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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Napoleon Plural wrote:

It's been said the closing shot of Baron Samedi was a sop to the black audience, a kind of gesture make of that what you will. The role of blacks in the Bonds can be tricky - if they are the main villain then it's white State law enforcer beats up/shoots black guy -hardly escapism for many black Americans today. If they are Bond's squeeze then it's white colonial enforcer beds black babe then dumps her, or she gets killed - so black actors in Bond films tend to pop up as long-term allies hence Leiter and Moneypenny I suppose.

The ironic outcome of this caution is Bond is now moving in a less diverse world than it really is.
And once upon a time, readers were vicariously experiencing a much wider world through Fleming's books than they could ever expect to see for themselves.

Avoiding villains of colour is especially sad, for the actors. The big villain is the best part, a chance for an actor to really chew the scenery. Who would not want the chance to play a Bond villain?
When was the last time we had a black villain at all, Mayday?
and the only non-white principal Bond villain since Kananga I can think of was Colonel Sun-Moon, who literally got whitewashed after the opening credits. For the rest of the film he is an unflattering stereotype of a modern white billionaire.

And if the only nonwhite characters we see are subsidiary goodguys reliably working alongside the hero, that is hardly an advancement on the days when blacks only appeared in films as servants. Why would an actor want such limited options?

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Not sure what is wrong with Gymkata, but the amount of .gifs for LALD have been dissappointing!

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: AJB live commentary on LALD

caractacus potts wrote:

When was the last time we had a black villain at all, Mayday?

Obanno and Mollako in CR?

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Angela Basset for Bond villan!  ajb007/bond


https://www.haircolorsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Angela-Bassett-Hairstyles-1.jpg

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Number24 wrote:

Angela Basset for Bond villan!  ajb007/bond


https://www.haircolorsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Angela-Bassett-Hairstyles-1.jpg

Amen to that.  She's one of my favorite actresses and would be dynamite as a Bond villain.

Current rankings:
OHMSS>FRWL>CR>TSWLM>YOLT>MR>SF>GE>OP>DN>FYEO>
TWINE>TND>QOS>TB>TMWTGG>GF>LALD>TLD>AVTAK>SP>DAF>LTK>DAD
Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Higgins wrote:

Not sure what is wrong with Gymkata, but the amount of .gifs for LALD have been dissappointing!

Gifs have been lacking to find, unfortunately.  I'll see what I can do about getting some shots of my own of some of the better bits of scenery.

Current rankings:
OHMSS>FRWL>CR>TSWLM>YOLT>MR>SF>GE>OP>DN>FYEO>
TWINE>TND>QOS>TB>TMWTGG>GF>LALD>TLD>AVTAK>SP>DAF>LTK>DAD
Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

caractacus potts wrote:

When was the last time we had a black villain at all, Mayday?

Barbel wrote:

Obanno and Mollako in CR?

you're right! I forgot about them.
Pretty minor characters, not part of the main villains retinue, which is what i was thinking of.
But I did say say at all and there they are. and both characters are independently responsible for some very nasty violence.

(the very fact that there are sets of villains who are not part of the main villains retinue itself makes Casino Royale a more complex film, doesn't it, where very bad things happen anyway and the main villain's crime is to find a way to profit off it.
In the more classic Bond films the world usually appeared to be perfect except for the one main villain's Evil Scheme, and all is restored to normal once that villain is killed. At least for another two years...)

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

OK, here we go.

Including the pictorial wall (in all its 'glory') from Quarrell Jr's boat.


https://i.postimg.cc/gxCVMJt0/LALD01.png

https://i.postimg.cc/VJpR34vm/LALD02.png

https://i.postimg.cc/K1RfqCZ0/LALD03.png

https://i.postimg.cc/qhXx6TLv/LALD04.png

https://i.postimg.cc/JDWQhnjF/LALD05.png

https://i.postimg.cc/8FfvMS1V/LALD06.png

Current rankings:
OHMSS>FRWL>CR>TSWLM>YOLT>MR>SF>GE>OP>DN>FYEO>
TWINE>TND>QOS>TB>TMWTGG>GF>LALD>TLD>AVTAK>SP>DAF>LTK>DAD
Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Here, I'll embiggen some of those.
https://i.postimg.cc/2560SL4n/LALD01.png
https://i.postimg.cc/FKDxtr81/LALD06.png

Current rankings:
OHMSS>FRWL>CR>TSWLM>YOLT>MR>SF>GE>OP>DN>FYEO>
TWINE>TND>QOS>TB>TMWTGG>GF>LALD>TLD>AVTAK>SP>DAF>LTK>DAD
Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Welcome back from the salt mines, Gymkata. Great work!

