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Two Books on Bond, James Bond


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Two Books on Bond, James Bond
« on: September 19, 2022, 12:56:08 PM »

I have recently read  two interesting books on the James Bond movies. Both books discuss how an idea go from books to the movies, the great differences between a novel and a screenplay, how a movie is financed and the ongoing battle between those whop finance the movie and those who produce it.
The books are: The Battle For Bond, 2006, by Robert Sellers
And the Making of Dr. No, published this year, by James Chapman.

The Battle For Bond
Casino Royale, the first Bond book was written in 1952 by Ian Fleming. Fleming sold it to CBS which produced a 1954 Climax episode featuring Barry Nelson as the screen’s first Bond.  The industry thought it was too violent and sexy and Fleming was unable to sell any more books. (Columbia Pictures bought those rights and produced Casino Royale as a comedy in 1967.)

In the late 1950s, Fleming teamed with Kevin McClory, a movie producer, to create a Jams Bond movie project that could be sold. Fleming had no idea how to write a screenplay, so McClory hired Jack Whittingham to write what would become Thunderball. Thunderball would include SPECTRE and Blofeld for the first time.  Things didn’t go well and Whittingham (in a huge mistake) signed over all rights to his screenplay to McClory. Fleming, distanced himself from McClory and signed, with EON productions , to create his movies, leaving out his former producer.

Ripping off Whittingham, Fleming published Thunderball; as his ninth Bond novel. McCloy sued. The judge awarded the publication rights to Fleming and gave the movie and screenplay rights to McCloy.  Unable to get a movie production going, McCloy teamed with EON and earned millions as the producer of Thunderball. (He gave nothing to Whittingham.) McCloy would claim the rights to SPECTRE and Blofeld and they were dropped from the Bond movies after 1972s Diamond’s are Forever.

Owning the movie rights, McCloy remade Thunderball, as Never Say Never Again, with a different studio but with Sean Connery in 1983.

Sony had bought Columbia and in 2000 or so, decided that since they owned the rights to Casino Royale they would team with McCloy and make a new Bond series.  McCloy claimed he owned the rights to James Bond as well as SPECTRE and Blofeld. EON sued.

The court ruled that Columbia had the rights to make just one movie from Casino Royale, not a series, and that movie was already made.  McCloy, the court said, waited 40 years too long to bring a suit. So no new series was made.

Sony, then, could do nothing with Casino Royale and sold it to EON for $10,000,000 and their rights to Spider-Man. EON also acquired the movie, Never Say Never Again, from it’s studio. (McCloy owned the screenplay, not the movie). And the book ends there.

But here is an unpublished update: The book was published in 2006.  Well, McClory died in 2007 and in 2013 his family sold all their Bond rights to Eon, so we got the movie SPECTRE.

Dr. NO, the first Bond movie.
Was also a wonderful book about how movies are put together and screenplays are different from novels. The book uses incredible source material to accurately tell the history of the studio and everyone concerned. How, and why, most actors and staff were hired. It also, and I appreciated this, discounted, by documentation the rumors that have gone around for years.

For example: EON, the studio, does not stand for “Everything or Nothing”
That “Dr. No was a small film that did little in the US and it did not open in many theaters. ” At $1,000,000 at that time, this was an “A” movie from Great Britain. It returned, from the US alone, $2,000,000 in profit, after all costs, a lot for that time.  However, when it was re-released after Goldfinger, in a double bill with From Russia With Love, it returned $7,000,000 in profit.  And it originally opened large.
Certain names, such as Hitchcock and Cary Grant were often attached to the movie. But, when you understand the budget, they could NEVER be considered.
A great part of the book is how Dr. NO affected and changed British cinema, as well as American. In the decade leading up to Dr. No’s release, Great Britain had lost 2/3 of their movie going public, mostly to the new medium of TV. Britain also had powerful movie censorship, banning sex and violence. To save the industry, these policies were eased and Dr. No proved that a movie with these qualities would draw audiences. America had the “Hayes” office of censorship and this type of movie allowed the industry to move to the ratings system we have today.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2022, 09:35:42 PM by Barry »
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Re: Two Books on Bond, James Bond
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2022, 01:17:52 PM »
Thanks Barry for the summary.

Wow, never knew about the back history and all the drama. Very interesting.
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Re: Two Books on Bond, James Bond
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2022, 01:44:18 PM »
Thanks Barry...very interesting. 
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