I own lots of Bond books and movies and soundtracks, but not loads of documentaries on the subject.
The subtitle of the story is "The Untold Story of 007"...if you know anything about James Bond at all there isn't a single thing is this documentary that is 'unknown' or surprising. We already have a clear picture of the dynamic between Connery and Broccoli and Salzman and the over the top and long lasting drama between Fleming and man who claimed to have rights to Bond. It's when this documentary tries to tell you something that it thinks you don't know or will surprise you that it gets a little close to having a agenda and it gets close to being propaganda...yes, James Bond propaganda. Stevan Riley does not have to vilify Connery for us to understand that the conflict between Connery and Bond has two sides. We also don't have to end every interview segment with some sort of praise to Broccoli for us to understand that without his vision we wouldn't see the Bond we see today. What I find interesting is that Broccoli's vision of Bond, while progressive in the beginning, needed help modernizing. Broccoli wanted to be trapped in the world he created; Bond did not.
So, this documentary is about an hour and a half and the first half is beyond delightful. There are interviews and clips of Ian Fleming, some of which I'd never seen, and the documentary nicely paints Bond as Fleming's alter-ego. It also paints a realistic picture of the 60s and 70s and shows how the culture and time period, in essence, creates the Bond we see on film. It also gives better insight into the minds of all the creators of James Bond...and, there are several Fleming, Broccoli and Salzman, of course, but also Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig. We know that each portrayal of Bond brought different meaning to the world and, in some way kept Bond fresh to the public. The artistic visionaries who create action sequences, back-drops, costumes and make-up are also responsible for the incarnation of Bond that we see today.
We all know that Bond is more than what we see from Riley; this documentary is a great watch anyway.
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A little background...we started the class in 2007 after Casino Royale came and the movie was about to come out on DVD. The classes consisted of students who initially didn't pass an English or History class during the school year.
Flyer from the first year
Hand-out completed for each Bond film
Paper Guidelines and Topics
Words to Know