1

Topic: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Before I start, I’d like to acknowledge Kingsley Amis and his “The James Bond Dossier” for laying the groundwork for the following thoughts.

The usually cited figure for being James Bond’s friend is, of course, Felix Leiter. He appears in many of the books and films and there is no denying that the two are close buddies, helping each other when needed and hanging out when the opportunity arises. To a lesser extent, Rene Mathis fits that bill also. 

I’d argue, however, that, the archetypal Bond friend figure is neither of these two. It’s an older man, verging on father figure, that Bond comes across in his adventures. This man is often (though not always) bordering on the shady side of the law though he can be trusted. His appetites are large and he’s frequently described as a big man (though not always). Most of all, he provides a warmth in his relationship with Bond which 007 reciprocates.

Book order-

Quarrel- LALD
Ernie Cuneo- DAF
Kerim- FRWL
Quarrel again- DN
Colombo- Risico
Fidele Barbey- The Hildebrand Rarity
Marc-Ange Draco- OHMSS (the father figure angle is hard to miss here- he's Bond's father-in-law)
Dikko Henderson- YOLT
Tiger Tanaka- YOLT
plus
Litsas- Colonel Sun, by Amis himself

(I'm not going into Gardner, Benson etc but please feel free to add to the list)

Most of these are in the films, and I’d add Raoul in DAD to the list once we go into the films, which use Mathis in this category.

Please note that this character is different from the “sacrificial lamb” character, though they do sometimes overlap. Thus Chuck Lee in AVTAK fits the second category, but not the first.

I’d be grateful for any thoughts, especially from Higgins who inspired this post.

2

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Interesting thoughts Barbel.

Having read all novels (in German),but not being the bookworm that you are,  let‘s decline the movies *under this aspect cronologically and I strictly rely to the ‚older, friendly and often on the shady side of the law‘ definition.

Dr. No: - we see Felix though
FRWL: Kerim
GF: - we see Leiter though
TB: - we see Leiter
Yolt : - I see Tanaka more like a japanese Felix, Dikko Henderson would be that but he dies too soon as one and not the only sacrificial lamb
OHMSS: Marc Ange Draco for sure!
DAF: Felix in this mess
LALD: Felix
TMWTGG: none, but someone could argue Scaramanga in parts. Lt. yip does not fill the criteria imo
TSWLM: none?
MR: none?
FYEO: That would be Columbo
OP: probably the first female figure -Octopussy herself
AVTAK: Tibbett, but his character is very different to the mould
GE: ?
TND: ?
TWiNE: ?
DAD: ?
CR: Mathis in parts
QoS: Mathis in parts
SF: ?
SP: ?




* of course it could be speculated that Ian sneaked himself into the play with those fatherfigures

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

3

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

In TWINE, Valentin comes close.
Tibbett is a good thought, though as you say he's very different. If they'd merged his character with M. Aubergine and Bond had been played by an actor 20 years younger then he'd fit right in.

4

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Imo, Tibbett serves another purpose.

The banter between him and Bond is supposed to bring some lightness and to distract from the visual reality, that Moore was too old.

And it only works so well because MacNee and Moore went so well with each other - otherwise it would have been very un-pc in many regards

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

5

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Yes, you're right (which is why I said "if"). Tibbett is also one of that film's sacrificial lambs, which is sometimes another function of the "father" character (Quarrel, Kerim) though not always (Draco, Colombo).

6

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:

I’d argue, however, that, the archetypal Bond friend figure is neither of these two. It’s an older man, verging on father figure, that Bond comes across in his adventures. This man is often (though not always) bordering on the shady side of the law though he can be trusted. His appetites are large and he’s frequently described as a big man (though not always). Most of all, he provides a warmth in his relationship with Bond which 007 reciprocates.

Kerim in FRWL is always the example of this that comes to mind for me. His likeable roguish nature and the warmth of his relationshop with Bond come across well in Armendariz's performance in the film. Certainly Kerim was firmly established in my mind as one of my favourite characters in the Bond series some time before I ever read the novel. Since then I've read the novel 3 or 4 times, and even on subesquent readings I've always been taken aback at just how 'colourful' Fleming made him in the book, with his consumption of large quantities of woman, alcohol and tobacco. and his stories, especially how he won a "Bessarabian hell-cat" in a fight with some gypsies who he keeps chained naked under his table in order to tame her. If Bond himself has something of a roguish nature, he is nothing compared to Darko Kerim.

