Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dying Is Easy, Playing James Bond Is Hard

I had already pretty much made up my mind. Sean Connery was James Bond because, duh, Goldfinger. Never mind that 007 was supposed to be English and Sean's Scottish brogue only got thicker with each iteration. I had seen the face of James Bond and it was Mister Connery.
So imagine my hard to please sneer when I heard he was being replaced by that TV spy, Roger Moore.  I can't say that I had watched an episode of The Saint before I landed on my opinion, but knowing that Mister Moore was able to wear a tuxedo well did not immediately qualify him for the big leagues. I kept this bias running through my eleven year old head in the first moments of Live and Let Die. Maybe it was the hard rocking theme from Paul McCartney and the Wings. Maybe it was the first time I had sat in a movie theater to get my James Bond fix. Maybe Roger Moore was up to the task of carrying a license to kill. It was probably a pastiche of those factors along with the sweeping zeitgeist of the seventies. Cubby Broccoli had made his choice and we were going to live with it. And let die with it.
And for seven feature films, from 1973 to 1985, Roger was the guy with the golden gun. Technically, this was Christopher Lee, but it makes such a fine phrase. Much in the same way that my son grew up in a world with prequel Star Wars, I was subject to the Moore-Bond, and I confess I enjoyed the ride. I still had my television reunions with Sean Connery, but soon ABC was showing Roger's oeuvre in slots that used to be From Russia With Love.  Suddenly, the Aston Martin with an ejection seat had competition: An underwater Lotus. The lighter, more sardonic image of Ian Fleming's superspy began to emerge. Okay, maybe this was James Bond Lite, but it was the sustaining version of my youth. The balcony of the Flatirons theater every other summer was filled with the kids from my neighborhood awaiting the next installment.
And now, Sir Roger Moore has gone to that big gadget filled adventure in the heavens. No doubt he will show up to the Pearly Gates in a dinner jacket, with a wink of fun. Shaken, not stirred. Because that was what he brought us. Aloha, Mister Bond. You stomped on the Terra.

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