Old movies

During the holidays there is always one movie marathon that I tend to watch if nothing else is on, or really if there is something else on I still watch them. It’s the James Bond movies. Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with James Bond. I can tell you all sorts of useless knowledge and trivia. If there is ever a James Bond category on Jeopardy, Watson the super computer better look out. It was during the Thanksgiving marathon that I sat down and watched Dr No. The first movie that introduced the world to martini’s that were shaken not stirred, the Walther PPK, Miss Moneypenny and secret agent 007. It was during this movie, and yes I’ve seen it several times, that I became accutely aware of the social norms of that time. Remember this movie came out in 1962. Bond had a friend of sorts in a a character named Quarrell, and island man that was also a friend to Mr. Strangways who had mysteriously disappeared. The way Bond treated Quarrell as a servant of sorts was almost a bit odd to me. After all why couldn’t Bond carry his own shoes after hiding from the guards that were searching for him. Fast forward to the Roger Moore era of James Bond. Although if you ask me I could skip it all together. Roger Moore’s first movie as Bond, Live and Let Die, could seriously be considered a blaxplotation film. After all we have the drug runners, jive talking villans, ridiculous methods of killing (really, who expects to blow up and rise like a balloon after swallowing a gas cartridge??). The scenes from New Orleans are as equally riddled with stereotypes and myths. However it is this film where Bond takes his first lover of african descent. Rosey Carver. She is in cohoots with the main villan and tries to lead Bond to his death, but only after they share an intimate moment in the grass. Superstitious and scared she ends up dying at the hands of strange mask loaded with bullets. Incidentally it is Roger Moore who in the 80’s takes another african american woman to bed, Grace Jones. Jones’ character in A View to A Kill is that of a leathal woman, a henchman to Christopher Walken’s evil Max Zorin. Jump further to Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s last turn as 007. His main ally in the film is Halle Berry, Jynx. An american agent for the National Security Agency. She is his equivalent. breaking into the same places, trying to shoot the same people, etc. I guess what I am trying to get to the point here is this, in the 40 plus years of James Bond films, you can almost trace history. From the shoe carrying Quarrell to the deadly and beautiful Jynx. Thru out time Bond films have shown the progess of race relations in the US, to some degree anyway. It’s a simple approach to looking at it but with all we have talked thru in class I found the parrallel really amusing and interesting.

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