Will we see a new gentle and caring Bond?
- Credit: PA
The new Bond film is finally released - perhaps 'No Time To Die' should have been our slogan in the practice although we would avoid calling our appointments system 'Dr No'.
I have an old paperback of Casino Royale. On the back cover it quotes the Sunday Times as 'the best thriller writer since Ambler', which may be true now that I’ve goggled Eric Ambler. Perhaps that’s another writer I should try.
There is no doubt that the early Bond, in both books and films, was a misogynist.
Today, he would, quite rightly, be reported by the #metoo movement but Ian Fleming was a man of his time.
The 00 prefix allowed him to kill and he would certainly keep the coroner busy.
But how many of his killings would be considered legal at the inquest, even by a 00?
Watching the film or reading the book, we know that he stopped a baddy but I’m sure the baddy’s family would argue that, despite working for a psychopathic megalomaniac, all the security men had a tough childhood and loved children.
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Perhaps even Blofeld meant well if only he had had a loving mother.
Even if he kept his 00 licence, he would lose his driving licence fairly quickly.
If you watch the movies closely it is just possible that, occasionally he breaks the speed limit. Q would have to remove the intelligent cruise control or the car would break automatically if it got too close to another vehicle.
But anyone who thinks the early films are not too woke, try reading the books.
When I was a teenager we had a brilliant English teacher who believed that reading was important.
He also knew that teenage boys would not enjoy Jane Austin or other classics. He encouraged me to read the James Bond novels and it got me into reading.
But Ian Flaming was not in the O-level syllabus.
The qualification which gives me the most pride is English Literature. We had to study Pride and Prejudice which to a teenage boy was deadly. I didn’t care whether Darcy loved Elizabeth. But I managed to pass without reading the book.
I apologise to any Jane Austin fans but I don’t think Jane would have seen teenage boys as her target audience.
Recently, I decided to read a Bond book to see whether they are as exciting as I found them in my teenage years.
The stories are predictable thrillers and fun but there are some comments which have not survived the passage of time.
In the book, On her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond meets the main villain, Blofeld, who explains the importance of hypnosis.
It is even used in western medicine to treat mental conditions such as homosexuality, he explained.
At this I cringed but Fleming was a man of his time. The first James Bond book came out in 1952, the same year that Alan Turing was prosecuted for 'homosexual acts'.
Perhaps Blofeld’s hypnosis might have been less dangerous than the chemical castration Alan Turing suffered.
Luckily, we are now more enlightened and know that being gay is just a variation of normal.
In Moonraker, he makes it clear he hates all Germans but then added a tirade against short people.
I’m not sure whether we should add 'shortist' to the list of unacceptable prejudices.
Over the years the films have changed as society has changed.
Bond girls are no longer bimbos but intelligent people who would report the early Bond for his behaviour.
As Daniel Craig steps down will we see a new woke Bond, gentle and caring?
As he breaks into the villain’s secret lair he’ll immediately ring a builder to repair the damage. Rather than shooting all the henchmen will he arrange counselling?
It might be: “My name’s Bond, James Bond, but it’s not all about me. Team has no 'i' in it. Tell me about yourself.”