Ian Fleming in Modern Literature

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The use of real life people in novels is common so it’s surprising how little Ian Fleming has turned up – that is until fairly recently. His most famous appearance was in Solo author William Boyd’s masterpiece, Any Human Heart – but is that it? Not quite, we did manage to find more:

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

77866Logan Mountstuart’s sorry tale is also the story of a British way of life in inexorable decline, as his journey takes in the Bloomsbury set, the General Strike, the Spanish Civil War, 1930s Americans in Paris, wartime espionage, New York avant garde art, even the Baader-Meinhof gang–all with a stellar supporting cast. He is a novelist in the Thirties, then a wartime spy with Ian Fleming, before becoming an art dealer in New York and then an elderly London anarchist.

William Boyd explained at ianfleming.com:

I then became very intrigued by Ian Fleming…

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Anthony Horowitz Will Write New James Bond Novel Inspired by Unseen Fleming Material

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Anthony Horowitz (copyright Mark Rusher)Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., The Ian Fleming Estate, the Orion Publishing Group, and HarperCollins US and Canada are delighted to announce that international bestselling and award-winning writer Anthony Horowitz is at work on an official new James Bond novel. Currently dubbed Project One, the novel is due for worldwide release on 8th September 2015.

The new book by Horowitz – a lifelong fan of Ian Fleming – will be set in the 1950s and will be unique among the modern James Bond novels, in that a section will contain previously unseen material written by Fleming to which Horowitz has had exclusive access.

Jessie Grimond, great-niece of Ian Fleming, said:

“In the 1950s Ian Fleming wrote several episode treatments for a James Bond television series. But it never came to be made and he ended up turning most of the plots into the short stories that are now in the…

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Paul Newman as Harper – Brown Plaid Sport Coat

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Paul Newman as Lew Harper in Harper (1966). Paul Newman as Lew Harper in Harper (1966).

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Paul Newman as Lew Harper, wisecracking private eye

Los Angeles, Late Summer 1965

Background

By the mid 1960s, Paul Newman had proved himself to be one of the most talented – and yet still down-to-earth – actors in the industry. He had racked up impressive performances in dramas like The Long Hot SummerCat on a Hot Tin RoofExodusThe Hustler, and Hud, but the world still had yet to see how well the charming blue-eyed actor could handle comedy.

Around this time, novelist and screenwriter William Goldman was desperately trying to get Ross MacDonald’s 1949 mystery novel The Moving Target turned into a film. The film rights were purchased, and Goldman completed his first ever solo screenplay, now titled Harper. Frank Sinatra was originally slated to play the protagonist, as he was looking for…

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Bond’s Gray Office Suit in For Your Eyes Only

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Roger Moore as James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981). Roger Moore as James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981).

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Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

London, Spring 1981

Background

I often cite For Your Eyes Only as the best 007 film of Moore’s era despite most fans’ contention that The Spy Who Loved Me was his apex. After a sketchy start with two OK outings, Moore finally found his footing with a good script and co-star in The Spy Who Loved Me, but it still rings of a disco-enthused rehash of You Only Live Twice dunked underwater. I still like the film, but For Your Eyes Only appeals more to the From Russia With Love fan that I am.

The minds behind the Bond franchise realized (a bit too late) that Moonraker was excessive, even by 1979 standards. Sure, it remained the highest-grossing Bond film until GoldenEye sixteen years later, but are massive profit margins any excuse…

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Steve McQueen’s Brown 3-Piece Suit as Thomas Crown

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Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

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Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire busienssman and criminal mastermind

Boston, Late Summer 1968

Background

The Thomas Crown Affair is one film where I would feel comfortable ruling that the style outweighs the substance. In some ways, the plot reads like a harlequin novel – a dashing millionaire is investigated by an impossibly stunning insurance investigator (there’s no way anyone could look like 1968 Faye Dunaway and not be an an actress or a model) and the two play a cat-and-mouse game, culminating in some symbolism-driven sex and his eventual escape. It is a simple plot in a film best remembered for its lavish touches across the board from cinematography to costuming.

In fact, Crown himself is far more sophisticated than the plot. Watching for plot can be more than mildly frustrating as the film really electrifies when McQueen…

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Bond’s Women: Feminist Heroes or Mere Accessories?

