I may have asked this before, but I'd like to ejjimicate myself on the Bond movies. The way I envision doing so is to buy Blu-rays with some extras, so I can watch the movies (in order, naturally) and learn about each one in the process.

As it happens it won't be completely a "let's review" situation, as there are a few Bond movies I haven't seen. I haven't seen most of the Roger Moore vehicles, and none starring Pierce Brosnan. Yeah, those are probably the weakest of the lot, I know. But they're on my bucket list.

So my question is: How can I find what I want? Amazon has a couple of collections on offer, but it doesn't tell me much about them. There's one collection that's all of the Broccoli movies through the first Craig outing, and then a bunch of sets separated by actor. All very nice, but what about extras? 

Also, when I Google some of the DVDs, it turns out they're European and won't work on American players. Maybe you should mention that, Amazon!

If anybody owns any Bond movies, advice would be most welcome. I'd rather not buy each movie individually -- the most expensive way to collect them -- but I'm almost certainly going to have to get Never Say Never Again that way, and also the David Niven Casino Royale if I decide to get it. Maybe On Her Majesty's Secret Service, too, if I go the collection-by-actor route, since George Lazenby just had the one.

But right now I have no idea what to do, so I turn to the Legionaires. Help me, fellow fans, you're my only hope!

(Oh, right, wrong franchise.)

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Novelizations still exist. I have a novelization for Godzilla vs. Kong.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"I assume there are novelizations of the last three Craig movies."

Not that I know of. I don't think movie novelizations are really a thing anymore.

Not unlike Marvel/DC movie viewership not translating into comic sales, Bond movie viewership wouldn't be likely to sell the books. It's a different world.

"I did not know Anthony Morris has a new Bond book out. (doc photo and I discussed the other two over in the 'What are you reading (besides comics)?' discussion a while ago."

Here's that discussion:

doc photo said:

Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz the latest, licensed James Bond novel. A prequel to Casino Royale, Horowitz gives his take on Bond earning his 007 ranking and his subsequent first assignment from M. Horowitz does a good job emulating the Ian Fleming writing style. The story itself has enough twists and turns to keep you reading. Recommended.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Oh, I remember reading a review of that a couple of years ago but it slipped my mind.

Thanks for the reminder to buy it!

Has anyone here read Trigger Mortis, also by Anthiony Horowitz? Amazon's description...

"It’s 1957 and James Bond (agent 007) has only just survived his showdown with Auric Goldfinger at Fort Knox. By his side is Pussy Galore, who was with him at the end. Unknown to either of them, the USSR and the West are in a deadly struggle for technological superiority. And SMERSH is back.

"The Soviet counter-intelligence agency plans to sabotage a Grand Prix race at the most dangerous track in Europe. But it’s Bond who finds himself in the driving seat and events take an unexpected turn when he observes a suspicious meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a sinister Korean millionaire, Jai Seong Sin.

"Soon Bond is pitched into an entirely different race uncovering a plan that could bring the West to its knees.

"Welcoming back familiar faces, including M and Miss Moneypenny, international bestselling author Anthony Horowitz ticks all the boxes: speed, danger, strong women and fiendish villains, to reinvent the golden age of Bond in this brilliantly gripping adventure. Trigger Mortis is also the first James Bond novel to feature previously unseen Ian Fleming material.

"This is James Bond as Fleming imagined him."

doc photo said:

Yes, I read Trigger Mortis a couple of years ago. The story picks up immediately following the events of Goldfinger. I don't remember much about the book other than Pussy Galore playing a small role in the early chapters and that a car race is a pivotal event. I believe the race sequence was based on notes from Ian Fleming. The fact that the book did not make much of an impression on me is enough of a critique.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Thank you, Kevin. Since I last posted to this thread, I went ahead and ordered both Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day. The latter seems to be the place to start, i.e., before the beginning. I've read all 14 Ian Fleming novels at least three times each, and all 14 John Gardner ones at least once each. Beyond that, I have six by Raymond Benson, and one each by Sebastion Faulks, Jeffrey Deaver and William Boyd. Perhaps  after I've finished up with Larry McMurtry, these two by Anthony Horowitz will open the James Bond floodgates once again. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

FOREVER AND A DAY: This is the latest licensed "James Bond" novel, as doc photo noted last week, but it's not particularly recent, a fact I (re)discovered when I went to add it to my notes and discovered it was already there. It was written in 2018; I made a note of it then forgot about it. I am even more enthusiastic about it than doc was. It's very definitely a post-war espionage novel in the Fleming style. I wish I had taken note of all the turns of phrase and whatnot that were evocative of Fleming without being fannish. In Forever and a Day we get to see the "origin" if you will of many Bond motifs, most of which were already in place in Casino Royale. I've read James Bond books of this nature before, but they have always come off as gimmicky; this reads like a lost Fleming Bond. Anthony Horowitz has one distinct advantage over Fleming, however: he has 70 years of post 1950 world socio-political development to draw on. I'm looking forward to Trigger Mortis (despite doc's lukewarm reaction above).

