Tag Archives: James Bond

Daniel Craig: Beyond Bond

The beloved English actor has been gracing our screens for many years, with women everywhere swooning at one glance. His piercing blue eyes and fair hair have been a contrast to the traditional tall dark and handsome Bond look, but his rugged style has upheld the attraction to the character of 007.

Craig has featured in four Bond films to date with his fifth film, No Time to Die, due to be released next year. His feature in Skyfall focused on the character’s childhood and for once, a Bond film revealed secrets about the character himself instead of his enemies.

But Craig is more than just one of the Bond actors. He’s played many great characters and not just the type who enjoys playing Roulette in casinos. Check out some alternative films that Craig has featured in and see what you think in comparison.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Situated in Sweden, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a film based on the Millennium book series by Stieg Larsson. Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has recently run into some trouble after publishing some content with questionable sources. In an attempt to save his career, he takes a job offered to him by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to help find his niece, whom the family have been searching for, for 40 years.

To help him solve the case, Blomkvist demands the help of the person who carried out the background checks on him for the job – he knows that some of the information isn’t in the public eye. Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, is a serial hacker and tech whizz. The pair work together to solve the mystery of Harriet Vanger as well as resolving their personal issues.

With lots of action scenes, you would think that Craig is in familiar territory. In reality, instead of playing the brave hero like he is used to in Bond films, he is playing a journalist who doesn’t know how to hold a gun and needs Lisbeth to rescue him time and time again.

An incredible crime and mysterious storyline that will leave you in disbelief and on the edge of your seat. Not only is there a sequel film, but the book trilogy is also available for you to continue discovering the adventures of Lisbeth and Mikael.


Cowboys & Aliens

In this film, Craig plays the main character, Jake Lonergan. The outlaw wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory of who he is or why he is there, but he knows the gauntlet around his wrist is not only not his, but not from anywhere he has been before.

Lonergan cannot remove the gauntlet so decides to find someone who can. He stumbles upon a town where he is made to stand trial for his crimes but ends up being rescued by powerful cattleman, Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Amongst the commotion, an alien aircraft attacks the town and activates Lonergan’s gauntlet as a weapon. He saves the town by shooting down the alien aircraft before having a flashback that reminds him of his recent alien abduction.

Lonergan unites the townsfolk, the natives and anyone he can find to battle the aliens. It’s a battle of tactics and brainpower, as the alien’s technology far outweighs the guns that the cowboys hold. In a bid to prevent the extinction of the human race, Craig and his fellow cowboys must fight fast, but it’s a race against the clock to protect the Earth from destruction.

And those are a just a few examples of some of the characters Daniel Craig has played outside of the world of James Bond. What are other notable Daniel Craig roles that you have seen him play? Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!

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Iconic James Bond Locations Around the World That You Can Visit

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Iconic James Bond Locations Around the World That You Can Visit

James Bond is everyone’s favourite British spy. Since the first film in 1962 Dr. No was aired, the Bond fandom has grown year on year. Now with the release of the 25th film looming and the franchise approaching 60 years of production – we have come to expect a certain level of danger and glamour when it comes to James Bond, including his gambling ways. If you want to be more like Bond, you can find plenty of games to play online at Paddy Power https://games.paddypower.com/

Throughout the years we have seen Bond in numerous glamorous location across the world. From a very long list we have handpicked some of our favourites all around the globe. You can visit these locations and even holiday in some, so be sure to consider them when choosing your next destination!

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The locations for the 1965 film are heavily varied, you’ll find some scenes shot in the heart of Buckinghamshire, England and then others in The Bahamas. As one of the first James Bond films, Thunderball has all the glamour and luxury you would expect. 

Head over the Atlantic to the Caribbean where you can take a James Bond Wrecks dive package to discover the remains of Thunderball’s Avro Vulcan Bomber. Be sure to check out Clifton Pier in Nassau Harbour, you can find stunning views from the likes of Largo’s Palmyra Lair. 

