The Spy Who Loved Me novel

in Literary 007 Posts: 307
Possibly the only Fleming story not made into a film. I understand that Fleming himself was uncertain whether he liked his novel, but putting his reservations aside, should it be filmed?
«1

Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    Only my opinion, but it would make an interesting one hour TV show ( especially
    If part of a series) and filmed as a period piece. It was Fleming's attempt at capturing
    The writing style of Somerset Maugham.
    I can appreciate the skill in writing but the story, is only of interest to me when
    Bond finally appears.
  • Posts: 154
    I think Fleming himself realized that this was an experiment -- successful or not would be for the reader to decide. As is, i don't think it would make a compelling film, and not a Bond film at all. But having grown up in upstate NY, I was thrilled that the book was set in my backyard, basically.

    A more successful novel where Bond doesn't show until the one third or even halfway mark is Gardiner's SCORPIUS. Been ages since I read it but I remember thinking it wasn't bad at all, even though Bond comes in late. The front end set up the story well, I recall.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I only started rereading Scorpius this weekend. ;)
  • Posts: 154
    I hope you find it as enjoyable as i think I remember it. I should pull one of those books out again.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I've reread all the Flemings and am working my way through the J Gardner's. I haven't
    Read them in years. :)
  • edited April 2015 Posts: 7,409
    The Spy Who Loved Me is a very underrated Fleming novel in my opinion. You can lable it an experiment all you wan't, but for me it has some of the best quality writing Fleming ever achieved. Of course the story wouldn't hold up as a modern day Bond film. However I think you can se it as an element of a bigger story. Lets say that
    the house is burned down for more big scale reasons than simply insurance money? Maybe some kind of secret is hidden there? Bond rescues Viv who becomes the main Bond Girl for the remainder of the film? Could work if you ask me.
    The defection story in Canada is also an interesting subplot which could be used.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Perfect film version of this would be Brosnan coming back to the role at this age and playing it straight. A solid faithful adaptation would make me so happy. Brosnan was the only one of the guys that never got to work directly from Fleming.
    Now, there's a brilliant idea!
  • Posts: 2,488
    Troy wrote:
    Possibly the only Fleming story not made into a film. I understand that Fleming himself was uncertain whether he liked his novel, but putting his reservations aside, should it be filmed?


    Ok..I swear I am not drunk..only story not to be made into a film ? What ??

    There's a TSWLM movie....you probably mean the movie is not as the novel..but MoonRaker is not much as the novel as well. Risico,Property of a Lady and 007 in New York are not made into movies as well. :)

  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    Moonraker shared many similarities with the novel, especially the first segment of the film where Bond sneaks into Drax's mansion and is helped by a Bond Girl (Gala in the novel, Corrine in the film). Risico was merged to For Your Eyes Only. And elements of The Property of A Lady was used in Octopussy. The only short story that isn't referenced or made to film was 007 in New York, but it had the rogue agent segment taken into Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace, as well as the character of Solange into the first half of 2006's Casino Royale.
  • Posts: 307
    jobo wrote: »
    The Spy Who Loved Me is a very underrated Fleming novel in my opinion. You can lable it an experiment all you wan't, but for me it has some of the best quality writing Fleming ever achieved. Of course the story wouldn't hold up as a modern day Bond film. However I think you can se it as an element of a bigger story. Lets say that
    the house is burned down for more big scale reasons than simply insurance money? Maybe some kind of secret is hidden there? Bond rescues Viv who becomes the main Bond Girl for the remainder of the film? Could work if you ask me.
    The defection story in Canada is also an interesting subplot which could be used.

    Yes, I agree - I think that would work very well.

  • Posts: 13,790
    TSWLM is for me a jewel of a novel. Unlike any other of Fleming, it is both crime fiction and a coming of age story. So beautiful in its simplicity. Oh and I love that this is not only the first story featuring a Quebecoise Bond girl, but that it is HER story. People thinking that Bond girls are just eye candy should read TSWLM.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    Troy wrote:
    Possibly the only Fleming story not made into a film. I understand that Fleming himself was uncertain whether he liked his novel, but putting his reservations aside, should it be filmed?

    Fleming sold the rights to the title only. He was that unsatisfied with the novel, he never wanted it made. That said it is still a good book and would make a decent pre-title sequence.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Flat Earth Society-now all around the globe
    Posts: 44,402
    What happens when the copyright expires? Will it be up for grabs then? Under the current deal with the Fleming estate it is off limits.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 15,636
    Ludovico wrote: »
    TSWLM is for me a jewel of a novel. Unlike any other of Fleming, it is both crime fiction and a coming of age story. So beautiful in its simplicity. Oh and I love that this is not only the first story featuring a Quebecoise Bond girl, but that it is HER story. People thinking that Bond girls are just eye candy should read TSWLM.

