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Re: BLM and Bond

Interesting point about the sequence of the filming, cp.

Yes, in the wake of the machine gun attack Honey and Quarrel find common ground in sharing a superstitious belief in the dragon, aligned with Honey's observations about wonders in the natural world. By contrast Bond is a metropolitan cynic and, in dialogue with Honey and Quarrel on the beach, Connery performs for the first time the subtly incredulous sort of eye-rolling which in later films (like DAF) he drew on far more.

But Quarrel is certainly stereotyped at this point in the movie, with clear and unfortunate racial overtones. The comic moment I'd mentioned with the rum (?) swigging (which comes before the machine gun attack), when Monty Norman sends him up, is followed by another comic moment when, taking cover, Quarrel looks bug-eyed at the crab passing in front of him in the sand: the crab symbolises his fear, a fear contrasted with Bond's professional pragmatism.

By the way, as Bond gets ultra bossy on the beach, ordering around both Quarrel and Honey, I love Honey's (Nikki van der Zyl's) delivery of "All right! All right!" - for which I read a hint of: "WTF, for God's sake give us a break, will ya?"

Last edited by Shady Tree (15th Jul 2020 17:55)

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

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Re: BLM and Bond

I'm not 100% certain they filmed the Crab Key scenes first, I just seem to recall having read that somewhere. I shall defer to the real experts: paging Barbel!

I do know Fleming walked onto the scene unannounced with his Jamaica buddies (Noel Coward et al?) while they were filming the big bikini scene. I also know he was disappointed with some of the changes from his novel, though that was mostly to do with the migrating land crabs and the giant squid.

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I'm pretty sure they didn't film the Crab Key scenes first, rather it was Bond's arrival at the airport.

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Barbel wrote:

I'm pretty sure they didn't film the Crab Key scenes first, rather it was Bond's arrival at the airport.

my mistake, nevermind!

hey the Barbel pager works pretty good!

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ajb007/lol  It's sometimes called "Choogling".

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caractacus potts wrote:

I think they filmed the Crab Key scenes first?

Is that right? That would seem believable it was earlier in the shoot because to me somehow those 'island' scenes do seem a bit, well, worse than the bit of the film leading up to them to me. As mentioned, Quarrel is suddenly a stepandfetchit character, but also there's slightly clumsy stuff like Bond's unnecessary killing of the guard in the water and the slightly nonsensical attempt to ambush the dragon.
Dr No isn't really one of my favourites. I get that we wouldn't have the other films without it, but I just prefer those. I don't think they really got Bond himself right until the next one.

Last edited by emtiem (15th Jul 2020 21:19)

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No, the Crab Key scenes were not filmed first. The airport scenes were.

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Barbel wrote:

No, the Crab Key scenes were not filmed first. The airport scenes were.

Only two weeks or so into the shoot though.

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I really did not want to add to this conversation, but have decided to. I intend to make only this comment though.

The Early films and of course the books which they are based on are of their time. I believe we should not look on them with the modern eye as to compare with current thinking unless we are only wishing to learn lessons. Criticising for the sake of criticising is pointless.

Am I offended by how Quarrel is shown on Dr No? Or am I offended by how any other black person is shown in the early films? No. Would I be angry if the attitudes had not changed? Yes.

The biggest lesson we can all take away is the fact that everyone recognises that the general attitudes of those times are not acceptable in todays society and that is a good thing.

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Bond in DN is abrupt to everyone, black, white and Asian, so I don’t see the “fetch my shoes” incident as racist, just Bond barking orders as their lives are on the line. Bond is visibly saddened by Quarell’s death and feels bad that he has led him to his demise.

The scene with Quarell looking bug eyed at the crab is ridiculous though, he’s meant to be the best fisherman around and he either looks scared of the crab or looks like he’s never seen one before. Maybe Terence Young wanted to bring a bit of light relief into the film as there is precious little in it up to that point, but it seems shoehorned in and incongruous.

Joshua, as always, is the voice of reason and I concur with everything he says above.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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My apologies, but I must point this out as I intended to in the post I made.

Bond is a officer in the Royal Navy, he will be used to 'barking' orders to people, especially people who are of 'other rank' status. This will have been especially so during times of emergency or danger.

There is nothing racist about it at all. If Quarrel had not been there he would have said it to Honey, he would be more occupied with planning and preparing than doing that task.

Just one more thing, superstition and beliefs in things which may seem stupid to white people are actually very serious to many black people, and they are as strong today as they were then. That's why there are still witch doctors and juju. It is perfectly reasonable that Quarrel was really afraid of the story of the dragon because of this and would have reacted in the way he did in the film.

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Joshua wrote:

I really did not want to add to this conversation, but have decided to. I intend to make only this comment though.

The Early films and of course the books which they are based on are of their time. I believe we should not look on them with the modern eye as to compare with current thinking unless we are only wishing to learn lessons. Criticising for the sake of criticising is pointless.

If there was any thinking at all at the time which saw issues with it then it's problematic. Something like LALD does cultivate an 'us and them' atmosphere, so of course it can be criticised.

Joshua wrote:

Just one more thing, superstition and beliefs in things which may seem stupid to white people are actually very serious to many black people, and they are as strong today as they were then.

Hmm.

