It’s been nearly eight months since I watched a Bond movie. I need to get back on that. Perhaps this article, coming with the 50th anniversary of the franchise, will get me motivated again. It tells the story of all the elements that had to come together the get the first movie made. While Bond seems old hat these days, once he was the face of a bright, space age future.
This is an older, stiffer world, with Britain just five years removed from food rationing and America still in an era of Kramdens, Eisenhowers, and finned Caddies…But it is also a world in transition. Transatlantic jet service is newly available to commercial passengers, thanks to the carriers B.O.A.C. and Pan American. G. D. Searle & Company, a pharmaceutical concern, is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market one of its products, Enovid, as a birth-control pill for women. A scrubbed, fit group of U.S. military test pilots has just been introduced to the public as the Mercury Seven, America’s first astronauts. And the undeclared Democratic front-runner in the next presidential election is only 42 years old.
I loved this bit about what Sean Connery brought to the role, put in more modern terms.
Connery’s rough-hewn background served Cinema Bond well—it made him a more plausible creation than Fleming’s Bond. Whereas the latter is a roguish posh boy, steeped in the finer things in life, who just happens to be a cold-blooded assassin, the former is not unlike Don Draper as portrayed by Jon Hamm in Mad Men: a mysterious self-creation whose virile good looks opened doors in his young adulthood, and who seized upon these openings to learn the ropes as a gentleman, connoisseur, and lover, transforming himself into a convincing but dangerous facsimile of all of the above.