Is Moonraker the most used novel of Fleming?

in Literary 007 Posts: 12,937
I was wondering about it recently. Yes, the movie sharing its name had nothing to do with the source material, or very little. But they used elements of the novel, regarding the background of the villain particularly, in AVTAK, GE, DAD, SF and maybe SP, if the rumours about Oberhauser/Blofeld are true. I could even say that Elvis in QOS is a poorly conceived, bastard child of Krebs. That would make it the most used Bond novel in the movies. Far more than those which were faithful adaptations, ironically enough. More ironically, it would mean that a direct adaptation of Moonraker is unlikely, since so much of it has been used already.
«13

Comments

  • I would say that OP the movie has an element of MR in it as well: the villain cheating at backgammon, only to be undone by Bond, is very closely aligned to the first section of MR the novel. I don't hold out much hope for a faithful movie adaptation of MR, to my mind the only part of Fleming still available for use is the Garden of Death in YOLT the novel. Time may prove me wrong...but I just don't see it.
  • Posts: 4,587
    The villain cheatin at backgammon is more a throwback to GF, methinks. Up to and including the crushing of the dice, mirroring Oddjob crushing Bond's ball.

    No, thez novel which has been used the most is LALD, with, of course, LALD, then FYEO, and then LTK.
  • Posts: 802
    Sadly, I fear you are correct.
    One of Ian's finest has been constantly pillaged for a string of mostly poor movies yet never honoured with a straight adaptation.
    This is a constant source of sadness because either as a period piece or simply by turning Drax into an al Qaeda sympathiser for a modern interpretation, Fleming's fabulous novel could be translated directly to the screen.
    I live in hope!
  • Posts: 12,937
    Gerard wrote: »
    The villain cheatin at backgammon is more a throwback to GF, methinks. Up to and including the crushing of the dice, mirroring Oddjob crushing Bond's ball.

    No, thez novel which has been used the most is LALD, with, of course, LALD, then FYEO, and then LTK.

    That is only three though. MR had been used at least five times.
  • Posts: 12,937
    I would say that OP the movie has an element of MR in it as well: the villain cheating at backgammon, only to be undone by Bond, is very closely aligned to the first section of MR the novel. I don't hold out much hope for a faithful movie adaptation of MR, to my mind the only part of Fleming still available for use is the Garden of Death in YOLT the novel. Time may prove me wrong...but I just don't see it.

    I forgot: "spend them quickly Mr Bond". Directly from MR.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Digitalia
    Posts: 40,158
    Gerard wrote: »
    The villain cheatin at backgammon is more a throwback to GF, methinks. Up to and including the crushing of the dice, mirroring Oddjob crushing Bond's ball.

    No, thez novel which has been used the most is LALD, with, of course, LALD, then FYEO, and then LTK.

    Parts of it were used in DN as well.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 14,025
    Villiers53 wrote: »
    Sadly, I fear you are correct.
    One of Ian's finest has been constantly pillaged for a string of mostly poor movies yet never honoured with a straight adaptation.
    This is a constant source of sadness because either as a period piece or simply by turning Drax into an al Qaeda sympathiser for a modern interpretation, Fleming's fabulous novel could be translated directly to the screen.
    I live in hope!

    Make this the Post of the Year as far as I am concerned!
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,021
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Villiers53 wrote: »
    Sadly, I fear you are correct.
    One of Ian's finest has been constantly pillaged for a string of mostly poor movies yet never honoured with a straight adaptation.
    This is a constant source of sadness because either as a period piece or simply by turning Drax into an al Qaeda sympathiser for a modern interpretation, Fleming's fabulous novel could be translated directly to the screen.
    I live in hope!

    Make this the Post of the Year as far as I am concerned!

    I agree; Moonraker was a fantastic book as far as I'm concerned, and none of the movies that took from it did it justice (least of all Moonraker itself).
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 14,025
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Villiers53 wrote: »
    Sadly, I fear you are correct.
    One of Ian's finest has been constantly pillaged for a string of mostly poor movies yet never honoured with a straight adaptation.
    This is a constant source of sadness because either as a period piece or simply by turning Drax into an al Qaeda sympathiser for a modern interpretation, Fleming's fabulous novel could be translated directly to the screen.
    I live in hope!

    Make this the Post of the Year as far as I am concerned!

