Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s always fun to be a fan and find a new edition of a previously published work you overlooked. In light of this year’s new James Bond film, No Time to Die, and Daniel Craig’s indication this will be his last Bond film, keep an eye out for a new round of speculation on his replacement. While you’re waiting for the official Bond #25, check out Bond On Bond: Reflections On 50 Years Of James Bond Movies. Not just another look at the franchise, this was written by Bond himself, or at least the actor who played Bond the longest, Roger Moore, five years before he passed away in 2017. Bond fans will love that the book doesn’t seem at all to have a ghost writer–this is candid Roger Moore in all his great humor, wry wit, and suave, British sincerity, just as we’ve seen him in interviews over the years and heard him in DVD commentaries.
The book is not just about Moore, but his relationship with the producers, studio, and other actors who have played Bond and their contributions to the franchise. Moore knows more than you’d think about the significance of Ian Fleming’s stories, and their impact on the world. He also has an incredible memory, and even if some of the subjects discussed might have been memory joggers posed by others, his anecdotes show insight into the character, and components of 50 years of films, including Daniel Craig’s, that get Fleming’s character just right. Also, if you played Bond, you get to refer to the character as Jimmy.
How does it feel to walk around knowing the world thinks of you as Bond? Why did Moore refrain from ever uttering the lines “shaken, not stirred”? Why did the studio and Moore agree to make many differences in his style of playing Bond compared to his predecessor, Sean Connery? What’s a press junket like when you’re Bond? What’s it like to attend the movie premieres with royalty?
Readers will find lots of great trivia in Moore’s commentary. Moore’s involvement in the Bond films goes back to his days starring in The Saint, and the very discussions between his friends vying for the James Bond film rights, his casino playing pals Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. So Bond on Bond isn’t your typical account of a major franchise from a mere actor who came in and played the part on a few films.
For the prop and costume enthusiast, Bond on Bond is a must-have, incorporating rare images of iconic gadgets and garb that define Bond, including many museum pieces. It also incorporates a section comparing Bond movie stats across the decades, accompanied by the marketing posters for each film, Moore’s personal recipe for the best martini, a list showing each vintage of champagne from the films.
Moore tackled nearly every subject a fan could hope for in the book. The good, and not-so-good location shoots, views on villains, his relationship with other actors, Bond girls, Moneypenny, and Q.
If you didn’t love Roger Moore before, you will after reading his memoir of a life with the famous character he shared with such a small circle of actors. The late Roger Moore’s Bond On Bond: Reflections On 50 Years Of James Bond Movies is available in a full-color hardcover from Lyons Press. Order it here at Amazon.