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Topic: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

As some may know, Roger Moore was in some degree of contention by Cubby Broccoli in the early 60s when they were trying to find an actor for the 007 film series. Obviously, he didn't win out, but was on a shortlist of some sorts by the producers. What if, instead of appearing for the Saint for the first time on October 4th, 1962, the following day he appeared in the first James Bond film, Dr. No, October 5th, 1962?

What would the ramifications be on the Bond films, especially if Moore did play it somewhat straight like Connery? Would he still be a sex symbol like Connery?

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Roger Moore is as smooth as they come but I don't think he fits the mould that Ian Fleming had envisaged.  Fleming wasn't a fan of Connery either apparently but personally I think Connery was very good although he did seem a liitle anxious at times (Pussfellers restaurant for one).  He certainly improved in the next three films.

Moore to me doesn't come across as a spy but more as a smooth talker with a lot of charm and yes without doubt he'd be a sex symbol based on 'The Saint' alone.  Connery had the aggression and a coldness about him which is why I think Dr. No was such a success.  That and in my opinion the film had a very good dialogue and was very well cast.

Some people rave about Moore being the 'best Bond' but for me I like to think about James Bond as the one Ian Fleming wrote about which is why I like Connery and Daniel Craig.  To me they are the closest as to what Ian Fleming had in mind.

To answer your question, I don't think Moore could have played it as straight as Connery.  Most of Moore's Bond films were comedic and he himself said he didn't take them seriously.  As far as ramifications go for the Bond films being a success I won't sit on the fence, I would say no I don't belive Bond would be as big today as it is now.  I say that and this is very subjective, but apart from Casino Royale and to a lesser extent Skyfall, for mine the best Bond films are the first four.

Can't wait to get hammered on this.  Might have to ask Higgins for advice  ajb007/rolleyes

"Everyone knows rock n' roll attained perfection in 1974; It's a scientific fact". -  Homer J Simpson

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

ajb007/lol   No hammering coming from this direction, those seem pretty sane and sensible opinions to me.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

2000th Post everybody! Strange that I first joined AJB as an ignorant schoolboy back in 2010.
Now I'm still ignorant, but a little older (I hope).
Now I'm a huge Roger Moore fan, and I would say that he'd my favourite Bond, the main reason for that is that I feel that he really en-captures the cinematic Bond to perfection. His films are the most entertaining, IMHO, and he is the most entertaining to me.
However, I struggle to see him beginning the franchise as his Bond was not only tied into the 70's/80's era but played on the 'You know what's going to happen' technique. Bond-goers during the 70's struggled to watch a serious Bond film because they felt like the plots were ludicrous as it was, and appreciated a Bond film which recognised this a bit more.
Having Rog opening in Dr No, I can only see him as the Bond we know him as today, in which the Bond series, I feel, would only be  known as a comedic spy series from the 60's your father owns on video.
Love him or hate him, Sean Connery was one of the main ingredients as to why the Bond series blew up in popularity.

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. "
-Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

OGG007 wrote:

Can't wait to get hammered on this.  Might have to ask Higgins for advice  ajb007/rolleyes

Have no fear  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol

IMO Connery was the perfect match for the 60s and I can't imagine anyone being better suited for Fleming's envision of Bond.

However, I am pretty sure that a young Moore would have succeeded as well in the role if he'd started with Dr. No.

First of all, Cary Grant was pretty successfully back then and Moore is a similar typecast.
Secondly, young Moore wouldn't have injected so much of his own personality and whit in the younger age.

Let's not forget that he was a Star already when he took over the role - he wouldn't have been like that  in 1962.

But he was the perfect match for the 70's mood and for taking over the franchise and bringing it thru the century and a half. I think, that Connery was obviously over his peak in DAF and that would have continued with the movies to come.

Last edited by Higgins (21st Jan 2017 11:45)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Barbel wrote:

ajb007/lol   No hammering coming from this direction, those seem pretty sane and sensible opinions to me.

