A friend of mine was in town who I hadn't seen in almost a decade. He is also a Bond fan (not quite at our level on here), an "Original".
He started this by mentioning that Boris Karloff would have made a great Bond Villain, I agreed. So that led into the discussion indicated in this thread's title. Specifically the Fleming villains. Mods, I know there have been recasting threads elsewhere on here, but being more focused I thought this topic warranted its own space.
Here's some we came up with. By wanting this list to have the grandeur of classic cinema we tried to keep our choices limited to actors and actresses who were in their prime pre-1969.
Dr. No - Boris Karloff, Yul Brenner, Conrad Veidt (Dr. No is half German), Akihiko Hirata (I'd like to put a Chinese actor here, but none of the ones I know of from the past fit the role)
Red Grant - Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum
Auric Goldfinger - Marlon Brando, Walter Berry, Charles Laughton
Pussy Galore - Greta Garbo, Marlene Deitrich
Emile Largo - Richard Conte, Ronald Coleman, Claude Raines
Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Bela Lugosi, James Mason
Mr. Wint - Eli Wallach, Edward Arnold
Mr. Kidd - Paul Muni, Rudolph Valentino
Serrafimo Spang - Jack Palance, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson
Mr. Big - Sidney Greenstreet (he's not black but he's the closest human that I could think of to the way that Fleming describes the character in the book, picture that head with purplish/gray facial make-up), Rex Ingram.
Francisco Scaramanga - Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Clark Gable
Horror - Raymond Massey, Richard Widmark
Sluggsy - Peter Lorre, Dwight Frye
Hugo Drax - I can think of no one that can fulfill Fleming's visual depiction, but Dwight Frye could have inhabited that character.
Krebbs - Peter Lorre
Le Chiffre - Charles Boyer, John Barrymore
I would not presume to try this with Irma Bundt and Rosa Klebb. They are cast so perfectly any secondguessing on my part would be futile.
Some fun ideas with later villains:
Elektra King - Jean Tierney, Joan Crawford
Alec Trevelyan - Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman
Silva - Marlon Brando, Vincent Price, Robert Donat
Anyone else want to try? Again, let's keep it pre-70s.