Posted on by Scott Delahunt

The world’s best known secret agent has had a long history. Created by Ian Fleming and first published in 1953, James Bond has appeared in 57 books, including 43 by other authors, at least 29 movies, including those made outside the Eon continuity, and in comics. Bond has been portrayed by six different actors in the main franchise alone. With the sheer number of works available, the 007 movies provide a range of adaptations, from the close but not quite approaches of the early films to the in-name-only later works. One film even manages to adapt the novella as smaller portion of its longer running time.

Approaching the project will take time. Several ways of tackling the franchise exist. First is to go movie by movie. With over twenty movies in the main franchise, that will take time. a similar method would be to group the films by the actor playing Bond. That gives the Sean Connery and Roger Moore eras a longer analysis, and doesn’t take into account the one George Lazenby outing. I could also group three movies together, based on the order being used.

The order, though, is another question. There’s the order of the books, starting with Casino Royale. Using this order means jumping around in the film continuity, such as it exists, and several of the movies have titles that come from other aspects of the character instead of story titles, such as The World Is Note Enough. Movie order may be easier – the films may be better known now by the general audience than the books.

Much like the History of Adaptations, the Bond project won’t be week by week. Instead, the goal will be to have an entry each month, with the intervening weeks being saved for other analyses. This will give me time to read the novels and watch the movies again without being rushed. Right now, though, I’m taking suggestions on the approach. Would the best approach be reviewing one movie at a time or grouping the movies together? What order would be best, the books or the films? And should I touch the non-franchise films? Please answer in the comments below.

This will be a big project, but I hope that it will show the range of adapting styles used in cinema.

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  • Funny this should come up now, I was just listening to CBC’s “Under the Influence” about how James Bond only really got big (in the US) after one of Fleming’s books was listed in JFK’s Top 10 books. Helped lead to the movies. Even so, the movies are probably better known now, so it may be best to use that order. And I don’t see a problem with treating them individually (though I seem to recall some deviate a lot more than others). You could even touch the non-franchise ones as a group. There’s probably something to be said for how adapting changes over the decades. Best with it – let me know if you need any of the movies, I think Anne-Lise has most if not all of them (only a couple of the books though).

    • And the first Bond film adaptation was an American TV movie featuring “Jimmy Bond”. That’s what I’m thinking, go by the movies. They also sort of build on what came before. I’m just trying to work out the best way to get through 29 movies. The non-franchise ones will be handled last, so I can track down some of them. I may even add Operation Double 007 (aka O.K. Connery and Operation Kid Brother), just for fun, since it uses several of the actors from the main film franchise, despite not being official for many many reasons. I have the main films, thanks, just have to locate the Connery-era ones.

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