or: how I learned to stop worrying and post these damn reviews
(jump to Introduction)
My recent Week of the Living Dead has been the cause of a bit of personal reflection here at 100 Films Towers (I don’t know where I acquired a tower, but let’s just go with it). While I enjoyed all the films individually, I found the actual experience of watching one every night, reviewing it the next day, posting it that evening (you’d be surprised how much time I put into those photos), then repeat — times six — to be quite wearing. I know I didn’t have to do it — I could have delayed or spread out the viewing, and the same with the reviews, because it’s not as if anyone was depending or even anticipating them — but there’s an element of personal pride in setting out to do something and then doing it well… or if not well, then at least doing it right.
It’s a personal thing, too — I’m not one of those people who merrily watches a film every single day (or more, some people). I can barely stomach a double bill, unless it’s a not-very-long or single-story duology/trilogy watched back-to-back for good reason. That’s why watching 100 films in a year is a challenge to me. The fact I’ve not even managed it a third of the time attests to that. When I first started I got a few comments along the lines of, “but that’s only two a week? Not hard!” Well, clearly it is, so ner.
Anyway, one thing this means is I’m unlikely to attempt another Week of the Living Dead-style week of viewing and reviewing. I’ve managed them before (Silent Lubitsch; David Fincher), and part of the key is variety — for all that Romero pumps into his films, they’re still one zombie film after another; and I actually got a bit sick of silent films by the end of that Lubitsch week, so it’s not unprecedented. Watching one type of thing so intensively makes you want a change.
And that’s how we arrive at Bond. When the Bond 50 Blu-ray set came out, I set about watching them all from the start. The aim was one or two a week, then post reviews in decade-long clumps, in part to see the Bond films in a different way than sorted by actor (in reality, that’s not that great an idea: it’s the change of leading man that sparks changes in the series, not the change of decade; and actually, when you do cut it up by decade, you more or less get Connery in the ’60s, Moore in the ’70s and ’80s, Brosnan in the ’90s, and Craig in the ’00s, with only the odd scrap crossing over or other guy jumping in). This isn’t the first time I’ve tried it, but I always run out of steam at some point. I love Bond, but they get samey if you pack them too close together… and also, as we’ve seen, I’m just not cut out for that kind of scheduled viewing (I don’t even watch TV on schedule anymore — yay PVRs and iPlayer and box sets and piracy!)
But what I did manage during the viewing I did do was to write reviews; and because I happened to falter just before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (no fault of that film, it’s one of my favourites), I have a neat Connery-shaped load to share. And because they’ve been sat on my hard drive for (in some cases) over a year now, I thought I’d share them. They were meant to be very short pieces that I’d share in one big long post (like, say, my Batman one), but they’re actually quite a bit longer and the whole thing seemed massively unwieldily (I think the Batman one’s awkward, and these reviews total about 1,000 words more), so I’ve separated them off.
With all that waffled through, let’s begin:
Sean Connery was, of course, the first actor to play James Bond. Except he wasn’t: there was Barry Nelson on the telly (technically playing American agent Jimmy Bond), Bob Holness on the radio (in a live South African production), and stuntman Bob Simmons in the gun barrel opening sequence of the first Bond movie (the one pictured above is Connery, though). But Connery was the first to be noticed — and he really was noticed. With him as the star, what were a couple of relatively low-budget British spy movies somehow transformed into a global-box-office-dominating, decades-spanning, culture-influencing, mega-franchise. (It used to be the highest-grossing film series of all time. It’s been surpassed by the likes of Harry Potter now, but that will change: other series end, Bond keeps on going, probably forever.)
Connery starred in a total of five Bond films before he’d had enough… well, he starred in four before he’d had enough, but then he had to do a fifth anyway. He was recast, but when the new guy got too big for his boots, Connery was lured back… for one more film. Twelve years after that, he was lured back again, this time for an ‘unofficial’ rival Bond movie series… which managed one film.
Leaving those later returns to (possible) future reviews, here are the five initial Connery Bonds…
James Bond will return.