Tuesday, May 19, 2015

8 things from the Bond books you will never see in the film series

There are many things from Ian Fleming’s novels that will never make it to the screen. His love of drugs, his irrational hatred of Bulgarians and his Scottish housekeeper May. Here are the top eight moments that will NEVER get on screen.

Bond gets friend zoned - Moonraker (1955)
Moonraker is like that Japanese guy who got to experience the fallout of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. First, its title was used to cash in on Star Wars, and then its plot was used to kill Pierce Brosnan’s tenure in Die Another Day.

One thing they did not include in either version was the ending. In the book, Bond spends all his time pawing the police woman working with him. In more enlightened times, this would be grounds for a sexual harassment suit. Bond makes it even creepier by obsessing over the fact she has a mole on one of her breasts. He takes this as meaning she is down for a tumble, over her objections. In the end, he finds out she is married and gets the fifties equivalent of the ‘you're a good friend but...’ speech. 

Bond fights a squid and Dr No drowns in shit  - Dr No (1958)
Dr. No holds the distinction of being the first Bond movie. As such it benefits from a healthy dose of sexism, racism and Sean Connery before the hairpiece.

However, in the transition, a few scenes failed to make the cut. Like in the movie, at one point Bond has to climb through a metal pipe. In the book, Bond gets out of the pipe and finds himself in the sea with a giant white squid. This one sounds pretty cool: just imagine Sean Connery razzling a squid. Sadly, this face-off never happens. In the book, Bond takes one look at this thing and runs away. Ah well.

The other sequence feels like something that would work in a Farrelly Brothers movie. Whereas in the movie, Dr. No dies in a radioactive pool of something, in the movie Bond dumps a load of bird droppings on him. It's ironic because he makes bird fertiliser, and he's a shit. Geddit?

Fleming tries to write like a woman - The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
The Spy Who Loved Me bears no relation to the film that bears its name. Legally, the producers could only use the title. Clearly, they mis -read this clause since they applied the same approach to most of the movies. 

There are a few reasons Fleming may have been a bit nervous about this one coming to the screen. This novel is a bit of an experiment as it is the only book written from the point of view of the Bond Girl. Yes, Ian Fleming, the man who once wrote the sentence ‘Making love to her would always have the sweet tang of rape’, decided to write a book from a woman's perspective. Bond only turns up toward the end to save her from a couple of rapey arsonists called Sluggsy and Horror. The only thing that is taken from the book is Horror's braces, which were used as an inspiration for metal-mouthed henchman Jaws. 

Bond’s nightmare about marriage - On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
In the novel, after proposing to his future bride Tracy, Bond returns home on an airplane. He falls asleep and has a nightmare about what their marriage would be like, and wakes up in a cold sweat. 

While it is a rather funny insight into Bond's psyche, if that scene had been included, the ending would not have had half the emotional punch it does have. 

Bond becomes Japanese - You Only Live Twice (1964)
In the movie Bond goes through a Japanese wedding in order to go into deep cover as a 6 foot white guy in yellow face, but in the book he THINKS he is Japanese. 

It goes like this. After killing a castle full of bad guys by plugging a volcano vent, Bond bumps his head. Kissy Suzuki, the Japanese woman who has been helping him decides to do the right thing and pretend that he is her husband. We then get about 20 pages of a woman brainwashing a mentally ill man into being her love slave, while MI6 declares Bond dead. As if this isn’t depressing enough, the book ends with Bondo-san sailing to Russia because it sounds vaguely familiar. 

On the other hand, considering his behaviour toward the fairer sex, it could be argued that this is just karma for Bond's past behaviour. One intriguing wrinkle that Fleming never got to develop was that Bond leaves without learning that Suzuki is pregnant...

Bond is brainwashed and goes to Fire Island - The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)

This is more of a two-for. Fleming died before he could finish revising the novel, so we're left with a rough sketch of the story and characters without Fleming's penchant for setting and atmosphere. However, the novel does boast two scenes which are worth mentioning, if only for how bizarre they are. The novel opens well, picking up from You Only Live Twice. Bond has been brainwashed by the Russians and gets sent back to England, where he tries to kill M with a gun that squirts acid. This is the most exciting sequence in the book, although it is hard to see any of the cinematic Bonds pulling this off.

The second sequence feels like something out of a French farce. In the middle of the night, Bond discovers the villain, Scaramanga, has snuck into his hotel room -- naked. The villain 'claims' that he thought he heard something and wanted to investigate. Yeah, right. The homo-eroticism of this scene blows Skyfall's hand-on-the-knee moment right out of the water.

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