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On the thematic contrast between a superstitious Honey's observations about the cruel magic of the natural world (supported by Quarrel's emphatic "She's right!") and Bond's skeptical rationalism, there's a sense in which the audience sides more with Honey and Quarrel: we're in the cinema for escape into fantasy and enjoyment of the magic of film, so a mindset receptive to wonder is amenable to our own 'willing suspension of disbelief' (or "sweet distraction for an hour or two", to quote the lyrics of 'All Time High'). The process of identification for a spectator in the cinema is complex and fractured so it's possible for the viewer to align with the viewpoints of particular characters in one moment while gazing at those same characters as objectified totems in another.

By the time we got to Bond films like NSNA and LTK the filmmakers were including black characters free of traditional stereotyping. The filmmakers were moving away from Fleming's colonial world view but using black American rather than black British characters (perhaps because black American representation in cinema was far more established). Things changed again during the 90s, though I would question the choice of the name Robinson for Colin Salmon's character in TND. The filmmakers knew full well about the special significance of nomenclature in Bond texts yet, for a character cast with a black British actor, they stuck with a name which for viewers at the time still carried associations with racist branding of Robinson's marmalade and jam, in recent history. (The other possible cultural allusion is to 'Robinson Crusoe', a text in which the white hero has his Man Friday.) Whether the filmmakers thought of this as some sort of 90s postmodern irony, they were clearly conscious of racialised configuration in nomenclature: Robinson's code name is Black Bishop to Bond's White Knight.

By the time we get to the next set of recurring characters on Bond's side, in the Craig era, Eve Moneypenny is a black character whose racial identity is never referenced in any way. Perhaps what we need now is black characters in Bond whose racial identity *is* an acknowledged part of who they are but for the postcolonial context - a Yaphet Kotto for contemporary Bond, free of racist tropes and not necessarily 'the villain'? Perhaps Bond himself, or an identity-conscious black British ally?

Last edited by Shady Tree (16th Jul 2020 15:06)

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

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Shady Tree wrote:

. Things changed again during the 90s, though I would question the choice of the name Robinson for Colin Salmon's character in TND. The filmmakers knew full well about the special significance of nomenclature in Bond texts yet, for a character cast with a black British actor, they stuck with a name which for viewers at the time still carried associations with racist branding of Robinson's marmalade and jam, in recent history.

As the brand name of the marmalade in question is actually Robertson’s, not Robinson, I don’t think any suggestion of racism can be thrown at the producers in this case.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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CoolHandBond wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

. Things changed again during the 90s, though I would question the choice of the name Robinson for Colin Salmon's character in TND. The filmmakers knew full well about the special significance of nomenclature in Bond texts yet, for a character cast with a black British actor, they stuck with a name which for viewers at the time still carried associations with racist branding of Robinson's marmalade and jam, in recent history.

As the brand name of the marmalade in question is actually Robertson’s, not Robinson, I don’t think any suggestion of racism can be thrown at the producers in this case.

I stand utterly corrected. Thank you.

Last edited by Shady Tree (18th Jul 2020 13:15)

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

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Shady Tree wrote:

... In the Craig era, Eve Moneypenny is a black character whose racial identity is never referenced in any way. Perhaps what we need now is black characters in Bond whose racial identity *is* an acknowledged part of who they are but for the postcolonial context...

All very interesting points, though I don't think either a person or a character must be defined by their race (or, for that matter, their sexuality, but that's another conversation). With Eve, I felt it more egregious that she was a woman who botched up her job in the field and then decided it wasn't for her and she should work as a secretary behind a desk instead. I could almost feel the feminist cause falling back three decades with just that scene. Considering this same film had Bond following a former sex slave into a shower, I do wonder what Eon were thinking in 2012.

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to be fair, Bond also botched his job in the field in that film, and got his Boss killed! so equal opportunities all round.

Also, M told Moneypenny to do it, even though Moneypenny knew it was not a safe shot.
Which reminds me, yet more interesting symmetries in SkyFall:
Bond is presumed killed by M's order at the beginning, M really is killed by Bond's attempted rescue at the end of the film.
I don't think Moneypenny's competence as a field agent is the most important issue in that plot, more like she recognises her limitations and finds a another way to contribute, very responsible decision.

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caractacus potts wrote:

to be fair, Bond also botched his job in the field in that film, and got his Boss killed! so equal opportunities all round.

Also, M told Moneypenny to do it, even though Moneypenny knew it was not a safe shot.
Which reminds me, yet more interesting symmetries in SkyFall:
Bond is presumed killed by M's order at the beginning, M really is killed by Bond's attempted rescue at the end of the film.
I don't think Moneypenny's competence as a field agent is the most important issue in that plot, more like she recognises her limitations and finds a another way to contribute, very responsible decision.

Craig's Bond, by the end of Skyfall, had failed in two out of three films. He should be the one behind the desk.

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caractacus potts wrote:

to be fair, Bond also botched his job in the field in that film, and got his Boss killed! so equal opportunities all round.

Also, M told Moneypenny to do it, even though Moneypenny knew it was not a safe shot.
Which reminds me, yet more interesting symmetries in SkyFall:
Bond is presumed killed by M's order at the beginning, M really is killed by Bond's attempted rescue at the end of the film.
I don't think Moneypenny's competence as a field agent is the most important issue in that plot, more like she recognises her limitations and finds a another way to contribute, very responsible decision.

Eve does fail to fire again at Patrice though, which is what she should have done even though she taken Bond out with the first.

She also tells M that she’s run out of road and can’t go any further. She’s driving a Land Rover ajb007/smile