The James Bond film franchise is fifty. Our Housemistress took all the boarders in my girls’ school to the cinema to see Diamonds Are Forever on Saturday 29th August 1972. I still wonder if she knew what she was taking us to – a spinster of uncertain age, she taught my mother Chemistry in ancient times. I enjoyed the unusual outing as much as the film, but it wasn’t the breakthrough for Bond in my life. That happened the following summer. Father was based in Germany. In those days there was no BFPS telly so the military cinemas were a vital source of entertainment. That memorable summer we had a week of James Bond, a different movie every night, and I started working my way through my father’s collection of the novels by Ian Fleming. Movies are always better on a big screen, and Bond’s action packed, larger than life offerings more so. And I devoured the novels. I was fourteen. I did not consider whether the male/female roles were appropriate or fair, I just enjoyed the thrill.
I’ve seen most of the films at the cinema (I missed a couple of Pierce Brosnan’s outings when Eldest was tiny and Husband away on tour), and all of them many times on the TV. I’ve read 10 of Fleming’s 14 novels and short story collections. I’ve even read a biography! Having been a fan, I was excited to read the Charlie Higson books about a teenage schoolboy James. Youngest hasn’t tried them, Eldest didn’t like the deaths of characters close to James and only read the first couple. I thought them just like a mini version of the films and guess I’d recommend them as a way into the Fleming stories - which are of their period (the first one came out in 1953). I’m looking forward to a trip to the pictures to look at Daniel Craig. The girls may have watched Quantum of Solace with their hands over their eyes, but they want to come too.