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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

CmdrAtticus wrote:

Given all that, he may have written a couple more novels and may have even placed Bond back in the fifties in them.

I'm no so sure. While Fleming was a conservative, he delighted in the modern world and all it could offer: fast cars, airplanes, kitchen gadgets and the like. I even think he delighted in taking a haughty, conservative view of the new world around him :

"James Bond slung his suitcase into the back of the old chocolate-brown Austin taxi and climbed into the front seat beside the foxy, pimpled young man in the black leather windcheater. The young man took a comb out of his breast pocket, ran it carefully through both sides of his duck-tail haircut, put the comb back in his pocket, then leaned forward and pressed the self-starter. The play with the comb, Bond guessed, was to assert to Bond that the driver was really only taking him and his money as a favor. It was typical of the cheap self-assertiveness of young labor since the war. This youth, thought Bond, makes about twenty pounds a week, despises his parents, and would like to be Tommy Steele. It's not his fault. He was born into the buyers' market of the Welfare State and into the age of atomic bombs and space flight. For him, life is easy and meaningless. Bond said, "How far is it to Shrublands?''"  Thunderball, Chapter 2.

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

David Schofield wrote:

However, one can only imagine how IF would have recoiled at the sight of YOLT Connery?

If Fleming were still alive, do you think the producers would have made Fleming's YOLT into a film rather than ask Roald Dahl to write an original story with merely a Fleming title? None of the films before showed disrespect to Fleming's books, but to take Fleming's title and put a completely different story to it is disrespectful to Fleming (regardless of whether the film's story is good or not).

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

No, I don't think they would have taken that route (although contractually they could have)- but we'll never know. At the very least, I would hope they would have consulted him.
There is still a fair amount of Fleming's YOLT in the film - though a lower % than previously- and I would hope that figure would have been higher if he had lived.
Once again we'll never know, but if Richard Maibaum had been the chief scriptwriter then we might have had a very different YOLT today.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

David Schofield wrote:

I don't think anyone has as yet used the word proprietorial (or an implication of such): once upon a time I'd have been with Revelator, and the idea of IF letting someone else write the books while he enjoyed the profits and went down the golf club and the inevitable bar afterward. Charteris had already started something similar with the Saint after its TV popularity. And yet, I wonder now how much IF could actually have given the original Bond - his Bond - in its true format, away?

Ironically, up to now I was of the belief that Fleming would have never relinquished control of the books to ghost writers. I still don't think he would have relinquished full control. Now, in the case of Colonel Sun, Fleming would have probably limited himself to reviewing the manuscript and giving suggestions, but in other cases--involving less prominent writers with less understanding of Bond--the working process might have been similar to what happened with Thunderball (albeit with better legal protection). Plotting was never Fleming's strongest skill, and he might have appreciated help with that.
In my last post I also brought up the example of Auguste Maquet and Alexandre Dumas, who cowrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers and many other books. The two would have "script conferences," after which Maquet would plot each chapter or provide a summary with skeleton dialogue. Dumas would then flesh out the lifeless directions and produce a rich work of literature. Perhaps Fleming would have found a Maquet of his own to keep the Bond bandwagon rolling.

Fleming's last novel TMWTGG was understated and a return to the simplicity of DAF. Many suggest this is because the novel was half-formed. But what if it was as IF intended, a simple novel as a response to his over-inflated TSWLM and YOLT. Might Fleming have planned a series of gritty but straightforward thrillers?

Perhaps you meant OHMSS rather TSWLM, though neither seems over-inflated to me, and pretty much all of the Bond novels seem gritty and straightforward next to the films. In Fleming, the flamboyance tends to derive either from the villain's scheme or his lair, and one could argue that the Bond books had already reached their height of flamboyance in Goldfinger (the Fort Knox setting and plot) and Thunderball (the nuclear hijacking). The settings and schemes in OHMSS and YOLT are smaller-scale and more plausible than those of the earlier books. I would interpret that as a sign of Fleming winding down, with TMWTGG as final proof. That book's villainous scheme is downright boring (sugar futures? really?) and its setting was chosen because Fleming didn't have to travel to obtain it (the book would have been more interesting if set in Cuba, and doubly interesting if Fleming had made it to the Panama Canal).
But ultimately we return to the main factor: Fleming's health. If he was in better shape, I have no doubt that he would tried to compete with the flamboyance of the movies--because he would have likely enjoyed the film of Goldfinger and because he knew the public would come to expect such qualities. The film of YOLT would have probably been a step too far for him, but the filmmakers would have been more hesitant to jettison the books of a living author.

