Sean Connery: The Alpha Bond

images (1) The year 1962,he said “Bond, James Bond” and it became a phenomena, with kids, girls, ladies and even men and became an eternal style of introducing oneself. Connery, Sean Connery, the timeless, alpha Bond. Well alpha in both senses, as he was the first and definitely one of the sexiest James Bond to hit the screens. He probably had a lucky stroke somewhere because all his competitors were somehow rejected even after being finalized for the role. A Scotsman, he had already begun balding and wore a toupee in Dr. No and in other films some or the other hair arrangement was done. Though, the previews of the film made Ian Fleming a bit annoyed, and he remarked “dreadful, simply dreadful” . And, eventually, he warmed up to him so much so, he established a Scottish ancestory for Bond.  And well Sean Connery went on to play Bond for six more Eon Productions and Never Say Never Again, other than them.  He also went on to win the sexiest man alive by people’s magazine and also is the sexiest man of the century.

. ‘Dr. No’ – 1962

In 1962, the movie-going world was introduced to James Bond, a British secret agent with a devil-may-care attitude and license to kill, and with it the success of the spy movie in the 1960s was born. In this first film, Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow British agent, only to encounter deadly assassins, a sexy femme fatale and even a poisonous tarantula. With the help of CIA agent Felix Leiter and the bikini-clad Honey Rider – who makes an unforgettable entrance – Bond searches for the headquarters of the fanatical Dr. No, a Chinese scientist bent on world domination. Made on a low budget, Dr. No was a big box office hit and laid the cornerstone for what would become the most successful film franchise in history.

2. ‘From Russia With Love’ – 1963

Connery returned for this second installment to the series and toned down 007’s ruthlessness from Dr. No in favor of a suave and sophisticated demeanor. This time, Bond is tasked with reclaiming a decoder device stolen by the evil SPECTRE organization, which contains Russian state secrets and threatens to unbalance to world order. He travels to Istanbul, where he confronts the cunning assassin Red Grant (Robert Shaw), whose preferred method of killing is a garotte wire hidden inside his wristwatch, and the dour Rosa Klebb, who wears deadly poisoned-tipped shoes. From Russia with Love received a bigger budget, thanks to the success of Dr. No, and helped solidify Connery’s standing as the definitive Bond. The film ranks high in comparison to the other installments, with some considering to be the best of the franchise.

3. ‘Goldfinger’ – 1964

Undeniably the gold standard of Bond films, Goldfinger set forth the template for all other 007 pictures: theme song sung by a popular artist, a focus on high-tech gadgets – in this case an Aston Martin complete with ejector seat – and a maniacal arch-villain who spouts campy one-liners while devising Rube Goldberg-like methods of trying to kill Bond. That’s not to say any of this is bad; Goldfinger is a wildly entertaining movie that introduced a lethal hat-throwing henchman named Oddjob and the suspiciously named Pussy Galore. It was a clear departure from the first two films and set the stage for increasingly flashier productions, setting the precedent that each subsequent film had to surpass its predecessor.

4. ‘Thunderball‘ – 1965

Originally intended to be the first Bond film, Thunderball was embroiled in a legal battle involving Fleming’s former screenwriting collaborators Kevin McClory and Jack Wittingham, who settled out of court and received executive producer credits. Bond again takes on SPECTRE, which steals nuclear war heads, buries them deep in the ocean and demands a £100,000,000 ransom while threatening nuclear disaster. Jaunting to the Bahamas, Bond battles evil mastermind Emilio Largo, while vying for the attention of three beauties: British agent Paula Caplan, Largo’s mistress Domino Derval and SPECTRE agent Fiona Volpe. A step down from GoldfingerThunderball nonetheless has been held in high regard by fans since its successful release.

5. ‘You Only Live Twice’ – 1967

While on location in Japan, Connery publicly announced that he would be retiring from the role after five movies. In the film, Bond takes on the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasance), in an effort to prevent a world war after a mysterious rocket ship seizes manned space missions from Earth’s orbit. For the first time, Blofeld’s face was revealed on screen – only his hands and back of his head were seen inFrom Russia with Love and Thunderball – while the movie continued the trend of shifting away from the real-world espionage of the earlier movies toward the campy world-domination plots that defined the Roger Moore era.

6. ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ – 1971

After George Lazenby made his only appearance as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Connery stepped back into the role for what would be his last appearance as 007 for over a decade. Lazenby declined a return to the series, which left producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to search for another actor. In the end, they paid Connery an unprecedented $1.2 million to reclaim his role; this time, Bond disguises himself as a diamond smuggler to uncover a plot by old foe, Blofeld, to build a giant laser. Globetrotting through Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Germany, and featuring the aptly named Plenty O’Toole,Diamonds Are Forever was a box office hit, but ranked as one of the campier Connery efforts, thanks to a rather silly chase involving a moon buggy through the Nevada desert.

7. ‘Never Say Never Again’ – 1983

In 1971, Connery famously said that he would never play Bond again. Fast-forward 12 years and he agreed to return for one final performance. Never Say Never Again was the only Bond film not produced by Broccoli and Saltzman’s Eon Productions; instead, it was written and produced by Kevin McClory, who managed to retain rights to Fleming’s novel, Thunderball, after a lengthy legal battle. Essentially a remake of Thunderball, the movie saw an aging Bond brought out of retirement to do battle with megalomaniacal millionaire Maximillian Largo, who steals several nuclear warheads in order to bring the world to its knees. The film opened mere months after Roger Moore’s Octapussy, and set a record for the best opening for a Bond film. It also was a return to form for Connery after the silliness of Diamonds Are Forever, and allowed him to depart the character on a high note.

But frankly, what I felt is that he should not have played the character after Goldfinger because, he did start showing signs of ageing and the stories also did not create that much of an interest for some time like You Only Live Twice and Never Say Never Again was not as swashbuckling as the normal Bond movies. They became dull and monotonous. And for some reason the movies, were all the more focusing on Bond’s sexual prowess.  Like in Goldfinger Felix Leiter asks him that how does he know  she will come? And he answers because of his charm. His movies were all the more male chauvinist and the heroines were  just like a commodity which made them were, well I don’t have the words, but I hope you get it. The heroines were also in some of them shown very childlike but ofcourse Pussy Galore and Honey Rider can be eliminated. Probably, this was how movies were at that time and they were not aware of the GenX’s taste those days, and probably that is why the guys at Eon, decided to reboot him with Craig. Though many say that there are many similarities, other than the fact that both were raw fighters, I really don’t see a lot of connection. Also, the characters relation with M has also changed over the period, as he well used to call him Mum, and Connery’s Bond and his boss shared a very official relationship, without any pun.

He came back for Diamonds Are Forever, at a very high price, I must say and the did pay off. But looking at his previous performances, was his comeback really good from a non commercial perspective. He had none of his previous charms even after tons of make up. The guys still considered him to be same guy and thus the fight scenes lacked conviction. He just was not what he used to be 😦 .

That is what I felt, and it has been years since the movie and he still is THE MOST ROUGE BOND EVER.

 

Cheers

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2 thoughts on “Sean Connery: The Alpha Bond

  1. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Dont know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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