Vanity Fair has a gorgeous tribute to 50 years of James Bond in the movies in the current issue. Despite the fact that his business partner told Bond creator Ian Fleming that “these books are not even good enough for television,” Albert “Cubby” Broccoli persisted and all of the “official” Bond films have been produced by Broccoli or his heirs. When President John F. Kennedy listed one of the books by Fleming as among his current favorites, the series took off. The glamorous and exciting Cold War-era spy sagas captivated readers around the world and inspired many imitations and parodies from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” to Matt Helm, “Our Man Flint,” and “Get Smart.”
The story of how Sean Connery was discovered in a little-remembered Disney movie (“Darby O’Gill and the Little People”), the impact of the first film, “Dr. No,” with its shoe-stabbing villain and spectacular Bond girl beauty, Ursula Andress, rising from the ocean like a bikini-clad Aphrodite, and the ups and downs of the Bonds who followed makes for a great story that will make you want to watch the films all over again. Fortunately, Bond 50, the new DVD set, is coming out next week.