In his Preface to the Coronet Books editions of the original Ian Fleming James Bond novels first published in 1988, Anthony Burgess (1917-1993), author of (most famously) the controversial dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962), among other notable novels and non-fiction, gives an interesting introduction to and defence of the Fleming Bond novels entitled The James Bond Novels: An Introduction. Of particular interest in this introduction is the following passage:
In Steven Jay Rubin’s magisterial The James Bond Films (1981) he states that, “The writing of The Spy Who Loved Me was something of a nightmare. No less than twelve script writers had a crack at it and there were at least fifteen different drafts of the script on Broccoli’s desk at any one moment. It became a question of who could be the most innovative and yet stay within the bounds of credibility.
No doubt Burgess would have been pleased (as any Fleming purist at the time no doubt was) that the Bond films returned to a back to basic more grounded in reality approach at the beginning of the 1980s with the release of For Your Eyes Only (1981) with Roger Moore arguably giving his best (and not coincidentally the most Flemingesque) performance as Bond much more in line with the Fleming originals as the film was closely based on two Fleming short stories and part of a Bond novel to boot. Whatever the real reason for his spoof Bond film screenplay for the then projected The Spy Who Loved Me film it is clear that an in-depth study of Burgess and the James Bond phenomenon would be a very worthy academic and intellectual exercise for a future more in-depth paper on the subject and the full content of Burgess’s screenplay. Until then the case on Anthony Burgess and The Spy Who Loved Me is hereby closed pending further inquiry. Therefore the case for the prosecution of Anthony Burgess for crimes against fidelity to Ian Fleming is not proved beyond reasonable doubt (the margin being 99.9%).
Judgment deferred - to be continued in Part Two...
(1) Anthony Burgess, ‘The James Bond Novels: An Introduction,’ Lugano, 1987 (Ian Fleming, Live and Let Die, Coronet Books, London, 1988), (no page numbers).
(2) Steven Jay Rubin, The James Bond Films (Talisman Books, London, 1981), pp. 137-138.
(3) Ibid, p. 139.
(4) Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn, Kiss! Kiss! Bang! Bang!: The Unofficial James Bond Film Companion (Batsford, London, 2000), p.
This article is dedicated to the Memory of Greg Ferrell (SirHenryLeeChaChing on MI6 Community) (1961-2014) who sadly passed away in January 2014. Sad and sorry that I was not able to send you those new Bond blog articles you were interested in, Greg.
TBB Article No. 21
© Brian McKaig, 2014.