Same here! ajb007/martini

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

James Suzuki wrote:

2000th Post everybody! Strange that I first joined AJB as an ignorant schoolboy back in 2010.
Now I'm still ignorant, but a little older (I hope).
Now I'm a huge Roger Moore fan, and I would say that he'd my favourite Bond, the main reason for that is that I feel that he really en-captures the cinematic Bond to perfection. His films are the most entertaining, IMHO, and he is the most entertaining to me.
However, I struggle to see him beginning the franchise as his Bond was not only tied into the 70's/80's era but played on the 'You know what's going to happen' technique. Bond-goers during the 70's struggled to watch a serious Bond film because they felt like the plots were ludicrous as it was, and appreciated a Bond film which recognised this a bit more.
Having Rog opening in Dr No, I can only see him as the Bond we know him as today, in which the Bond series, I feel, would only be  known as a comedic spy series from the 60's your father owns on video.
Love him or hate him, Sean Connery was one of the main ingredients as to why the Bond series blew up in popularity.

I do agree with Higgins in that it's possible Moore could play it straight, as he was less identified with humor then and it would his first major role.

It's interesting to think of Moore in Dr. No in the scene before shooting Professor Dent, or saying positively shocking before electrocuting  a baddie.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

RM was perfect for the 70's not the 60's. I dont know if the films would have been as successful if RM had started as Bond. Also, if he did start in '63 and end in '85 I am not sure the series would have done well afterwards with it being the first actor change. Fans may not have accepted another Bond.

Alot of "what if's". Fun question though.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

The way Roger Moore played Simon Templar makes me think that he would have been the perfect Bond for the 1950s, if he were a bit older then. He had that Hollywood look and demeanour that was still a big thing in the 50s. If Moore had played Bond that way in the 60s, it would have been popular, but not something as new as what Connery made Bond. Bond would not have felt as modern and hip in the 1960s with Moore since he was of the old movie star mould. Young people may not have been so into Bond if Moore played him. But by the 70s they found a new way to use the old movie stars to make more modern films. It didn't work for Connery in DAF, but the new method of writing Bond films was perfect for Moore's talents.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Matt S wrote:

The way Roger Moore played Simon Templar makes me think that he would have been the perfect Bond for the 1950s, if he were a bit older then. He had that Hollywood look and demeanour that was still a big thing in the 50s. If Moore had played Bond that way in the 60s, it would have been popular, but not something as new as what Connery made Bond. Bond would not have felt as modern and hip in the 1960s with Moore since he was of the old movie star mould. Young people may not have been so into Bond if Moore played him. But by the 70s they found a new way to use the old movie stars to make more modern films. It didn't work for Connery in DAF, but the new method of writing Bond films was perfect for Moore's talents.

Is that down to acting, or more down to looks? Because even though I believe Moore was capable of acting as a more reserved and straight spy in the early films like Connery, he is a bit even featured for it. Connery had a look to him that made it come full circle.

eric7064 wrote:

RM was perfect for the 70's not the 60's. I dont know if the films would have been as successful if RM had started as Bond. Also, if he did start in '63 and end in '85 I am not sure the series would have done well afterwards with it being the first actor change. Fans may not have accepted another Bond.

Alot of "what if's". Fun question though.

Under such a scenario, I doubt Moore would have the gumption to play bond for 20+ years. I imagine he would step down in the mid-70s, after what is now TMWTGG. Ian Ogilvy could be a good replacement, or perhaps Dalton.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Oakvale wrote:
Matt S wrote:

The way Roger Moore played Simon Templar makes me think that he would have been the perfect Bond for the 1950s, if he were a bit older then. He had that Hollywood look and demeanour that was still a big thing in the 50s. If Moore had played Bond that way in the 60s, it would have been popular, but not something as new as what Connery made Bond. Bond would not have felt as modern and hip in the 1960s with Moore since he was of the old movie star mould. Young people may not have been so into Bond if Moore played him. But by the 70s they found a new way to use the old movie stars to make more modern films. It didn't work for Connery in DAF, but the new method of writing Bond films was perfect for Moore's talents.

Is that down to acting, or more down to looks? Because even though I believe Moore was capable of acting as a more reserved and straight spy in the early films like Connery, he is a bit even featured for it. Connery had a look to him that made it come full circle.

