Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The First Bond Film

"Looks like your out to get me... ."
Connery's legendary debut as 007.

It was 50 years ago this month that the first James Bond film, DR. NO, was released. Sean Connery debuted his famous dialogue of “Bond…James Bond” and the Production team of Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli started what has become the longest running film franchise ever. 

Illustrator Mitchell Hooks designed the first Bond movie poster.

I wasn’t even born when Connery made his Bond debut. Somewhere around 1971, 9 years after Dr. No and 7 years after the Bond craze hit orbit with the box-office shattering “Goldfinger,” I had my first exposure to 007. My father loved to tell stories (did I inherit this trait, or what?) and proceeded to weave such a tale of British Agent James Bond 007 fighting the baddie Odd Job, leveling karate chops and punches against Odd Job’s deadly steel rimmed bowler hat.  Like any wondrous kid full of imagination, I demanded the real thing.

"The Criminal Mind is always superior. It has to be."
Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, and Sean Connery in the third act of DR.NO. 

Bond was playing on weekend matinees at the time, and since Dad couldn’t change his work schedule, he requested that Mom take me. Starting with a double feature of You Only Live Twice followed by Thunderball, my expectations for action movies were set that day! Equally great was my disappointment. Disgusted by too many “mushy” kissing sequences (and God knows how many sexual suggestions for a first grader to fathom) my Mom dragged me out of Thunderball kicking and screaming before the grand action climax.  But I would always have the memory of Bond’s “Little Nellie” Gyrocopter and his assault on Blofeld’s volcano lair to keep me warm.

"Stay where you are!"
Don't mess with Ursula Andress as Honey Rider.

Much has changed with the many iterations of Bond throughout the years. For me the true Bond experience will always be a grand scale, plot-driven spectacle, without the character arcs of recent films.

My unfinished illustration for the Crab Key battle. 

While developing my now defunct Bond video game pitch a few years ago, I experimented with some illustration and vis dev paintings in Photoshop.  In addition, I studied lots of stills from my favorite Bonds. What was started 50 years ago is clearly timeless today.

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