Friday, January 16, 2015

"Is fair and wise and good"....Day 16 of Bond 365

My grandmother gave me a book of children’s poems one Christmas many years ago and I was not happy about it. I wanted toys and games – not books, which were a challenge for me due to a reading impediment. There was one particular nursery rhyme I have always remembered, titled Monday’s Child. Each day’s child had general attributes shared with the day they were born. I had felt I got the worst day – Thursday – which, in every interpretation I have seen, was foretold they would “[have] far to go.” Being the realist with a bend towards pessimism, as a young child I read it to mean I would have to toil away to get anywhere of any consequence and it was not likely that I would. Revisiting that poem today after many years, I finally see it in a much brighter context. In today's post title, I took a closing line from the poem that I thought listed an attribute that fit with each of the Bond individuals below.

Caroline Munro, from 1974

Caroline Munro
Born this day in 1949
Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me

I have had the wonderful fortune of having met Ms. Munro a few times through Bond reunions hosted by the Hollywood Collector’s Show in Los Angeles. Each time, she has been charming, warm, and exceedingly friendly. I am sad that her part in The Spy Who Loved Me is fairly small, because I think she is a beautiful woman and would have been fantastic as a central Bond Girl. However, her role as Naomi is memorable, especially when she winks at Bond as she is chasing after him in her helicopter. It’s flirtatious and playful, and oh so dangerous!

See my collector’s story here in which I talk more about Ms. Munro and include several photos from the show. 

Alexander Knox, from Paula (1952)
Alexander Knox
Born this day, 1907
American President in You Only Live Twice

He was a man of many talents. Alexander Knox was born this day in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada in 1907. Educated at the University of Western Ontario, he later went into acting, on stage at the Boston Repertory Theater and later in films after moving to London, England. He was tapped by Darryl F. Zanuck to star in the 1944 Wilson (about Woodrow Wilson). Knox won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1967, he joined the Bond family when he portrayed the American President in You Only Live Twice.

Knox was an accomplished writer. He had graduated with a degree in English literature and held a job as a reporter at The London Advertiser (in Ontario) for a couple of years. However, the measure of literary success came when he wrote six adventure novels set around the Great Lakes. They were Bridge of Quietness (1933), Night of the White Bear (1971), The Enemy I  Kill  (1972), Totem Dream (1972), Raider’s Moon (1975), and The Kidnapped Surgeon (1977) as well as writing plays, a few detective stories and assisting on some scripts in the late 1940s. If you are curious about his adventure novels, Abebooks carries all of them.  

Bernard Lee
Passed away today in 1981
M in 11 Eon Productions’ Bond films, 1962 - 1979

Bernard Lee was featured earlier this month (his birthday on the 10th) and is making his second appearance today. I thought I would provide a clip from Dr. No where M tells James Bond he has to turn in his Beretta for the Walther PPK.

This is such a wonderful scene because it establishes relationships between M, Bond, and Miss Moneypenny. In addition, M’s dialogue conveys a quick history of his tenure with MI6 as well as giving a glimpse into events in Bond’s recent past with the organization. It also reveals a bit of Bond’s tendency to try to bend the rules – notice how slyly he managed to almost get his Beretta out of the office? You know he would have continued to use it over the PPK, given the chance, but M nips that in the bud post haste. 

After my post on Lee on the 10th, a follower had recommended Ring of Spies, a fascinating movie that starred Bernard Lee in 1964 and was release on DVD last year. I found the trailer and it reminded me of the 1960s educational shorts. Very dramatic and tense filled narration -- I want to see this! 


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