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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I have all of the early movies through The World is Not Enough on widescreen VHS, and from Die Another Day forward on DVD (except for the most recent Craig one, which reminds me I need to get it). If you're asking about extras I couldn't tell you; I almost never watch them. I've seen those sets grouped by actor and, if I were starting over right now, that's the way I'd go. If there's a set of all the Broccoli's through Craig, that sounds nice, too. It all depends on how serious you are and how much you want to spend. Do a price comparison and, if the big set saves you money and you want them all, that's probably the way to go. OTOH, if this is a phase you get into every once in a while, like I said, those sets grouped by actor look nice.

I have been a huge James Bond fan throughout my life (all the movies, all the books by all the authors, all the soundtracks), so if you want to write them up as you watch, I'll follow along.

Here in Victoria they're easy to find second-hand.

The very first movie/TV production was a 1954 episode of Climax! that adapted Casino Royale. Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre. Barry Nelson played CIA agent Jimmy Bond. It might be in the public domain in the US, and can be found at YouTube. I'm not sure it's in the public domain in the US as the source material, the novel, presumably isn't.

The very first movie/TV production was a 1954 episode of Climax! that adapted Casino Royale.

I've heard about the Climax! episode, but never seen it.

I didn't know Peter Lorre was in it, which heightens my interest. I love Lorre, especially when he leans into his weirdness. A quick Google search has it available from Bonanza for about $26. I think Bonanza is a U.S. firm, which is important for compatibility. Which is not a thing I understand.

Here's what the internet says about that:

"DVDs from other parts of the world not working in other areas is due to the media and entertainment industry insisting on strictly restricting DVD use across the world. So they came up with a Digital Rights Management or DRM. The feature which causes UK's or any European DVDs failure to play in any US player or PC (and vice versa) is due to this. It is called Region locking or Regional Encoding. These region locks prevent DVDs from working on players that were not also produced in that region of the world."

So, that's important, I guess.

Anyway, if Bonanza is a U.S. firm, which I'll have to investigate, that Climax! episode will soon have a forever home!

If there's a set of all the Broccoli's through Craig, that sounds nice, too.

It's not through Craig, it's through the fourth Craig, Spectre. I've been waiting since No Time to Die came out to see if they'd re-release the set with the final Craig movie, but so far no dice. Of course, I could just get No Time to Die and tuck it next to the set but there's this:

There are matching sets for other actors -- mostly. There are boxed sets for Connery (two three-movie sets), Moore (ditto), Lazenby (one), Dalton (two) and Brosnan (four). But only some of them are Blu-ray -- about half are DVD only. Also, this approach is more expensive.

Still, tempting.

There are a bunch of other sets with varying contents. But every time I take the time to check one out, they're European and won't play here. This has proven to be more complicated than I like.

I have been a huge James Bond fan throughout my life (all the movies, all the books by all the authors, all the soundtracks.

I may have asked this before, too, but should reading all the Ian Fleming books be on my bucket list, or are they too dated and cringey to read now? I read one of them in the mid-1960s (Dr. No, I think), but don't remember anything about my reaction to it. (I probably wasn't old enough to have a reaction.)

I'd be happy to get them whether I read them or not, if I could find a nice HC set. (Same with Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft.) But I dunno if I need to read them.

Are there any books ABOUT the movies I should read? Behind-the-scenes stuff, or trivia?

I only own the Connery sets since those are the only real adventures of James Bond. The sets include 2 discs per film with the second disc being special features.

I first read the Fleming books as a teenager and loved them and have re-read the series a time or two in the ensuing years. They are all relatively quick reads so you wouldn't be investing a ton of time if you decided to revisit them. Just keep in mind that the books were written in the Fifties and early Sixties by a member of the British upper class which is reflected in the material.

"I may have asked this before, too, but should reading all the Ian Fleming books be on my bucket list, or are they too dated and cringey to read now?"

