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?