I think its undeniable IF's input would have slowed; he seems essentially to be a lazy sod.

Hey, one book a year is not lazy! Chandler thought it positively prolific, though it should be said that truly prolific writers--like E. Phillips Oppenheim, Edgar Wallace, and Erle Stanley Gardner--often dictated their books to their secretaries (so did Henry James, but he was never a bestseller).

Last edited by Revelator (28th Aug 2015 19:12)

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

I've always thought that Fleming would have eventually handed over the Series to anouther Writer, whilst advising and reviewing the Manuscripts.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Matt S wrote:
David Schofield wrote:

However, one can only imagine how IF would have recoiled at the sight of YOLT Connery?

If Fleming were still alive, do you think the producers would have made Fleming's YOLT into a film rather than ask Roald Dahl to write an original story with merely a Fleming title? None of the films before showed disrespect to Fleming's books, but to take Fleming's title and put a completely different story to it is disrespectful to Fleming (regardless of whether the film's story is good or not).

Not a chance YOLT would have been the bloated film it became in 1967.

I suspect Cubby and Harry would have used IF as a sounding board on most things (though as Barbel points out there was no obligation to), a sort of Obi Wan figure. I think as soon as they had floated a hollowed out volcano and space craft kidnapping, IF would have laughed and thrown plausibility back at that. I think IF's view would have overcome any movie maker hustering from Cubs and Harold...

I would also suggest that  in 1967 IF would have suggested to them that if EON wanted to make an action Bond they should consider making MOONRAKER or OHMSS (regardless of the inconvenience of snow...)....

As another thought, I wonder of IF would have involved himself with mediating with Connery? Connery would surely have respected IF as Bond's creator, (though other than a nod to Terence Young, Connery thought no one else had worked on Bond other than himself) or would Fleming have considered by the mid 60s Connery was nothing more than a out of shape below stairs hand who was blowing his chance and wasn't worth his time?

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Silhouette Man wrote:

Does anyone else want to add their thoughts on this one. I'm currently writing a piece on the future Bond novels Fleming had ideas for so all input is very much appreciated, as always!  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Did you ever write this piece, and if so where online (or on this forum) can it be found?  I checked your blog but didn't see it there, unless I just missed it.  I'd love to read it!

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

You guys are the experts, but the only thing I could add is I suspect Fleming might've taken advantage of the new permisiveness toward sex in mainstream fiction; Harold Robbins's "The Carpetbaggers" pretty much hit the industry like a nuclear bomb, after which most "thriller" novels were hyped due to their risque content.  It's been 30 years since I read TMWTGG, and I was only like 13 at the time, so I'm going off the comments here that Fleming got a bit more risque in that one.  And of course there was the stuff in TSWLM.  So I think at the very least if Fleming had lived and continued writing Bond, the books would've gotten a bit more raunchy.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

good point. The most vividly written passages in ...Golden Gun were about the bordello and the stripper's routine, presumably Fleming was more interested in these subjects than some of the more plot-centric stuff. And Scaramanga did have a fouler vocabulary than the "damn" and "blast" swearing we had seen in previous books.
and Bond and Tanaka sure spent a lot of time partying with geisha girls in the previous volume.


_______________________________________


EDIT: just had a read through this thread. I like the premise and wonder too about the what-if's.
For Fleming to have lived, we have to assume he had no heart problems, and I think much of the tone of his last couple of novels would therefor be completely different. Much of YOLT, tMwtGG, and the Octopussy story is quite morbid, the obsessions of a dying man.
And as Revelator notes, he only set ...Golden Gun in Jamaica because he was too sick to travel elsewhere and do his usual research.

We know he had direct input on the first two films (arguing about the land crabs, and the gypsy girls, both of which were compromised in the final films). So he would never have let YOLT be filmed the way it was done. The arguments he picked were quite minor details compared to the substantial changes in that film.

