig I have watched so far do not entice me to meet him in real life at all. A good actor assuredly, but little or no class at all, in my opinion. I will not miss him. Neither alive, post-Bond, nor dead.
Whereas Moore’s memoirs are a sheer delight and a great fun to read.
Just to clarify things: One has to separate between the actor in real life and the actor interpreting a character. I did not have your privilege of meeting Sir Roger personally but I can well imagine that he was a very nice man. But this has nothing to do with his approach to the Bond role and my criticisms only refer to the latter. No offence meant!
Just as David, I too have no intention nor interest to “debate with someone who seemingly hasn’t the maturity to accept the simple fact that other contributors may have opinions which don’t coincide with his own.”
I appreciate the formula, and respect it.
I too am just expressing my opinions, and do not feel the least compelled to justify them.
“I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
I don’t like the idea of a reboot, nor the attempt to make the audience believe that Bond suddenly acquired traditions, manners and refinement that is acquired and distilled through several generations. And I do not like a cheap ‘Vladimir Putin lookalike’ in the role of one of my favorite fiction characters !
‘Vladimir Putin lookalike’
:-) It really needs a lot of fantasy to see any similarity between Craig as Bond and V.P. And I think that in case of doubt it would be rather Putin imitating Craig as Bond and not the other way round.
Well said, Stan and good to hear from you in this arena again. I won’t comment further on the topic or other persons except to second what you say in your summation; Roger Moore was a gent both on and off screen and yes, I miss him too and not just that, the world needs real gentlemen now, more than ever, at a time when there’s seemingly, sadly less and less!
I just spotted your comment now, and noticed that it ended up inserted between the (long) parts of my own.
No offence whatsoever.
We all have the right to have our opinions.
My point was that Roger was a (role) model, both in real and cinematic life.
As a child, I wanted to ‘be him’ aka Bond, or Lord Brett Sinclair. Different from Connery, but much funnier, suits with a perfect fit (that made us nearly forget about the flares and lapels).
As far as the ‘tough side’ is concerned, I recently watched the lunch scene with Scaramanga, and found Roger quite credible.
Didn’t you ?
Nowadays: do I want to ‘be Craig’ ?
By no means, sadly.
And about Vladimir Putin: yes I do find a regrettable resemblance. The fact that I dislike this former frustrated KGB officer is not helping me to appreciate Craig, who in my opinion, misses the natural class of a much missed Moore.
I fully agree with Stan; furthermore, in terms of Bond’s hardest, most ruthless moment, it’s really a tossup between Dalton feeding Killifer to the shark in LTK and Moore kicking Locque’s car off the cliff in FYEO. And yes, who in his right mind would want to be Craig? That, in the final analysis, is the litmus test of a particular actor’s effectiveness in interpreting Bond. All men of a certain age have wanted to be Connery/Bond at some point in their lives. Some of us have modeled ourselves after Moore/Bond (except, perhaps, for the 1970’s style cartoonish promiscuity.) On the other hand, I doubt anybody would want to be Dalton/Bond or Craig/Bond – they just don’t seem to be having very much fun saving the world!
Generally I was more intrigued by Connery’s Bond portrayal because it is on the whole more sober. Moore was too much of a comedian for my taste, turning Bond into a ridiculous figure (as Brosnan did). Therefore I found Craig’s approach to the role very refreshing.
But each to his own and if I would have to choose a “favourite” (although the word doesn’t really apply in this context) among Moore’s Bond performances it would be FYEO for the simple reason that Moore’s acting is least clownish.
” I doubt anybody would want to be Dalton/Bond or Craig/Bond – they just don’t seem to be having very much fun saving the world!”
-If I can concede Roger Moore being a nice man privately (without having met him) why can’t you just finish with that ANNOYING Dalton / Craig bashing? By now it’s more than obvious who starts this Craig vs. Moore rubbish time and time again and everyone can trace back this kind of comment to 2011 (I wasn’t commenting then) and since then the “argument” has gained nothing new.
Matt , As a criminal psychology student , I made a couple of observations . Vesper may have Influenced Bond’s dress up in more ways than we think. Observe: This is the last film where James Bond wears a belt with his suits. It’s very likely that Vesper taught Bond to wear suits with Slide buckle side Adjusters. During my visits to Savile Row , l noted that some old school British Tailors flat out refuse to tailor suits with belt loops ( Thomas Mahon comes to mind ) . Vesper most likely passed that view onto Bond.
Also , note the Braces. Being that Daniel Craig’s Bond starts off as an unrefined man , it is very unlikely that he would come up with the idea of wearing Braces on his own. It is more than Likely that Vesper taught him to wear his evening trousers with Braces . This naturally carries on with his Evening wear in Sky Fall and Spectre.
Now , this also answers your question , as to why Bond took his dinner jacket off during the Poker Game. He ( still being inexperienced with Sartorial etiquette ) may have deliberately taken his Jacket off , to show off his braces . He , being a rookie dresser , probably thought that it would make people see him as more sophisticated , if they see him wearing Braces with his tuxedo. You will observe that in the later films , he does not make this mistake anymore.
I thought Vesper’s line about wearing the clothes with disdain was great, although I never saw how it was reflected in the character of Bond in that film. It didn’t ring true. I thought Connery did a much better job at this, particularly in FRWL when he returns back to his hotel and yanks off his tie, then indifferently tossing his dress shirt to the corner of the bathroom floor.