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The James Bond Archives

Taschen’s The James Bond Archives…

Taschen are the kings of coffee table format books, no question about that and they have shown their worth once again with this considerable volume on James Bond in the cinema.

You would be forgiven for wondering why we would need another book on James Bond films but Taschen have not skimped on material, following an introduction to Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, each film from Dr No to the latest is covered with interesting background information, cinema stills and invaluable behind the scenes photographs from all of the actors and those who played their part behind the camera.

Written alongside EON Productions, this is a six hundred page tribute to not only Bond but the franchise as a whole, the production of a Bond movie is obviously immense and so the inclusion of storyboards, set designs and production memos offers the reader an insight into how these giant movies piece together. There are some fabulous photographs, many, surprisingly, unseen before now and worth the purchase alone especially the early Connery movies and in particular those from Thunderball.

It is clear that Roger Moore was loved by those he worked with, there is a real sense of comradeship and equality which come from the stills and the interviews with crew and cast members about him. Included are some revealing interviews with Moore alongside Lewis Gilbert and Ken Adam for the filming of Moonraker and the feasibility of shooting the movie in Paris. You can also read how Moonraker was originally set to be filmed as For Your Eyes Only until Cubby Broccoli changed it because of the success of Sci-Fi movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ken Adam’s wonderful storyboard illustrations are shown throughout the book and this is where Taschen score in going beyond the somewhat tired format of standard stills and set list of leading actors and as a result makes it accessible for anyone interested in movie production in general.

Movie posters abound as well as the original book covers, Taschen fill their books and this is no exception, I have bought a number of Bond/cinema books over the years but for me this is as good as it gets. They are seldom cheap but always value for money, they even cover Playboy’s publication of The Hildebrand Rarity in 1960 making up for the inclusion of the dire Wood Allen version of Casino Royale in 1967.

The interviews with the actors are particularly insightful,  Luciana Paluzzi spoke of Terrence Young the director of Thunderball:  “Terrance helped a lot because he was such a bon vivant. He was such a wonderful human being, not only as a director, but also away from the set. He made everybody comfortable and we had he best. It was caviar and champagne” One can only imagine the life on and around the set. Young was a true character, he always cut a dash in the James Bond style and created arguably the finest of the Bond films.

It is a formidable body of work, pick your favourite film and work backwards, it really is a treasure chest of Bond cinema history.

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