    Very true - it is unique for those reasons among Fleming's oeuvre.
  • Posts: 13,790
    What happens when the copyright expires? Will it be up for grabs then? Under the current deal with the Fleming estate it is off limits.

    My dream: a stage adaptation.
  • Posts: 686
    What happens when the copyright expires? Will it be up for grabs then? Under the current deal with the Fleming estate it is off limits.

    Well that is going to be difficult. Without being an expert in UK copyright law it appears the earliest would be in 2035 in the UK. 2057 in the US. (assuming no one renews).
  • edited June 2015 Posts: 2,580
    jobo wrote: »
    The Spy Who Loved Me is a very underrated Fleming novel in my opinion. You can label it an experiment all you want, but for me it has some of the best quality writing Fleming ever achieved. Of course the story wouldn't hold up as a modern day Bond film. However I think you can see it as an element of a bigger story...The defection story in Canada is also an interesting subplot which could be used.

    That's the subplot Jim Lawrence used when he wrote the comic strip adaptation for the Daily Express, drawn by Yaroslav Horak. He did a pretty good job and managed to include the latter third of the novel as well, featuring Vivienne, Sluggsy and Horror, and the hotel. It's recommended reading and available either in the 2005 edition from Titan (simply titled The Spy Who Loved Me) or in The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 002, which is even more highly recommended because it also contains the only faithful adaptation of You Only Live Twice and a version of The Man with the Golden Gun that improves on the original.

    As for the original question: I'd love to see a straight adaptation of Fleming's TSWLM, but that will never happen, unless the novel gets licensed for a small-scale, Masterpiece Theatre-type TV presentation. When modern audiences hear James Bond, they expect a wall-to-wall action extravaganza, not story about the love life of a Quebecois girl where James Bond doesn't show up until the last third. No producer in his right mind would risk money on such a story, since it drastically frustrates audience expectations. That's why the book was never a commercial success.

    TSWLM is proof that Fleming was not a formulaic writer. It was an incredible risk--one can't imagine someone like Tom Clancy taking it--and though Fleming was hurt by its commercial failure, it's one of his most intriguing books. But I doubt we'll ever see a faithful TV/film adaptation, since that would require: a producer and director who had enough confidence in the book to not monkey with it; the consent of the Fleming estate, coupled with the consent of EON/DANJAQ; and a TV channel or studio willing to invest money in a project much less commercial than a typical Bond film. Those planets won't line up any time soon. Better to hope for another comic adaptation.
    What happens when the copyright expires? Will it be up for grabs then? Under the current deal with the Fleming estate it is off limits.

    Even when the copyright on the novel expires, the copyright to Bond himself, as well as his movie/TV rights, will likely be enforced. We can all thank the Disney corporation for bribing congress into extending copyright law far beyond its natural life.
    writer5150 wrote: »
    A more successful novel where Bond doesn't show until the one third or even halfway mark is Gardner's SCORPIUS.

    BLASPHEMY!!! Joking aside, I don't think Gardner was more successful than Fleming at anything beyond writing generic thrillers.
  • Posts: 13,790
    I still dream of a stage adaptation. Oh and at least we might be able to see Vivienne. She'd be the first Quebecois Bond girl.
  • edited June 2015 Posts: 4,622
    I do enjoy this novel. Didn't even miss a beat when I first read it in my original hodge podge, adolescent Fleming go-round.
    Liked it as much as the other books.
    Couple of notes. Interesting that Fleming said he was talking directly to young girls, via the cop who gently lecturess Viv at the end. - girls that might romanticize dangerous men such as Bond.
    Cop warns her to stay clear of such men.
    Viv, when she first saw Bond, thought he was another bad guy due to his hard look.

    Also we learn Fleming has a flair for dramatic embellishment.
    He describes Toronto as a real tough town, or some such, circa 1961.Makes it that much more exciting and dangerous for Bond.
    Reality is that it was a very safe big Canadian city.
    Pretty tame crime-wise.
    I"m sure there were organized crime gangs with international connections even then and they were plenty tough, but unless you were actually part of that underground milieu, the city was pretty safe for Mom dad and brood.
    Nowadays, not so much. All big NA cities can be dangerous and cops are kept busy dealing with all sorts of shite.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    I'd use the novel as a pre-title sequence.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 21,079
    suavejmf wrote: »
    I'd use the novel as a pre-title sequence.