I have read the Fleming books through, start to finish, at three times in my life: in junior high school, in college and in the '90s. the last time I read them all, was the last time I felt I needed to read them*, but it's been nearly 30 years and I'm feeling as if I might need another go. Are they "dated and cringey"? You decide. Here's a section from 1954's Live and Let Die when a sedan cuts off James Bond's cab in NYC traffic.

"It was a smart, decisive bit of driving, but what startled Bond was that it had been a Negress at the wheel, a fine-looking Negress in a black chauffer's uniform... Hardly anywhere in the world will you find a Negress driving a car. A Negress acting as a chauffer is still more extraordinary. Barely conceivable even in Harlem, but that was certainly where the car was from."

'Nuff said?

Here are my recommendations for which books to read depending on what you're in the mood for.

GOLDFINGER: This is the best of the early ones (my favorite, anyway).

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY: This collection of short stories will give you a flavor without a big commitment. 

SPECTRE/BLOFELD: Later novels became somewhat more sophisticated, and Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice form a trilogy of sorts. 

*I have read odd ones here and there since, most recently The Spy Who Loved Me (at the same time I reread the Christopher Wood movie novelizations, along with re-watching the movies). Those two novelizations were the first two "James Bond" books I read, but when I discovered the originals I got rid of the movie tie-ins. Some 40 years later I reconsidered, picked them up used and read them again. (The original The Spy Who Loved Me is very pulpy, more gangster than spy, and is written from a woman's POV; an oddity among the books.)

I only own the Connery sets since those are the only real adventures of James Bond. The sets include 2 discs per film with the second disc being special features.

Ooh! Ooh! (/Horschack) This is precisely what I need! Is it this?

Or this?

Or something else altogether?

Later novels became somewhat more sophisticated, and Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice form a trilogy of sorts. 

This is the answer I was actually looking for, but I didn't phrase it right.

I know already from stories I've read about Ian Fleming, that his books would be elitist, misogynist, racist and chauvinist. (And heck, the Sean Connery movies aren't exactly enlightened when it comes to women.) The "Negress" bit above is the sort of thing I would fully expect in books "written in the Fifties and early Sixties by a member of the British upper class," as doc photo says. And I don't have any more problem with it than I do, say, Ebony White or Lothar. Which is to say it makes me a tad uncomfortable, but I accept it as a trope genuine to the era and history we should not forget.

Instead, what I meant to ask was: Are the books any good? Or were they just good action/adventure by the standards of the '50s and '60s, and I would find them dull now? Your answer to my unasked question encourages me to look for a decent HC set, or at least a boxed paperback set. 

Luke Blanchard said:

The very first movie/TV production was a 1954 episode of Climax! that adapted Casino Royale. Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre. Barry Nelson played CIA agent Jimmy Bond

I saw this, probably on YouTube, a couple of years ago. This IMBD summary is informative:

American Combined Intelligence Agency spy James Bond (Barry Nelson) arrives at the Casino Royale in Monte Carlo, Monaco, but is shot at while entering. He meets up with British Secret Service Secret Agent Clarence Leiter (Michael Pate) (this character was called Felix Leiter in the original Ian Fleming novel). He briefs Bond about his mission then Bond runs into old flame Valerie Mathis (Linda Christian) (she is an amalgam of the Vesper Lynd and Rene Mathis characters from the novel). She introduces him to Le Chiffre (Peter Lorre), who is the Chief Soviet Agent in the area, and is nearly always accompanied by three henchman called Basil, Zoltan, and Zuroff. Le Chiffre has been gambling with the Soviet funds of his employers, and he's down several million francs. Bond's mission is to beat him at a high-stakes card game of Baccarat so Le Chiffre will be ruined.—(summary by Jamie Skinner)

I didn’t’’ think he was called Jimmy Bond in this. The only characters I’m aware of with that name are the Woody Allen character in the first (spoof) movie Casino Royale and Alan Moore’s character in the Extraordinary Gentlemen series of books.

