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Roger Moore's lack of phyiscality: a plus?


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#1 Colossus

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 05:16 AM

Moore had the least physical ability of all the Bond actors, but this actually makes him better than lesser because he is the common man, i mean one us and so we can relate a lot better. That guy sitting around with the t-shirt which is you, me, etc. can feel like he is on that same level. And because he wins makes it all the more impressive because he is typically hanging on for his life throughout. This is reality, and not something which is played like a rehearsed fight. I'm for this lack of physicality totally. He is undubtedly the best Bond.

#2 Dustin

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:11 AM

By today's standards Moore doesn't look too impressive, that's true. But he wasn't just a couch potato either. He could ski quite well, both on snow and water. That's no easy sport and his body had a certain basic tonicity. Not a serious athlete but sporty enough.

After FYEO he became a bit difficult to sell, but that was more age than a lack of muscle. He held himself not bad at all compared to other men that age.

Did it make him an ordinary guy? Perhaps not exactly ordinary, but a bit of David vs. Goliath may have been involved in his parts. He just never looked that threatening. But then Bond wasn't meant to look threatening. Impressive, yes. A bit dangerous, yes. Scary, no. That's a quality that came only later, and is surprisingly detected today by some, without that ever really having been the case with Connery and Lazenby.

Edited by Dustin, 14 July 2012 - 06:15 AM.


#3 Colossus

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

Yes the part of not looking threatening looked to his advantage and he could be deceiving since people, especially brute villains could take him for granted. Which is ironic since his arch nemesis was Jaws who is the strongest of them all.

#4 Messervy

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:42 AM

True. I think it also has to do with the "new Bond" Craig has been portraying: we see him now having real tough fights, bleeding and all, so that calls for an athlete type of character. In Moore's time, things were less violent, so to speak, less graphic, so that called for a milder (by today's standards) type of character since even the fights were smoother (e.g the TMWTGG fight in the girl's dressroom).

#5 David_M

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:54 PM

Well I can honestly say I never felt like Roger Moore while "sitting around in my t-shirt." :-) Maybe if it was a $500 designer t-shirt, but even then...

Bond as written by Fleming is no physical superman. If memory serves, he has an athletic but not especially imposing physique and unless you count dragging himself through to the end of Dr No's torture tunnel (and then fighting a giant octopus!) I don't know that he does anything nearly as superhuman as what movie Bond does every day.

It was Connery who added the "superman" element with his spectacular combat scenes; I can't picture Fleming's Bond clubbing that Sumo guy with a sofa (!) in YOLT, for instance. Craig ups the ante even from that level, but between those two bookends there's a range of physical types. Brosnan is quite thin but more limber and spry than Roger, Dalton is involved in some terrific stunts (many of which he did personally) but with his shirt off (in LTK) he's easily the least impressive of the lot.

I have to agree that Roger's fights have a certain "stagey"-ness about them (Ah-OOOF!) and it's sometimes hard to believe he's really doing much harm kicking the heavies with those fancy loafers (CLACK!), but a lot comes down to choreography and camerawork; some of his fight scenes are quite well done. And if he's never a "bodybuilder" type, neither is he a small guy; he's got broad shoulders and some heft to him. He's also able -- at times -- to project a real feeling of menace; we may not believe he could throw us across the room but we do get the sense he's quite capable of murder.

It's useful to recall that the "action hero" leading man is a relatively recently phenomenon. There was a time when guys like Robert Conrad or Steve McQueen were outliers as stars who were also half-stuntman. Now it's pretty much expected. Roger would have a hard time of it today, that's for sure.

But then, I never wanted to be a "tough guy" growing up, though I did want to be a suave, witty and urbane guy (never mind that I never quite achieved either ideal!). Bruisers and brawlers are a dime a dozen, but it takes class to be James Bond. I don't like Roger's Bond because he's "an average Joe like me," I like him because he's always the coolest guy in any room, and for me that has nothing to do with being able to bench press a Volkswagon.

#6 AMC Hornet

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:12 PM

This may well be why I'm drawn to Sir Rog as well.

