James Bond, the iconic British Secret Service agent, has completed 50 years and the golden jubilee is being celebrated across the world with the release of the Daniel Craig starrer Skyfall.
While the Scottish actor and producer Sean Connery, who played 007 in the first five Bond films, says Craig is the best Bond to date, an international survey voted Connery as the best Bond. I agree with the survey result.
English author and naval intelligence official Ian Fleming created James Bond sitting in the Bahamas and in 1962 Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli produced the first Bond movie, Dr No. From then on, James Bond films have been popular for their special effects, action sequences, Bond girls, superior production quality and excellent theme songs. Broccoli and Saltzman co-produced the films until 1975, when Broccoli became the sole producer.
James Bond was also a creation of the Cold War, a symbol of Anglo-American supremacy over others. For 007, the Russian and Chinese communists, Japanese and other Europeans who dared to challenge the supremacy of the British and Americans were enemies. His motto was to get rid of all kinds of evil that these nations were up to. But to many others, the character was a reaction to the decline of British imperialism. People wanted to believe that Britain was a superpower and Bond sold us the myth that Britain was needed by the world.
Yet despite his huge popularity across the world, he has his fair share of critics who don’t consider him to be a thinking spy but an agent who depends on his revolver and gadgets to speak for him.
British philosopher and social critic Bertrand Russell once pointed out that by watching Bond films a viewer only learns to hate those who don’t support Anglo-American political views. It is said leftist scholar Neville Maxwell decided never to see any Bond film after watching Thunderball, the fourth spy film in the James Bond series in which the spy heads to the Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme.
Ranjan Das Gupta is a Kolkata-based corporate communications consultant
The views expressed by the author are personal