Where History Meets Art - Stories Behind the Stuff

James Bond's Death-Defying Antics

James Bond's Death-Defying Antics

LiveAuctionTalk.com:  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Christie's, London.

Agent 007 possesses his own code of honor.  He’s ice-cool, a loner, fighter, spy, and the quintessential womanizer.   James Bond has been enchanting audiences on the big screen since 1962.   

I’ve always had one foot not wanting to leave the cradle, and the other in a hurry to get to the grave.  It makes a rather painful split of one’s life.
— Ian Flemig

The secret agent struck a chord in the hearts of moviegoers worldwide following the release of the first James Bond film “Dr. No” starring Sean Connery.  The character’s death-defying skirmishes together with his knack for bedding the beauties made him one of the most intriguing supermen on film.    

“I’ve always had one foot not wanting to leave the cradle, and the other in a hurry to get to the grave.  It makes a rather painful split of one’s life,” said Bond creator Ian Fleming.

Fleming called his Bond books the product of an adolescent imagination, fairy tales for grown-ups.  And they are.  For Bond aficionados it’s not hard to kick back in a cushy theater seat with the gung-ho adventurer; popcorn in hand and imagination running wild right alongside his latest adventure.

The Bond character stems in part from the author’s life.  During World War II Fleming worked as an assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty in London.  With access to military secrets the experience helped him shape the Bond character and clashes he later wrote about.

Bond came to life through Fleming’s 12 novels and eight short story collections.  After his death in 1964 six other authors wrote authorized Bond novels.  There are a total of 22 official James Bond movies so far with the new one “Skyfall” released in November of this year.

Daniel Craig is the sixth actor to play James Bond.  And like Sean Connery he finds it hard to even make a pit stop without amateur mobile phone photographers lurking around. 

Craig played Bond for the first time in the 2006 film “Casino Royale.”  The part demanded a new type of lead because it showed how the character started his 007 career, what would ultimately turn him into the hard-boiled secret agent he became. 

This Bond made mistakes in judgment.  He was hotheaded with rougher edges, vulnerable, tender, and capable of falling in love.  The actor playing him needed depth.  He also needed to show up like the “blunt instrument” Fleming envisioned, the paid assassin.  Craig pulled it off with the assistance of an extraordinary buff body plus explosions, chases and lots of glamour. 

Next Craig starred in the 2008 film “Quantum of Solace.” 

“I don’t feel it’s easier on this one, I feel it’s harder,” Craig said.  “We have got to make this one better.”

In “Quantum of Solace” Bond is hot on the trail of the killers of Vesper Lynd, his lover from “Casino Royale.”  A broken heart and rage make for a solid story.  The film encapsulates lots of emotion and lots of action.   And Craig demonstrates how he owns the Bond character. 

On Sept. 28, Christie’s, London, featured the online sale of “50 Years of James Bond” on the block.  In the sale were a number of items from “Quantum of Solace”  “Casino Royale” and the new “Skyfall” films. 

Here are some current values.

“Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Skyfall”

Suit; two-piece; charcoal serge; with light blue rope-stripe; by Tom Ford; worn by Craig in “SkyFall;”  $48,510. 

Swimming Trunks; by La Perla worn by Craig in “Casino Royale;”  $71,876.

Suit; two-piece dinner suit in navy wool; by Tom Ford; worn by Craig in “Skyfall;”  $75,756.  

Books; The Complete Works of Ian Fleming; 18 volumes;  $147,551.

Wristwatch; automatic Seamaster professional “Planet Ocean” by Omega; worn by Craig in “Skyfall;”   $254,273.

Car; Aston Martin; used by Craig in “Quantum of Solace;”  $390,101.

 

Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her LiveAuctionTalk.com website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

Clay as Lifeblood for Pueblo People

Clay as Lifeblood for Pueblo People

Abraham Lincoln Debate Master

Abraham Lincoln Debate Master