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Tuesday 23 Jul 2024

Shaken, Not Stirred
Matt Seinberg

It was 1965. I was 7 years old. “Thunderball” had just come out.

I was living in Poughkeepsie, NY, at the time. I can see the dark theatre, as if I was sitting there right, now, watching the movie. I don’t remember the circumstances of how I got to the movie or with whom I went with. What I remember is somehow being able to stay until the end, of the movie, for some reason that eludes me all these years later.

I was hooked on James Bond, who liked pretty girls and martinis shaken, not stirred. He also liked the fast cars and fancy gadgets that Q devised. Who can ever forget that classic Aston Martin, with the passenger ejector seat and front grill machine guns?

Someone asked me the other day who my favourite James Bond actor was. I replied it was Pierce Brosnan, who really is second after Sean Connery. That’s a given of course.

As a kid and later a young man, I always wondered why different actors portrayed James Bond in the movies. How do you explain the different faces? The answer finally hit me when I watched the latest movie, “Skyfall,” with Daniel Craig.

“M,” as played by Dame Judy Dench, gave a very short explanation. I can’t quote it, but it was something like this. If you weren’t paying attention, you could miss it.

You see, James Bond is not really one person, but a designated name to go along with his 007 licence-to-kill. MI6 agents are recruited at a young age and usually don’t have any family ties that can be used against them by the bad people.

Double-oh agents are often orphans that found their way into some sort of military service and recruited by MI6 for their special skills. When any particular 00 agent dies, another one takes his place and number.

How’s that for an explanation of why six different actors portrayed James Bond?

When I bought “Skyfall,” I also got the new “Casino Royale” which rebooted the franchise with Daniel Craig and “Quantum of Solace” The only old one I bought was “Diamonds Are Forever,” with Sean Connery and Jill St. John. That was Connery’s last James Bond movie in 1971, before he redid “Thunderball” as “Never Say Never Again,” in 1983.

Daniel Craig plays Bond as a much darker, haunted character. All the other actors played him as happy go lucky, a womanizing man about town that would just as much shoot someone as take a woman to bed. Craig is deadly serious; often almost too serious.

In “Skyfall,” we see the isolated estate, in Scotland, Skyfall, where Bond grew up. We learn how he can’t wait to escape Skyfall and the memories it held of his dead parents. Ironically, “M” in a way is a replacement mother, the authority figure that trusts him implicitly, as a mother would trust her child. For Bond to have “M” die in his arms, in his childhood home, is ironic, since that’s where his parents evidently died.

Now, if I only had male child to with whom to watch these movies. As I have two girls that have no interest in this or Star Wars or Star Trek, I’m destined to wander this part of moviedom alone, forever. Well, with a martini, shaken, not stirred, so I’m not totally alone.  

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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