Captain Comics said:

"DVDs from other parts of the world not working in other areas is due to the media and entertainment industry insisting on strictly restricting DVD use across the world. So they came up with a Digital Rights Management or DRM. The feature which causes UK's or any European DVDs failure to play in any US player or PC (and vice versa) is due to this. It is called Region locking or Regional Encoding. These region locks prevent DVDs from working on players that were not also produced in that region of the world."

Google directed me to this information on Amazon’s site:

The following are the different regions and their corresponding region codes:

Standard DVDs:

Region 1: U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada, and Bermuda

Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East

Region 3: Southeast Asia, East Asia including Hong Kong

Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean

Region 5: Eastern Europe, Baltic States, Russia, Central and South Asia, Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia

Region 6: China

Blu-ray discs:

Region A/1: North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia

Region B/2: Europe, Greenland, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand

Region C/3: India, Nepal, Mainland China, Russia, Central Asia, and South Asia”

From what I have seen, Amazon clearly labels everything that isn’t playable in the U.S. with their region codes. I only had one experience with a non-U.S. region that wasn’t properly identified, and they gave me a full refund.

Captain Comics said:

I may have asked this before, too, but should reading all the Ian Fleming books be on my bucket list, or are they too dated and cringey to read now? I read one of them in the mid-1960s (Dr. No, I think), but don't remember anything about my reaction to it. (I probably wasn't old enough to have a reaction.)

I started seeing the movies and reading the books immediately after Fleming’s death. I was in high school at the time. I don’t think you would be too put off by the dated attitudes.

I observed the following racist dominance in Dr No:

The bottom of his criminal hierarchy are the negroes (the term at the time)

Just above them are the mixed-race Chinese and negroes, who are called "chigroes"

Just above them are the full Chinese

Dr Julius No (the name rejects his father Julius) has a German father and a Chinese mother.

Defeating him, of course, is the superior secret agent, who is full Caucasian (and British!).  

Like doc photo says, the original books are quick reads. If you are contrasting them to the movies, you might be interested in some significant differences. The movies were all after the publication of Thunderball. At that time, we were trying to make nice with the USSR. All of the book before Thunderball had the antagonists belonging to the Soviet organization SMERSH, not SPECTRE. Goldfinger (the movie) has the title character working closely with China, not the USSR. The spectacular end for Goldfinger in the movie is actually wasted on Oddjob in the book.  The end of Dr No in the book is much more interesting (and unique) than in the movie.

Captain Comics said:

I'd be happy to get them whether I read them or not, if I could find a nice HC set.

If you do a Google search for Fleming hardcovers as I just did, you will likely be disappointed. This site has three of the books published in 2017 in HC with apparently lots of supplemental material, but only these three books:

https://www.ianfleming.com/introducing-new-fleming-007-hardback-edi...

This Wikipedia page helpfully lists all of Fleming’s novels and short stories in publication order, with page counts and summaries. The summaries don’t give away too much, but the books are different than the movies, some drastically so (Moonraker).  The ending of the book Moonraker knocked my socks off. Fleming’s attempt to write from a woman’s perspective (The Spy Who “Loved” Me) is crippled by the fact that Fleming had no understanding of women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_James_Bond_novels_and_short_s...

As a continuity fiend, I greatly appreciated Fleming’s continuity on Bond. In the movie of Live and Let Die (which was the second book) they had to tweak the story so that a character was the son of a character who died in the first movie, Dr No (which was the sixth book). Felix Leiter is mutilated in the second book and his handicaps are clearly part of his character going forward.

Captain Comics said:

Instead, what I meant to ask was: Are the books any good? Or were they just good action/adventure by the standards of the '50s and '60s, and I would find them dull now?

I don’t think you would find them dull, especially since there are many differences with the movies.

The sets I own are DVD not Blue Ray. DVD set Volume 1 with the cover shown below is a 6 disc set featuring the first 3 Bond films and their accompanying special features disc. Volume 2 covers the remainder of Connery's run on the Eon productions.  I would think the DVD sets can be had rather cheaply if you can find them and are content with the quality difference from Blue Ray.

