Shocking Bond Confessions


Why no love for Goldeneye? What’s wrong with it?

clenches angry fists


Hmm I have to agree. I love Bond, but I have many other favourite films that must be put above that - Indiana Jones 1-3, Star Trek 2, Life Aquatic…among others.


Ah, yes. A very good point and one that I had been ruminating on for some time. At least with the actors. (Kicking myself that I hadn’t contributed this one.)

I do wonder if some of the directors had done their best work on Bond, at the very least, John Glen.


You mean overtly designed Mise-en-scene, for him to have none would just a blank screen. LTK does have very obvious miss-en-scene, it’s one of the aspects Glenn uses to demonstrate Bond’s fish out of water nature.


I understood he worked on The Italian Job and The Wild Geese, although that might all be about the sum of the parts rather than singling him out specifically for praise. That said, although I don’t think very much of any of the Bonds he directed, or how they seem to have been directed, I suspect his contribution to The Spy who Loved Me is pretty strong. You might have spotted another flaw in my overall (miserable) theory - an exception testing the rule, though.


Mise en scene can be overtly designed–Von Sternberg or Minnelli–or minimal–Hawks or Ozu. Many directors have zero mise en scene–in fact, the vast majority of films made lack it, even though many have visual style.

LTK has a visual signature, but that does mean it has mise en scene. I have not seen the film in a longtime, so I will keep your perspective in mind next time I view it.


Since Bond films are pure entertainment with no filmmaking finesse a priority, I do understand that perfectly.

For me, I would find it impossible to do a best or better put favorite films. And that list would grow with every wonderful film I see.

It is interesting to me, however, that as I get older movies I was totally impressed by at first can lose their meaning for me. The Bond films are the strange beast that actually lost their importance for me when I entered my 20´s and gained even more importance than ever during my late 30´s.

One reason: nostalgia, yes.

But the main reason: during my 20´s I worked as a film critic and got infected by the pretense of HIGH ART. Since Bond films do not qualify in that category I began to look down on them as relics of my childhood and teenaged confusion.

After that bug passed, however, I was free to enjoy every bit of art that I just liked. And I could appreciate what the Bond films are and can do and have done for so long now.

And if I have to measure the Bond films within all the films I have seen so far I can only really put them up with others in their specific subgenre of, um, “spy action adventure”. I have recently watched the fabulous Stephen King adaptation “Gerald´s Game” by Mike Flanagan, and that is a total masterpiece. But I would not be able to fairly assess that that terrific film is better than “The Spy Who Loved Me” or vice versa. I could only maintain that “Gerald´s Game” is one of the best King adaptations I have seen, and certainly one of the best horror movies.

Back to the topic - my shocking Bond confession of the day is this: I still have problems watching THUNDERBALL without checking my watch in the last half hour.


Mise-en-scene, in english, is “placing on stage” and is literally just the way the stage is laid out. Every shot has it in a film by necessity of making sure items and actors can be properly seen, and arnt walking off camera, or indeed into the lighting. “Hitting your mark” is for mise en scene. some are designed to create a specific image, most its just for the sake of practiciality. Anything other than total blindness has Mise en scene.


I’m assuming that’s a typo rather than a Freudian slip, but it pleased me enormously.


Again I avoid making lists as a rule, but my “favorite” films are usually those that bring me the most satisfaction as a viewer. I produce videos in my day job, so I appreciate technical skill in filmmaking and I “get” that certain films are more artistically nuanced or accomplished than others, but if they don’t entertain me, who cares? (Or to quote a McCartney lyric, “What good is art if it hurts your head?”)

Same with performers: I can certainly appreciate the dedication and artistry of a DeNiro or even a Christian Bale when it comes to shaving their heads, putting on or losing weight, learning accents, etc for a part, but at the end of the day I’m just as likely to prefer re-watching a film where Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper or Sean Connery play themselves for the umpteenth time in the same way they always play everything, whether cowboy or pirate, aristocrat or average Joe, mid-Westerner or “Arab sheik.” For me, the job of a film is to tell a story: if great visuals and clever effects and intense acting aid that goal, great, but if they ever hog the spotlight to the detriment of the story, I’m out.

