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The Man With the Golden Touch: How The Bond Films Conquered the World Hardcover
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¦[R]eading McKay¦s retrospective, it seems like Bond is just getting started.¦ --New York Post
¦[O]ne of the very best attempts to take stock of the Bond filmsèsmart and unexpected.¦ -- The New Republic
¦Thoroughly researched, drolly written and critically sophisticated.¦ -- The Daily Mail
¦Armed with encyclopedic knowledge and wit as dry as a shaken martini, Sinclair McKay casts a critical eye at the cinematic phenomenon launched in 1962¦s Dr. No with Sean Connery uttering that famous introduction: îBond. James Bond.¦ McKay astutely addresses the plots of each film and places them in the political and popular cultures of their eras (Bond has but one love interest in 1987¦s The Living Daylights because producers feared encouraging promiscuity in an age of AIDS). He¦s also an insightful critic, championing the initially maligned On Her Majesty¦s Secret Service (1969) as one of the best in the series. And he¦s often funny, discussing Roger Moore¦s îmany centuries¦ in show business, and describing sillier moments in the films as înaff,¦ which the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines as îunfashionable, lacking in taste or style¦ -- something McKay¦s book most definitely is not.¦ -- Newark Star-Ledger
¦A marvelously entertaining tome...an arch but jolly 'galumph.'¦ -- Metrolife
¦Thoroughly researched and documented yet fetching in tone and style, McKay¦s fun, smart, and informative book gracefully treads the criticism/entertainment border¦ -- Library Journal
¦Delightful critical appreciationèMcKay writes in a breezy, chatty style, as if perpetually in between mouthfuls of popcornèHe¦s a charming hybrid of a critic and fanè[The Man with the Golden Touch is] a scintillating read that¦s often more entertaining than the movies themselves.¦ -- Publishers Weekly
¦Zeltserman deftly drags the reader through the story, keeping you wondering about the truthè The Caretaker of Lorne Field is camp, and therein lies its appeal.¦ -- Dallas Morning News --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
This delightful critical appreciation celebrates the longest-running of all film franchises as much for its absurd excesses as for its stylish thrills. Journalist McKay considers the films' family-run production company to be the Bond saga's true auteur and devotes a chapter to each of the movies up through the groundbreaking Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. McKay's 360-degree treatments take in everything from the script and actors' performances to the set design, score, and titles sequences, with droll digressions thrown in on such Bond motifs as Persian cats, monorails, impossible leaps of villainous logic, and substandard action set pieces (That's another thing that Bond producers never really learn: boat chases are intrinsically dull). McKay writes in a breezy, chatty style, as if perpetually in between mouthfuls of popcorn; he remains raptly focused on aesthetics and eyeball impact while still teasing out underlying sexual and geopolitical themes. He's a charming hybrid of critic and fan, calling out Thunderball's failings—How is it possible for a drama involving nuclear blackmail to drag on so?—while managing to find the good even in George Lazenby. The result is a scintillating read that's often more entertaining than the movies themselves. Photos. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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His opinions – and that’s all they are – are backed up by no more than the “lads” he hung out with when he watched the films in the cinemas. There are frequent mentions of a “close friend” who holds the same opinion as himself, thus validating it (ahem). He acknowledges growing up with the Moore Bond, so those tend to be held in higher regard than those that came before and after. For example, “Thunderball” is slow and boring, so it’s crap. “You Only Live Twice”? That was awful too. And you know what? So were the Dalton films. Oh, and some of the Brosnan stuff was “naff” too, just look at the silly plots of “Tomorrow Never Dies” and the awful “Die Another Day.” Moore doesn’t get away unscathed, however. “Man with the Golden Gun” is dismissed as rubbish also. You could almost slap a different cover on this book and use it to argue why the Bond films are NOT worthy of praise.
All boat chases are dull. All underwater sequences are boring. The “naff” double entendres are pointed out. The “For Your Eyes Only” song is awful. The “View to a Kill” lyrics are awful. (The author's actual reaction is: “What? I mean, what?”) The lyrics of “Living Daylights” are awful as well. (And he repeats the reaction: “What? I mean, what?”) Villains are referred to as “wrong ’uns.” Not exactly an esteemed journalistic analysis.
For the author is a journalist, although I must use that term loosely. He continually refers to female members of the Bond audience as “sisters” and “laydeez.” Yes, ladies is spelled l-a-y-d-e-e-z. Condescending and not very professional, and quite ironic considering that the author acknowledges that, yes, the Bond films could at times be racist and/or sexist. Based on the dates and ages referenced in the text, the author is apparently in his forties, which is why it is surprising to find he appears to have an eight year-old’s mentality regarding how women should be referred to.
The author is also in love with the word “insouciance.” It crops up several times in almost every chapter. On the plus side, this book did send me to the dictionary to find out what “insouciance” means. But no thanks, Mr. McKay, I’ll stick to the word “indifference.” The book argues an excellent point that although Bond is perceived as being a Cold War hero fighting Russians, he in fact does nothing of the sort; the Bond villains are always rogue psychopaths who are never directly affiliated with the Soviet government, and this was by design, since the creators knew the Cold War wouldn’t go on forever. The book also spells out the differences between Fleming’s novels and their equivalent filmed versions, but out of the hundreds of other books about the Bond phenomenon, I’m sure others cover this equally as well, if not better.
So, if you want to know what a small group of “lads” in the UK (i.e. the author and his “mates”) thought about how “naff” the Bond films can be (even though they’re great, honestly) then this is the book for you. But I think your time and money could be better spent watching the Bond films for yourself and forming your own opinions. They’re just as valid as McKay’s. He just happened to be the one to get the cushy book deal, not you.