Stirring remembrance of shaken cocktails

It is doubtful that the U. S. Congress will ever decree such a holiday (and not that it should), but today is (unofficially anyway) Global James Bond Day. On this day in 1962, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman inaugurated the 50-year run of the James Bond saga with Dr No, their film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s book.

In the U. S., Global James Bond Day celebrations include a film retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and a Music of Bond Night hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. Bars and nightclubs all over the country are hosting Bond-themed parties, offering Vesper martinis, shaken of course. Special events are planned for other corners of the globe as well.

In the U. K., Christie’s is hosting an auction of Bond memorabilia with all proceeds going to UNICEF and a number of charitable causes. In Belgium and South Africa, offices will celebrate with Bond-themed Casual Fridays where people will turn up to work dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, the feature documentary, will be screened in Australia, Belgium, France, Holland, India, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, and Russia.

The 007 franchise is the longest running in film history with 23 films produced. There have been 22 official releases — Sean Connery’s 1983 Never Say Never Again, was an “unofficial” Bond film. The next installment of James Bond’s global adventure, entitled Skyfall, will be released in the U. K. on Oct. 26 and in the U. S. on Nov. 9. One hopes it will be replete with the typical Bond trappings, the Omega watch, the Aston Martin, the Walther pistol…

Several actors have taken their turn in the tuxedo. The aforementioned Sean Connery is recognized as the first movie Bond. He starred in six “official” Bond movies. There was the forgettable George Lazenby, an actor and athlete who won two ski competitions in Australia. He starred in only one Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Roger Moore, the former television star from The Saint, had a 13-year run as Bond, logging seven films. Timothy Dalton starred in two Bond movies, The Living Daylights and License To Kill. Pierce Brosnan made four Bond appearances. He has the distinction of being the only series actor to have been married to a Bond girl, Cassandra Harris — who starred in Roger Moore’s fifth Bond chapter, For Your Eyes Only. The late David Niven played the character in the 1967 spoof original Casino Royale. Agent 007 was also played on U. S. television by Barry Nelson in 1954, under the name Jimmy Bond.

This brings us to the current Bondsman, the so-called “Blonde Bond,” Daniel Craig. The forthcoming, Skyfall, is Craig’s third Bond film. He has previously starred in Casino Royale, the 21st film in the series, and Quantum of Solace. Craig, who is 44, is the first Bond actor to have been born after the Bond series began.

Craig’s Bond is also notable as an evolution of the Bond character. Where previous Bonds treated women (in the words of Bond love interest, Vesper Lynd) “… as disposable pleasures, rather than meaningful pursuits,” the Bond of today demonstrates the capacity for attachment and emotional vulnerability. To a point, of course.