Thursday, January 31, 2013

Filming Fleming: A Look Back At The Film Bios Of James Bond Creator Ian Fleming

MI6, the James Bond web site, not the British intelligence agency, offers an interesting look back at three film biographies of thriller writer Ian Fleming.

Naval commander, stockbroker, journalist, author, and bon vivant are just some of the words that can be used to describe Ian Fleming. With his birth on May 28, 1908, the world was certainly introduced to a unique individual whose total life experiences, it could be argued, were leading up to the creation of master spy James Bond. But, who really was Ian Fleming? Since the 007 phenomenon began sixty years ago it has been fashionable for critics and fans alike to proclaim that Fleming was James Bond and James Bond was Ian Fleming. However, the threads of Fleming's real life are layered and complex and this assessment has since been proven to be not so cut and dried.

What was real and what has since been embellished? Since his death on August 12, 1964, three movies Goldeneye, Spymaker, and Age of Heroes have attempted to answer these questions by focusing on different aspects and times within his life. While these films may be of mixed quality and merit, together they show how Fleming's all-too-short life and work can be ably juxtaposed with the timeless character he created.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
I have not yet seen Age of Heroes, but I interviewed two authors who wrote about Fleming's creation and involvement with the World War II commando group 30 Assault Unit, and they didn't think much of the film.
I recall not liking Spymaster very much, as the filmmakers put in a lot of fiction in an attempt to make Fleming out to be a James Bond character. Goldeneye, not to be confused with the James Bond film also named Goldeneye, was a fine film and I liked Charles Dance as Fleming.
Fleming, in my view, is as interesting a character as his fictional creation. Fleming was a womanizer like Bond and he traveled the world and saw and did interesting things as a journalist before and after World War II and during the war as a naval intelligence officer. These experiences allowed him to write authentically about crime and espionage.
I look forward to the new Fleming film, although I fear the filmmakers may spend more time on his  sex foibles than his world adventures.
There are several good books about Fleming's life, including two biographys written by John Pearson and Andrew Lycett, and For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond by Ben Macintye.  
You can also read my piece in Counterterrorism magazine on Fleming's time as a naval intelligence officer in World War II via the below links:

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