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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pictures, Prose, and Secret-Agent Style, November 15, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero (Hardcover)
Analyses of James Bond seem to fall into two categories: analytical or anecdotal. The former is the most common -- generally consisting of a look into such quantitative topics as what kind of cigarettes he smokes, how he prepares his martinis, and other easily categorized trivia. But such an analysis -- while thoroughly enjoyable -- never seems to answer the larger question that looms in everyone's mind: "Just why is this guy so cool?"

"Dressed to Kill: James Bond, The Suited Hero" does an admirable job of handling this question. Half a collection of essays, and half a picture-laden coffee table book, "Dressed to Kill" purports to examine the way 007 attires himself and how this has both borrowed from the heroes of the past and contributed to the heroes of the present.

Four essays on Bond are sprinkled throughout the book, written by authors like Jay McIrnery and Nick Sullivan. The essays range from rambling expositions of a boy's love for the hero his parents forbade him to watch, to an almost scholarly look at Bond's dressing habits and how this has contributed to the character.

But the real stars are the pictures. Compiled within "Dressed to Kill" is perhaps the best collection of Bond pictures this side of Cubby Brocolli's personal photo album. The pictures range from Dr. No to GoldenEye, from publicity stills to advertising copy, from black-and-white to color, and they neatly explain the mystique of 007 at a level that the essays never reach. The pictures have been culled from the EON Picture Archive and other collections, and each includes a knowledgeable quote explaining just what 007 is wearing and why.

While Bond receives star billing, the book does try to expand the examination to "the suited hero" in general. Non-bond pictures include such figures as James Coburn as Our Man Flint, Alan Ladd (he had his suits tailored to make him look taller), Humprhey Bogart from Casablanca (the predecessor to Bond's "tuxedo in the midst of chaos" look), and such anti-suits as Bruce Willis from Die Hard and Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones. In discussing the latter two, and Hollywood's eschewing of the suit, Neil Norman writes:

"At the same time, a curious thing happened. The suit wouldn't die. It simply transferred its allegiance from hero to villain. Paul Freeman's villainous Frenchman Belloq, in Raiders, confronted Indy in an immaculate linen suit. And the moment that Alan Rickman strode on to the screen to do battle Bruce Willis's slobbily attired cop hero, villainy meant tailoring sharp enough to slash your wrists on."

In and around the essays are picture-filled asides devoted to topics like Bond's three-piece suits, his sport coats, his naval style, and his tuxedo bow ties:

"The width remains fairly constant while the depth rises and falls, beginning with Sean Connery's `Slim Jims' up to Roger Moore's velvet high of 1974, and gradually shrinking back down to Timothy Dalton's restrained 1987 version, before deepening yet again for GoldenEye."

"Dressed to Kill" is a wonderful celebration of everyone's favorite secret agent. If you can't tell an Armani from a Brioni, or if you can't tell in which film Bond's "lightweight suit, whose cut, along with the curled trilby hat, gives him the look of a traveling businessman," then it's time for you to give up your underwear and T-shirt look just long enough to get to a bookstore.

(Deane Barker is the forum manager for The World of James Bond on The Microsoft Network
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Killer Cool!, February 13, 2002
Konrei "Everything I need is right here" (Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero (Hardcover)
Let's admit it, guys. Buried deep inside each one of us, no matter how bald, how plump, how short, how ugly, or how sartorially tasteless, is a James Bond trying to get out.
DRESSED TO KILL explores the mystique of Bond in a tasteful coffee-table edition crammed full of rare photographs and enjoyable essays addressing the age old question of just what suits a man.
It wasn't until I read this book that I realized the profound cultural impact which the Bond movies had and have, and the deep and lasting impact they'd had on me, personally, and how they'd unconsciously formed the basis of my impressions of male style.
From the suited hero of the 40's, 50's and 60's (witness Cary Grant), to the styleless 70's (Roger Moore's mod Bond looks just a little ridiculous amongst the Jermyn Street of Connery and the Brioni of Brosnan), the suited antihero of the 80's (and his doppleganger the antisuited hero of the "Die Hard" and Indiana Jones ilk), into the 90's and the new millennium, this ultimately enjoyable book is a paean to the way we all want to look. Gentlemen, fold your pocket squares!
How many steps is it from a boy in a sport jacket pretending to be Bond to an Armani man carrying a slim black briefcase? Not so far as you'd think. Rate this one FIFTY GOLD SOVEREIGNS.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you let it out around the crotch?, February 25, 1999
This review is from: DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero (Hardcover)
Imagine, a hero that can be shot in the ankle and still go slow dancing just moments later. A hero, who goes to The Fort Knox mosh pit and comes out looking crisp & unwrinkled. A dashing self made lover and chauvinist who would never leave a stain on his or anyone elses attire. Of course, James Bond is alive & well - after 35 or so years this wonderful publication documents his style, grace and things that make him oh so Bondian. Chock full of never before seen pics, this is a must for Bond and Cinema fans as well.Travel through the fast paced 60's as Sean Connery takes you on a terrific ride filled with style and substance. Hold tight through the 70's and 80's as the decades that style forgot and thankfully return to Pierce Brosnan and Brioni and the look that is legendary. James Bond is Back, and Mr. McInerney has him. Highest Rating!
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DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero
DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero by Nick Sullivan (Hardcover - Oct. 1996)
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