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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Ian Fleming.

5:05 am in Art, Culture, Influential Authors by dakine01

Ian Fleming is the creator of one of the most iconic characters of the 20th Century.

My name is Bond. James Bond

From Fleming’s wiki:

Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an English author, journalist and naval intelligence officer, best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through a number of jobs before he started writing.

While working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.

I was aware that Fleming had been a “spy master” during World War II but not all the details. If I remember correctly, his spy experience from the war was often glossed over.

His first book was Casino Royale. While I do not recall which of the Bond novels I read first, I know this was not it. Yet I also know that I read all the Fleming written James Bond books around the same time period. I think I was in junior high at the time, a couple of years after the release of Dr No. Probably about the time the movie Goldfinger came out since I would have followed the news reports about a movie where Kentucky and Ft Knox were showcased.

No, I have not read any of the James Bond books written by others than Fleming. I also do not pay that much attention to James Bond movies beyond those based on the Fleming authored books and stories. Yes, I am a bit of a James Bond snob.

I recall reading that President Kennedy was a James Bond fan. I do not recall ever being aware that President Reagan was as well.

The most surprising fact I discovered about Fleming when I started this diary? Fleming authored the children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

In 1964 Ian Fleming had a major heart attack. It was during his convalescence that he decided to turn the bedtime stories he had been telling his little son Casper, into a book for children. This book became Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: the story of the adventures of inventor Commander Caractacus Potts, his wife Mimsie, their two children Jeremy and Jemima and the wonderful Chitty Bang Bang car which could float on water and even fly!

Creator of James Bond as a literary and movie character AND author of a children’s book. (The film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was only loosely based on Fleming’s book but that is often the case with movies as we well know.)

Saturday Art: Essential Movies (Spies)

6:15 am in Art, Culture by dakine01

Oh, is it that time of the week again already? Why, yes, I believe it is.

One thing that a lot of older spy movies (and Private Eye which is next week) share is basic misogyny and sexism as well as racism and stereotyping. James Bond movies and Bond knock-offs are especially “strong” in the sexism and misogyny. I do keep that in mind but also know that many of the movies are products of their times and include aspects that I and others decry today.

Being one who grew up watching the James Bond films, I tend to be partial to the Sean Connery Bond. Dr No (with Ursula Andress) set the “standard” if you will for the entire franchise. From Russia with Love then Goldfinger (maybe the most iconic Bond of all). Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever (with Jill St John) round out the Connery Bond films (recognizing that there was a later one but since it is almost a duplication of Thunderball, I tend to not include it).

George Lazenby was Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (with Diana Rigg) before Roger Moore took over in Live and Let Die (with Jane Seymour). I guess this is about the time when I started not paying that much attention to Bond films as The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are about the last of them I’ve actually watched more than once. I will mention the first Casino Royale which was a bit of a Bond spoof as David Niven plays Sir James Bond and Woody Allen plays his son, Jimmy Bond. And Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, and Terrence Cooper all play “007.” (Note: I had (and really still have) one serious crush on Joanna Pettet – /vestigial sexism)
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