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Man with the Golden Touch: How the Bond Films Conquered the World
     

Man with the Golden Touch: How the Bond Films Conquered the World

by Sinclair McKay
 

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When Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman set out to make what they expected to be the first of three or four movies based on the espionage novels of Ian Fleming they can hardly have dreamt that they were founding a business that would still be going str
Yet the role of James Bond, which transformed Sean Connery’s career in 1962 when Dr No came out, still

Overview

When Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman set out to make what they expected to be the first of three or four movies based on the espionage novels of Ian Fleming they can hardly have dreamt that they were founding a business that would still be going str
Yet the role of James Bond, which transformed Sean Connery’s career in 1962 when Dr No came out, still retained its star-making power in 2006 when Daniel Craig made his Bond debut in Casino Royale. This is the story of how, with the odd misstep along the way, the owners of the Bond franchise, Eon Productions, have contrived to keep James Bond abreast of the zeitgeist and at the top of the charts for 45 years, through 21 films featuring six Bonds, three M’s, two Q’s and three Moneypennies. Thanks to the films, Fleming’s original creation has been transformed from a black sheep of the post-war English upper classes into a figure with universal appeal, constantly evolving to keep pace with changing social and political circumstances. Having interviewed people concerned with all aspects of the films, Sinclair McKay is ideally placed to describe how the Bond ‘brand’ has been managed over the years as well as to give us the inside stories of the supporting cast of Bond girls, Bond villains, Bond cars and Bond gadgetry. Sinclair McKay, formerly assistant features editor of the Daily Telegraph, works as a freelance writer and journalist. He is also the author of A Thing of Unspeakable Horror: The History of Hammer Films, which the Guardian called ‘A splendid history’ and the Independent on Sunday described as ‘Brisk, cheerful and enthusiastic.’

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This delightful critical appreciation celebrates the longest-running of all film franchises as much for its absurd excesses as for its stylish thrills. Journalist McKay considers the films' family-run production company to be the Bond saga's true auteur and devotes a chapter to each of the movies up through the groundbreaking Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. McKay's 360-degree treatments take in everything from the script and actors' performances to the set design, score, and titles sequences, with droll digressions thrown in on such Bond motifs as Persian cats, monorails, “impossible leaps of villainous logic,” and substandard action set pieces (“That's another thing that Bond producers never really learn: boat chases are intrinsically dull”). McKay writes in a breezy, chatty style, as if perpetually in between mouthfuls of popcorn; he remains raptly focused on aesthetics and eyeball impact while still teasing out underlying sexual and geopolitical themes. He's a charming hybrid of critic and fan, calling out Thunderball's failings—“How is it possible for a drama involving nuclear blackmail to drag on so?”—while managing to find the good even in George Lazenby. The result is a scintillating read that's often more entertaining than the movies themselves. Photos. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"[R]eading McKay's retrospective, it seems like Bond is just getting started." —New York Post

"[O]ne of the very best attempts to take stock of the Bond films—smart and unexpected." — The New Republic

"Thoroughly researched, drolly written and critically sophisticated." — The Daily Mail

"Armed with encyclopedic knowledge and wit as dry as a shaken martini, Sinclair McKay casts a critical eye at the cinematic phenomenon launched in 1962's Dr. No with Sean Connery uttering that famous introduction: 'Bond. James Bond.' McKay astutely addresses the plots of each film and places them in the political and popular cultures of their eras (Bond has but one love interest in 1987's The Living Daylights because producers feared encouraging promiscuity in an age of AIDS). He's also an insightful critic, championing the initially maligned On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) as one of the best in the series. And he's often funny, discussing Roger Moore's 'many centuries' in show business, and describing sillier moments in the films as 'naff,' which the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines as 'unfashionable, lacking in taste or style' — something McKay's book most definitely is not." — Newark Star-Ledger

"A marvelously entertaining tome...an arch but jolly 'galumph.'" — Metrolife

"Thoroughly researched and documented yet fetching in tone and style, McKay's fun, smart, and informative book gracefully treads the criticism/entertainment border" — Library Journal

"Delightful critical appreciation—McKay writes in a breezy, chatty style, as if perpetually in between mouthfuls of popcornèHe's a charming hybrid of a critic and fanè[The Man with the Golden Touch is] a scintillating read that's often more entertaining than the movies themselves." — Publishers Weekly

"Zeltserman deftly drags the reader through the story, keeping you wondering about the truth... The Caretaker of Lorne Field is camp, and therein lies its appeal." — Dallas Morning News

Library Journal
For almost 50 years, throughout a cinematic oeuvre of 22 films, fans of Ian Fleming's fictional Cold War MI6 überspy have been in glorious Bondage. Freelance writer McKay explores the entire Bond cash cow, the longest-running film franchise in history. All the leading men get their due with film backstories and anecdotes. McKay also includes an informative analysis of EON productions, the London production company (started by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in 1961) that owns the Bond franchise. The Bond formula—exotic locales, technical gadgetry, megalomaniacal villains, obligatory chase scenes, and, oh yes, all those girls—is delineated in all its splendor. There is no shortage of critical (James Chapman's License To Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films), popular (John Cork's Bond Girls Are Forever: The Women of James Bond), and fan-based (Michael Di Leo's The Spy Who Thrilled Us: A Guide to the Best of Cinematic James Bond) 007 titles. VERDICT Thoroughly researched and documented yet fetching in tone and style, McKay's fun, smart, and informative book gracefully treads the criticism/entertainment border.—Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590202982
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
08/05/2010
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,391,483
Product dimensions:
9.48(w) x 11.28(h) x 1.35(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Sinclair McKay, formerly Assistant Features Editor at The Daily Telegraph, works in London as a freelance writer and journalist.

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