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Topic: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

Up to now I’ve been exclusively a cinematic Bond fan, but I’ve now decided to make the effort to read Fleming’s novels. Naturally I’m starting at the beginning with Casino Royale but I’m already wondering if the literary character of Bond in Fleming’s last few books (ie those published after the screen-debut of cinema Bond) changed or was influenced in any way in light of Sean Connery’s portrayal of the character.

Do any ajbers have any thoughts or observations on this?

‘Secret Agent?? On whose side?’

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Re: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

Well, in You Only Live Twice (published in 1964), Fleming for the first time mentions that Bond has a Scottish background.  It's been suggested that this was influenced by Connery, but Fleming himself was part Scot.  Also, there's a casual mention in OHMSS (1966) of Ursula Andress being at Piz Gloria. . .and looking very tan!

Vox clamantis in deserto

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Re: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

Apolgies, as I type this after consuming a large burrito while sitting next to the missus who is watching her (not mine) favorite TV show...

Well, according to the documentation in Charles Helfenstein’s “The Making of on Her Majesty's Secret Service,” Fleming already considered Bond’s Scottish heritage before Sean Connery became a contender for the role.  In a very old thread I posted I noted the near absurd amount of exclamation marks Fleming used throughout OHMSS, so I can only speculate that he was giddy about something at the time of writing...perhaps the beginning of a film series based on his books?  Perhaps something exciting was happening in his private life?  It couldn’t have been TB.  Then one can also wonder how an exhilarating tour-de-force, the inspired and lengthy novel that was OHMSS end in the manner it did...perhaps also from developments in his private life?

As for speculations on the effect of the cinematic DN itself, one would think it would’ve inspired Fleming to be even more forward-looking than before.  His TB project was a paradigm shift with collaborative input from Kevin McClory and Jack Wittingham to produce a contemporary techno-thriller and a screen-palatable James Bond; we know that the EON adaptation of the TB novel was envisioned to become the first in the series but was nixed because of the lawsuit.  So in many ways DN the movie was the culmination of the TB project and the succeeding movies progressed in that direction. 

According to the Fleming biographies, privately he downplayed the debut of DN and dismissed it as non-eventful.  But evidently through his location and studio visits during the productions of DN, FRWL and GF, he relished what was going on with the character he created.

Nonetheless, all of these didn’t seem to affect his writings that followed.  YOLT, OP and TMWTGG seemed as downbeat musings that mirrored his own midlife crisis, TLD was a throwback to his earlier cold war thrillers that the movies from the start tried to depart from, while OP and TMWTGG were more of the same explorations of his beloved Jamaica, with the latter a rehash of the American gangster elements of DAF and that novel’s Old West choo-choo train...all very unlike the sophisticated flavor and direction of the TB movie project and the beginnings of the EON series.

However, the most noticeable difference is the Bond character, who in the books post-DN (the movie) didn’t become as suave and charming as his film counterpart...and in fact became even more glum and saturnine than ever.

In conclusion, IMO, Fleming at most was amused and perhaps even proud of the celebrity of the movie Bond, was happy with the films’ effect on his books’ popularity, and the newfound wealth and recognition given to him by his creation.  But in the end despite his disparaging declarations about James Bond in his books, he cherished the character’s essence that he identified with and which was of another time.

Last edited by superado (31st Aug 2019 06:27)

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

In Matthew Parker's Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica, he describes Fleming writing OHMSS as Dr No was being filmed very close by, on locations Fleming and his friends had recommended round Jamaica. Including Ursula Andress's big beach scene, which I think  was not that far from his own property. The film production went on for months, and Fleming was there for two of them, and many of his local friends, including ladyfriend Blanche Blackwell's son Chris, got jobs on the production.
So it makes sense Fleming was inspired when he sat down to write OHMSS.

I don't have my copy of OHMSS handy, but is it not in the heraldry section where we first learn about the ancestral home near Glencoe? or was that not til the obit in the next book?


I agree with Superado that the remaining books were morbid. Whatever mood upswing Fleming experienced while Dr No was being filmed was quickly lost. He wrote the Octopussy story that summer after a big fight with his wife, when he took an extra trip to Jamaica that year to get away.

I think The Living Daylights was written and published before OHMSS (and the filming of Dr No). According to MrGore in this thread, Fleming had written tLD by Oct 1961. Thatd be why that one is not so dark as the later books, but Bond is definitely getting cynical about his job by that point.

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Re: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

Hardyboy and superado thanks for those contributions, interesting to read your thoughts. It will give me something to look out for as I (hopefully) progress through the books - playing a game of spot the similarities and differences with the cinematic Bond! I'm actually listening rather than reading - I'm listening to the 007 Reloaded audiobook of Casino Royale at the moment, read by Dan Stephens who does a great job - particularly with the French phrases as I'd make a real hash of those!

‘Secret Agent?? On whose side?’

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Re: Ian Fleming’s Bond after 62’s Doctor No

One thing i just thought of:
OHMSS may have been the book Fleming was writing during the filming, but the Spy Who Loved Me was published a couple months later and would have been the latest book when the film was released...
And the reviews were so bad, Fleming regretted the experiment and forbade a paperback release, and only let EON use the title nothing else, basically suppressing the new book.
The reaction to that book must have really hurt him, suppressing his latest novel just as his longawaited movie was finally coming out ... just a good thing he got the really good book written before he had to see the reviews for ...Spy...