But would he have continued writing new novels? His goal was always to sell the filmrights, and he had achieved that. Why continue writing more having achieved that goal? Pearson suggests he had long been bored with the obligation to keep writing the book series.

He could just as easily make money coming up with basic concepts like Napoleon Solo the Man From UNCLE. Thatd be easy work for a man like him, and following the success of Bond he could coast for years like that.
I think Dashiell Hammett got by like that after his fifth and last novel: basic plot ideas for Thin Man film sequels, comic strips (Agent X-9), radio series ... but never a proper novel again. Fleming could easily have followed the same route, a highly valued professional ideas man.

Last edited by caractacus potts (22nd Feb 2018 20:17)

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Thing is, and something you haven't taken into consideration, is that he never lived to see the Bond-mania.
I think that would've the push he needed to stop the boredom and rejuvenate his interest in the character.

"...I have the oddest feeling we will be meeting again sometime..."
-Roger Moore's James Bond. RIP.
I have a YouTube channel on all things Bond (amongst other things, coming soon™).
The name's Bond and Beyond. It's currently on hold, though.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

no I am considering that. Thing is there's two contingencies: 1)Fleming's health is good, and 2) he lives to see the success of the films, both change things and this does make predictions more complicated.
and really I only know him from Pearson's biography, which is one point of view ... but that's where I get the idea he was bored with the book series, and primarily motivated to sell the film-rights. Others have pointed out later biographers paint a different picture of Fleming, but I haven't read them.

you make a point though. The Bondmania of the mid60s may have motivated him to crank out a few more volumes, to take advantage of all that unimaginable demand. Why let imitators of his style get all the action?
In such a case he may have held out for a new deal with his publishers, the authorial equivalent of Connery's DaF fee. So a few years go by, he no longer has to do one per year, but the huge advance his publisher offers inspires him to write something maybe a little more ambitious, more polished, than the first 14. Thatd be great.
Or maybe just the opposite, any old thing will do and they'll still pay him for it.

Another scenario: the other idea Pearson planted in my mind, is Fleming hung out in serious literary circles and felt a bit ashamed about cranking out pulp fiction. He may have had some Serious Literary Ambitions himself, and may have used such demand as an excuse to write something more pretentious, nothing to do with spies, and something we would no longer remember today. Like James Cain's later historic novels, no one ever talks about them, but we still talk about The Postman Always Rings Twice.

I do think he would have continued to be involved in the films, as he was with the first two. Perhaps he would have begun writing new plots directly for the films, rather than in book form first? We do know at least four of the books started as failed film/tv proposals before being reworked as the next James Bond volume.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

onemonk909 wrote:
Silhouette Man wrote:

Does anyone else want to add their thoughts on this one. I'm currently writing a piece on the future Bond novels Fleming had ideas for so all input is very much appreciated, as always!  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Did you ever write this piece, and if so where online (or on this forum) can it be found?  I checked your blog but didn't see it there, unless I just missed it.  I'd love to read it!

No, I have the ideas mapped out but sadly it remains unwritten at the moment. I need to get back to my blog writing ASAP.

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
'Like' TBB on FB: TBB Update Page
"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

since we're talking about McClory in another thread...
as noted above, Fleming was involved in the first two and a half films, debated some of the omissions, and it was those films that most closely resembled his books. And the deviations began after he died, with YOLT.
But there was another film made after he died that did closely follow Fleming's book: Thunderball.
Why didn't they throw out Fleming's plot and replace it with an outlandish volcano headquarters in that film? why did they wait til the a second completely posthumous film to start making all those changes?

my theory: Thunderball is a special case, as it was a McClory collaboration, and McClory claimed credit for a lot of those elements faithfully adapted from the book. Because he believed the book itself was adapting the plot for an unmade film he himself had come up with, or at least was his legal intellectual property. He thought that was his story, and he was certainly alive, and more involved with this film than Fleming ever had been. So the faithful adaption of Thunderball had more to do with McClory's involvement than any reverence for what Fleming wrote.


