A Poncho and Sombrero on Horseback

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Moonraker-Poncho

Roger Moore’s James Bond wears more disguises—and more outlandish disguises—than all of the other Bond actors. Just as he rides a camel wearing a keffiyeh with agel, a tunic and a cloak in the desert in The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond rides a horse wearing a poncho in South America in Moonraker. This is one of Bond’s most pointless disguises; it looks like he’s just wearing a poncho for fun. It helps him fit in with his surroundings, but Bond may have gone too far this time.

The poncho is a simple garment, which is essentially a blanket draped over the body with a hole for the head. Bond’s long poncho reaches the knees and has a boat neck opening for the head. Traditionally, ponchos are made of wool, and Bond’s likely is. Bond’s poncho is woven in beige, tan, medium brown and dark brown stripes, varying in sizes. The bottom ends of the poncho have a short beige fringe.

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Under the Poncho Bond wears a brown and white plaid shirt. The clear white in the shirt looks a little jarring against the warm, muted colours in the poncho, but this outfit isn’t meant to be a perfectly-coordinated fashion piece. The shirt still goes decently well with the poncho over it. The shirt has a medium-sized point collar and button cuffs. Inside the shirt’s collar Bond wears a dark brown silk neckerchief.

Bond’s dark brown trousers are bombachas, which are similar to breeches since they fasten around the leg below the knee. Bombachas are longer and fuller-cut than breeches; they are actually really baggy. Bond’s bombachas end around the top of his black leather riding boots. At one point, the bombachas ride up a little to reveal Bond’s tall brown socks.

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Bond’s black hat is a sombrero cordobés, also known as an Andalusian sombrero. The hat originated in Córdoba, Spain, and the character Zorro is known for wearing this hat. The black felt sombrero cordobés has a wide, flat brim and a flat crown. It also has a black triple-rope band at the base of the crown and a leather chin cord. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Tracy wears a similar hat to the bullfight.

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Since I am not an expert on South American clothing, most of my research on these clothes came from Wikipedia and websites of the makers of this style of clothing. Feel free to correct me on anything wrong!

21 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, Roger was having fun, taking the p*** and that’s why his Bond was so well loved by so many of us. His sense of fun playing the character was infectious. I doubt the shirt was the work of FF though 😉

  2. Any chance you’ll do an article on the Men’s clothing in Agent Carter? Either pointing out what they got wrong/right, comparing and contrasting Peggy’s co-workers with Jarvis, or something else that catches your eye?

    • I don’t think I will cover it, since I don’t find the premise or the style very relevant to James Bond. After looking up some pictures from the show, some of the clothes look interesting, but I noticed some big mistakes. The most obvious to me is that the suits are too lightweight for the 1940s, though the colours and patterns look great. I also found a photo of a shirt with a breast pocket under braces. Shirt pockets were not very common then, and I’m not even sure if any shirts had pockets then.

    • Matt it’s worth noting the show has the two most recent Ian Flemings starring – Jervis is played by James D’Arcy who played Fleming in Age of Heroes, the “Red Indian” Commandos film; and Dominic Cooper, who plays Howard Stark, was Fleming in the “Man Who Would Be Bond” miniseries.

  3. While I agree with David generally in his appraisal of Moore’s Bond, I think this outfit symbolizes all that was wrong with Moonraker.

    In my view, following on from the smashing success of TSWLM (always in my top 3 favorite Bond films), the producers attempted to create what was essentially the same film, but everything was taken a step further toward the outlandish. Where the desert outfit in TSWLM was amusing, it didn’t look so costumey that it invited parody. But here, Bond simply looks ridiculous, as though he’s playing dress up. As with everything in Moonraker, the balance was just slightly off.

  4. Moonraker is for sure the worse Bond movie of ever.
    Is a miracle that the series is survived to this film.
    The book is fine,and i could see a good movie from original plot (in my dreams a 60s movie with Sean Connery..or why not..George Lazenby… as Bond and Orson Welles as Sir Hugo Drax).

    About clothes and spy are coming “Kingsman the secret service” and “The man from uncle” (that is set in early 60s).
    A big feed!!

    • Moonraker failed at being a respectable Bond film, but it succeeded at the time at drawing the audiences. No Bond films until GoldenEye grossed more. And adjusted for inflation, no Bond films until Casino Royale did as well.