7

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Yes, Kerim is probably the best example.
I should have mentioned above that the character is usually a native of whatever country Bond is currently in, and will introduce him to the culture there (Kerim), show him around (Tiger), and so on.

8

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

TSPWM probably has Hosein, Bond's old university chum, but he's barely in it of course. He's good though, I actually wouldn't have minded him in that role.

I think Sharkey and Felix might just about both qualify for LTK, but they're not quite in the Kerim mould. Actually Q might even qualify for that one!

9

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel, maybe you want to edit the title.
Imo it‘s important to mention Fatherly Friend Figure

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

10

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Do we know, if Fleming tried to sneak himself in into the books that way?

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

11

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

I'm not aware of any reason to think he did. He probably fancied himself as a bit of Bond and a bit of M.

Higgins wrote:

Barbel, maybe you want to edit the title.
Imo it‘s important to mention Fatherly Friend Figure

Yes that's why I said Q.

12

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Higgins, title duly changed.
emtiem, I've always thought of Sharkey as simply a fake Quarrel. Quarrel by another name, for some reason (can't have been copyright).
Hosein is very close, it would have been nice if his role in the plot had been larger.

13

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Other than Moneypenny and May, are there any female friends of Bond? Other than the friends with benefits, I mean.

14

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:

Higgins, title duly changed.
emtiem, I've always thought of Sharkey as simply a fake Quarrel. Quarrel by another name, for some reason (can't have been copyright).


He absolutely is, but if you listed Quarrel yourself then the Quarrel stand-in has to count! ajb007/smile

Barbel wrote:

Hosein is very close, it would have been nice if his role in the plot had been larger.

Yeah I'd never really thought about it before but he's really good in his one scene and would have made a good ally in a larger role. Bond and him instantly work well together onscreen.

Raoul is the attempt to do another Kerim in DAD but it's all a bit half-hearted.

Last edited by emtiem (5th May 2020 18:51)

15

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Number24 wrote:

Other than Moneypenny and May, are there any female friends of Bond? Other than the friends with benefits, I mean.

Well Goodnight I suppose, although even she gets the benefit by the last book.
There's his aunt I suppose who although we never meet her is the closest to an actual father figure! ajb007/smile

Trivia quiz: which film does Bond mention her in? ajb007/biggrin

16

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Number24 wrote:

Other than Moneypenny and May, are there any female friends of Bond? Other than the friends with benefits, I mean.

he was raised by his Aunt Charmian after his parents died. Mentioned once in the YOLT obit

...the youth came under the guardianship of an aunt, since deceased, Miss Charmian Bond, and went to live with her at the quaintly-named hamlet of Pett Bottom near Canterbury in Kent. There, in a small cottage hard by the attractive Duck Inn, his aunt, who must have been a most erudite and accomplished lady, completed his education for an English public school, and, at the age of twelve or thereabouts, he passed satisfactorily into Eton, for which College he had been entered at birth by his father

she is a major recurring character in the Young Bond books, where she is a globetrotting anthropologists, a kind of a Katharine Hepburn type who wears pants, drives he original Bentley very fast, and teaches Young Bond to prefer coffee to that mud the English call tea.

17

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Higgins wrote:

Imo, Tibbett serves another purpose.

The banter between him and Bond is supposed to bring some lightness and to distract from the visual reality, that Moore was too old.

And it only works so well because MacNee and Moore went so well with each other - otherwise it would have been very un-pc in many regards

He's also a variation of the Expert character who delivers some mcguffinly exposition about the case. The Expert usually appears only once in M's office as part of the briefing, before the mission proper begins. Like the gold expert, or the diamond expert. ConneryBond usually does not pay attention to the Expert, MooreBond usually cuts him midsentence off to show he knows more than the Expert does.

If Tibbett'd been played by anyone other than John Steed, I don't think his character would have gone into the field and traded witticisms for the first act of the movie.
The first time I watched the film I did not recognise the actor and wondered why he was getting so much screen time.


