TCM gets shaken and stirred by a month of Bond

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tap - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Any tele­vi­sion out­let knows it’s struck gold – and, of­ten, “Goldfin­ger” – when it has Bond. James Bond.

One of the most en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar of all film franchises has been a home-screen sta­ple since the early 1970s. As the ca­ble era evolved, other av­enues chal­lenged broad­cast net­works for TV rights to the ad­ven­tures of nov­el­ist Ian Flem­ing’s spy, but Turner Clas­sic Movies has shown them only rarely.

In Septem­ber, though, TCM ded­i­cates ev­ery Thurs­day night of the month to Agent 007. Two veter­ans of the se­ries ap­pear in a re­lated mini-doc­u­men­tary: Martin Campbell, the di­rec­tor who guided the in­tro­duc­tions of two Bonds, Pierce Bros­nan (in “Gold­enEye”) and Daniel Craig (in “Casino Royale”); and Bruce Feirstein, who wrote or co-wrote the first three of Bros­nan’s four Bond out­ings.

On Sept. 5, the chrono­log­i­cally or­ga­nized event be­gins with five 1960s films that made Sean Con­nery a superstar: “Dr. No,” “From Rus­sia With Love,” “Goldfin­ger,” “Thun­der­ball” and “You Only Live Twice.” The month’s in­cluded ti­tles run up through Bros­nan’s “The World Is Not Enough,” and in an in­ter­view for this ar­ti­cle, Campbell notes that a clas­sic scene al­ways is part of au­di­tion­ing po­ten­tial 007 por­tray­ers.

“It’s the scene from ‘From Rus­sia With Love’ where Bond comes into his ho­tel room, takes off his jacket and throws down his gun,” the film­maker ex­plains. “He crosses the suite and opens the door, and there’s Ta­tiana Ro­manova in bed. She wants to get in­for­ma­tion from him, and of course, he wants in­for­ma­tion from her – so to get it, he has to kind of se­duce her. It’s a scene that pretty much cov­ers all the Bond things, and they’ve tested ev­ery new Bond with it. And you al­ways shoot two other scenes that are from the (cur­rent) script.”

Though he worked with two suc­ces­sors, Campbell al­lows that “Con­nery, for me, is still the best Bond ... prob­a­bly because I was brought up on him. Then you look at Roger Moore, who was more light­weight, but there’s a lot of hu­mor in Roger’s stuff. He brought a unique qual­ity that I still ab­so­lutely en­joy. And then (also af­ter Ge­orge Lazenby and Timothy Dal­ton) we had Pierce, where it got a lit­tle more se­ri­ous, and Daniel brought it back to where we are now. He’s done a terrific job, and who knows what the next ac­tor will bring?”

In­deed, with Craig’s sup­pos­edly fi­nal Bond ca­per now in pro­duc­tion for re­lease in April, another ac­tor will in­herit the role. Hav­ing in­tro­duced the last two, would Campbell do it again?

“Well, if they ever asked me, I would cer­tainly con­sider it,” he says, “because al­ways with a new Bond, the ac­tor brings his own par­tic­u­lar skills to the part.”

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