Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films

Overview

007's signature conversation opener has become indelibly stamped on our cultural memory. So too have the visual images from twenty films--the Bond silhouette in the opening credits striding across the screen, then abruptly turning cameraward to fire his gun; the calculating smirk of Sean Connery and his heirs in their roles as England's foremost Secret Service agent; and, of course, the ritualistic ordering of the "shaken, not stirred" martini. The most popular movie series in movie history, the Bond narrative ...
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Overview

007's signature conversation opener has become indelibly stamped on our cultural memory. So too have the visual images from twenty films--the Bond silhouette in the opening credits striding across the screen, then abruptly turning cameraward to fire his gun; the calculating smirk of Sean Connery and his heirs in their roles as England's foremost Secret Service agent; and, of course, the ritualistic ordering of the "shaken, not stirred" martini. The most popular movie series in movie history, the Bond narrative has adjusted to changing times for four decades without ever abandoning a tried-and-true recipe of diabolical international conspiracy, sexual intrigue, and a battery of gadgetry worthy of Batman's tool belt.

Licence to Thrill is an incisive analysis of the Bond film oeuvre, examining the fictional star and the series built around his escapades. As James Chapman investigates celluloid Bond, he explores the origins of the films in lan Fleming's novels, locates them in the spy thriller genre, discusses the Bond formula, and situates the suave British secret agent's adventuring within film history and film culture. Relating the evolution of the series to changes within the film industry, the broader culture of Britain, and international relations, Licence to Thrill legitimates the Bond legacy in the realm of film criticism, rehabilitating an immensely popular series that has been woefully neglected by specialists of popular culture.

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Editorial Reviews

The Times (London)
There are two kinds of academic texts: the kind that contains photographs of Ursula Andress wearing a bikini, and the kind that do not. Licence to Thrill falls, fortunately, into the first category.

— Giles Coren

SFX magazine
Thoughtful, intelligent, ludicrous and a bit snobby. Bit like Bond, really.

— Stephen O'Brien

Evening Standard
For a theoretical study it is surprisingly entertaining. Chapman demonstrates that there is more to the 007 franchise than just girls, guns and globe trotting. He views each film as an exercise in camp.

— Mark Sanderson

The Times (London) - Giles Coren
There are two kinds of academic texts: the kind that contains photographs of Ursula Andress wearing a bikini, and the kind that do not. Licence to Thrill falls, fortunately, into the first category.
SFX magazine - Stephen O'Brien
Thoughtful, intelligent, ludicrous and a bit snobby. Bit like Bond, really.
Evening Standard - Mark Sanderson
For a theoretical study it is surprisingly entertaining. Chapman demonstrates that there is more to the 007 franchise than just girls, guns and globe trotting. He views each film as an exercise in camp.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845115159
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/18/2008
  • Series: Cinema and Society Series
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 820,377
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Chapman teaches at the Open University and is author of The British at War: Cinema, State, and Propaganda, 1939—1945. He is also joint editor of Windows on the Sixties.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

* General Editor’s Introduction

• Acknowledgements

• Preface to the Second Edition

• Author’s Note

• Introduction: Taking James Bond Seriously

• The Contexts of Bond

• Snobbery With Violence: Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger

• Bondmania: Thunderball, Casino Royale, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

• Bond in Transition: Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun

• Keeping the British End Up: The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker

• Cold Warrior Reborn: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, A View To A Kill

• Continuity and Change: The Living Daylights, Licence To Kill

• Millennial Bond: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day

• Revisionist Bond: Casino Royale

• Notes

• Filmography

• Bibliography

• Index *

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