    I agree; Moonraker was a fantastic book as far as I'm concerned, and none of the movies that took from it did it justice (least of all Moonraker itself).

    I know; it's deeply ironic.
  • DariusDarius UK
    edited September 2015 Posts: 354
    My view is that Moonraker fuels the flames of the post-World War II paranoia that was ever-present for at least twenty years post war. Now that WWII lies seventy years in the past, there are very few people left to remember the war, which means that a faithful film adaptation of this book would have to be a historical "costume piece", and would only appeal to die-hard fans of the books, such as ourselves -- who make up a tiny percentage of those who watch Bond movies, fans or otherwise. You only have to look at this forum to see that. All of the thread categories relating to Bond are about the movies, except this one and Fan Creations. This means that a costume-piece, Moonraker would not stack up financially against the tiny audience it would attract. Besides, I would wager that there's no one in this forum that has any experiential knowledge of what WWII paranoia felt like, Bond nut or not. This would rob the film of most of its emotional immediacy, even for those, like us, who would wish to see it.

    I think that the decision to keep Bond in a present day setting was not only financial, but also so that audiences could relate to the modern subject matter. This means that a modern faithful adaptation would have to tap into a modern paranoia, such as Jehadi terrorism. However, since this subject has been covered extensively in other TV and film media, brining Bond into dramas of this type is going to seem very much like he is jumping on an already overladen bandwagon.

    This is, I think, why Moonraker has been plundered, rather than produced.
  • Posts: 12,937
    The last time such adaptation could have worked would have been a few years after the end of the Cold War. Problem with using Islamic terrorism instead is the extreme susceptibility of the Islamic world. Islamist terrorism was referred to in CR and SF but very discreetly.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,229
    Darius wrote: »
    My view is that Moonraker fuels the flames of the post-World War II paranoia that was ever-present for at least twenty years post war. Now that WWII lies seventy years in the past, there are very few people left to remember the war, which means that a faithful film adaptation of this book would have to be a historical "costume piece", and would only appeal to die-hard fans of the books, such as ourselves -- who make up a tiny percentage of those who watch Bond movies, fans or otherwise. You only have to look at this forum to see that. All of the thread categories relating to Bond are about the movies, except this one and Fan Creations. This means that a costume-piece, Moonraker would not stack up financially against the tiny audience it would attract. Besides, I would wager that there's no one in this forum that has any experiential knowledge of what WWII paranoia felt like, Bond nut or not. This would rob the film of most of its emotional immediacy, even for those, like us, who would wish to see it.

    I think that the decision to keep Bond in a present day setting was not only financial, but also so that audiences could relate to the modern subject matter. This means that a modern faithful adaptation would have to tap into a modern paranoia, such as Jehadi terrorism. However, since this subject has been covered extensively in other TV and film media, brining Bond into dramas of this type is going to seem very much like he is jumping on an already overladen bandwagon.

    This is, I think, why Moonraker has been plundered, rather than produced.

    I think a faithful MR adaptation could work as a contemporary "enemy within" story (admittedly already done well in GE and poorly in DAD). It would have more of an edge with an ISIS-type threat. However, Eon since 1987 has (wisely) shied away from overtly political stories. Plus, it's hard to make what's happening in the Islamic world entertaining. So I think you are probably right.
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 1,482
    Interesting observation @Ludovico. But please jog my memory - where is MR (novel) material used in SF...?
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    edited September 2015 Posts: 4,229
    I believe it is the shooting range, the predominantly UK settings, and the "turncoat" characteristics of Silva.
  • Very interesting discussion, indeed. I would like to let you know, that I'm actually working on the 'faithful' movie adaptation of Moonraker. It's already four years in the making and I still have a lot of work ahead... but I'm doing my best. https://www.facebook.com/legomoonraker007
  • Posts: 12,937
    AceHole wrote: »
    Interesting observation @Ludovico. But please jog my memory - where is MR (novel) material used in SF...?

    Silva's appearance mainly and a part of his background. Like Drax he's a non British who works/worked for Brittain, he has a bad jaw/teeth and tries to camouflage his wound but do so badly, he's targeting London (albeit indirectly for Silva) and is solely motivated by revenge.
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 12,937
    Oh and using London and the UK in SF as the main setting is also very MR.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 14,025
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Oh and using London and the UK in SF as the main setting is also very MR.

