Royale’s 007 Reference Book Depository

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  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,372
    Very familiar to me, @royale65, I think they stand up today for anyone interested in Bond and how things were viewed to those points in time. Definitely recommended and worth searching out.

    I'll be sure to have a look.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,372
    The James Bond Encyclopedia by John Cork and Collin Stutz is good. Last I read it, I remember thinking that I was surprised by how many minor characters were mentioned, even.

    Yeah, it's a quick recap on all the characters in Bondom. Plus production notes for each EoN produced film. Nice biographies on each of the six actors to have portrayed 007. I found it rather dry though.
  • Posts: 1,575
    Back in the 70s and 80s in a time before having the internet and video available these were the classics I grew up with, @royale65. I was born in 1965.


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    James Bond in the Cinema, John Brosnan, 1972. (Updated 1981.)

    Unusual name for an author, I thought at the time. These two books allowed me to relive the Bond films over and over, with smart commentary and perspective. Still recommended as a sort of time capsule, each book ends with the franchise in an unexpected direction (Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker) but with hope for the future. From the 1981 edition.
    POSTSCRIPT: Since writing the above, the author has heard
    rumors that producer Broccoli has taken the adverse criticism (par-
    ticularly in America) that Moonraker received to heart and is intend-
    ing that the next Bond film will be nearer the earlier ones in style
    with a much "tougher" James Bond. It will be interesting to see the
    result.


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    The James Bond Films: A Behind the Scenes History, Steven Jay Rubin, 1981. (Updated 1985.)

    A well-done unofficial record and assessment of the franchise. Mr. Rubin executed a bunch of key interviews to draw from, and minus the support of EON searched out and revealed a boatload of interesting photographs not likely seen to that point.


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    The James Bond Bedside Companion, Raymond Benson, 1984. [Updated 1988. Republished 2012 as an e-book.]

    Another joy to possess especially at the time it was published, a comprehensive Bond reference for book and film.



    As I was born in '66, I share in the discovery and excitement of getting these great publications and what they meant to a fan at the time when they were the only such books; hard to believe in a day when there are endless books choices on Bond.

    I annoyed the employees with constant calls to the local B Dalton bookstore if my copy of The James Bond Films was in yet. My mom picked it up and surprised me one day after school.

    A family friend had the original James Bond in the Cinema and I got the updated version for Xmas in '81. In those days before home video was widespread it brought back memories of the films' narratives and Brosnan's comments, positive and negative were refreshing instead of praising everything, which we were used to. He was especially hard on MR and the Moore era in general. Sad he was never able to update it as he passed away a few years back.

    Bedside Companion was my favorite gift for Xmas in '84. It was great as it combined the novels and films for the first time.

    As I mentioned above, it was also a time when these authors' opinions kind of made me wonder if my enjoyment of films like DAF and MR was unwarranted since they all slam it. That's why sites like this are valuable because you'll find fans and detractors in more equal measure.

  • edited February 2020 Posts: 2,300
    The Washington Post recently published a review of a new Bond reference book, Nobody Does it Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond. I'm reposting the review here because I despise the Post's aggressive adblock blocking:

    Behind the scenes of James Bond: A new book offers a look back at the longest-running movie franchise

    By Chris Klimek

    With No Time to Die, the 25th official James Bond adventure, set to open in April, the Bond films — which have appeared at fairly steady intervals since 1962 — make up the longest-running movie franchise in history. Factor in the two unsanctioned entries, the 1967 farce Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, and the tally reaches almost double the number of Bond books that creator Ian Fleming wrote. And yet the list of Bond flicks that actually hold together from beginning to end is considerably shorter. For every From Russia With Love, you get a half-dozen Octopussys.

    There’s a similar shaken-to-stirred ratio at work in Nobody Does It Better, Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross’s “complete, uncensored, unauthorized oral history” of the films. Juicy, previously unreported material abounds, though it’s camouflaged by vaporous paragraphs of superficial commentary and self-congratulation, generally from the biggest names. Contributors with vague credentials like “pop culture commentator” have to earn their place here by being interesting. Longtime series producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and 007s past and present Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig need no introduction, but too often their notoriety equates to a license to bore. Either they don’t have much to say about how they approach their work, or (more likely) they see little upside to actually saying it.

    On the subject of the gorgeous but inane 2015 entry Spectre, to cite one still raw example, Broccoli showers praise on the universally loved pre-title chase scene-cum-helicopter battle set during Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City. But on the more mysterious matter of the film’s terrible latter half — particularly a baffling reveal about the series’ greatest villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld — she and Wilson are maddeningly silent.
    AD

    Altman and Gross offer sufficient commentary on each film’s merits to establish their fan cred, but their acknowledgments page is a bit cagey on the subject of which quotes come from interviews conducted by the authors and which ones are repurposed from other sources. The latter is a regrettable necessity, given that so many formative contributors have died, including original producers Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, as well as Terence Young, who directed three of the first four films. The person who gets the most specific thank-you for granting the authors an audience is, of all people, Woody Allen, who played superspy scion “Jimmy Bond” more than 50 years ago in the bizarre parody Casino Royale (“a movie he disdains,” the authors point out).

    Bond devotees will nevertheless find the lure of new material irresistible. Ray Morton, a film historian and senior writer for Script magazine, offers specific comment on which writers contributed which ideas to recent screenplays — an area of increasing interest to fans over the past 20 years, as high-profile scribes like Paul Haggis, John Logan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have been brought in to rework the drafts of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the screenwriting duo that has worked on every Bond film since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough.

