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Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:

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

In LTK? Sure I think now you say that it sounds familiar, although in a way the TMWTGG book probably gives you enough to hang it on. I guess those films explore the idea of a man getting hired by his unsuspecting enemy more than Fleming does though.

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Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

It's where MGW as writer was heading, but it may not be where John Glen as director ended up. At the time, I was more concerned with watching how much Fleming material was included and there is a fair bit of that.

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Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

On Bond and friends:

Fleming's Bond is a character who, we're told, has few personal friends. But he counts Bill Tanner, the Service's Chief of Staff, as one of them. Whenever Bond is in London between missions, the two men routinely lunch together. Of course, this is more of a peer friendship, despite the different roles in the Service which the two men occupy. In the films, the latest iteration of Tanner (Rory Kinnear) is enough of a friend with Bond that they feel able, in SF, to take each other into their confidence about what they make of Mallory. The Michael Kitchen iteration of Tanner is similarly easy in his relationship with Bond - enough so to share with him, in GE, his view that the new M is an "evil queen of numbers". His main function, though, is expository. (James Villiers' one-stop Tanner of FYEO is an altogether different proposition: he's an irascible supervisor of Bond; school-masterly, not a friend.)



Barbel wrote:

I’d argue, however, that, the archetypal Bond friend figure is [...] 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.

When considering the fatherly ally's tendency to operate on the wrong side of the law, it's interesting to look at how the novels and films distinguish alike between what, by their lights, is acceptable criminality - on the part of the ally - and the sort of criminality which puts others beyond the pale. In the movie FYEO, for example, Topol's Columbo admits to smuggling contraband - but the heroin he leaves to Kristatos (the villain of the piece). I seem to recall that Fleming somewhere in the novels classifies trafficking women among the pursuits of an acceptable rogue/ally - which obviously, if so, makes the novel's relational moral alignment a lot more problematic than the author probably intended (certainly for readers today. In the world of the most recent Bond, trafficking women is an offence committed by *principal* criminals, not allies: witness SPECTRE's board meeting in SP.).**

** It's Marc Ange Draco that I was thinking of. Bond "knew that [the Union Corse, which Draco leads] controlled most organized crime in metropolitan France and her colonies - protection rackets, smuggling, prostitution and the suppression of rival gangs" - as well as legitimate business interests. ('On Her Majesty's Secret Service', Ch. 5: 'The Capu'.) Yet in the worlds of James Bond, Fleming's Draco is probably second only to Kerim Bey as the typical figure of fatherly friend to Bond.

** I'm afraid that Fleming's Colombo is in the same boat. From 'Risico': "'My friend, I am a smuggler. [...] And there have been many other things - even beautiful girls from Syria and Persia for the houses of Naples. I have also smuggled out escaped convicts. But,' Colombo's fist crashed on the table, 'drugs, heroin, opium, hemp - no! Never! I will have nothing to do with these things. These things are evil. There is no sin in the others.'"

The sarcasm of Gregg Beam's line in QOS comes to mind: "Yeah, you're right. We should just deal with nice people."

Last edited by Shady Tree (8th May 2020 18:01)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

He's in TMWTGG too (presumably it's Tanner anyway).

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Re: The Fleming Fatherly Friend Figure

Barbel wrote:

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

Yes, with Bond playing off Sanchez against his own lieutenants. Interestingly, Kurosawa sued Leone for ripping off his film’s plot and won the distribution rights of Fistfull in Japan.  In the Bond cinematic universe however, Blofeld can be credited with using the Yojimbo strategy, starting in FRWL.

"...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.....