    Yes, I certainly thought so too.

  • Posts: 12,937
    It is ironic because many Bond movies owe far more to Moonraker than the movie that share its name with the original novel.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 14,025
    Ludovico wrote: »
    It is ironic because many Bond movies owe far more to Moonraker than the movie that share its name with the original novel.

    Indeed, sad but true.
  • 00Agent00Agent Any man who drinks Dom Perignon '52 can't be all bad.
    Posts: 5,159
    I would like to let you know, that I'm actually working on the 'faithful' movie adaptation of Moonraker. It's already four years in the making and I still have a lot of work ahead... but I'm doing my best. https://www.facebook.com/legomoonraker007

    Looks cool. You got my like, i'm looking forward to it
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 1,773
    In terms of movies, LALD and MR are used the most in movies that aren't their adaptation. However, in terms of characters being used the most in other media, Goldfinger holds the record now. You have Pussy Galore being in Trigger Mortis, (which I consider part of the Fleming timeline), Goldfinger and Oddjob in the recent James Bond yearlong run of Dynamite Comics. Like Raymond Benson, Dynamite brought back a few characters. Ironically, the next Fleming novel for them to adapt is MR.
  • Posts: 2,060
    I would say that OP the movie has an element of MR in it as well: the villain cheating at backgammon, only to be undone by Bond, is very closely aligned to the first section of MR the novel. I don't hold out much hope for a faithful movie adaptation of MR, to my mind the only part of Fleming still available for use is the Garden of Death in YOLT the novel. Time may prove me wrong...but I just don't see it.
    Wrong. There is still plenty of unused material. Much of MR still hasn't yet been used, despite the blatant rip-offs (DAD, etc.).

    Most of DAF hasn't been used, neither has TSWLM (legal wranglings will need to be cleared for that one), neither has YOLT (as you just mentioned), and neither has TMWTGG - almost in its entirety (the closest we have come to an adaptation is LTK and the beginning of SF.)

  • Posts: 338
    I guess this abundant use of elements from the Moonraker book is due to the structure of this novel which, in general terms, seems to be what the classic Bond narrative formula is. Literary Drax is the first and most cinematic villain imagined by Fleming and remains a template for Eon because it is easy to translate him from page to screen... to the point of having been overexploited today: a respected businessman is suspected by MI6 and turns up to be a criminal mastermind. Granted, Goldfinger might be the first to follow the formula on the big screen, but Drax was the original. It's no surprise that while AVTAK was thought of as some sort of an update of GF, Zorin turns out to be far more closer to literary Drax than anything else.

    Nevertheless, I think there is a lot that remains to be used: putting aside Zorin and Dr. Carl Mortner, Bond has never been on the big screen confronted with neo-fascist groups as opposed to both continuation novel and comic books that used such a threat. I'm surprised that after the success of TSWLM, Cubby did not renew the formula of an alliance between Bond and a KGB agent, this time facing a neo-Nazi organization, as in Gardner's Icebreaker. Adding to that Drax's initial plan to fire a rocket at London while playing the stock market to make a profit from the tragedy, a new original story could be woven, without repeating the previous installments.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 12,937
    I guess this abundant use of elements from the Moonraker book is due to the structure of this novel which, in general terms, seems to be what the classic Bond narrative formula is. Literary Drax is the first and most cinematic villain imagined by Fleming and remains a template for Eon because it is easy to translate him from page to screen... to the point of having been overexploited today: a respected businessman is suspected by MI6 and turns up to be a criminal mastermind. Granted, Goldfinger might be the first to follow the formula on the big screen, but Drax was the original. It's no surprise that while AVTAK was thought of as some sort of an update of GF, Zorin turns out to be far more closer to literary Drax than anything else.

    Nevertheless, I think there is a lot that remains to be used: putting aside Zorin and Dr. Carl Mortner, Bond has never been on the big screen confronted with neo-fascist groups as opposed to both continuation novel and comic books that used such a threat. I'm surprised that after the success of TSWLM, Cubby did not renew the formula of an alliance between Bond and a KGB agent, this time facing a neo-Nazi organization, as in Gardner's Icebreaker. Adding to that Drax's initial plan to fire a rocket at London while playing the stock market to make a profit from the tragedy, a new original story could be woven, without repeating the previous installments.