The Bonds will always hold a special place in my heart for opening my eyes to a bigger world back when I was a kid stuck in the boonies, and Bond himself, in all his sartorial splendor, improvisational genius and coolness under pressure was my role model as a kid who didn’t possess even one of those qualities. To my young mind, they were the ultimate example of the films you could and should make if you were given a huge budget and few if any restrictions. Everything else had limits, either in budget or imagination or audacity, but the Bonds dialed it up to 11, and that made them unbeatable in my eyes.

Over-familiarity and repetition may have cooled my ardor somewhat, plus I think the ideal age for Bond fandom is about 14, but I still love the Bonds. I may enjoy watching something like “North By Northwest” or “The Manchurian Candidate” (62) or “They Died With Their Boots On” or even “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” more these days, but for the same reasons: they push all the right buttons with me and never fail to deliver.

Also, to be fair, I haven’t enjoyed a Bond without reservation since TLD. Although with CR, the only reservation was “it’s not really Bond” Awesome yes, but not really Bond as I define the formula.


And who could forget Glen´s famous credo: I never miss.


Close. Auto-correct. My phone is xenephobic apparantly.


Well, maybe what I should have said was that the reboot only left me unsure how to categorize CR in the context of “Bond film,” per se. As a “movie” – full stop and without the “Bond” qualifier in front – CR is certainly on par with any of the best entries and arguably up there with FRWL and OHMSS. But it’s like that old Sesame Street song: “Two of these things belong together, one of these things just isn’t the same.”

Honestly, CR’s rejection of the old formula – as if the previous films never existed and this was the inaugural attempt to adapt Fleming to screen, with no template to work from – was one of its greatest strengths to me. I thought it was a brilliant move and after the Brosnan era probably the only twist that could have lured me back into the theater for “another Bond.” If anything has dimmed my view of CR, it’s the Craig films that followed, which I feel haven’t lived up to the promise of that inaugural entry and have failed to build a mythology to equal, let alone surpass, what went before. I don’t think the latter films have “built to Bond as I define it.” All they’ve done, in my view, has been to try and repeat what worked in CR while shoe-horning in homages and call-backs to Classic Bond that don’t fit and just muddy the waters.


But that is not what the Cahiers du Cinema critics meant when they started using the phrase, or how it has developed since then. For Cahiers writers and those who developed their ideas, mise en scene (in a broad/generalized way) is an aesthetic consequence/experience/meaning that can arise from the interaction/combination of: the way things are laid out; performance; gesture; editing; music; sound design/silence; lighting; art direction; framing; dialogue etc. Your definition equates mise en scene with (reduces it to) one of its elements.

A film is most often composed of the elements I cited (non-narrative film are an exception, but the films of Gehr, Brakhage, and Jacobs can also possess mise en scene), but their presence alone does not guarantee the emergence of mise en scene. The movies of Richard Thorpe and Vincente Minnelli both contain these elements, and both men worked at the same studio and with the same actors and technicians. Yet, I would argue that Minnelli’s movies have mise en scene and Thorpe’s do not. Thorpe’s actors hit their marks, speak their lines, and the lighting keeps everything clear–his work is the epitome of practicality, while Minnelli’s movies are very often art.

Every shot is “designed to create a specific image,” but not every specific image gives rise to mise en scene.


Because of Brexit? :grinning:


Regarding the McCartney lyric from ‘Keep Under Cover’: I always wondered if it was a subtle reference to Stuart Sutcliffe.


Not my definition, it’s how professionals are actually taught it. However, as lecturing is not something I have that degree for, I’ll let this go.


I don’t know. Lennon’s paranoia aside, it’s not usually McCartney’s habit to take digs at folks in his songs. During the phase in question, I always just assumed he threw in whatever would rhyme, and logic be damned. Isn’t that the same album that features the immortal, “Something took ahold of me, and I acted like a dustbin lid”? And later on we got gems like “It’s the season of the culture bat.”

I blame the pot.


Shocking Confession Jill St. John is my favourite Bond Girl


She is quite good until the end when IQ suddenly, inexplicably, plummets.