Live and Let Die

Another Caribbean location but this time for the 1973 film, Live and Let Die. This time Roger Moore was the man who would get to film in such stunning locations. You can actually stay in the Couples San Souci in Ocho Rios which was a hotel and nightclub in the film. While you holiday in luxury you can explore the other locations on the island including the Green Grotto Caves where Bond took out Doctor Kananga or visit the Louisiana crocodile farm known as Jamaica Swamp Safari Village, where the first owner ran across the top of the crocs for the film’s unforgettable stunt.

For Your Eyes Only

This time the Bond adventures remain in Europe for the 1981 film, For Your Eyes Only. In Corfu, just off the shore of mainland Greece we can find the Achilleion Palace. The casino which is located on the top floor of the palace is in the scenes where Bond intends to meet up with Kristatos and play a game of chemmy, we also see Bond playing Baccarat here against Bunky before dinner. You can visit the Palace via many different organised tours or head to the town of Gastouri and explore it for yourself.

License to Kill 

Timothy Dalton stars as James Bond in this 1989 film, it is one of his two appearances as the British spy. In Key West, Florida, USA we find Dalton filming scenes in the Ernest Hemingway home and museum. Possibly one of the most famous scenes of Dalton’s career is when his character Bond is told his license to kill has been revoked. 

The building was named a historic US landmark in 1968, but to this day still accepts visitors from all around the world. Here you can book weddings and tours or even just discover more about the man himself. Book ahead or simply turn up, the surrounding areas are stunning so there is plenty to do in the local area as well.

The World Is Not Enough

In the more recent film of 1999 we see Pierce Brosnan play James Bond in the 21st film of the franchise. This film has one of the most iconic London scenes in it where we see Bond in a high speed boat chase. If you head to the O2 Arena in London you can stand next to the Thames and witness where the chase took place, as well as ride a cable cart over the river. If you really want to check out the views in London you can book in advance and walk over the O2 Arena.


One of the most recent films with possibly the most personal storyline Bond has ever had is Skyfall. The film reaches into the past of James Bond, with his family and childhood home. Daniel Craig, who plays Bond, travels all over the world in this film, from Macau and Shanghai to the highlands of Scotland.

The Scottish highlands are where we see the depiction of the Bond family home, Skyfall Lodge, although the house and church were actually built for the purpose of the film in Elstead, Surrey England. Much of the films scenic shots were filmed in Scotland, especially that iconic scene with Bond driving up to his family mansion through the valleys of Glencoe. The stunning scenery is the perfect backdrop for the haunting scenes of M dying and Bond reminiscing on the memories of his childhood.

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Introducing James Bond: Spectre (2015)

It goes without saying that after the runaway success of Skyfall (2012), anticipation for Spectre was at a near fever pitch, especially since it was assumed (correctly) that the SPECTRE organization would finally be making it’s long awaited return to the franchise for the first time in 44 years. Which automatically led to another question: would Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the villainous leader of SPECTRE (and played by numerous actors in the past) also be making his return? The answer, thankfully, was yes. While Donald Pleasance remains my personal favorite actor to play the part (in You Only Live Twice), Christoph Waltz absolutely nailed the role here in Spectre.

The fourth Daniel Craig film sees Bond in trouble with M, yet again. It would seem in the opening adventure in Mexico City that Bond has gone off on a “mission” of his own choosing (i.e. MI6 didn’t authorize it), to assassinate a terrorist before they can execute a plan to blow up a packed stadium (this takes place during the height of Day of the Dead festivities). M demands an explanation, but Bond refuses to give one, so Bond is officially put on leave until further notice and is banned from leaving the country.


Times are changing rapidly for MI6: now as in Skyfall, the organization is being viewed as more obsolete than ever, and Max Denbigh (nicknamed “C” by a not-impressed Bond) seeks to have the agency replaced by the “Nine Eyes” global surveillance network. But there is much more at stake here than anyone realizes (even Bond). Since Casino Royale, a single entity has been manipulating world events, bringing everything to a head at the climax of this story. And if Bond should fail in his mission, there might be no stopping the enemy this time, because SPECTRE has returned.