    Bond directors weigh in, too. John Glen, who helmed all five Bonds released during the 1980s, explains his no-frills methodology, while A View to a Kill co-star Tanya Roberts reflects that “he was a terrible actor’s director.” Martin Campbell, who directed 1995’s GoldenEye and the superb 2006 reboot Casino Royale, spills about which other soon-to-be famous actors screen-tested for the part that eventually went to Craig. Campbell admits that Barbara Broccoli deserves the credit for choosing him, as most of the other decision-makers were initially unconvinced that Craig was the best candidate. And Jeff Kleeman, who was MGM’s executive vice president of production during Brosnan’s tenure as 007, discusses the franchise’s more recent gravitation toward auteurs like Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, instead of the competent but more anonymous filmmakers who directed the films during the series’ first 30 years.
    AD

    For all its insights, this big book doesn’t have the shrewd editing and diversity of oft-contradictory voices that made The Fifty-Year Mission, Altman and Gross’s two-volume oral history of “Star Trek,” so compelling even for casual fans. And the adjective “complete” in the title is obviously a misnomer. The book concerns only the Bond films, ignoring Fleming’s novels and short stories, as well as those penned by other writers after Fleming’s death in 1964. Various Bond comic strips and graphic novels have been published since 1958, predating the film series by several years. In the 21st century, the BBC has produced a marvelous series of radio plays, adapting Fleming’s Bond novels with more fidelity than most of the movies did. They featured, as 007, Toby Stephens, who played the villain in 2002’s profitable but reviled Die Another Day. None of these spinoffs receives more than a glancing mention.

    Including them all, of course, would probably take another two-volume book. As Tom Mankiewicz, who worked on the screenplays of all four Bond films released during the 1970s, explains, “Sometimes you cram nine hours of an impossible story to follow into an hour and 57 minutes that you really hope works.” Those who’ve learned to embrace the work of sorting and discarding — a skill that being a Bond fan demands — will be rewarded by this frustrating but fascinating book.


    I haven't yet read Nobody Does It Better, so I can't actually recommend it yet. However, I can recommend three invaluable references on Fleming's work:

    The James Bond Dossier by Kingsley Amis (the first and still the best study and comparative analysis of the Bond novels).

    James Bond: The Man and His World, the Official Companion to Ian Fleming's Creation by Henry Chancellor (a very comprehensive and informative guide that makes use of Fleming's archive).

    Ian Fleming's James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming's Bond Stories by John Griswold (extremely useful for explaining the historical references in Fleming)
  • Posts: 1,575
    Thanks for sharing. Coming from the days when James Bond in the Cinema and The James Bond films were the only Bond film reference books for years to where we are now with more than we need, I am very selective with what I purchase as far as these types of books. I haven't even gotten Some Kind of Hero yet, and I knew there'd be another wave with the release of NTTD.

    This title caught my attention because I've read numerous articles and books by Edward Gross over the years and he's an interesting writer who puts a lot of research into his books with a wide knowledge of pop culture and genre including subjects from Star Trek to Rocky to The Odd Couple, so I'm eager to read take on Bond.

    Mark A. Altman has also authored numerous Bond articles as well and I similarly look forward to his views. But I think I will wait for members here to comment rather than general readers on Amazon.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 9,129
    I've had The James Bond Dossier by Kingsley Amis for a long time, the US hardcover. Essential.

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    British version.
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    More recently I picked up Ian Fleming's James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming's Bond Stories by John Griswold. Agree on its usefulness for historical context and making sense of timelines.

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    I'm another one that needs to get round to Some Kind of Hero. And now apparently Nobody Does It Better, which reminds me of a modern effort like Steven Jay Rubin's The James Bond Films. Very interested in the unofficial approach and where it leads. And yes, James Bond: The Man and His World, the Official Companion to Ian Fleming's Creation, since you mentioned it @Revelator.

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  • edited February 2020 Posts: 3,923
    Just to add that Jon Burlingame's Music of Bond is awesome.

    Just finished "He Disagreed with Something That Ate Him" by Cary Edwards. A brief (and therefore cheap) but interesting read about LTK and TLD.

    Also Goldeneye by Matthew Parker was a good read for Ian Fleming's time in Jamaica.

  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,058
    BT3366 wrote: »
    Re the previous 2 posts above:

    I also got multiple copies of the Dr. No Cinema Retro special above when it was released. In light of there not being a full-length Charles Helfenstein-written book or something similar on the film it pretty much fills the gap with a wealth of great content. I'd buy further such tributes to other Bond films if our Cinema Retro friends would be willing to put in the work. They've done tributes to YOLT and OHMSS in subsequent issues and other great Bond articles. Maybe even a compilation of their Bond content to date.

    I want to get When Harry Met Cubby. I've said for years that Saltzman lived a colorful life and not just his association with Bond and have long wanted a full-length bio of his life and hopefully this will fill in some of those gaps.
    zebrafish wrote: »
    Dr. No
    By Cinema Retro Special Edition Magazine

    I bought this when it came out for £ 9.95, the remaining copies cost £ 39.95 (!)
    Fantastic issue, full of a million details about the making of Dr. No, with many pictures I had not seen before and printed in very good quality. Highly recommended (if you can spare the high price). (link)

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    I always thought that Dr No deserved a Charles Helfenstein type book (in particular by the man himself). It's a shame because the story is a interesting one to be told.
  • Posts: 2,300
    vzok wrote: »
    Also Goldeneye by Matthew Parker was a good read for Ian Fleming's time in Jamaica.

    Yes, that excellent book belongs on every Fleming fan's bookshelf. Parker conducted the last ever interview with Blanche Blackwell and also accessed the complete interview transcripts from John Pearson's Fleming biography. I reviewed Parker's book at length here.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,372
    I bought myself an early birthday present. The James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia, by Steven Jay Rubin, updated for No Time to Die. Haven't read his books before. I hear they are excellent. A real inspiration for many of the subsequent authors that are mentioned on this list.
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