What a lovely analogy, Freemo!
Perhaps Grant is Ray Donovan? The studio enforcer hired to ensure everyone’s where they’re supposed to be (i could’ve said 1st AD, but Ray Donovan’s more fun and Shaw would be one of the few actors able to pull of that character as well as liev schreiber).
What all this highlights for me is that the absence of a single personification of evil - with enough screen time to matter - makes FRWL a unique entry. It’s the only film that truly captures the notion that Bond’s up against an organisation. Others give it lip service, but with FRWL it’s in the telling of the story, rather than a line of dialogue, or shots of minions at work behind the Big Bad. And it’s all the more complex with the ruse that Klebb is representing one Big Bad organisation posing as another Big Bad organisation. It demands a lot from the audience - an approach that seems to have been abandoned after GFs far simpler approach was a big hit.
The only other entries that i can think of which attempt to present such complexity are TLD, SP and QoS. None of them were well received by the general audience, if i recall correctly. And were followed up with far more archetypal Bond villains; a clear Big Bad!
The failure of TLD, SP and QoS were that an attempt at complexity - a mystery, or things not being what they seem was that instead of complex, it was complicated. Instead of placing those foes Bond deals with in a wider context of villainy and conspiracy, these complications muddied and diminished. Instead of empowering these characters they belittled them.
Instead of the truth revealing two villains in TLD, the poor writing and half hearted attempt at mystery without adequate foreshadowing made the final reveal of Whitaker a bit ‘whatever!’
Oberhauser had of wonderful foreshadowing, yet the complication of the family aspect certainly didn’t please everyone. It pinned the audience satisfaction on a climactic, Vaderish, “I’m your brother, Bond" moment!” which didn’t quite cut the mustard in paying off all that wonderful build up. Was that due to the writing, directing, the performances, the edit, or simply betting on a horse that was always going to fall at the last hurdle?
…I guess the reveal needed more drama - after all, Luke loses a hand and falls to his death, if not for a passing Falcon. Personally i think all involved did a fine job, but it was just a horse fated to not finish (if only SP had finished in the desert - but that’s another rant). I think however they did that story the whole notion is too tricksy, too contrived, too retro-fitted, even for a Bond movie. I digress…
Like FRWL, QoS has a great sense of the vast organisation behind Green (and Le Chiffre), but failed in its portrayal of their lieutenant. Green was no Klebb and Elvis was noooo Grant! But it was a decent stab at emulating the great mechanism at work which Bond must face alone, the sole rep of the great mechanism of the British Secret Service. If not for the writer’s strike and with better casting Elvis may have been another Grant and Green another Klebb.
FRWL remains the only complex Bond movie in which everything works. It’s a stunning movie with a host of stunning villains of which Klebb and Grant really shine as the double act of nightmares.
Edit… when i started writing this meandering eulogy of Bond 2 the winner was undecided. Now i see Drax has deservedly KO’d K&G… fair enough, my thesis is now an epitaph.