I’m going to come right out and say it: Spectre is not as good as Skyfall. Now having said that, Spectre is still an awesome film. It has a little bit of everything: car chases, romance, high stakes, and a number of witty one-liners that could only come from a James Bond film. And yet, it doesn’t quite meet the bar that Skyfall set, but that’s no crime, since Skyfall may be the perfect Bond film.


One of my favorite characters has to be Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista). Hinx is a villain in the mold of the classic Bond henchmen (think of Oddjob and ESPECIALLY Jaws (you know, the tall guy with titanium teeth in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker). I enjoyed watching him so much that I secretly hope they find some way of “resurrecting” the character for the next Bond film. Another element that I loved? The classic “gun-barrel opening” FINALLY returns to its proper place at the beginning of the film.

Thomas Newman talks Spectre (2015)

For the musical score, Thomas Newman returned once again to compose the music for this film. According to director Sam Mendes, the final film contains over 100  minutes of music (and believe me, that is a LOT of music for any film). I really enjoyed the music for this film, it contains an appropriate mix of the classic James Bond theme, while at the same time using new motifs to emphasize the swiftly changing events of the story (the music for the car chase in Rome in particularly good, especially when the cars pass through St. Peter’s Square).

Spectre Title Sequence (2015)

The theme for the title sequence was titled “Writing’s On the Wall” and performed by Sam Smith. The song immediately received mixed reviews, with many comparisons being made with Adele’s “Skyfall” (with the latter being described as a much better Bond song). I don’t think it’s very fair to compare “Writing’s On the Wall” with “Skyfall” because, let’s be honest, “Skyfall” is an excellent piece of music. Certainly this latest Bond song has some flaws, the most noticeable being those moments when Smith goes into falsetto. If this were anything BUT a Bond film, I wouldn’t have an issue with it, but this IS a James Bond film and that makes the falsetto feel out of place. The strongest part of the song (for me) is the brief refrain “If I risk it all/Could you break my fall?” If he kept that quality of voice that he used in that moment throughout the song, I think it would have been better received.


Now on a final note, let’s talk about the ending of the film. Was I the only one who expected Madeleine Swann to be killed out of nowhere as James walked over to her? The tension was so thick, that I kept expecting something to happen. I also can’t forget the fact that Bond let Blofeld live (remember how Blofeld kept his eyes locked on Swann and Bond as they walked away together?) I’d be shocked if the next Bond film didn’t feature Blofeld out for revenge in one way or another (because in four Craig films, this is the first time Bond has let an adversary live). It was rather symbolic actually, that moment when Bond stood over Blofeld on the bridge.

Spectre in London 575

On the one side stood M, representing Bond’s duty as a Double-0 agent. But on the other side stood Madeleine, representing the side of life that Bond had kept locked away ever since Vesper died: the possibility of a life away from murder and death, the possibility of a life filled with love. And in that moment, Bond chooses love, by letting Blofeld live, by throwing his gun in the river, and by steadfastly walking AWAY from M and choosing to go with Madeleine. It will definitely be interesting to see where the story goes from here. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but only time will tell.


Of course we know James Bond will return, but the big question is, will it be Daniel Craig, or someone new? As much as people (including myself) would like to see him return for a 5th outing as 007, the truth is that Craig is now 48 years old, and assuming it takes at least two years for the next film to begin filming, that would make him 50. Given how physically demanding the role of James Bond has become, I would not be surprised if we see someone new when the 25th Bond film rolls out. And if that was indeed the finale of Craig’s Bond, I can’t think of a better exit than driving off with his lady love in that gorgeous Aston Martin.

And for the time being, that concludes Introducing James Bond.

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*poster and images are the property of Eon Productions

Introducing James Bond: Skyfall (2012)

Thus far in the Daniel Craig era of James Bond, we’ve had one good and one not-quite-as-good film. Skyfall, the penultimate film thus far, is for me, the moment where the Daniel Craig Bond finally hit his stride. No more awkwardness, no immaturity, THIS is the Bond we’ve come to know and love over the decades.


Skyfall begins with another mission in progress: Bond is in Istanbul accompanied by a female agent (and there’s a good reason we don’t know her name yet). The end of this scene (being the pre-credits) features Bond accidentally shot and presumed dead in the aftermath.


