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Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on DVDs: Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection




BOND 50: THE COMPLETE 22 FILM COLLECTION (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars)

U.K.: Various Directors, 1962-2012 (MGM)

Bond. James Bond. Times 22.

I’m not a Bond-olator, by any means, but this set seems a beauty: a real pop movie treasure trove. It’s an essential Blu-ray box set — even if a number of the movies are disappointing. (Has anyone ever cared to mount a defense of the 1985 A View to a Kill?)

But the great ones are all there, and all the good ones too, including the complete works of the very best Bond of them all. (See below.) In one package we get the “official” efforts of all of the various Agents 007: Bondsmen Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig — from From Russia With Love (longtime series screenwriter Richard Maibaum’s personal favorite), Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me and the recent snazzy, thrilling Bond reboot Casino Royale.

Creator/writer Ian Fleming conceived the character of James Bond out of his own knowledge of spying (gleaned during his World War II exploits as a high-ranking British naval intelligence officer), and also out of his admiration for popular fiction like Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled mystery novels about the tough, sardonic Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe. (Other primary influences: Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene, John Buchan, Eric Ambler.) Since Fleming knew the world of spies and espionage intimately, and also had lived part of the kind of playboy/epicure’s life the fictional Bond favored, his spy thrillers ( even though they were obvious wish-fulfillment fantasies of sex and sadism), were full of convincing detail and background and brand names. Unfortunately, Fleming died, at 56, in 1964, the same year the movie of Goldfinger came out — so he only got an inkling of the multi-media phenomenon his literary creation was to become. And, of course, only a fraction of the money he would have earned had he lived and kept on writing Bonds.

There are ups and downs to James Bond. For my money, the series never got better than Goldfinger. But the 2006 Royale is an exciting return to form, with Daniel Craig an interesting new slick and brutal (and relatively humorless) Bond. No one though will ever adequately replace the best James Bond of all, who is…


….revealed in the last line of this review.


All  “official” Bonds, previous to the current Skyfall, are remastered here, with all the Bond Girls, Q gadgets, super villains and action set-pieces your heart could crave — and there’s 130 hours of extras. There’s also a slot reserved for the current Bond, Skyfall, which MGM assumes you will buy later on.



Included: Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962) (Three Stars) The Bond: Sean Connery. The Girl: Ursula Andress. The Villain: Joseph Wiseman.

From Russia With Love (Young, 1963) (Three and a Half Stars) Connery, Robert Shaw/Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi.

Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964) (Three and a Half Stars) Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe.

Thunderball (Young, 1965) (Two and a Half Stars) Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi.

You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967) (Three and a Half Stars) Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Donald Pleasence.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter R. Hunt, 1969) (Three Stars) George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas.

Diamonds Are Forever (Hamilton, 1971) (Three Stars) Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray.

Live and Let Die (Hamilton, 1973) (Two and a Half Stars) Roger Moore, Jane Seymour, Yaphet Kotto.

The Man with the Golden Gun (Hamilton, 1974) (Two Stars) Moore, Britt Ekland/Maud Adams, Christopher Lee.

The Spy Who Loved Me (Gilbert, 1977) (Three and a Half Stars) Moore, Barbara Bach, Curt Jurgens/Richard Kiel.

Moonraker (Gilbert, 1979) (Two Stars) Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale;

For Your Eyes Only (Glen, 1981) (Two and a Half Stars) Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol;

Octopussy (Glen, 1983) (Three Stars) Moore, Adams, Louis Jourdan;

A View to a Kill (Glen, 1985) (One and a Half Stars) Moore, Tanya Roberts, Christopher Walken/Grace Jones;

The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987) (Two Stars) Timothy Dalton, Maryam d‘Abo, Jeroen Krabbe;

Licence to Kill (Glen, 1989) (Two Stars) Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi.

GoldenEye (Martin Campbell, 1995) (Three Stars); Pierce Brosnan, Izabella Scorupko/Famke Janssen, Sean Bean

The World is Not Enough (Michael Apted, 1999) (Two and a Half Stars); Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle;

Die Another Day ( Lee Tamahori, 2002) (Three Stars); Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens;

Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006) (Three and a Half Stars). Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen

Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster, 2008) (Two and a Half Stars).

Note: I’ve seen every Bond movie in the series, some several times, but not this set. Yet.


The Jams Bond File:

Best Bond Movie: Goldfinger.

Best Bond Directors: Lewis Gilbert (You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker)

Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, Casino Royale)

Somewhat Unsung Hero (maybe I should have given it to him): John Glen, director and second unit director on many Bond movies and the best of all Bond action men.

Best Bond Writer: Richard Maibaum.

Best Bond Composer: John Barry.

Best Bond Villain: Gert Frobe in Goldfinger

Best Bond Girl: Eva Green in Casino Royale

Best M: Judi Dench

Best Q: Desmond Llewelyn

Best Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell

Best Bond Gadget: The Aston-Martin

Worst Bond Movie: A View to a Kill

Odd Bond Out: Casino Royale (1967, directed by John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Val Guest and Joe McGrath) With David Niven as Bond, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen as sort of Bond replacements, Ursula Andress and Jacky Bisset among the Bond Girls, and Orson Welles as (sorry) the heavy.

The Bond Movie That Shouldn’t be Good, But Is: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The Bond Movie that Should be Good, But Isn’t: Moonraker

The Bond Movie that’s a Sleeper: Octopussy

The Bond Movie I Wish Had Been a Hit But Wasn‘t: Never Say Never Again — Sean Connery’s return as 007 for another company. Unfortunately, instead of going up against Moore and A View to a Kill, Connery went up against Moore and Octopussy.

The Actual, No Kidding First James Bond actor (on TV): Barry Nelson (He’s better in The Shining.)

My Favorite Bond Title Songs: “Goldfinger” (Anthony Newley-Leslie Bricusse) sung by Shirley Bassey “Live and Let Die,” written and sung by Paul McCartney; “The Spy Who Loved Me” (“Nobody Does It Better“) (Marvin Hamlisch-Carly Simon), sung by Carly Simon. The latter is the best Bond song of all and probably always will be.

And (nobody does it better)…

The Best James Bond: Sean Connery.

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One Response to “Wilmington on DVDs: Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection”

  1. Ryan says:

    You forgot Tomorrow Never Dies


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon