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"I did meet Ian Fleming when he came to Pinewood to visit the set of 'From Russia with Love'. He was very tall and projected..
on 19 June 2008
..a superior attitude. But he was very sweet. I had never read any of the books but I was familiar with the cartoon strips that appeared in the newspapers. That's all I knew of Bond really."
So said John Barry, composer of the James Bond theme, in what may have been the only reference to Ian Fleming in this book, which was bought for me for fathers' day. This is basically a coffee table book of the Bond films, full of pictures from the Films as well as storyboards, set designs, pictures of the filming and advertising material. The pictures are accompanied by a series of quotations or anecdotes from those involved in the making of the films, including directors like Guy Hamilton and Michael Apted and lots of other participants, other film makers who say they were influences by Bond like Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, and the writers of spy fiction like Ken Follett.
Visually the book is impressive. I would have found titles for the pictures useful, but they are listed with full explanations at the back. The collection of quotations seem a little disjointed, but contain some gems - for example the story of how Cubby Broccoli almost cut out the one-liner in Diamonds are Forever where Bond tells Felix Leiter where the diamonds are hidden: "Alimentary, my dear Leiter". Broccoli thought that no one would get this reference to Sherlock Holmes, and may be they did not at the time, but it is surely one of the great lines for aficionados following the films today.
Laurent Bouzereau is a director himself - of documentaries about films and film making. This book is doubtless an easy achievement on the back of that expertise - harsh critics might say a lazy achievement - but if you like the Bond films and want some light background reading and pictures, this is a good book to have around.