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The common perception of a Bond girls, as damsels in distress waiting for our hero James Bond to save from the clutches of the villain and also themselves, is not without its flaws. In a recent interview I did with Robert Caplen, author of Shaken & Stirred: The Feminism of James Bond, when asked this same question he stated:

I think the literary James Bond is a combination of womanizer and anachronism. James Bond perpetuates the male fantasy, as seen through the prism of Ian Fleming, but James Bond also depicts an approach to and treatment of women that is not sustainable in a post-feminist world.

Fleming saw his hero as a blunt instrument for the government, a creature of his time and line of work and the atypical Anglo-Saxon bachelor but to stop there could be a mistake. Bond was not the English gentleman nor misogynist dinosaur of the kind…

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Dirty Harry’s Brown Sportcoat in Magnum Force

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Clint Eastwood as Inspector "Dirty Harry" Callahan in Magnum Force (1973). Clint Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan in Magnum Force (1973).

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Clint Eastwood as Insp. Harry Callahan, badass San Francisco Police Department inspector

San Francisco, Late Summer 1972

Background

Magnum Force was originally developed by John Milius as Vigilance, a simple film about a group of young officers in the SFPD going rogue to exterminate the worst of the city’s crooks. Clint Eastwood quickly got his hands on the script and decided that the film would be a good vehicle to show that Harry Callahan may be harsh in his methods, but he isn’t a total vigilante who takes the law in his hands. (Although some would say the opposite about Eastwood during the film’s production.)

Due to Milius’ extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for firearms, the film included plenty of gun handling both on and off the job with extended scenes set during both practice and competition.

What’d He Wear?

Harry spends much of 

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Michael Caine in Get Carter

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Michael Caine as Jack Carter in Get Carter (1971). Michael Caine as Jack Carter in Get Carter (1971).

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Michael Caine as Jack Carter, ruthless London gangster

Newcastle, England, Spring 1971

Background

Get Carter is arguably one of the greatest crime films of all time, making it – by default – one of the greatest films of all time. Bleak, gritty, and violent, and, the film was the love child of director Mike Hodges and superstar Michael Caine with a screenplay written by Hodges from Ted Lewis’ 1970 novel Jack’s Return Home. Although Hodges had originally drafted the screenplay with Ian Hendry (who would play Eric Paice in the film) in mind for the lead role, Caine eventually took the role that cemented his place as a cinema icon. Hodges was surprised that a major star like Caine would take on the role of Jack Carter; although Caine had previously played a gangster in The Italian Job, Charlie Croker was more…

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The Three Ages of Bond: Part 3 – Suffering Bond (1961-1964)

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Article by Revelator

After For Your Eyes Only Bond was no longer a wonderful machine. Nor was he a fully-dimensional, complex human being—that would involve surrendering his role as a male-fantasy projection—but he was considerably more human than before. Why? Because Ian Fleming failed. He explained why in an interview with Counterpoint:

Fleming_image.png_width612Now, you’ll notice that the James Bond of the first book was a straightforward man who didn’t really possess a total personality. In fact, in the first several books you’ll find absolutely no discussion of his character, few of his mannerisms, no character study in depth…I kept him quite blank, in a way, at first, giving him no quirks, no particular morality or immorality, not even a definite detailed personal appearance.

As the series has gone on, however, James Bond has become encrusted with mannerisms and belongings and individual characteristics. This is probably a natural outgrowth of…

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The Anniversary of Ian Fleming’s Death: The Times Obituary

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(Source: The Times, Aug 13, 1964)

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.32.58 PMMr. Ian Fleming, whose death at the age of 56 is announced on another page was one of the most successful and controversial thriller writers in recent years.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in 1903, son of Major Valentine Fleming, M.P., D.S.O. He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. and then at Munich and Geneva universities. In 1929, having failed to secure a place in the Diplomatic Service, he joined Reuter’s at a time when the inter- national wire ser- vices were struggling for supremacy.

Reuter’s was great fun in those days”. Fleming said afterwards. “a very good milL The training there gives you a good straightforward style. Above all, I have to thank Reuter’s for getting my facts right.

He covered the trial of the Vickers-Armstrong engineers in Moscow in 1933, and was offered the job of Reuter’s assistant general manager in the Far…

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