    That's a very good analysis. Drax was the prototype for Goldfinger and thus many others. I think also why there was no proper adaptation of MR is partially due to the fact that its entirely set in the UK.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Wattenscheid
    Posts: 416
    Does anyone have a list (or cares to start one) of the spots where elements from the novels are used in the movies. For me it took a post somewhere in this forum to realize the closeness of DAD and MR, the novel and this thread is the first time I've heard GE and SF mentioned in this context. There must be loads I am not aware of.

    Going on from this and talking about MR specifically: There is a real question on what we would consider a "use" of a novel. Is the intention of the writer the important part? Is every occasion where we can make out a similarity really a "use" of the novel?

    F.e. I can kind of see the connection between Trevelyan and Drax, but I wouldn't go so far as to say one was inspired by the other (I have no idea, if the writers said so). The important characterstics of Drax to me have always been that he is hailed a hero by the public but is actually a villain, the compulsive cheating/need to win and of course the secret backstory. To me Trevelyan has maybe 1,5 of those three (the secret backstory and half of the hero thing. Half because his "sacrifice" was of course never public so it barely compares).
    For Silva, I don't really see it at all..

    As for a specific adaptation, I think there still is the possibility of a movie about public hero worship and a turncoat interloper in the highest echelons of British society. I don't think you would have him (or her) gift the UK a Weapon of Mass Destruction with Counter-Strike capabilities as a globar deterrent, but there are loads of stuff one could come up with that doesn't have to be a giant space laser. Like, I don't know, a fusion reactor that would make the UK the first carbon-neutral country, but is actually a gigantic bomb or used to power whatever.
  • Posts: 8,404
    Just for kicks and giggles a few points regarding the regarding the reuse of Fleming focusing on the the 2 novels that have been used the most MoonRaker and Live and let die

    Live and Let Die times used
    Characters were used in Live and let die
    one of the main action sequences from the book was in For Your eyes only the film
    Leiter's maiming and other elements of the book used in Licence to Kill

    so 3 over all

    Moonraker
    Characters and possibly Bond's torture alluded to in the film Moonraker
    Nazi backstory to the main villain as well as a capitalist friend of england actually being the villain A view to a Kill
    the plot to destroy london with a space satellite Goldeneye
    The full plot of the novel Die another Day

    I am unsure to what is being alluded to in skyfall


    However even still there are 3 things that can be used even from these obver used books

    Live and let die... The actual plot of the book of selling treasure and art to fund Smersh (in a modern world it could be funding terrorism)
    Moonraker Character names Gala Brand, Hugo Von Drache


    I would be fine with Bond 26 being a mixture with Hugo Von Drache selling stolen pirate gold and various art pieces to fund terrorism.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Wattenscheid
    Posts: 416
    Oh, I'm a dumbass. I completely blanked in the blowing up London bit. That is of course very much a similarity...
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited December 2020 Posts: 6,306
    Oh, I'm a dumbass. I completely blanked in the blowing up London bit. That is of course very much a similarity...

    I guess the bit about 006 using the explosion to cover up his stealing from the banks echoes Drax's playing the stock market to profit from London's destruction, although it's been such long time since I read it I'm going from Herr-Stockman's description as I don't remember that bit :)

    I guess you can also add that The World Is Not Enough features M asking Bond to help with a personal problem (as he asks Bond in the novel to try and catch out Drax cheating at his club) but it's not quite as 'off the books' in the film.
  • Posts: 2,060
    mtm wrote: »
    Oh, I'm a dumbass. I completely blanked in the blowing up London bit. That is of course very much a similarity...

    I guess the bit about 006 using the explosion to cover up his stealing from the banks echoes Drax's playing the stock market to profit from London's destruction, although it's been such long time since I read it I'm going from Herr-Stockman's description as I don't remember that bit :)

    I guess you can also add that The World Is Not Enough features M asking Bond to help with a personal problem (as he asks Bond in the novel to try and catch out Drax cheating at his club) but it's not quite as 'off the books' in the film.

    There is elements of MR in the finale of QoS too, when Bond is contemplating death with Camille, before he finds his way out of the fire by shooting the cannister. Also, the way she walks away from the car and leaves Bond is reminiscent of the end in MR, where a relationship is not forged, the only difference being that she doesn't walk off with another man like Gala Brand did.
Sign In or Register to comment.