    • “Moonraker is for sure the worse Bond movie of ever”. For sure? Who is sure of this? Is such an assertion not subjective? And while I concur with FS in his summation, I don’t really in his conclusion. I can appreciate how many purist fans found Moore’s “winking at the audience” portrayal in the final two 1970’s Bonds jarring but for me it always comes down to what an individual finds entertaining. Audiences at that time wanted greater and greater spectacle and the Broccoli’s put as money as was necessary there to give them that. Hence, as Matt notes, the audience figures. Was “Moonraker” OTT? Yes. Off balance? Subjective. Is it great escapist entertainment? For me, until the final third or so in space, yes.

    • TSWLM and MR were indeed “over the top” escapist entertainment, but perhaps that’s what the public needed in the grim 1970’s after Vietnam, Watergate, stagflation, the energy crisis, the Iran hostage crisis, etc. Sir Roger’s escapades were a breath of fresh air, and the ticket-buying public responded favorably to his lighthearted approach to 007. Bond’s wardrobe in those movies reflected the overall mindset of the movies. I have very fond memories of those movies, and, frankly, I wish the Bond producers would give us a comparably glamorous, entertaining Bond to take our minds off of the problems of our decade. Enough with darkandgritty!!!

    • I remember very well that movie; yes was a success to box office,but the sensation was that the Bond series was arrived to the end of his street.
      Is not a coincidence that the next movie was “For your eyes only”,a come back to more classic fell.
      If you don’t care nothing about Bond,”Moonraker” is a fun movie,but if you are a fan is a punch in the stomach.
      Better the original “Casino Royal” with David Niven or the Austin Powers series.

  5. I agree, Peter. Well, sort of. For me it’s the 2nd worst behind the last Bond movie of the 1980’s. I haven’t seen QOS either but it seems to come out pretty badly in these rankings too…

    • You mean Licence To Kill? I don’t mind that one although it kind of feels like they got the script to any other cheesy 80s action movie and changed the main character’s name to James Bond. But I love cheesy 80s action movies so it’s right up my alley.

      As for QOS, it has a lot of fast paced action but it suffers from Bourne style shaky cam in the action scenes. The story is OK, but nothing too amazing. At least the Aston gets a proper drive in this one!

  6. They use the musical cue from “The Magnificent Seven” in this scene, much as they did in the prior film by playing music from “Lawrence of Arabia” during the desert scenes. I think a more appropriate choice for the Moonraker scene would’ve been music from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” though, because to me a poncho-wearing cowboy will always be synonymous with Clint Eastwood.
    Though it’s hard for me to picture Daniel Craig’s, or really anyone else’s Bond wearing an outfit like this, some parts of it, particularly the boots and hat, do work for the scene. He should have on riding boots for horseback riding and a hat to keep from being sunburned. For me it’s the poncho and breeches that take things a bit too far, but then again it’s Moonraker, this outfit is far from being the silliest part of that movie!

    • They are very similar garments, but the serape is from Mexico whilst the poncho is from South America, though all can be called ponchos. I used the term poncho considering Bond’s location.

  7. Well, I may be alone here, but I don’t have any issue with this. It, as portrayed in the movie, fits into the scene’s context, the music is the wink at the audience that was popular in many films of the era (and the Magnificent Seven music was chosen no doubt because of 007), and it is less out of place then Bond’s overdressed/expensive suit occasionally is.

    As for Moonraker’s merits, I don’t think it anywhere near the bottom of the series. It is well made, technically – well filmed, edited, and directed. the locations (and women) are stunning. The pace is good. Corinne is great, and Holly is useful (for a change). A little bit of editing down of some scenes (usually during the action sequences) and the movie would be just fine. While it is outrageous, it holds together well enough, and Drax’s master race plot is easier for me to digest (especially in light of the various cults of the time) then Stromberg’s underwater utopia (and Spy is, to me, one of the top 5 or so Bond films and the only one of the non-serious Bonds I include in my top tier). I do think, having seen the movie twice in recent years on the big screen, it plays better on the small screen at home because, like Octopussy, its’ narrative flaws are minimized and the movies strengths are enjoyable.

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