In reality, Bond is alive and well, he decided to use his presumed death as a way to take some much needed time away, but it doesn’t last. Back in London, M (Judi Dench) is facing considerable pressure from Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) over the continued existence of MI6 in the 21st century and she is being pushed to retire. Out of nowhere, the MI6 servers are hacked and the building is bombed, prompting Bond to return to the city.Bond is up against his most dangerous opponent yet, and not everyone is going to make it out alive.

Unlike the previous two Bond films, I was unable to catch Skyfall in the theater (something I deeply regretted once I did see the movie). If Goldfinger is the perfect classic Bond film, then Skyfall is the perfect Bond film of the new era, I can’t think of any flaws.

Ben Whishaw is PERFECT as the new Q by the way, I didn’t think anyone could ever replace Desmond Llewelyn in that role, but he is perfect (and Bond’s line during their introduction “You’ve still got spots!” always makes me laugh)

*warning: spoilers for the ending of Skyfall follow*

I did not see (or I didn’t want to see) the death of Judi Dench’s M coming, but I also understood her reasons for leaving (she had been playing the role since 1995 after all). Without a doubt, the series won’t be the same without her, but Ralph Fiennes makes a pretty great M too. And speaking of the new M, this is the first time in the cinematic Bond universe that we actually know M’s real name (Gareth Mallory). M’s real name IS mentioned in the books, but that’s a separate thing from the movies.


And before I get to the music, I have to talk about that final scene, where Bond properly gets introduced to Eve Moneypenny (aka that female agent from the pre-title sequence): that was perfect!! I had this overwhelming feeling of: finally, everything is right with the Bond universe again (it just didn’t feel right without Q and Moneypenny, and both were reintroduced in this film). And the last scene where Bond faces the new M in his office, just that moment alone was an homage to classic Bond with the design of the office, Bond’s suit, M’s suit, the painting behind M’s head (go back to the Connery films and check out M’s office, you’ll see what I mean). And for the first time in a long time, when the screen went black, I instantly wanted more!


Now on to the music! For the first time in quite a while, David Arnold did NOT return to compose the score to Skyfall; instead the score was written by Thomas Newman (a great film composer in his own right and a frequent collaborator with director Sam Mendes). (It should be noted that Arnold was also busy composing the music for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.) Newman’s score won the BAFTA for Best Film Music. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score (only the second Bond film score to be so honored).

Thomas Newman talks Skyfall (2012)

 Thomas Newman’s score contributed more than a little to the success of this film. In this short making-of segment, Newman talks about how the score was put together, along with a little behind-the-scenes action.

Skyfall Title Sequence (2012)

While the score for Skyfall was well-received, the title song turned the world upside down. “Skyfall” was performed by Adele and received instant critical acclaim from everyone, and is now considered one of the greatest Bond songs ever created. The song was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first Bond song to win an Oscar) and it also won a Brit Award for Best British Single (as well as a Critic’s Choice Award and a Golden Globe AND a Grammy Award.)


Credit to Art of the Title

I seriously doubt that any film will top Skyfall for quite some time, but Spectre certainly tried to (but more on that next time).

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Up next: Spectre (2015)

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*poster and images are the property of Eon Productions

Introducing James Bond: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Like many, I was excited to hear that Quantum of Solace would be coming out only two years after Casino Royale (2006). After the success of the first film in the rebooted series, everyone was excited to see where this new Bond would go next. Well…about that….


Quantum of Solace is (to my knowledge) a first for the Bond series. It is the only Bond film I know of to pick up exactly where the previous film left off. Think about it, with the exception of For Your Eyes Only (1981) which references Bond’s wife (as seen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) (and a very small reference to Dr. No in From Russia With Love (1963)), no other Bond film refers to any of its predecessors, they can all be viewed in pretty much any order you like. This changes with Craig’s Bond; unlike all the others before him, this series of films retains the consequences of what happens in earlier films. A good case in point would be Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), Bond’s one-time love interest. Even though she (spoiler alert) dies in Casino Royale, her presence lingers all the way through Spectre (2015) in one form or another.


