Who doesn’t love a bit of James Bond? They were the sort of films that came on the TV around Christmas and special holidays and are a real treat, especially if you’ve not seen a certain one in a while!
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Ian Fleming is best known for creating the world-famous fictional spy, James Bond. A wartime Naval Intelligence officer and Sunday Times newspaper man, Fleming used his experiences, imagination and talent for writing fast and thrilling prose to create some of the most celebrated fiction of the 20th century.
Fleming had a colourful life. Born in 1908, he was one of four sons. He went to Eton College and then onto Sandhurst Military College; he was clearly considered a rebel, and so, as his mother didn’t quite know what to do with him, Fleming was sent to Austria to work on his languages. Whilst in Austria, Fleming enjoyed skiing and climbing and saw languages as the way forward, as he studied in both Munch and Geneva. However, he failed to secure one of the few places at the Foreign Office, and so instead, embarked upon a career as a journalist with Reuters. It was during this time that Fleming developed his writing style and learned to compose fast, clear prose.
Though Fleming was a keen writer, he worked briefly as a stockbroker before working in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War – experiences which he shared in his bond novels. Fleming wrote 14 Bond novels overall, and though they are not a true reflection of Fleming himself, the Bond character might be what Fleming aspired to be.
Thomas Frank ‘Tom’ Mankiewicz
Tom Mankiewicz (1940-2010) was the screenwriter of Diamons Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), as well as having worked on rewrites of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).
Mankiewicz was born in Los Angeles, to an Austrian-born actress, Rosa Stradner, and screenwriter/director Joseph L Manciewicz. In 1950, Joseph moved his family back to New York City, where he had been raised. There, Tom graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, and began his film career in 1960 as an assistant director on John Wayne’s The Comancheros. After writing for various television, film and stage projects, Manciewicz was approached by Alter R Broccoli about doing some major re-working of Diamonds are Forever. He was hire on a two-week guarantee, and stayed on the film for six months. Broccoli clearly liked his work as Manciewicz kept being asked back!
Did you know…?
- Ian Fleming’s reputation soared after President John F Kennedy cited 1957’s From Russia, with Love as one of his favourite books.
- George Lazenby used to be a male model and the face of Fry’s Turkish Delight.
- Roger Moore had been considered for the very first Bond Film (he was Fleming’s choice), but was deemed too young at the time.
- Sean Connery wore a toupee in each of his Bond films.
- The five pilots flying the planes in Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus in Goldfinger, were actually men wearing blonde wigs.
- Richard Kiel, who played Jaws, could only keep his metal teeth in his mouth for about 30 seconds at a time, and the chain he bit through at the Pyramids in The Spy Who Loved Me was made of liquorice.
- While under contract to play James Bond, Piers Brosnan wasn’t allowed to wear a tuxedo in any non-Bond film.
- Daniel Craig wrote sections of the script for Quantum of Solace.