Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.
See also: http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart
My name: Brian Martin
* The eighth Bond book.
* This one is a collection of 5 short stories.
* The original anthology, i.e., an anthology that contains previously unpublished stories, is a terrible thing, but here we have two stories that had been previously published, one by Cosmopolitan and one by Playboy. Not surprisingly, these are the best stories in the book.
* The three originals ("From a View to a Kill," "For Your Eyes Only," and "Risico") are pretty bland, but the Playboy story, "The Hildebrand Rarity," about a sadistic American millionaire who abuses his wife and rudely treats everyone else as inferiors, is hard-bitten and tough and ends beautifully, with Bond ironically trapped in a weird triangle of murder.
* "Quantum of Solace," though, the Cosmo story, is the one that by itself makes the whole anthology worthwhile. It isn't even a Bond story, really. Bond merely listens to someone else telling a sad story about a cuckold and his faithless wife. It's fiendishly clever, all too plausible, and, in the end, very funny. (In Goldfinger, Bond is said to be prepared to listen to anyone who is master of their subject matter, and here that gets extended to anyone who can tell a good story. It's a side of Bond that the movies, to their detriment, don't acknowledge--because, of course, the audience (the filmmakers believe) is too shallow and stupid to care about such things.)
* As a whole, I'll give it 3 stars, but "The Hildebrand Rarity" deserves 4 and "Quantum of Solace" 5, making it, in my book, well worth your time.
* The twelfth Bond movie (Roger Moore).
* A rather remarkable concoction of the short stories "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico," with part of the climax from Live and Let Die and, in the opening, reminders of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the whole of the Blofeld trilogy.
* The scale of the film is reduced, as well, and to good effect, making this Moore's best Bond movie to date (probably his best overall), and one of the better Bond films, period.
* The opening is insane. The movie begins with Bond laying flowers on Tracy's grave (a welcome reminder, for those of us who actually like Bond, of Bond's only period of complete happiness), then turns ridiculous (as we discover that Blofeld has somehow managed to survive and is once more out to kill Bond), and finally ends in hilarious fashion (thanks to one of the funniest, most absurd lines ever uttered in a Bond movie). It could have gone anywhere from such a beginning, but fortunately it settles down and even, in the main, holds our interest for the next two hours without causing cerebral shutdown.
* Some critics have complained that the film lacked the typical over-the-top gadgets and technology of the film series. With critics like these, fans of the novels can only think, who needs enemies?
* No M this time, as Bernard Lee had died.
* Great title song, sung by Sheena Easton, who is the first singer to be seen during the credits. (Interestingly, Blondie wrote a song for the film--before they knew the producers wanted them to play their own song. Blondie's "For Your Eyes Only" is included on their album The Hunter.)