It's his acting and overall manner on screen, part of which is his looks. He has the presence of a 1940s movie star, and it is in the way he presents himself: the RP speech, the interest in dress, the way he moves, etc. It's about being that gentleman. Connery has the movie star presence too but in a more modern way. Moore is certainly capable of being more reserved, but he may come across as too "proper". Her certainly isn't always about making jokes, which many people who have only seen him in Bond don't know.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

The closest we get to seeing what Roger Moore would be like as a Bond in the 60'ies would of course be this little sketch:

Roger Moore as Bond in 1964:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYkTwXAyOBU

I can't help but think it wouldn't have been as succesful had Roger Moore been the first Bond (and Connery never done it). I just can't imagine Roger playing it in a serious and suave matter like Connery did. Trying to imagine Roger in that first scene in Dr. No saying the legendary words would have probably been cool, but he would do it with an eyebrow raise and a wink at the audience, he wouldn't have pulled of what Connery did with that legendary scene. (I think.) The series would become a parody from the get go, and it probably wouldn't reach the cool  60'ies sex appeal and status that the early Bond's had if he starred from the get go. I think Moore was more suited to start out with the films during the more tacky lighthearted period of the 70'ies as it is. Pure speculation of course...

OGG007 wrote:

Roger Moore is as smooth as they come but I don't think he fits the mould that Ian Fleming had envisaged.  Fleming wasn't a fan of Connery either

Intrestingly enough, this is such a widely accepted thing among Bond fans, "Fleming not liking Connery at first, and later growing fond of him." On an episode of James Bond Radio I was listening to the other day, the hosts were discussing some unknown Fleming notes (something along those lines at least) and apparantely found out that Fleming stated he was quite fond of Connery even during production of Dr. No, far before it's release. That was quite something intresting I hadn't heared before. Still though, it's very difficult to know what is true and what isn't when it comes to those types of tidbits...

Better known as DutchBondFan on YouTube. My 007 movie reviews:  Recapping 007   
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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

That clip of Moore in 1964 is a parody from a comedy series. Even Daniel Craig has done parodies of Bond, and it doesn't mean that he played James Bond as a joke. Moore didn't play Simon Templar as a parody, so there's nothing to suggest that Moore would have done the same for Bond.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Matt S wrote:

That clip of Moore in 1964 is a parody from a comedy series. Even Daniel Craig has done parodies of Bond, and it doesn't mean that he played James Bond as a joke. Moore didn't play Simon Templar as a parody, so there's nothing to suggest that Moore would have done the same for Bond.

Apart from the fact that he did actually already play Bond in 7 films, and played Bond as more of a parody in all 7 of them?
Oh by the way I didn't really mean that clip to have a strong connection with my statement of how I think he would portray him as Bond in the 60íes. I was more or less just showcasing the only footage we have of Roger as Bond in the 60'ies as a little bit of trivia.
I'm just saying I personally have a hard time believing he would have lifted Bond to the same status that Connery brought it to in the 60'ies. I think Connery's sex appeal and style really contributed to that immense succes. (Of course you could argue director Terence Young had a large hand in that too, and could have also done this with Roger, but again, speculation speculation...)

Better known as DutchBondFan on YouTube. My 007 movie reviews:  Recapping 007   
YouTube channel  Support my channel on Patreon  Twitter   Facebook fanpage

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

I think Moore would have played it straight. It was a different time in comparisson to the time of LALD. Also, he had the original source material to work with, which was the biggest benefit for Sean. That and Terence Young.

I love Connery, he is the best Bond. Without a doubt. But the luxury of the Fleming material did help a lot! I am sure Pierce, who I always thought was a good Bond, would have been really great if he had material of such level.

OHMSS, FRWL, DN, GF, CR, GE, SP, YOLT, TB, TSWLM, LALD, TLD, TND, FYEO, SF, MR, TMWTGG, TWINE, OP, AVTAK, DAF, LTK, QOS, DAD

1. Connery 2. Craig 3. Brosnan 4. Dalton 5. Lazenby 6. Moore

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Dutchfinger wrote:
Matt S wrote:

That clip of Moore in 1964 is a parody from a comedy series. Even Daniel Craig has done parodies of Bond, and it doesn't mean that he played James Bond as a joke. Moore didn't play Simon Templar as a parody, so there's nothing to suggest that Moore would have done the same for Bond.

