As long as we can remember, we have been in love with the idea of James Bond. The character’s appeal reaches beyond two generations and six leading men. What boy upon first exposure to Bond wouldn’t want to be this guy?
Bond first came to life through the pen of author Ian Fleming. Fleming had an ordinary physique, but he came from a privileged upbringing, had sophisticated taste, was exceptionally smart, witty and was adept at storytelling. He became a British naval intelligence officer (though not with assignments as intense as his 00 agents) and later a journalist. When he created the character of James Bond for his first novel (Casino Royale, 1953), Fleming essentially created an idealized version of himself: the man every woman wanted to be with and every man wanted to be.
“Dr. No” was the first movie production in the Bond series, released in 1962 and featuring the late Sir Sean Connery. It is a little-known fact that Casino Royale was produced as a one hour live television special by CBS in 1954 with Bond being played by American actor, Barry Nelson. It was later featured as a full length film in 2006, featuring Daniel Craig as Bond.
Even the most devoted James Bond fans have to ponder how one character played by so many different actors in so many different styles has managed to capture massive audiences for 53 years and counting. What magic lies in the makeup of 007 that keeps us coming back? Perhaps it’s because he does it all for a purpose (King and country) with such refined masculine elegance, while sporting exquisite suits, donning brilliant timepieces, and using the best tech equipment and cars Q Branch can produce.
James Bond films are so exhilarating for all these reasons and more. The gadgets, the women, wardrobe, exotic locales, the action, suspense are all part of the fabric that draws us in. The movie settings alone could send our minds into vivid imaginations about our own adventures in Venice, Mexico City, Macau, London, Morocco, Austria, Istanbul, Shanghai, the Bahamas, Lake Como… A hotlist of places a traveller’s dreams are made of. Moreover, there's something thrilling about the danger and risks Bond takes. There is a dichotomy between these often brutal, but necessary, situations he finds himself in and the fact that his actions are somehow all for the greater good.
A gentleman never kisses and tells, but as for the Bond ladies, (although some "relationships" are, ahem, well ... short-lived), romance always makes its way into the plot. The men look amazing and the women are designed to distract. The glitz and glamour. Who doesn't like to imagine going someplace fabulous dressed to kill with a gorgeous woman by his side?
"They’re fun. The fact that they’re huge, they’re fantasies and we do all sorts of wonderfully silly things in the movie," says Daniel Craig. Craig is featured in four Bond movies with the fifth, “No Time to Die” set to be released October 2021. Monica Bellucci, femme fatale in “Spectre” (2015), feels Bond's sense of chivalry is what shines through. "Because he’s a gentleman, he’s actually, this film’s a real chivalry. He’s going to save my character and he’s going to save [Lea’s] character," she says.
Beyond Bond’s belles, let’s talk about the cars. The Aston Martin DB5’s star appearance in 1964’s “Goldfinger” was no accident. The DB5 was custom-kitted for him by Q. A car whose gadget load was surpassed only by its classic beauty and fetishization by fans of the franchise. The DB5 would go on to be featured in no less than eleven additional Bond films spanning decades. Perhaps more significantly, that single model would spark a long-lasting love affair between these two pillars of English culture.
One winning bidder is now legally able to drive in an actual James Bond Aston Martin, with working nail spreaders, tire slashers, smoke screen and rotating license plates! That person got the keys for the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 for $6.4 million at a classic car auction in Monterey, California.
A key characteristic that consistently appeals to us about the Bond image is his razor-sharp style. Bond always dresses for the occasion, whether for a business meeting, a nice dinner or evening at the theatre or opera. He’s adept at getting the job done and, of course, looking good while doing it.
TENLEGEND gentlemen admire this iconic figure. Minus the car chases and bad guys, we seek to emulate the same quiet, effortless sophistication and elegance of Bond… James Bond.
Be a TENLEGEND™.