The unusual title of the film comes from one of Fleming’s short stories collected under the umbrella title “For Your Eyes Only.” According to Fleming, the term “quantum” refers to the absolute minimum. Therefore, a “quantum of solace” would be the smallest amount of solace (read: consolation) that a person could feel. I believe this refers to Bond’s feelings regarding Vesper’s death and the circumstances behind it (he becomes obsessed tracking down the Quantum organization). Now on to the story…

The characters of Q and Moneypenny are still absent. As the film opens, we find Bond in the midst of a high-speed pursuit with a certain Mr. White (first seen in Casino Royale) unceremoniously tied up in his trunk, after Bond located him at the conclusion of the previous film. (This is the same Mr. White who later appears in Spectre). Bond successfully eludes or destroys his pursuers, and brings White in to M. But before they can question him, M’s bodyguard reveals he is a double agent and helps White to escape before Bond kills him in retaliation. It turns out this agent had a contact in Haiti, a hitman who is now contracted to kill the girlfriend of Dominic Greene, a known environmentalist entrepreneuer.


Through a series of events, Bond realizes that Greene is actually working for the elusive “Quantum” organization, the unnamed group that employed Le Chiffre in the previous movie. Before the studio could reacquire the rights to the “Spectre” name, I believe “Quantum” was supposed to be a sort of replacement, the new arch-villain, as it were. But then he rights to SPECTRE were re-acquired and the point became moot (I could be wrong, but that’s my take on the situation).

Bond is obsessed with vengeance for a good portion of the film (even if he denies it), and wreaks bloody mayhem through a lot of the film (there are 250 distinct acts of violence in the film; by contrast Dr. No has only 109, making this the bloodiest film in the Bond series). I think partially because of the violence, and also because the plot was a little…blah…this film wasn’t as well-received as others, the reviews were decidedly mixed. Craig’s performance was praised, but the supporting details…not so much (I’m not saying ecology is unimportant, it’s just not the first thing you think of for a James Bond plot).

Before I get to the title sequence, I need to talk about my favorite musical sequence in this film. An important moment takes place at the Bregenzer Festspiele in Bregenz, Austria. The festival site features a floating stage on the shores of Lake Constance. During filming, the open-air amphitheatre was host to a performance of Tosca (an opera that centers around a plot of revenge, much like Quantum of Solace)


Quantum of Solace “Tosca” scene

I love how the music of the opera interweaves with the plot of the story in this scene; it is (for me) very much a predecessor of the opera scene in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

For Quantum of Solace, the music was again composed by David Arnold, his fifth entry in the series. As in Casino Royale, the classic “James Bond” theme is kept to a minimum (which really bugs me, because, I know this is a “new” Bond, but the theme partially defines the character as a whole, if you don’t have it, is he “really” Bond?)

quantum-of-solace (1)

Quantum of Solace Title Sequence (2008)

The song performed for the title sequence is a first: “Another Way to Die” is the first duet in the history of the Bond franchise, and features the voices of Jack White and Alicia Keys. The song was nominated for a Grammy, a Critics’ Choice Award and it won a Satellite Award for Best Original Song. That being said, reception was still mixed. On its own, the song is considered to be good. As a James Bond theme however…not so much (think of the arguments that came up when “Writing on the Wall” was announced as the Spectre theme).

To conclude, I think of the four Craig Bond films, this one is the weakest, especially when you look at what followed (Skyfall and Spectre).


Credit to Art of the Title

Random trivia: Agent Strawberry Fields (yes that is really her name) death is a direct homage to Jill’s death as seen in Goldfinger (1964).

That’s all for Quantum of Solace, next time: Skyfall (2012), arguably the best Bond film ever made. Until then!

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*the poster and images are property of Eon Productions

Introducing James Bond: Casino Royale (2006)

Well, it took a little longer than expected, but we’ve finally arrived to the Daniel Craig era of James Bond. As I’ve stated before, 2006 is the year that the entire James Bond saga was rebooted. No longer was Bond that suave, experienced agent. Having reset the story, Bond is now a relatively young agent just earning his license to kill (a process seen in the prologue of this movie) and he is far from being sure of himself (however cocky he  may act throughout the film).

