Vital Signs

Bond and Betrayal

Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Directed by Martin Campbell
Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein
Released by United Artists

In the best of the James Bond films derived directly from the novels of Ian Fleming—Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball—Sean Connery was able to evoke the gentlemanly, but roguish, quality of the British "clubland" heroes like Richard Hannay and Bulldog Drummond who had helped inspire 007's creator, while adding a hard-edged brutality to the character's persona that was rarely seen in the clean-limbed protagonists of an earlier time. Fleming, like Conan Doyle, had brought to life a character who seemed real, however improbable his adventures, to the reading and filmgoing public. Like Fleming's creation, Connery, tongue firmly in cheek, faced the most unlikely of villains with a sense of amused irony, but was nevertheless able to lend a seriousness to the role that seemed more realistic to an audience that had witnessed world war, Stalin, Hitler, and Hiroshima. The early Bond films, like postwar film noir or "adult" Westerns, suited an era that did not require that its heroes be Boy Scouts, but was not yet prepared for the amoral antihero that Clint Eastwood would soon popularize in his squint-and-kill "spaghetti...

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