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Revelator

Member Since 19 Sep 2003
Offline Last Active May 31 2017 10:00 PM
*****

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017)

23 May 2017 - 08:58 PM

Very sad: a talented, charming, funny and heroic man for all work to help others.

 

This story posted on Twitter is rather magnificent:

https://twitter.com/...036448037511169

 

Yes, it shows what a sweet man Roger was. Here's a non-twitter version with some follow-up: http://b3ta.com/blog...-you-feel-good/

 

I grew up watching Roger's Bond on VHS, and he'll always have a place in my heart. There's a documentary on Roger included with the Blu-Ray of Gold, one of his best non-Bond films (it was directed by Peter Hunt). In it you can see David Niven's son praise Moore as his father's heir and an underrated player of light comedy.

Remembering this makes me realize that Roger Moore was the last of his kind--the suave, unflappable, lighthearted, kindly, and very English gentlemen, in a line with Niven and Cary Grant. There's no one acting today with Roger's savoir faire. He was first to deprecate his gifts, and they're still not fully appreciated: You need talent to project dapper aplomb and skill to play with light touch. Roger did far more than lift an eyebrow--he savored his roles as he played them, knowing when to step outside character to highlight an irony and deploy his charm, that playful complicity with the audience.

Bond would not have survived the 1970s without moving in a more comedic and lighthearted direction, and Roger was the best man for the job. He said The Spy Who Loved Me was his favorite, perhaps because he made the role his own in it. His first two Bond films were still in the Diamonds Are Forever mode--movies that didn't believe in themselves--and they made Roger's style look insubstantial and redundant. The Spy Who Loved Me was, despite its humor, a seriously-done epic, and it allowed Roger to pit his detachment and ironic commentary against the movie's monster-size scale and drama. And when the later Bond films floated down to earth, they allowed Roger to tap into his vulnerability--"the spark in his worried, squinched-up eyes" to quote Pauline Kael--and his good-humored warmth.

The latter quality is why some scenes from his first two Bonds, when he's made to imitate Connery, don't work. We don't buy the idea of Moore's Bond slapping a woman, because Roger isn't given to that sort of enraged brutality. Look instead at For Your Eyes Only, at the scene where he kicks Locque's car off a cliff. His anger is controlled, the usual ironic detachment transmuted to icy, calm vengefulness. The scene is so fine it reminds you how good some of his films could have been if they'd given Roger more material of that strength, more opportunities to act with sober coolness. You can also find it in the scene from The Spy Who Loved Me of him admitting to killing Anya's lover. The detachment behind his usual irony becomes the bedrock for a moment of direct honesty--no quips or raised eyebrows, just the admission of responsibility and a statement of purpose.

All this from an actor who delighted in mocking his own abilities! It's also there in his best non-Bond work--The Man Who Haunted Himself, Gold, Shout at the Devil (also directed by Peter Hunt), ffolkes, and much more. The world is much less charming place without Roger Moore.


In Topic: Who do you want for Bond 7? * POLL ADDED*

10 May 2017 - 07:11 PM

This thread must stop now--the Guardian has decided that "an emotionless character that belongs to a grotesque tradition should be shelved, and all speculation over who should play him needs to end": https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/may/09/idris-elba-james-bond-joanna-lumley

The Guardian has spoken!


In Topic: Raymond Durgnat on The Living Daylights

08 March 2017 - 12:36 AM

Thank you for the excellent anecdote Turn. I never met Durgnat but one of my college film professors co-authored a book with him and said Durgnat was the only genius he'd ever worked with. But as your account shows, great writing does not necessarily ensure great teaching skills.


In Topic: Is Tiffany Case Fleming's Best Female Character?

10 January 2017 - 12:29 AM

Dustin: The conversation with Simenon is a fascinating read. I'd be happy to post it if anyone here hasn't read it. I think you're quite right that Fleming thought he had let several women in his life down--Muriel Wright and Ann Fleming are two other examples. His late-in-life attempts to contact Monique and go touring with Blanche remind me of Bond's softening toward Vesper's memory and the revelation that he annually visits her grave.

 

Clublos: I really wanted to attend that panel, but a variety of things got in the way. My article on Tiffany for ALR is a very broad overview of the topics I might have discussed there. I hear the papers from the panel will be published and very much look forward to reading yours. I'm going to attempt submitting one of my own to Prof. Buckton, if I can find a narrower area of inquiry that doesn't overlap too much with your papers and those of your fellow panelists.

 

For anyone interested, the ALR overview of the panel can be read here.

 

 


In Topic: Is Tiffany Case Fleming's Best Female Character?

06 January 2017 - 08:23 PM

I view each Bond heroine as teaching Bond something new about women after the treachery in losing Vesper--the innocence of Solitaire, the resourcefulness of Honey, the worldly cynicism of Domino--all leading up to him falling in love again with Tracy, and the maternal nature of Kissy.  He's basically learning to trust women again. 

 

That's a wonderful observation and a new interpretation to me. It makes Tracy's death even more tragic, and his separation from Kissy--who had essentially become a wife--also tragic. After this cycle, Fleming seemed to have been left at a loss, since love and women play a very small role in TMWTGG.

I naturally agree with you on the depth of Fleming's women and how they've mostly been let down by the films, though I'll admit that the screen versions of Vesper, Solitaire, and Tracy have more depth than the originals.