but getting back to this topics's big What If?:
if Fleming were still alive and personally involved in the EON films, would Thunderball as we know it have even gotten made? I'd guess not, that EON would have moved onto another title without the legal baggage. It probably wouldn't be …Golden Gun as it had not been published quite yet, or OHMSS or YOLT as those were sequels to a book they weren't going to adapt. So what would the fourth film (and the fifth and the sixth) have been?
Alternately, if Saltzman and Brocolli did decide to collaborate with Fleming's nemesis in this reality, I'd guess there is no way Fleming would be visiting the set and debating the filmmakers' choices as he had done with the first two and a half movies. Would he stay away for just that one film and re-involve himself with whatever the fifth turned out to be, or would that permanently end his active involvement? If it were me, I know I'd be bitter about McClory usurping my place in the production, and that would poison future relations even if that film was just a one off.
But if he did distance himself after a McClory collaboration, then the remaining films would begin deviating from his original plots in that reality too.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

caractacus potts wrote:

my theory: Thunderball is a special case, as it was a McClory collaboration, and McClory claimed credit for a lot of those elements faithfully adapted from the book. Because he believed the book itself was adapting the plot for an unmade film he himself had come up with, or at least was his legal intellectual property. He thought that was his story, and he was certainly alive, and more involved with this film than Fleming ever had been. So the faithful adaption of Thunderball had more to do with McClory's involvement than any reverence for what Fleming wrote.

This is a plausible theory, but it's incorrect. McClory devised some of the basic elements of the novel, but the final version that he and Whittingham worked on before Fleming wrote his book is substantially different from the novel. This can be shown by comparing the novel with the script synopses included in The Battle For Bond by Robert Sellers, and with the article "Inside Thunderball" by John Cork. Sellers and Cork are the only people around who've read all the scripts, and Cork is especially good on showing how the novel differed--and improved on--the scripts. Cork's article can be read in the following three parts:

http://archive.li/cjf2m

http://archive.fo/Ha6nu

http://archive.li/QQ2QU

So, a faithful adaptation of McClory and Whittingham's Thunderball would not have been a faithful adaptation of Fleming's novel.

Keep in mind that the very first book Broccoli and Saltzman wanted to adapt was Thunderball, not Dr. No, and that Richard Maibaum even scripted a complete adaptation of Thunderball in 1961, which was even more faithful to the book than the final one (read about it here: https://hmssweblog.wordpress.com/2015/0 … ll-script/). So when 1965 rolled around, Maibaum simply dusted off the script, made a few additions, and then playwright John Hopkins took a crack at it too. Because the novel already told a larger than life story, it didn't need to be changed the way YOLT was. The fact that Maibaum was the main adapter should demonstrate that Broccoli and Saltzman were still in control of how the script went, not McClory.

if Fleming were still alive and personally involved in the EON films, would Thunderball as we know it have even gotten made? I'd guess not, that EON would have moved onto another title without the legal baggage.

No, I'm sure TB would still have been made. Broccoli and Saltzman's primary objective was to eliminate any rival Bond productions, which is why they decided to make a deal with McClory. Doing so after Goldfinger was the right idea, because they had the extra leverage of a wildly successful film series, so McClory had extra incentive to make a deal that included not making another Bond film for 10 years.

Had Fleming still been alive, he might have resented McClory's involvement and stayed away from the set, but Broccoli and Saltzman would have impressed upon him the necessity of making TB and neutralizing McClory. That, along with the prospect of more money, and a script that retained Fleming's novel, would have probably convinced him to go along with the project.

Last edited by Revelator (29th Oct 2018 02:42)

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

thanks for all the links to further reading Revelator.
It's great to see all those early iterations of the story.
The first concept with all the movie stars would have been a terrible idea, but the "funny" version of Casino Royale ended up with a lot of Around the World in 80 Days style cameos. Too bad McClory didn't sue to have that one stopped.

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Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

I expect, as has been suggested, that Fleming would have been reinvigorated by Bond's success. I expect however his new novels would become parodies of the movies and lack the realistic bite and edge his early books had. Heroin smuggling certainly looks a subject he'd have covered and maybe something to do with the space race or African nationalism. He could even revisit the tried and trusted Nazi-in-hiding thread, as this was covered countless times by his immediate contemporaries.