My two cents on the novels - the Blofeld trilogy of Thunderball, OHMSS and You Only Live Twice are the best of the bunch and should be read in order.  Dr No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger are my favorites among the earlier books.

Captain Comics said:

I only own the Connery sets since those are the only real adventures of James Bond. The sets include 2 discs per film with the second disc being special features.

Ooh! Ooh! (/Horschack) This is precisely what I need! Is it this?

"[The elitism, misogyny, racism and chauvinism] make me a tad uncomfortable, but I accept it as a trope genuine to the era and history we should not forget."

There's more where that came from.

"Are the books any good? Or were they just good action/adventure by the standards of the '50s and '60s, and I would find them dull now?"

That's difficult to answer. I would definitely recommend that you approach them as products of their time. The later ones were serialized in Playboy, which gave them a certain cache. You might find more recent Bonds (by other authors) to be better written by today's standards, but those aren't the "real" James Bond.

"I didn’t’’ think he was called Jimmy Bond in this."

He is known as "Jimmy 'Card Sense' Bond" in the Climax! version of "Casino Royale". It's an interesting example of live TV, but it's not worth $26 by itself. You'll probably not watch it more than once, but that set above has eight discs, so if early live TV is something you are interested in, it might be worth it. (The production values are not very high.) If you can find it on YouTube or somewhere for free, you'll feel better about saving the money it costs.

"In the movie of Live and Let Die (which was the second book) they had to tweak the story so that a character was the son of a character who died in the first movie, Dr No (which was the sixth book)."

And another character from Live and Let Die (the book) whose death was the catalyst for the plot of Dr. No, was left out of Live and Let Die (the movie version) entirely. 

"My two cents on the novels - the Blofeld trilogy of Thunderball, OHMSS and You Only Live Twice are the best of the bunch and should be read in order."

Agreed. The Spy Who Loved Me was released between Thunderball and OHMSS, but don't read it at that point; it interrupts the flow of the "trilogy." 

"Dr No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger are my favorites among the earlier books."

Agreed. From Russia with Love was also one of JFK's favorites. 

Okay, Cap, you've been thinking about this long enough. Time to choose! 

"[The elitism, misogyny, racism and chauvinism] make me a tad uncomfortable, but I accept it as a trope genuine to the era and history we should not forget."

There's more where that came from.

This literally made me laugh out loud.

I would definitely recommend that you approach them as products of their time.

I read lots of comic books from the '40s and '50s, with racial stereotypes so awful that even white guys like me cringe. I will take my chances.

The later ones were serialized in Playboy, which gave them a certain cache.

You want cachet. Typo, I assume. But cache also made me laugh, as I mentally pictured a cache of Playboys that I literally would want for the articles.

You might find more recent Bonds (by other authors) to be better written by today's standards, but those aren't the "real" James Bond.

I'm glad to hear you say that, because I'm only interested in the Fleming books. 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 also want to compare Fleming's work with the movies, to adjudge what changes were made and ponder on why. Further, that's how I feel about everything: The only Tarzan books I read are by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the only Conan books I read are by Robert E. Howard. I feel like anything after the original author is fanfic.

However, some of the more recent films adapt Robert Gardner, and other movies start as screenplays and were adapted to novels. And the last three movies were all original screenplays that were not adapted by a Bond novel writer. (I assume there are novelizations by the screenwriters or somebody.) I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

("Casino Royale" on Climax!) is an interesting example of live TV, but it's not worth $26 by itself. ... If you can find it on YouTube or somewhere for free, you'll feel better about saving the money it costs.

You talked me into it. I'm also talking myself out of the David Niven Casino Royale, as it's a parody (and one I've already seen). As one reviewer said, "Complaining because a James Bond movie set doesn't include the 1960s Casino Royale is like complaining your original Star Wars trilogy set doesn't include Spaceballs." Looking at it that way, I don't see it as necessary to "complete" my collection.

