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Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan Paperback – October 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Catching Bullets is a wonderfully funny and touching memoir" - Barbara Broccoli, co-Producer of the James Bond films "a completely unique...perspective on the franchise" "...a wholly original take on a subject that has been written about so many times with most authors covering the same topics over and over again. O'Connell's book offers a totally fresh take and is a really enjoyable read, not just for Bond fans but for anyone looking for a nostalgic romp through the pop culture of the last fifty years" - Whatculture.com "extraordinary", "seismic", "a magnificent, soulful, touching and immensely pleasurable book...a defining Bond work" - Commanderbond.net "Well-written, thoughtful and intelligent, Mark's book, with a foreword by long-time fan Mark Gatiss and an afterword by Maud Adams herself, is likely to jog memories as well as provoke passionate debate. Perfect bedside reading and just the right book to remind us all why we fell in love with Bond, James Bond, in the first place" - Starburst

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Splendid Books Limited (October 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956950574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956950574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,569,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark O'Connell's memoir-cum-Bond love letter arrives with some heady endorsements. Barbara Broccoli (producer of the Bond films with Michael G. Wilson) -- "a wonderfully funny and touching memoir" -- and Maud Adams (Bond girl from The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy and, if you really know where to look, a cameo in A View to a Kill) -- "warm, funny and only ever complimentary."
Mark comes to Bond from a unique perspective. Like most Bond fans, he was smitten near adolescence, but he had a further connection--his grandfather was the personal chauffer of Albert R. Broccoli, a name that has appeared on every Bond film save two (Casino Royale, '67 and Never Say Never Again). Mark reviews the films mostly in the order in which he saw them, telling an abridged story of his life using the movies as touchstones. This one conceit makes this book stand out above the crowd.
The book is an easy, fun read, but filled with numerous astute observations. Mark, himself a professional comedy writer, enjoys the humor and absurdity of Bond's world, and this shows in his prose. He has fun with language, at one point calling Bond "spychedelic escapism." That can only be read with a smile on one's face! The films are "bullets." A gathering of Bond fans is a "Royale." He refers to the decade of 007's birth as "the 60s(tm)." I've read more reviews and essays on the Bond films than I care to admit, but Mark's passion for (most of) the films and life in general helps this book tremendously. He knows not just about 007, but he knows how to write it down cleverly.
Where the book really takes off is when Mark allows himself to explore his own story and that of his family.
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Format: Paperback
"It's hard to believe for folk raised on Blu-ray and 3D, but the early 1980s were just not a time of DVDs and home film libraries. You simply didn't see a film again unless it returned for another run at the cinema (not uncommon) or was eventually shown on television (either Christmas Day, Boxing Day or a wet bank holiday). There were no Blockbuster rentals, Sky Movies or LoveFilm.com. You didn't own films. A lot of people didn't even own their TVs. They would rent them from chain stores like Rumbelows on the high street. And without a video machine, computer or the internet we would have to wait a long while to see our Bond Films Again."

Mark O'Connell, Catching Bullets.

I found some remarkable parallels between Catching Bullets author Mark O'Connell's childhood and my own. Born roughly a year apart, we both grew up in the south of England with divorced parents, had no VCR until the mid 1980s, caught most movies for the first time on TV at Christmas or on Bank Holidays (including older James Bond films), and ingested a huge amount of pop culture that would stay with us for the rest of our lives - from TV, radio and a subscription to Look In magazine. We both watched short lived TV shows such as Manimal and Street Hawk; enjoyed Robin of Sherwood and couldn't get enough Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Back to the Future. Roger Moore was obviously my first Bond too, and I probably saw most of the 007 cannon in the same order he did as new films came out at the Theaters and older ones were shown on ITV.
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Format: Paperback
There are many books about James Bond. Especially this fall there will be lots of titles devoted to this legendary character and its 50 years of entertaining a mass audience.

But this one you should definitely get. Because it gets the fascination of James Bond like no other book has yet managed to.

Author Mark O'Connell understands that the allure of James Bond 007 consists not only of its massive entertainment value but also of the personal connection the audience can make with these films. Since every Bond film basically is a variation of a distinct story formula, the interesting part is how every new film manages to use this formula and re-new its appeal. This, of course, always depends on the particular time during which a Bond film is made. Every Bond film becomes a time capsule, holding not only fashions and ideas of its particular era but also shaping them. The effect on the audience is magnificent: Everyone can re-watch every Bond film and re-experience their own feelings at the time they saw these films for the first time. Bond films not only made movie history, they are telling us about history. And also our own history.

This is what O'Connell masterfully illuminates by writing about every Bond film not in the chronological order of their release dates but the order in which he has seen them, from youth onwards. CATCHING BULLETS, referring to the way one had to be always looking for a way to catch these films when they were shown on TV or a re-run in the local cinema, back in the 80's when internet streaming or available Blu Ray-boxes were not an option. This structure allows O'Connell to convey the personal connection between his personal life and James Bond films.
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