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Some Kind of Hero - 704 pages of it!

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#61 hilly



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Posted 06 January 2016 - 12:11 PM

I got it for Christmas.

Only just dipped in and out of it thus far, but it looks great

#62 Yellow Pinky

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 05:03 PM

Finished this last week.  Despite all the talk about grammatical typos (of which I chimed in as well), this is such a fun read and well-deserving of the time investment by any real fan.  Recommended!

#63 AMC Hornet

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 05:12 PM

The second half of the book (once 'Albert R. Broccoli. Broccoli.' is out of the picture) is relatively mistake-free and a pleasure to read.


However, I can't let this go unchallenged:


"Bond is framed for Mathis' death by corrupt Bolivian police who, dying, reveals he was a traitor after all." (p 566)


Between the grammar and inaccuracy, I'm left uncertain who MF and AC are referring to.


Then, in Skyfall, "The MI6 explosion prompts 007 to return to the fold - he has been hiding out with his lover in a remote spot near the South Chins Sea." (587)


I had no idea Turkey was that close to SE Asia.


Still, as I finish reading each chapter, I'm left with an urge to watch the film just discussed.

#64 Revelator



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Posted 26 January 2016 - 12:37 AM

I finished the book a couple of weeks ago and can recommend it. Some Kind of a Hero is a great labor of love and fandom--Field and Chowdhury seem to have tracked down every useful Bond film book ever published, absorbed the facts within and combined them with an impressively wide-ranging set of interviews.

I didn't find any revelatory discoveries regarding the classic era of Bond films (1962-1989), perhaps because I own some of the rarer quoted sources, such as the Cinema Retro issue on Dr. No and Helfenstein's book on The Making of OHMSS. I'm less well-read when it comes to the Brosnan/Craig era, and I found those chapters very educational. It helps that the authors were able to interview most of the major players from those years, whereas most of the classic era luminaries are now dead. Purvis and Wade certainly come across as writers who know Fleming inside and out, and whose work has rarely made to the screen as they wrote it. Readers will also have a better appreciation of how the modern Bond films have been at the mercy of corporate interference and demands for rushed product (which blighted the Brosnan era).

The authors have been badly let down by their editor and proofreaders--if they even had any. I gave up counting all the instances of misplaced punctuation and garbled syntax. There are also too many direct quotations of anecdotes that would have been more effective if paraphrased.

Some Kind of Hero also shows the limitations of oral history, which has been called the easiest kind to write. Not that I'm suggesting Some Kind of Hero was easy to write--it was obviously a Herculean undertaking of several years' effort. But it would have been an even greater achievement if it relied on more than interviews and other Bond books and articles and had also made use of archival research. That's easier said than done of course, since the archives of United Artists and EON are probably difficult to access.

But a definitive history of the Bond films will have to make use of archival research, because documents--such as interoffice memos between UA and EON, or the producers' letters to the director--are often more reliable than memories of incidents that happened decades ago. The chapter on OHMSS relies heavily on recent interviews with Lazenby and reproduces his claim that Hunt didn't speak to him during the shoot--a claim that has been challenged elsewhere on basic grounds of logic. That's the other problem with oral histories--they give priority to those who were available to be interviewed. Peter Hunt isn't around to give his side of the story. Another minor example--Guy Hamilton, in an interview decades after Goldfinger was made, dismisses Paul Dehn's contributions by saying he was lucky to get script credit. But Adrian Turner's examination (in his book on GF) of the screenplay's genesis convincingly suggests that Dehn played a major role in adapting the book.

When Some Kind of Hero discusses screenplays, it relies on information taken from interviews or other Bond books, but a definitive history of the Bond films (at least of the classic era Bond films) will have to sort through all the drafts prepared for each production, in the way Helfenstein did for his OHMSS book. I'm rather surprised no one has conducted a study of the hoard of Bond scripts included in Richard Maibaum's papers at the University of Iowa (the list of the contents is here: http://collguides.li...MSC0149#series5). We know that in many cases the final film either deviated from Maibaum's script (DAF) or Maibaum initially had a very different vision of the material (DN, LTK, TLD, OP, TSWLM). It would be fascinating to learn more of the roads untaken and whether the producers were wise to not take them.


Putting talk of definitive histories aside, Some Kind of Hero remains a recommended purchase. No previous Bond book has compiled information from so many sources, and, as far as oral histories go, it will probably remain definitive for the classic Bond era (unless someone succeeds in scoring a detailed interview with Connery--Field and Chowdhury made an honorable attempt), since there's almost no one left to interview. Future Bond films will probably prompt future editions of Some Kind of Hero but you might as well read the current one.

Edited by Revelator, 26 January 2016 - 12:44 AM.

#65 glidrose


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 08:24 PM

Holy Jaysus... Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais ("Porridge") claim they worked on / rewrote / punched up the Moonraker screenplay. These guys were later brought in to do the same on NSNA.

And yeah... the proofreading errors are painful. At one point it lurches from Charles Gray's alleged bit in TSWLM to an unconnected paragraph about the Egyptian censor who was on set when Roger Moore had to mouth the words "Egyptian builders". Clearly, text is missing.

#66 ggl



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Posted 31 January 2016 - 10:31 AM

 At one point it lurches from Charles Gray's alleged bit in TSWLM to an unconnected paragraph about the Egyptian censor who was on set when Roger Moore had to mouth the words "Egyptian builders". Clearly, text is missing.


Thanks for the clarification! I found no sense in that part!!