"REMOVE THE exotic touches and what have you got? A dull, prosaic English policeman."
That's what Sean Connery said, during the filming of "Goldfinger," in 1964. Sean was already growing weary of the character, and the constricting fame of 007. That quote appears in Vanity Fair's delicious article on how James Bond was transferred to the screen, from Ian Fleming's novels. (This year marks Bond movie franchises' 50th anniversary.) The books, while quite popular, were not the phenomena they became after the Bond films took off, and after Fleming's death in 1964. They were reprinted endlessly. (Death can sometimes be a smart career move.)
The article, by David Kamp is full of fascinating detail. Sean Connery was nobody's idea of James Bond. "Disaster, disaster, disaster!" remarked "Dr. No" director Terence Young when he discovered who his leading man would be. At that point Connery was known for appearing in one Lana Turner flop aptly titled, "Another Time, Another Place"and the incongruous "Darby O' Gill and the Little People." (Apparently Terence changed his mind, going on to direct two more of the early Connery/Bond epics.) And there were more minor problems, such as Ursula Andress' accent. They simply dubbed her, post-production. As they did for Bond's second leading lady "From Russia With Love" stunner Daniela Bianchi. Even more interesting is how the screenwriters--especially Richard Maibaum-- had to tamp down 007's brutality, fill Fleming's plot holes and dance around such matters as the author's interest in lesbianism. Though they took that as far as they could. (Lotte Lenya was butch and beastly in "From Russia with Love." Honor Blackman--the memorably named Pussy Galore--was butch and sexy in "Goldfinger." Although naturally, all it took was a rough tussle with 007 to convince Pussy she was on the wrong track.) It was Maibaum who came up with all the witty lines-- from both Bond and his villains--that have become so famous.
And if you don't feel like reading the article, you can at least feast your eyes on pages of Sean Connery at his physical peak. All the Bonds were handsome men, and the current 007, Daniel Craig, is sexy and buff indeed, but Sean Connery is the template by which all others are compared. Plus he still looked great at the U.S. Open applauding-- fist-pumping!--the big win of fellow Scotsman, Andy Murray.
Anyway, Joe surprised me by giving me his own "Critter Observation." He was out in Steamboat
Springs, Colorado visiting relatives. They warned him about bears saying, not to get within 300 feet of one. But he walked up amid the wild flowers one morning on a big mountain. "I was once quoted in the New York Times saying--'life is lunch'--but then I saw a 500 pound bear totally fixed on me about half-way up the slope above me. I took one photo and tried to calmly walk away because I didn't want this creature to have a taste of Texas!" Bears are moving in on uncivilized humans because they are eating everything in order to go into hibernation. It's almost as bad as politics.