REVIEW: The Many Lives of James Bond
The Many Lives of James Bond
By Mark Edlitz
Lyons Press, 300 pages, $27.95
Now that No Time To Die’s April release feels imminent, now may be a good time to catch up on some past James Bond history. Always remember that the past is prologue for the James Bond series. Prolific interviewer Mark Edlitz is back, this time with the recently released book The Many Lives of James Bond.
James Bond has been explored in just about every manner imagined and yet, Edlitz comes through with a collection of discussions that is unique in its breadth. Subtitled “How the Creators of 007 Have Decoded the Superspy”, he offers insights from not just the actors, but the directors, songwriters, novelists, artists, designers, and more.
The book is broken into five parts: Bond on Film, Bond in Print, Being Bond, Designing 007, and Bond Women with an appendix on the Quotable Bond. It’s interesting to read how directors Martin Campbell, Roger Spotiswoode, and John Glen each saw the elite spy and the challenges of maintaining the nearly 60-year-old franchise’s consistency.
Edlitz nicely looks under rocks and deep into the shadows to bring little known aspects of the legacy to light. For example, did you know Big Band leader Hoagy Carmichael was Fleming’s model for the look? His son, Hoagy Bix Carmichael, shared some anecdotes. Similarly, there are quotes from Bob Holness, who portrayed Bond on a South African radio adaptation of Moonraker in the 1950s.
The print section shines a little-seen spotlight on the novels that followed Ian Fleming’s death as Anthony Horowitz dishes on dealing with the film producers and Eon Productions while John McLusky reviewed his work on the British comic strip, and Mike Grell recounted his work on writing and drawing a Bond adventure for Eclipse Comics.
Several of the actor interviews may seem familiar if you had read Edlitz’s 2015 How to be a Super-Hero which takes a similar in-depth and out of the box approach to the subject. While he couldn’t get to Sean Connery directly, Edlitz has a long piece with Glen A. Schofield who clues us in on what it was like to work with Connery, who recorded Bond’s voice for the video game From Russia with Love which has proven to be the actor’s final time in the role.
Lan Wood represents all the women who wooed and were wood by the spy while Lisa Funnell, who edited For his Eyes Only: The Women of James Bond is on hand to take the long academic view.
Being an unauthorized book, Edlitz is limited in illustrations using a handful of fair use images and a series of adequate illustrations from Pat Carbajal.
The nice thing about a book like this is you can read an interview or two and come back for more, a very nice way to pass the winter until the new feature arrives.