Looking at some of my other as-yet-unread non-Fleming Bonds, Devil May Care (2008) is set in 1969, and written by Sebastian Faulks "writing as Ian Feming" according the the cover (emphasis mine); Carte Blanche (2011) by Jeffrey Deaver is an updated, post-9/11 reboot; and Solo (2013) by William Boyd is back to 1969. Boyd's introduction outlines his intention, and (from what little I've skimmed of each) his writing style seems to better emulate Fleming's than Deavers'. 

doc photo said:

Glad you enjoyed Forever And A Day. I'll be interested to read your thoughts on Trigger Mortis. As to the other books, even though I prefer Bond adventures set during the Cold War, Deaver's Carte Blanche was good enough that it motivated me to check out his non-Bond work. Story-wise Carte Blanche worked but is it really a James Bond 007 novel? Seems like you could swap out the hero and still have an intense spy thriller just not a Bond book.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

TRIGGER MORTIS: I liked this one as much as I did Forever and a Day, but in a different way. What I liked about F&AD was how much it seemed like an actual lost Fleming novel. I didn't quite that feeling this time, but then again Fleming's own style changed over the 13 or years he was writing them. There's no mistaking Fleming's early style with his later style, but there's also an elusive "middle" style that's more difficult to define, and with Trigger Mortis being set between Goldfinger and For Your Eyes Only, it occurs smack in the middle. 

Whereas the style is difficult to pinpoint, Anthony Horowitz has the structure down pat. the book is written in two parts ("What goes Up..." and "Must Come Down"), one of which sets up and leads directly into the other. Two of the chapters, chapter 10 in part one ("Pick a Card...") and chapter 18 in part two ("...Any Card") even complement each other. Also like Fleming, Horowitz does an excellent job of researching how a particular thing is done, be it making heroin (in F&AD) or race car driving (in TM). 

He deviates from Fleming a bit when it comes to referencing previous stories, although that's not necessarily a bad thing; it helps add a sense of continuity. Bond gets the girl at the end of every book I can think of, and fleming usually leaves readers with the impression that they will be together forever. Then he spends a bit of the first chapter of the next book explaining why it didn't work out. But in Trigger Mortis, Pussy Galore (from Goldfinger) hangs around for five full chapters. (In canon, the book which followed Goldfinger was a short story collection and Pussy's final departure was not dealt with directly.) References to previous Bond thrillers are peppered throughout Trigger Mortis, unusual for Fleming but not overdone here.

Nor is there a lack of femmes fatales (Logan Fairfax, Jeopardy Lane) or a distinctive central villain (Sin Jai-Seong, a.k.a. "Jason Sin"). If it's death traps and action you're looking for, Bond takes a harrowing ride atop a NYC subway car immediately after having been (unsuccessfully) buried alive. The plot goes from Grand Prix racing to a plot to bring down an experimental missile (or, rather, to fake it) in the heart of New York City. In some ways this is a post-9/11 plot, but set in 1959, the target is not the WTC but the Empire State Building.

Gone is Fleming's blatant casual racism... which is not to say that there is no racism in Trigger Mortis, only that is displayed by the villain and not by Bond himself. Bond's own sexism is still on display, of course, but Pussy, Logan and Jeopardy give as good as they get. 

Trigger Mortis is the last hurrah of SMERSH before being replaced in canon by SPECTRE, and I agree that Bond works best set during the Cold War. That is why I have decided not to move on to Carte Blanche at this time. I would not be unhappy if Anthony Horowitz were to write a third James Bond novel, perhaps one set after his last adventure in Fleming canon.

doc photo said:

You certainly enjoyed Trigger Mortis more than I did. Maybe I wasn't in the proper mood when I read it a couple of years ago. I agree that a third Horowitz book would be welcome.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

That can certainly make a big difference. 

I have just ordered With a Mind to Kill (the third book in the series) as well as No Time to Die (the only movie I am missing) as well as the CD single by Billie Eilish.

The other night I tried to find an ebook of Casino Royale, that I could read before I order the HC next year. Surprise, I couldn't!

In fact, none of the ebooks I clicked on in Amazon worked. Am I going about this the wrong way?

Monty Norman wrote the score and songs for Dr No. The tune over the close is "Underneath the Mango Tree". Honey briefly sings a bit of this this to herself in her intro scene. The IMDB tells me the voice is actually Nikki Van der Zyl's. She dubbed Ursula Andress and Eunice Gayson. Apparently the full song, sung by Diana Copeland, was included on the soundtrack album. 

