The Man with the Golden Touch: How the Bond Films Conquered the World

Sinclair McKay, Author Overlook 25.95 (380p) ISBN 978-1-59020-298-2
This delightful critical appreciation celebrates the longest-running of all film franchises as much for its absurd excesses as for its stylish thrills. Journalist McKay considers the films’ family-run production company to be the Bond saga’s true auteur and devotes a chapter to each of the movies up through the groundbreaking Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. McKay’s 360-degree treatments take in everything from the script and actors’ performances to the set design, score, and titles sequences, with droll digressions thrown in on such Bond motifs as Persian cats, monorails, “impossible leaps of villainous logic,” and substandard action set pieces (“That’s another thing that Bond producers never really learn: boat chases are intrinsically dull”). McKay writes in a breezy, chatty style, as if perpetually in between mouthfuls of popcorn; he remains raptly focused on aesthetics and eyeball impact while still teasing out underlying sexual and geopolitical themes. He’s a charming hybrid of critic and fan, calling out Thunderball’s failings—“How is it possible for a drama involving nuclear blackmail to drag on so?”—while managing to find the good even in George Lazenby. The result is a scintillating read that’s often more entertaining than the movies themselves. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4683-0308-7
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