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Number24 wrote:

Black Bond girls hasn't worked out very well so far. Rosie in LALD was dumb, incompetent and died. Jinx was …. Jinx. If we include May Day and the new Moneypenny it gets better. May Day was cool and died a heroic death. If we asume Bond and Moneypenny slept together after the shaving scene in SF (I think so), she the big sucess story since she survives and is shown in a positive light (other than shooting Bond  ajb007/lol )

Although May Day experiences a Jaws-like conversion to the side of right and virtue, and sacrifices herself, this ending for her character is ideologically problematic: the interracial relationship in the movie - May Day and Zorin - is a villains' affair, an aberration doomed to failure; her sexual encounter with Bond is presented as a joke about the idea of a black woman on top of the white hero; and by blowing herself up she symbolically clears the way for Bond to rescue the white damsel in distress and finally to have sex with that white girl. So from the point of view of an ideological representation of race and gender, AVTAK is hardly more progressive than LALD.

Although Jinx is Jinx, as you say (i.e. the performance is less impressive) Jinx is a character whose ethnicity functions differently, and more positively, within the ideological structure of DAD's narrative. As with Rosie, May Day and Eve, Jinx's black identity is never explicitly referenced in the screenplay.  But in DAD it's the black woman, rather than the white girl, that Bond rescues, and it's the interracial sexual relationship with which the movie ends - between hero and heroine, and presented as an intimacy based on mutuality.

In the case of Eve in SF, she's unfortunately relegated from fieldwork to the traditional role of secretary at the end of the movie, a function of the coda's anniversary callback to the traditional M/Bond/Moneypenny set-up. 'Taking the shot' but crucially messing it up, Eve is ironically more akin to Rosie than to Jinx in the competency stakes, despite her subsequent self-assurance, the sexy ease of her continuing friendship with Bond and her occassional supporting-role contributions to further action scenes.

Last edited by Shady Tree (14th May 2020 03:20)

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

I don't think Eve's role in SF would have changed at all if a white woman had been cast.

Edit- Or in the next film.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Barbel wrote:

I don't think Eve's role in SF would have changed at all if a white woman had been cast.

Edit- Or in the next film.

I agree. The same could be said of Jinx. Even in AVTAK, when Bond asks M at the races about the woman he can see in the distance with Zorin, Bond points her out as the woman wearing red and M identifies her as an American woman; neither identifies May Day by her ethnicity. Yet the fact that these different characters are performed by black actors means that their roles gain meaning in terms of the films' representations of race and gender, whether reactionary or progressive.

Last edited by Shady Tree (14th May 2020 18:44)

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

I think it's taking it a bit far to when Shady Tree writes about the "ideological structure" in Bond films. For example I don't think the writers or the casting people sat down and said "we need a black actress to play May Day and wouldn't it be funny if the black woman on top of Bond?" I really don't. I think they discussed who is cool and looks striking and kinda dangerous and they though of Grace Jones. I don't know if they thought about the complete inplausibility of a black woman beina a product of the nazi Lebensborn Project, but that's it.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

I admit to having been influenced by some of the academic writing about Bond which started emerging in Cultural Studies during the late 70s and 80s (Stuart Hall etc.). In those studies, the whole area of 'representation' and how it's codified in cultural texts is looked at irrespective of what the film-makers' intentions may, or may not, have been. As for me, I'm posting as a fan, not as an academic, but I think such studies have value.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

It has some merit, but I think you're taking it too far. for example I think the reason why May Day is on top of Bond is because of Grace Jones's public persona (and probably persona) where she's very condident, forceful and dominant. It has nothing to do with any race joke. Rosie in LALD would've never been shown doing that.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

It's true that May Day's persona is closely related to Grace Jones's celebrity image at the time. I remember seeing her infamous interview with British chat show host Russell Harty, when she was half drunk and started slapping him. I think I've read somewhere that a cameo was planned for her in NTTD, but she was asked to leave because of difficult behaviour?

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

There was a story that she was going to have  cameo, but she left when she discovered how small it was. I think the general consensus is that this didn't really happen.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Shady, I like the type of analyses you contribute here, you always throw out some interesting ideas to chew on.

Did you know our boss, Barbel, once started the Subtext and Themes thread? some of your ideas would fit right in there, I'm surprised you never posted there. Your recent bit on the eyes/vision/surveillance imagery in SPECTRE I think would have been right on topic.




______________________________________________
re: Mayday, Number24 brings up a damn good point

number24 wrote:

...I don't know if they thought about the complete inplausibility of a black woman being a product of the nazi Lebensborn Project...

Mayday is the product of a Nazi biological experiment!!!
I think its not eugenics as such, but the Evil Nazi Doctor has been giving supersteroids to otherwise normal infants?

Is the character even a black woman at all, or is she simply played by a black actress who could deliver the character, and we are supposed to somehow suspend disbelief and see an Aryan?
Live theatre will make such casting choices, but film is usually more literal.

The biological experiment has produced two individuals intended to be Aryan ideals who turn out to be not ideal at all, but so flawed they are a danger to the world as we know it. Zorin is completely amoral, and Mayday is a savage.