Norman partly based the Bond theme on a melody he'd written for an unproduced musical. John Barry arranged it for the movie and modified it. There's a YouTube video of Norman playing his version of the theme here.

A good James Bond trivia question is "What is the only movie in which James Bond sings"? The answer is Dr. No (he sings a few lines to Honey Rider ("Honey" in the movie; "Honeychile" in the book). 

I plan on reading With A Mind To Kill as well - hopefully in the next few weeks - although with holidays coming up that may be subject to change. I look forward to discussing it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"I did not know Anthony Morris has a new Bond book out. (doc photo and I discussed the other two over in the 'What are you reading (besides comics)?' discussion a while ago."

I have just ordered With a Mind to Kill (the third book in the series) as well as No Time to Die (the only movie I am missing) as well as the CD single by Billie Eilish.

"I look forward to discussing it."

That's why I moved the original discussion over here!

(Also to refresh my memory of the previous books in the trilogy.)

"I want to read Ian Fleming's James Bond for their historic and social import, not whatever some successors, ghosts and pastiche artists did with the property later."

I think that's the proper way to approach the original novels. Having said that, though, the movies themselves, from The Spy Who Loved Me on, can similarly be described as "whatever some successors, ghosts and pastiche artists did with the property later." Most of the post-Fleming Bond books are better than many of the movies (particularly the Roger Moore ones, IMO). 

"Since several of the movies use the titles of novels or short stories, I'm surprised that the mysterious-sounding short story title Risico wasn't used. Offhand, I don't remember the story, but this title could have been used to inspire a movie."

Kristatos, the villain of the short story "Risico" was the villain of the movie For Your Eyes Only. Since the short story came from the book of the same name, I think that's all we'll be likely to see of "Risico" on screen. The first sentence of the story is: "In this pizniss is much risico."

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Most of the post-Fleming Bond books are better than many of the movies (particularly the Roger Moore ones, IMO). 

I'll take your word for it. (it wouldn't be hard to top most of them)

Kristatos, the villain of the short story "Risico" was the villain of the movie For Your Eyes Only. Since the short story came from the book of the same name, I think that's all we'll be likely to see of "Risico" on screen. The first sentence of the story is: "In this pizniss is much risico."

Thanks. I didn't realize this.

I have ordered (and received) the 24-movie Eon Bond collection, with Never Say Never Again due in a few days. I haven't made my mind up on the 1967 Casino Royale, but there's no hurry, as I've still to read the thing. Speaking of which, I've ordered a used copy (cheap!) of some sort of Bond collection (first six novels, I think) just for reading; the Ian Fleming Collection HC series begins publishing in 2023 and I want those for the bookshelf. 

I think it's inevitable that I read the post-Fleming books, so I'll join y'all in that.


This is the third in the trilogy of Anthony Horowitz's novels which take place at the beginning, middle and end of James Bond's career. I am not the kind of person who reads the last chapter of a book before reading the rest of it, but I will sometimes read the acknowledgements first in hope of gleaning insight into the story itself. In this case (books by John Garner and Raymond Benson and others notwithstanding), With a Mind to Kill is definitely intended to be James Bond's last adventure, so I kept that in my mind throughout. Would Bond even survive? 

Both of Horowitz's other two Bond books have incorporated unpublished original material written by Ian Fleming. This time he was unable to do so, however the description of East Berlin was lifted from Fleming's collection of travel journalism, Thrilling Cities. There are some other "Easter eggs" as well, such as the original title for Fleming's third Bond book (before he settled on Moonraker) used as a chapter title. 

Spoilers for Cap: In You Only Live Twice, James Bond received a traumatic head injury which resulted in a case of amnesia. He was reported missing in action and his obituary was published. Bond spent the next year living in a Japanese fishing village. In The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond was found by the Russians and brainwashed into assassinating M. the attempt failed, and Bond was stripped of his double-o status. He was deprogrammed, but in order to prove himself he was sent on a mission to kill "Pistols" Scaramonga, a mission with very little chance of success. The Man with the Golden Gun was Fleming's last James Bond novel, not because Fleming chose to bring the series to a close, but because suffered a fatal heart attack. It's unlikely Fleming would have chosen to stop the novels at that point, as popular as the movies had become. 

Spoilers for doc photo: With a Mind to Kill picks up two weeks after The Man with the Golden Gun ends. Now that Bond has proven himself, the decision is made to fake M's death and pretend that Bond's assassination attempt was successful, then send him back to Russia in order to get to the bottom of the organization Stalnaya Ruka, or "Steel Hand." the story is written in three parts, "London Calling," "Moscow Nights" and "Berlin Symphony," each of which has its own edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger. 

That's as much as I'm prepared to say about it now, but I do recommend it, especially to someone who has read the two previous books in the trilogy, although not to someone who hasn't read all of the Fleming books. You know who you are. 

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