Hey there 007 fans. Last weekend, Sky Movies renewed its license to thrill, playing host to the UK’s first ever back-to-back James Bond TV Marathon. In celebration of the franchise’s Big 5-0, Flicks and the City were invited to join the party at the Sanctum Hotel’s cinema in London’s Soho. A chic, intimate basement lounge, equipped with a big-screen projector and our very own private bar with service from the comfort of our Lazy Boy sofas – a fitting title. A perfect location for a Bond marathon. But, after a whole weekend down there, I was glad to see the sun! We saw all 6 Bonds, across all official 23 adventures. Here are my best bits from the 48-hour Bond binge.
What really kept me gripped from start to finish were the incredibly choreographed fight scenes. None so much as those on top of a moving train. From Sean Connery and Robert Shaw’s epic train-top battle in From Russia With Love, later restaged with an undoubtedly feebler version with Roger Moore (but we should give the old guy a break), to Daniel Craig’s endurance-testing face-off at the start of Skyfall, hopping between train-tops and crane-driving, only to meet an almost-watery grave. The votes are in – we love watching 007 having a scrap atop a moving public transportation vehicle.
In Diamonds Are Forever, Charles Gray’s Blofeld evades detection by disguising himself as a woman. Now, what Blofeld does in his own time is not for us to judge. However, something I’ll never understand is why, when he takes off his sunglasses, he is wearing eye-makeup underneath! I just don’t get you, Blofeld. But that’s perhaps why I’m not a super-villain. In any case, one must admire his attention to detail. A true perfectionist.
The cliché of imitating Shir Shsean Connery. We all love doing it. Itsh jusht sho muchsh fun..sh. And a game made exponentially funnier when combining numbers 4 and 7.
Enjoying Martinis to pay homage to the man himself. Well, what can you do? You have been invited to a Bond marathon – it would be rude not to. One for us, one for Bond. Believe me it was hard and dangerous to keep up, especially during Casino Royale (eventually we had to stop). But it did make watching the movies a bit 4D! Also, egging on the barman to make them shaken-not-stirred is a sure-fired way of pissing-off and alienating your fellow marathoners during quiet moments. Note to self: ice when shaken is loud.
This leads us swiftly onto one of our hero’s bad, yet impressive, habits: drinking heavily on the job. It was hard not to notice this particular vice of his in Casino Royale. After many, many Vespers – a drink of James’s concoction since there’s nothing behind the bar quite strong enough for his liking – he then goes into cardiac arrest, is resuscitated just at the brink of death, has a few more Vespers and wins a world-class poker tournament. As a Scotsman, I can sympathise, Bond being from Scottish roots (I assure you, from Scottish knowledge, 6 Vespers really would be nothing to us), but the rest is just astonishing. James, wear that stereotyped badge of honour proudly.
Something that I feel doesn’t get enough mention: the weird and wonderful habits of some of the earlier Bond girls. They make for some rather good movie moments. There’s the seashell-obsessed Honey Rider, who won’t stop harping on about the bloody things, managing to bring them into every conversation. Never trust someone who’s that obsessed with shells, James. And who could forget Solitaire? As well as speaking in riddles, notable characteristics include tarot-reading and being a virgin. That is, until our 007 has his wicked way with her by tricking her into bed with a stacked deck of cards. Thereby removing her of the ability to read the cards which, prior to this, had dictated all her life decisions and those of people around her. Oh James, you rascal.
Delirium caused by lack of sleep, a Lazy Boy sofa, a stuffy basement and over-exposure to one-liners and explosions. Symptoms include, but not limited to, a desire to turn everything that’s going on around you into a pun, and oversleeping and missing your favourite Bond film (oh Goldeneye, I’d waited so long for you…). Sadly, one of my fellow Bond-watchers fell victim to the Fatigue. In fairness, he managed to stay up for the entire duration of the marathon. That is, other than a brief closing of the eyes, swiftly righted by the cinema barman’s shaken-not-stirred routine (see above). But the one-liners always packed a punch and kept you awake, just when you were about to doze off.
We all know and love the fact that the majority of James Bond films include the baddie pointing a gun at 007 and having a chat instead of shooting him. And James’s success is completely contingent upon this. But it’s the villains’ vindictiveness that’s really their downfall. If they weren’t so hell-bent on Bond suffering a horrendously slow and painful death, Bond wouldn’t have been able to misdirect the laser on its path to his crotch, swing away on a handily-positioned chain from certain death by sharks, or alligator hopscotch his way to safety. Bond villains, take note. Be less psychotic in your approach.
2. The Corkscrew
An undisputed classic. Bond’s corkscrew jump in the red 1974 AMC hornet hatchback is one the greatest stunts in cinema history. Not even the slide whistle accompaniment can ruin it.
1. Javier Bardem
My top Bond Marathon moment has to be the entire on-screen presence of my favourite Bond villain, Javier Bardem. Other than his amazing ability to keep you on edge by always appearing to be on the precipice of completely losing his shit – a talent he doesn’t hide in No Country For Old Men either – it’s for his YouTube-ing (what a topical Bond villain, eh?), calling M a short-arse, and simultaneously being a master of disguise whilst looking like the most suspicious person on the London underground, that he tops my list.
So there we have it, Bond fans. And I’m still standing. After a long, long movie marathon. Though perhaps a martini-soaked shell of my former myself. In case you missed last weekend’s marathon, all 23 Bond movies are available On Demand with Sky Go until the end of the month.