    Interesting. Can you describe what would happen in the PTS? :-)

  • Posts: 13,790
    timmer wrote: »
    I do enjoy this novel. Didn't even miss a beat when I first read it in my original hodge podge, adolescent Fleming go-round.
    Liked it as much as the other books.
    Couple of notes. Interesting that Fleming said he was talking directly to young girls, via the cop who gently lecturess Viv at the end. - girls that might romanticize dangerous men such as Bond.
    Cop warns her to stay clear of such men.
    Viv, when she first saw Bond, thought he was another bad guy due to his hard look.

    Also we learn Fleming has a flair for dramatic embellishment.
    He describes Toronto as a real tough town, or some such, circa 1961.Makes it that much more exciting and dangerous for Bond.
    Reality is that it was a very safe big Canadian city.
    Pretty tame crime-wise.
    I"m sure there were organized crime gangs with international connections even then and they were plenty tough, but unless you were actually part of that underground milieu, the city was pretty safe for Mom dad and brood.
    Nowadays, not so much. All big NA cities can be dangerous and cops are kept busy dealing with all sorts of shite.

    His depiction of Québécoises was a bit off too. Vivienne Michel seems awfully liberal, if not libertine, for her time.
  • I recently re-read this and was surprised at how well it holds up.
    Aspects of it make it feel positively fresh and way ahead of its time and I'd love to know if Samantha Weinberg read it before writing 'The Moneypenny Diaries'.
    I think it was the adverse reviews that made Fleming want to suppress it. I think he was stung by them albeit female reviewers were a lot kinder to the book but unfortunately they (female reviewers) were few in number back then.
    My wife also has an interesting perspective on TSWLM, she said: " critics like to portray him as a mysoginist, sexist, sadist must be wrong because she's rarely read a book written by a man that has so successfully got into a women's psyche."
    I don't agree with everything she says but I'm with her on this.
  • Birdleson wrote: »
    Here's a piece I recently wore about it on a different thread:

    THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1962)

    A very interesting piece.

    It won't happen because of the strangle hold eon have on the character rights but TSWLM would make a great TV drama or theatre play.
  • edited June 2015 Posts: 2,580
    Excellent piece Birdleson.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    To be honest, when I first read these books in my early teens, I wasn't sure whether to believe that part or not (not that the story actually occurred, but that some female fan had left her own take on a Bond story for Fleming to find).

    That was the same reaction I had to the book, which I also read in my early teens. Had that fan been real, what a great continuation writer she would have been!
    I started experiencing anxiety. I found myself nervously dreading the events that I knew were destined to befall Vivienne. This first happened with the whole bit about losing her virginity in that filthy movie theatre box and getting caught. I had a pit in my stomach, it was a very disturbing scene to anticipate and to read through.

    Again, I had the same reaction. The movie theatre scene is wince-inducing in a way no other scene in a Bond novel is, because it deals with a level of sexual and social humiliation Bond never experiences. Writing it must have been a raw experience for Fleming as well, since it was based on his own sexual experiences, though this time he placed himself in the woman's role. Critics hated the "literary transvestism" of TSWLM, but today that's what makes it one of the most fascinating and transgressive Bond novels.
  • Prior to Fleming's death, this book was quite difficult to acquire in the UK.
    Evidently, following initial feedback, Ian had asked Jonathan Cape not to promote the book and to restrict print runs. He also had prohibited publication in paperback.
    Consequently, for many, it became the 'missing' Bond book and I only became aware of it when I scrutinised the fly leaf in my hardback edition of OHMSS in 1963.
    Up until then, I'd thought that OHMSS had directly followed TB and was the ninth Bond novel rather than the tenth.
    When I asked my bookseller about it he explained that they'd been instructed not to carry the book and only to sell it on demand by special order. I made the order and took delivery of a first edition over a year after the launch which would indicate that stock had been held back by the publisher.
    When I eventually took delivery I remember being absolutely overwhelmed by Chopping's fabulous jacket design. I think it remains one of his best. The simplicity of the dagger and the rose is quite stunning and remains one of his best designs.
    The novel went on to cause me a lot of trouble but that, as they say, is another story.
  • Posts: 13,790
    Didn't Fleming refuse to consider the novel canon?
  • Posts: 2,580
    The novel went on to cause me a lot of trouble but that, as they say, is another story.

    Do tell! You can't leave us on a cliffhanger like that!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache
    Posts: 15,636
    Revelator wrote: »
    The novel went on to cause me a lot of trouble but that, as they say, is another story.

    Do tell! You can't leave us on a cliffhanger like that!

    Indeed!
  • Posts: 13,790
    So you had sex in a cinema?
Sign In or Register to comment.