Casino Royale Poster 3

The only carryover from the original franchise is Judi Dench as an M who is (rightfully) frustrated with Bond’s seemingly overwhelming desire to kill everything in his path (as opposed to capturing suspects alive for questioning). She actually has a rather funny set of lines early on (after Bond has caused another scandal) where she declares “In the old days, an agent who screwed up that badly had the good sense to defect!” and then mutters “Christ I miss the Cold War” (the majority of the Bond films were set in the Cold War era).

Bond’s mission now is to engage the criminal known only as “Le Chiffre.” This mastermind is supposed to invest money on behalf of investors in the criminal underworld, but he also likes to make some money for himself by  playing that money on the stock market, engineering disasters that will cause a tremendous profit (for him and his clients). Unfortunately, Bond managed to halt his latest attempt, causing Le Chiffre to lose a large sum of money that he had just invested for an African warlord. Desperate to recoup his money before said warlord comes to kill him, Le Chiffre organizes a world-class poker game at the famous Casino Royale in Montenegro. (In the original novel, the game is actually baccarat, but poker is more recognizable in 2006). The prize would be large enough to cover all of Le Chiffre’s losses and save his neck. Bond’s job is to go in, ensure that Le Chiffre loses, which should then force him to surrender to the authorities and spill everything he knows about his employers.

Of course, this being a James Bond film, things don’t exactly go according to plan, and in the end Bond comes out of the chaos more hardened and cold than when he went in, and begins to bear a resemblance to the hardened assassin seen in the original novels.

I distinctly remember when it was announced that Brosnan was out as James Bond. I was outraged naturally (Brosnan was the only Bond I really knew at the time) and couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. Then Daniel Craig was announced and I nearly went through the roof. Why? Well, look at a picture of Craig: he’s blonde. Look at ALL of the Bond actors who came before him: dark haired, every last one of them. And for the final proof, look at Fleming’s own description of Bond: dark-haired!!! The press continually derided Craig as the “Blonde Bond” and also “James Bland” because they really didn’t think he could pull it off. I didn’t think he could either…and then I watched the movie in the theater, the first Bond film I ever saw on the big screen.

Needless to say, I promptly took back every bad thing I’d ever said or thought about Craig being Bond. He surely wasn’t the SAME kind of Bond, but he was recognizable nonetheless.

Some things about the reboot still bothered me though. For example, the famous opening gunbarrel sequence was absent (though I believe it did appear at the end, it’s just not the same). Miss Moneypenny, M’s long-suffering secretary (and ever hopeful for James’ love) was absent as well, and there was no Q either.

Now then, on to the music. Once again David Arnold returned to score the film, though it was orchestrated and conducted by Nicholas Dodd. In a twist, the classic James Bond theme is completely absent. Instead, Arnold used a four note motif from the title song “You Know My Name” as Bond’s theme, his intention being to highlight Bond’s immaturity. The proper theme does not appear until the very end, implying that Bond has finally “grown up” as it were. Also, this is a rare example of a Bond title song where the song title “You Know My Name” does not match the title of the film “Casino Royale.”

“You Know My Name” was performed by Soundgarden member Chris Cornell and jointly written between him and David Arnold. The song received very positive reviews and won a Satellite Award and the World Soundtrack Award and also received a Grammy nomination. Cornell stated that the two biggest influences for this song were Tom Jones (who performed the Thunderball theme) and Paul McCartney (who performed the theme for Live and Let Die). The lyrics attempt to illustrate Bond’s state of mind at this point in his life. Since this film centers around a poker game, the title sequence features a lot of gambling and playing card motifs.


Credit to Art of the Title

While not the smoothest of transitions, Casino Royale turned out to be a relatively well-done movie that served to whet my appetite for what was to come.

Random trivia: this is actually the THIRD adaptation of the Casino Royale novel. First came an adaptation for television in 1954 starring Barry Nelson (an American Bond, oh the horror!); a “spy comedy” film in 1967 starring David Niven (it was more of a spoof film than a serious feature); and finally this film in 2006.

