December 9, 2006

"Casino Royale:"

From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:

James Bond is the most popular English fictional character since Sherlock Holmes, the hero of 23 movies raking in four billion dollars at the global box office. The essence of his screen appeal has been the paradox embodied in the medieval word "gentleman:" an individual of refined manners, educated in the arts of conversation, dress, and cuisine, whose profession is violence.

The English gentleman was the outcome of a project lasting a millennium and a half to mold the anarchic barbarian chieftains who conquered Dark Ages Europe into the upholders of civilization. Like the Japanese samurai, they were gentled by learning aristocratic culture, without, of course, demeaning themselves so low as to have to get a job that didn't involve killing people.

Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale introduced a rather grim Bond. The charming but deadly gentleman Bond who had such an impact on popular culture was largely invented in 1962 by the director of "Dr. No," Terence Young. A public school boy, Cambridge grad, twice-wounded WWII officer, wit, bon vivant, and ladies' man, Young had everything except directing talent. He ended his career helming the seldom-seen epics "Inchon" for the Rev. Moon and "Long Days" for Col. Gaddafi.

What he did excel at, however, was teaching a young Scottish proletarian, a former milkman and coffin polisher named Sean Connery, how to act like Terence Young.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The first 90 minutes of Casino Royale are great, but the film goes seriously awry with the love interest between JB and Vesper Lynd and never completely recovers.

Alo any Connery fans must see The Hill