Also, if you consider those scenes to be a version of the Saratoga chapters from Fleming's DaF, Tibbet is taking the place of Leiter, who was independently investigating the Spang Brothers' race track cheating.
(the Spangs replaced a dud horse with a Ringer, Zorin injects the dud horse with super-soldier steroids during the race)

18

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

caractacus potts wrote:

If Tibbett'd been played by anyone other than John Steed,

More like Watson ajb007/wink

19

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

emtiem wrote:
Number24 wrote:

Other than Moneypenny and May, are there any female friends of Bond? Other than the friends with benefits, I mean.

Well Goodnight I suppose, although even she gets the benefit by the last book.
There's his aunt I suppose who although we never meet her is the closest to an actual father figure! ajb007/smile

Trivia quiz: which film does Bond mention her in? ajb007/biggrin

TMWTGG

20

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

emtiem wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

If Tibbett'd been played by anyone other than John Steed,

More like Watson ajb007/wink

ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin

https://i.postimg.cc/n9jGMmgz/Sherlock-Holmes-in-New-York-Roger-Moore-Patrick-Macnee.jpg

21

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

caractacus potts wrote:
Higgins wrote:

Imo, Tibbett serves another purpose.

The banter between him and Bond is supposed to bring some lightness and to distract from the visual reality, that Moore was too old.

And it only works so well because MacNee and Moore went so well with each other - otherwise it would have been very un-pc in many regards

He's also a variation of the Expert character who delivers some mcguffinly exposition about the case. The Expert usually appears only once in M's office as part of the briefing, before the mission proper begins. Like the gold expert, or the diamond expert. ConneryBond usually does not pay attention to the Expert, MooreBond usually cuts him midsentence off to show he knows more than the Expert does.

If Tibbett'd been played by anyone other than John Steed, I don't think his character would have gone into the field and traded witticisms for the first act of the movie.
The first time I watched the film I did not recognise the actor and wondered why he was getting so much screen time.


Also, if you consider those scenes to be a version of the Saratoga chapters from Fleming's DaF, Tibbet is taking the place of Leiter, who was independently investigating the Spang Brothers' race track cheating.
(the Spangs replaced a dud horse with a Ringer, Zorin injects the dud horse with super-soldier steroids during the race)

That's a good point, cp. I've always thought of those scenes as inspired by the Ascot scenes in Gardner's then recent "Licence Renewed" though, rather than Fleming's DAF.

22

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:
emtiem wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

If Tibbett'd been played by anyone other than John Steed,

More like Watson ajb007/wink

ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin

https://i.postimg.cc/n9jGMmgz/Sherlock-Holmes-in-New-York-Roger-Moore-Patrick-Macnee.jpg

Yay! ajb007/biggrin
They're actually rather good in that, if obviously not exactly as Doyle imagined ajb007/smile

23

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:

I've always thought of those scenes as inspired by the Ascot scenes in Gardner's then recent "Licence Renewed" though, rather than Fleming's DAF.

me too, especially the preceding scenes where the villains are introduced at the racetrack.

Some body else here once claimed the stable scenes were adapted from DaF, and I doubted it, til one time I actually reread those chapters just before rewatching the film, and I did indeed see the parallels.
(its a boring part of a boring book, I confess I never remembered those chapters clearly before)

I expect the filmmakers can incorporate more than one source at the same time, finding similar scenes and picking what they like best and putting them in a blender to generate a "new" plot.

24

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

caractacus potts wrote:
Barbel wrote:

I've always thought of those scenes as inspired by the Ascot scenes in Gardner's then recent "Licence Renewed" though, rather than Fleming's DAF.

me too, especially the preceding scenes where the villains are introduced at the racetrack.

Some body else here once claimed the stable scenes were adapted from DaF, and I doubted it, til one time I actually reread those chapters just before rewatching the film, and I did indeed see the parallels.
(its a boring part of a boring book, I confess I never remembered those chapters clearly before)

Yes I'm the same, I can't even fully remember if I've read DAF or not! ajb007/biggrin
It's funny though, a bit like how someone recently pointed out to me that LTK appears to be based loosely on TMWTGG; I hadn't actually noticed how that was a little Fleming nod before. Well spotted! ajb007/smile

25

Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

MGW said there was a bit of "Yojimbo" in there, too. If you haven't seen that, "Fistful Of Dollars" is the same plot.