Next time: Quantum of Solace (2008) (I can hear the question already: What’s a Quantum of Solace? Well….)

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*the poster and images are the property of Eon Productions

Beyond the Cover: Goldfinger (1964)

I know this is extremely late, but I didn’t feel right not sharing this (even though i was really sick) so here is what I was going to share with the Beyond the Cover Blogathon hosted by Now Voyaging and Speakeasy

Book Banner

Like many movies adapted from books, I didn’t realize that Goldfinger was adapted from a novel until I’d already watched the movie many times. Goldfinger was released in 1964 as the third film in the James Bond franchise and is considered the film that really made James Bond a global phenomenon.

It was about two years ago when I read the Goldfinger novel itself for the first time. It was published in 1959 and was…interesting, to say the very least. To read any of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels, I always have to remind myself that he lived and wrote in a different era, when…certain words that I won’t repeat….were considered acceptable. That being said, it IS a good story.

As far as the general plot goes, the Goldfinger film is strikingly faithful to the book (I repeat, in general, not quite in all the specifics), but I thought I would list some of the differences.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that in the book, Bond identifies Goldfinger as being part of the sinister SPECTRE organization. The reason he travels around the continent in his fancy car is to drop off bars of gold at various locations so that SPECTRE agents can pick them up and use them to finance their evil deeds. In the film, by contrast, no relationship with SPECTRE is ever implied, and Goldfinger is made out to be an extremely greedy man who is only out for himself.

And then there’s Pussy Galore, one of the most memorable Bond girls to ever grace the silver screen. In the film, she is mysteriously “immune” to Bond’s charms for most of the story, but she finally “gives in” in a sequence that as become more uncomfortable to watch the older I’ve become. The film doesn’t give an explanation as to why Pussy is so adept at resisting Bond’s charms, but the book certainly does: in the original novel, Pussy Galore is the lesbian leader of a gang (explains a lot about her doesn’t it?) In fact, in the book, Pussy seemingly strikes up a relationship with a girl that Bond rescued earlier (Tilly Masterson, she dies in the film, but lives in the book).

Goldfinger’s lead henchman Odd Job also has an expanded role in the novel, which gives a complete description of his karate techniques (one scene shows Odd Job splitting a huge fireplace mantel in half, a technique that impresses Bond so much that he feels compelled to shake Odd Job’s hand, even though he is the enemy). Following that, there is a disturbing scene where Goldfinger discovers a cat has mysteriously messed up the hidden camera that had been filming Bond previously (this all takes place at Goldfinger’s country estate in England, a place the film refers to but never visits). Before Bond’s eyes, Goldfinger takes the cat, throws it to Odd Job and says “Here Odd Job, something for dinner!” (How gruesome!)

If you like the Goldfinger film, you will probably also like the Goldfinger book, just be aware that Ian Fleming can use some….let’s say vulgar language that wouldn’t be acceptable in today’s society.

Hope you enjoyed this,even though it’s so late!

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Film Music 101: Underscore

In film music, the underscore refers to music that specifically accompanies a scene with dialogue.

The underscore functions in much the same way as underlining a piece of text: it’s meant to emphasize a particular piece of dialogue and tell the audience: THIS is important, you should really pay attention to this scene!


A very good example of underscore can be found in Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003).

This moment takes place on the cusp of the final action climax of the trilogy: Sauron’s army is pouring out of Mordor, the Army of the West is outnumbered 100 t0 1, and the men are rightfully scared. But, as Aragorn reassures them, this is no time to break the vows they have sworn, this is the time to stand and fight!

Return of the King: Stand Men of the West!


Bond…James Bond.

Another example can be found in the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962) during a calypso party at a restaurant in Jamaica. The scene opens with the party in progress and the music continues while Bond (Sean Connery) talks with Felix Leiter (Jack Lord). In this scene, the music doesn’t so much increase the drama as it provides a contrast with the cheery mood of the crowd (they are talking about the criminal Dr. No and how to get onto his island Crab Key to investigate).

Dr. No: Calypso Party Scene

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See also:

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music