The Spy Who Loved Me was released between Thunderball and OHMSS, but don't read it at that point; it interrupts the flow of the "trilogy." 

Ooh! This is valuable information! Are there any other reading-order problems I should know?

Okay, Cap, you've been thinking about this long enough. Time to choose! 

What?!?? I'm just getting warmed up!

Seriously, the movies were such a hodge-podge that I needed the Legionnaires to help me sort through it. (Especially the business about not being able to play Region 2-6 stuff in North America, which I was unfamiliar with. Thanks, Richard Willis, for the concise shopper's guide I needed.)

So, I think these are the books at the head of the line right now:

"Set of 14 James Bond favorites. Packaged in decorative slipcase cover. Includes Casino Royale, Diamonds Are Forever, Goldfinger, Dr No, For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, Thunderball, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, From Russia With Love, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice."

That sounds comprehensive, and I can shuffle them to put the "Blofeld trilogy" in order. Should Spy Who Loved Me come before or after the Blofeld books?

It's expensive (almost $300), and since the individual paperbacks average $16 apiece they'd be a little cheaper that way. But I want the box, and am willing to pay a little extra for it. I'm tempted to go Kindle (so cheap!) but I want the physical books.

I really would prefer HC, but that doesn't seem affordable at Amazon. There's an HC series, long out of print, but available usually for $35-60 apiece, which is too much for a 14-book series. So I want to run through some local bookstores to see if I can find used copies before I pull the trigger on the paperbacks.

Also I'm tempted by this:

On to movies:

The sets I own are DVD not Blue Ray. DVD set Volume 1 with the cover shown below is a 6 disc set featuring the first 3 Bond films and their accompanying special features disc.

So I researched this, and I was unable to find anything other than Connery and Moore in this format. Also, it's "SD" instead of HD, whatever that means, but it doesn't sound good. Also, I prefer Blu-ray because my eyes need all the help they can get. So I kept looking, with this new info in hand. And I found this:

This has the first 22 Eon films in Blu-ray, through Daniel Craig's Casino Royale. There's an extra slot (the reviews tell me) for Quantum of Solace, which was on the cusp of release when this set was released. For me, that's just a slot for Never Say Never Again, which I would have to purchase separately (upside!), along with the other Craig films, which would have to be stored separately as well (downside!). The reviews also tell me there are lots of features, which I want. And it's about $100 cheaper than the book set!

But I'm conflicted, because there's this:

This has all the Eon movies through Craig's fourth movie, Spectre. (Wikipedia tells me they deliberately dropped the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. acronym, which is a shame, because Special Executive for Crime, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion is so awesome I still remember it!)

Downside: no special features.

Upside: It's $78! That is almost too good to pass up.

And there is still another possibility:

Buy one HC and one Blu-ray individually, over time, and forgo collections altogether. That would take longer -- I want everything, everywhere NOW -- but in the end I'd have 14 hardbacks and 25 Blu-rays with special features. If I lived long enough!

doc photo said:

I would think the DVD sets can be had rather cheaply if you can find them and are content with the quality difference from Blue Ray.

I assume you already know this, but for anyone who doesn't know:

Most (or all) Blu-ray players will upgrade the image of a standard DVD so that it won't look grainy on today's TVs. There is a very slight difference in the picture from real Blu-ray, but IMO it's not enough to matter. Similar to photo editing software, I believe this is performed by suppling matching pixels to fit between the ones on the DVD. This is done so rapidly that there is only a hesitation of a few seconds at the beginning of playing the disk. During the play there is no hesitation.

The summaries provided on the Wikipedia page that I cited in my prior post reminds me that the Blofeld trilogy flows into The Man with the Golden Gun. At the end of You Only Live Twice* he loses his memory and is temporarily turned into a weapon by the USSR.

*In the movie version, his Japanese girlfriend is called Kissy. When I saw the movie, I was waiting for the audience to laugh, which didn't happen. I don't think she was named until the credits.

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