I was a pale, skinny kid growing up - I knew I would never bulk up to look like Sean or George, but if a tall, fair-haired, bald-chested, glib Limey like Sir Roger could be Bond, it gave me hope. Wit over muscle is my approach too.

#7 OmarB

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:31 PM

Moore had the least physical ability of all the Bond actors, but this actually makes him better than lesser because he is the common man, i mean one us and so we can relate a lot better. That guy sitting around with the t-shirt which is you, me, etc. can feel like he is on that same level. And because he wins makes it all the more impressive because he is typically hanging on for his life throughout. This is reality, and not something which is played like a rehearsed fight. I'm for this lack of physicality totally. He is undubtedly the best Bond.


Really? Your reason for liking him is because you find him common? He is a hero and is as exceptional and as heroic as need be. I don't understand the need for identifying with him. Fleming's works and the movies are not naturalistic, if anything they are highly stylized versions of reality.

I don't identify with Bond or Superman or Batman. But I do identify with inspirational and aspirational characters, I identify with excellence not the mediocre. I like these heroes because they are great, because they are idealized, because they are romantic visions of the hero as an end in himself. I identify with the heroes using and living up to their full potential no matter how great or small their gifts ... like the rest of us should.

#8 AMC Hornet

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:19 PM

I also identify with George Lazenby.

I can imagine myself getting a shot at a plum role, finding the whole business overwhelming, doing my damndest but feeling unappreciated, deciding not to pursue it any further, then kicking myself for years afterward for walking away from it.

I watch George, especially in the early scenes of SS, and I think "this is how Bond should be - actor and character having the time of their lives." That's been conspicuously missing as of late.

Roger of course was having a ball throughout, and never more so than when, after winning a crapload of rupees from Kamal, he uses the money to draw a crowd into the road and says to Vijay "easy come, easy go!"

That's class.

#9 col_007

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:21 PM

His bond could handle himself when he needed too

#10 AMC Hornet

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:26 PM

It's only too bad that in AVTAK the fights looked terribly staged, rather like in 'Brannigan' where a 70-year old John Wayne wades through a pub in Pall Mall, swinging his fists to coincide with the appearance of the stunt men.

The doubling was much better in OP. I could still believe in Roger then. AVTAK would have benefited greatly from having a new, younger lead.

#11 Mr_Wint

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:49 PM

True. I think it also has to do with the "new Bond" Craig has been portraying: we see him now having real tough fights, bleeding and all, so that calls for an athlete type of character. In Moore's time, things were less violent, so to speak, less graphic, so that called for a milder (by today's standards) type of character since even the fights were smoother (e.g the TMWTGG fight in the girl's dressroom).

I agree that the fights in the Moore era were milder. But I am not sure if the fight in TMWTGG is the best example! That one looks more violent than any other Moore fight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8VdrmJo5qc

Its a great fight btw (the scene at 0.23 was too much for the swedish film censors!)

#12 Major Tallon

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:49 PM

In The James Bond Dossier, Kingsley Amis devotes an entire chapter to a discussion of Bond's degree of proficiency in the various feats he performs. It's too long to quote, but his point is that Bond's abilities are those that we'd expect of a man in his profession, and that he requires training and practice and is not a superman. He observes that "the number and variety of Bond's useful skills may be fantastic, but each seems reasonable while we're hearing about it."

For my part, I maintain that this part of the technique of writing successul adventure fiction. There's no suspense if the hero is able to vanquish all foes without breaking sweat.

#13 AMC Hornet

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:47 PM

There's no suspense if the hero is able to vanquish all foes without breaking sweat.


But it's so much fun watching Bond do just that!

Granted, it was also satisfying to see him seriously roughed up at the end of LTK. That was more like the ending of almost any Fleming novel, but once in a rare while is enough.

Besides, Brosnan broke sweat knocking about that deckhand on the Manticore (for the sake of using the towel, I know, but still...).