Apart from the fact that he did actually already play Bond in 7 films, and played Bond as more of a parody in all 7 of them?
Oh by the way I didn't really mean that clip to have a strong connection with my statement of how I think he would portray him as Bond in the 60íes. I was more or less just showcasing the only footage we have of Roger as Bond in the 60'ies as a little bit of trivia.
I'm just saying I personally have a hard time believing he would have lifted Bond to the same status that Connery brought it to in the 60'ies. I think Connery's sex appeal and style really contributed to that immense succes. (Of course you could argue director Terence Young had a large hand in that too, and could have also done this with Roger, but again, speculation speculation...)

+1  ajb007/cheers

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Mr_Osato wrote:

I think Moore would have played it straight. It was a different time in comparisson to the time of LALD. Also, he had the original source material to work with, which was the biggest benefit for Sean. That and Terence Young.

I love Connery, he is the best Bond. Without a doubt. But the luxury of the Fleming material did help a lot! I am sure Pierce, who I always thought was a good Bond, would have been really great if he had material of such level.

I also have no doubts on Roger Moore's abilities to play Bond straight, though one of his most criticised performances on this site is TMWTGG. He mostly plays Bond straight and serious in that film, yet people seem to prefer him playing Bond lighter.

Last edited by Matt S (24th Jan 2017 17:51)

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Dutchfinger wrote:
Matt S wrote:

That clip of Moore in 1964 is a parody from a comedy series. Even Daniel Craig has done parodies of Bond, and it doesn't mean that he played James Bond as a joke. Moore didn't play Simon Templar as a parody, so there's nothing to suggest that Moore would have done the same for Bond.

Apart from the fact that he did actually already play Bond in 7 films, and played Bond as more of a parody in all 7 of them?
Oh by the way I didn't really mean that clip to have a strong connection with my statement of how I think he would portray him as Bond in the 60íes. I was more or less just showcasing the only footage we have of Roger as Bond in the 60'ies as a little bit of trivia.
I'm just saying I personally have a hard time believing he would have lifted Bond to the same status that Connery brought it to in the 60'ies. I think Connery's sex appeal and style really contributed to that immense succes. (Of course you could argue director Terence Young had a large hand in that too, and could have also done this with Roger, but again, speculation speculation...)

It doesn't mean that Roger Moore would have played Bond as a parody in the 1960s. It wasn't Moore's decision to parody Bond in his 1970s film, since Connery already started that in DAF. Moore just continued with Connery's direction.

But I agree that Moore would not have had Connery's sex appeal and toughness, no matter how straight Moore would have played Bond.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Matt S wrote:

I also have no doubts on Roger Moore's abilities to play Bond straight, though one of his most criticised performances on this site is TMWTGG. He mostly plays Bond straight and serious in that film, yet people seem to prefer him playing Bond lighter.

True, although he tried to be like Sean too much. Also the whole tone of the movie (JW Pepper, karate school, nick nack) didn't ask for a serious portrayal of Bond. Moore played it pretty straight in FYEO and got praise for that.

Also, let's not forget that the Bond movies already took a directrion towards camp/comedy with DAF; so pre-Moore.

That being said: I am delighted that Connery got the job. If you look back at the whole history of Bond, with almost a movie of Thunderball in the 50's if McClory got his way, or having Gary Grant as Bond, I am just so grateful that the puzzle pieces all came together with Dr No as it is right now. It was the perfect group of people collaborating: Young, Connery, Broccoli, Satzman, Barry (kind of) etcetera....

OHMSS, FRWL, DN, GF, CR, GE, SP, YOLT, TB, TSWLM, LALD, TLD, TND, FYEO, SF, MR, TMWTGG, TWINE, OP, AVTAK, DAF, LTK, QOS, DAD

1. Connery 2. Craig 3. Brosnan 4. Dalton 5. Lazenby 6. Moore

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

If Roger had been first we would not be here discussing it now.

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Re: What if Roger Moore was the first Bond, instead of Connery?

Generally speaking, Moore doesn't ooze sex appeal, though he was just as good looking as Connery but in a different way. If you look at him in the first series of the Saint, the idea of him playing a Connery style sex symbol is a bit more palatable. Though of course it is only hypothetical, the more I think about it, the more I can envision Moore in Dr. No and the early films.