Part of Grace Jones' schtick, throughout her career, is to portray a type of futuristic savage, so that qualifies her for the part. But I don't know if we are really supposed to see a black woman so much as an attempted Aryan ideal that turns out to be a savage.


Good thing you folks have aVtaK cued up to watch next, it shall be interesting to see what you have to say about Mayday.

Speaking of academic analyses of James Bond movies, James Chapman in his book License to Thrill makes an argument about the role of women in these films, and seems to get get real confused when he tries to fit Mayday into that theory.

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Thanks for plugging that thread, cp. Also thanks for the promotion, but SiCo is the boss round here and we mods merely represent him.  ajb007/smile

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Re: AJB live commentary on LALD

Thanks, cp. I was very influenced by Tony Bennett's and Janet Woollacott's 1987 book, 'Bond and Beyond', in the Communications and Culture series published by Palgrave. I read this when it first came out, and at that time its analysis of AVTAK seemed relevant and challenging. It's basically from there that I've filched my points about May Day's role in the 'ideological structure' of AVTAK. This book is marred by the sort of turgid academic jargon which at the time blighted most studies of 'the mass media', but it's worth perusing if you can get hold of a copy. (James Chapman's style in the more recent book that you mention is more accessible by comparison.)

In the 1987 tome, there's an interesting chapter looking at patterns in the sales of paperbacks of the Fleming titles, and how these had been impacted by different Bond film releases. Bennett and Woollacott analysed the shifting effect of the film releases on sales of the Fleming novels as a whole - compared with sales of each individual book in the particular year that the Bond film using the same title was released. The conclusion was that, during the sixties, each new Bond film drove up significantly the sales of *all* of Fleming's Bond novels, as a set; whereas, by the early seventies, the effect of a new Bond film on sales of Fleming was significant *only* in the case of the particular novel bequeathing its title to that film.

So it follows that, across both decades combined, there would have been many more thousands of readings of Fleming with Sean Connery in people's imaginations than with Roger Moore's image in mind: this would have been true even of 'Live and Let Die' and 'The Man With The Golden Gun' as read paperbacks - and even if the calculation takes into account the 1973 and 1974 reissues of these titles, spiking new waves of consumption as 'movie tie-in' editions with images of Roger Moore on the front covers. That analysis of changing patterns and volumes of consumption of the books during the 60s and into the 70s adds a whole new perspective on the once fashionable debate about whether, in popular imagination, Connery was and remained the 'real' James Bond. (The situation became more complicated in the mid to late 70s when the release of two Bond movies, TSWLM and MR, tied in with the publication of original novels by Christopher Wood, temporarily suspending reissues of Fleming's books of the same name. As 'books-of-the-films' the two new Bond novels by Wood, reworking his own screenplays, featured a 'Fleming-ised' iteration of Moore's Bond only. The imaginative 'life' of Wood's novels was circumscribed and anchored by the specific movies with which they tied in, TSWLM and MR, and their life span was limited by the period of
those particular movies' distribution and exhibition.)

Before Bennett's and Woollacott's book came along, Stuart Hall and Richard Dyer had put together an Open University teaching kit, including audio cassettes, about the production of TSWLM specifically, and about that film's "ideological effects". Some of this was about the idealisation of technology in TSWLM, and its consumerist fantasy of complete closure of the gap between intention and technological operation. There was also stuff in it about the limitations of Anya's role, rebutting publicity claims that Anya represented a new kind of Bond woman, an equal with Bond. I read, and listened, my way through these OU resources in about 1983/84. Hall's research involved gaining access to key personnel at Eon, and recording interviews about the making of TSWLM. (Very interesting stuff - at a point well before there were such things as DVD Bonus Feature interviews and commentaries with production teams!) I guess that Eon hadn't properly realised that Hall's academic team would be coming from a Marxist, critical perspective - again, an approach typical of studies of 'the mass media' at the time. Indeed, Eon may have considered itself 'stung' by the end result, an explicit criticism of TSWLM's "ideological structure". I'm sure Eon will have kept a weather eye on academic publications about their movies ever since.

Before that, cultural theorist Umberto Eco had written an article about narrative structure in Ian Fleming. Eco had argued that the Bond novels exemplified a Manichean ideology, configuring the world as a series of binary oppositions based on good vs evil - including East vs West, programming vs spontaneity, etc. It's tempting to think that Zorin's line in AVTAK when he brags about his own capacity for "intuitive improvisation" is a sly in-joke at the expense of Eco, who had argued that it was this very quality which always enabled Bond to better the villain.

More recent studies of popular television and film have sometimes taken a look at fandom as a phenomenon; and some academics now write with their 'fan hats' on, too. I think that can be very interesting.

Last edited by Shady Tree (21st May 2020 16:11)