Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Jolly Roger?


How did it happen? You think it’s love, you think it’s for life, and then one day you realise it’s all over. I’m not talking about Mr Robot - we’ve been together 20 years at the end of April. No. I am finally admitting that Roger Moore is not a brilliant James Bond.



ITV (non-Brits, it’s one of our telly channels) has been showing one Bond film each Sunday for the part few months. I’ve been looking forward to them, and two of my favourites, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have already been on, but as time has gone on, I’ve enjoyed the films less. Last weekend they showed Moonraker. I didn’t enjoy it.

To be fair to Rog, he is hampered by the fact that many of his films were made in my least-favourite decade, and he has to contend with safari suits, a dreadful ‘humorous’ American sherrif in a couple of films, and theme songs with some of the most godawful lyrics this side of a Tim Rice musical – seriously, listen to the theme from The Man With the Golden Gun. But then he also gets one of the best villains, in the shape of Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, one of the most genuinely scary films in the whole Bond oevre (Live and Let Die, which scared me no end as a kid), and a cool underwater car.

My mother-in-law is of the opinion that Sean Connery is the best Bond and that Roger Moore is the Saint. I disagree with the first part, I prefer George Lazenby or Daniel Craig, but she’s spot-on on the second bit. It’s not just that Moore played Simon Templar brilliantly in the 1960s/70s TV series, but he embodies the spirit of Leslie Charteris’ original novels. He’s lighthearted, witty, amoral, like Templar... he lacks the brutality of Bond.

I will continue to watch the Bond films because it’s been a while since I’ve seen some of them, and it’s a rare treat to get the chance to see them in sequence, but I fear I have a slog ahead of me. For Your Eyes Only, which always used to be one of my favourites, is next, but after Rog is Timothy Dalton, and then comes Pierce Brosnan, who is my least favourite Bond, though that is because he’s hampered by the worst Bond-by-numbers scripts. But then, hopefully, we’ll get the Craig films, and they’re well worth the wait.

Do you have a favourite Bond or Bond film?

14 comments :

  1. “Showing one Bond film each Sunday for the part few months” few months? More like 40! ITV is channel Bond… not complaining mind, its good to know that I can lounge in a chair on Sundays, my Sunday dinner ‘settling’ as I have this very same debate with Mrs Jones. She feels the same way you do about Rog.

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    1. It makes me sad. I loves Rog. But he is not a great Bond.

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    2. Lets just say, I can see what the problem is... ;)

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  2. I totally agree with you on Roger I have the most vivid memories of his safari suits as a child, he never seemed as cool as Connery, but like you say, its probably more to do with the fact Connery was working within my preferred era of 60's fashion! I am not sure who is my favourite i think probably Lazenby partly his bond girl / wife was Diana Rig and I just love her!

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    1. Yes, Lazenby's the one who wasn't popular at the time, but in retrospect everyone loves. Possibly the 60s style is another reason why Moore seems cooler as the Saint than as Bond.

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  3. I don't like Roger Moore as Bond, I'm not overfond of him full stop to be honest, but he was very good in The Persuaders (we have the box set and used to watch an episode daily) and we also have The Saint box set but have had it for years now but have yet to get much further than the first couple of episodes. I caught a bit of Moonraker at the weekend and was not impressed. Sean Connery is my favourite if I have to watch a Bond film, but to be honest again, I'm not a big fan of the Bond Films. I liked Dr No and Diamonds are Forever and despite adoring Christopher Lee, have never seen The Man With the Golden Gun, I always manage to miss it.

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    1. The Man with the Golden Gun is probably the best Roger Moore Bond, but then Christopher Lee immediately raises the quality of anything he's in, he's like Peter Cushing in that way.

      I'd completely forgotten about The Persuaders! I think I like the Saint TV series because I like the books. Many of the books were written decades earlier; it'd be lovely to see someone do a proper deco version of it for telly...

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    2. Have you been watching the 1930's versions of The Saint which BBC2 are showing on weekends?

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    3. Errrrrrrrse! I had missed those! Thanks for the heads-up, I was able to see one on iPlayer last night. Now I want to read all the books again...

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  4. I’m in the early planning stages of doing a series of blog posts on Bond’s in order of preference. Rog will likely end up 3rd in my list, pipping Brosnan because he’s firstly more unique (Brosnan’s major failing is that he is just an amalgam of all the others) and secondly because he had a wider array of films (most of Brosnan’s are a bit samey)

    I think Roger is underrated; in particular his early films are great, The Man with the Golden Gun is the weakest of the first three, but still good fun, which I think is one of the things I do enjoy about Rog, his films, even at their silliest, are fun. I also think he’s more brutal and cold blooded than people imagine, and the fact that he’s suave and lightweight actually makes his brutality more shocking than say Connery, who never does anything really unexpected.

    From his “I certainly wouldn’t have killed you before.” to Rosie and basically tricking Solitaire into shagging him(which isn’t a great moment but preferable to Connery’s ‘I’ll just lie on top of you till you give in Pussy’ tactic) in Live and Let Die, to slapping Andrea Anders around in The Man with the Golden Gun and dropping a man off a rooftop with a flick of his tie in The Spy Who Loved Me and dispensing with the man who killed the countess in For Your Eyes Only.

    He’s also the Bond who got revenge for Tracy, which is another plus point.

    Acting wise he’s limited, but he is better than people think. Check out his reaction when XXX mentions Tracy, or his disdain when Scaramanga says they’re alike.

    Sorry I’m prattling on now. At the end of the day I’ve never met a Bond I didn’t like. My Bond is Dalton however. Favourite film OHMSS (which coincidentally features my favourite Bond girl into the bargain.)

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    1. Interesting, I think Golden Gun is the best Moore film, but then I'm a sucker for anything with Christopher Lee in.

      Dalton - interesting choice. And, I think, very much underrated. Like Moore, he's slightly hampered by the timing of his films; Moore got Cannonball Run-style comedy sheriff and safari suits, Dalton got less sauce...

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    2. Yeah Dalton was definitely the right man at the wrong time (imagine Casino Royale with him) though I think Moore was probably the right man for the era. I love his turn in the Cannonball Run "I should warn you, I'm Roger Moore" but in addition I often think his best Bond performance was actually not in a Bond film, but as Shaun Finn in The Wild Geese.

      I think Christopher Lee elevates the man with the golden gun loads. To be honest if I could make one change to that film I'd just lose the comedy sound effect from the car jump!

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    3. Oooh that car jump... dreadful.

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  5. I was a teenager when Roger became Bond. We were all so in love with Sean; Roger was a real disappointment.

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