#14 Colossus

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:30 PM


Moore had the least physical ability of all the Bond actors, but this actually makes him better than lesser because he is the common man, i mean one us and so we can relate a lot better. That guy sitting around with the t-shirt which is you, me, etc. can feel like he is on that same level. And because he wins makes it all the more impressive because he is typically hanging on for his life throughout. This is reality, and not something which is played like a rehearsed fight. I'm for this lack of physicality totally. He is undubtedly the best Bond.


Really? Your reason for liking him is because you find him common? He is a hero and is as exceptional and as heroic as need be. I don't understand the need for identifying with him. Fleming's works and the movies are not naturalistic, if anything they are highly stylized versions of reality.

I don't identify with Bond or Superman or Batman. But I do identify with inspirational and aspirational characters, I identify with excellence not the mediocre. I like these heroes because they are great, because they are idealized, because they are romantic visions of the hero as an end in himself. I identify with the heroes using and living up to their full potential no matter how great or small their gifts ... like the rest of us should.


Yes to a lesser extent, believe it or not but he is balanced out. As shown by Mr Wint in that video the fight shows how it takes it to a level of brutality but does not make it overly brutal even though it could have been that way. Even the FRWL train fight is more brutally shot than this one, however more is not always better, but the guys doing this often forget (especially in today's age) that keeping something milder takes a skill as much as being more extreme. Cause of this there's also some harmony brought out... yeah. I did not mean that everything about Moore is common, he's also the most professional Bond and there's also a humanity about him.

#15 AMC Hornet

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:14 AM

Well said, Colossus.

I'd rather watch a forty-year-old Connery, or a 55-year-old Moore dance through a well-staged fight than endure any more of Stallone and Stone Cold Steve pounding on each other endlessly in sweatfests like The Expendables.

Even Pierce vs Sean Bean seemed to be pushing the envelope. I'm glad they pulled back after that.

#16 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:29 AM

Exactly! So many fight scenes today are stretched beyond any believability. It's like watching a computer game.

#17 Miles Miservy

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:27 PM

"He could ski quite well, both on snow and water. That's no easy sport and his body had a certain basic tonicity. Not a serious athlete but sporty enough."

Absolute nonsense. It's been well-documented that although Lynn-Holly Johnson was an athletic skier, the scenes Roger shot with her, on the slopes of Tofana, had him being towed on a sled. Also, his underwater scenes w/Carole Bouquet were shot on a wind-blown set behind a tank of water bubbles.

#18 Dustin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:33 PM

"He could ski quite well, both on snow and water. That's no easy sport and his body had a certain basic tonicity. Not a serious athlete but sporty enough."

Absolute nonsense. It's been well-documented that although Lynn-Holly Johnson was an athletic skier, the scenes Roger shot with her, on the slopes of Tofana, had him being towed on a sled. Also, his underwater scenes w/Carole Bouquet were shot on a wind-blown set behind a tank of water bubbles.


Er, I'm not talking about FYEO. Moore was skiing in real life.

EDIT: Oh, it's indeed well documented. For example here: http://news.bbc.co.u...ame/1191147.stm

Edited by Dustin, 18 July 2012 - 04:42 PM.


#19 BoogieBond

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:01 PM

That TMWGG fight is indeed a great fight. Definitely Moore's best.
Although Moore was not physical, I always thought he was in reasonable shape and physically fit. Not to Craig's level, but I imagine to even do some of his stuff in his films required physical exertion, I am sure although he did not hit the gym for 2 hours, he probably did some exercise to keep in shape, swimming, skiing or the like. I never really felt in any of his films he was at Sean's DAF level. Sean let himself go(and why not) a little bit in DAF, but such is the man's skill, he still pulled off a convincing Bond.

#20 S K Y F A L L

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:23 PM

You have to give Moore credit, he really pulled it off for some one his age. He is still the oldest Bond, starting at 45.

#21 Golden Claw

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:57 PM

Indeed, that TMWTGG fight was the best Moore fight scene. Must say, it does look like him and not a stuntman. In fact, he looked quite fit in LALD and TMWTGG and perhaps he did do some of his own stunts in these two. Any idea?

#22 AMC Hornet

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 12:33 AM

It helped that Connery was visibly older and out of shape in DAF. That made Moore easier to accept in LALD.




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