Tag Archives: Moonraker

Roger Moore: Baby, you’re the best

Today would have been Sir Roger Moore’s 90th birthday, my birthday is the day before and when I was younger I always used to say that his birthday was on the 13th, wanting so desperately to share the birthday of my James Bond.

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He was my James Bond growing up, he’s still my James Bond and he always will be. Thankfully my mum and dad were cinematically savvy; in the summer of 1983 it was Octopussy that became my first ever Bond film at the cinema (the old ABC cinema in Mansfield, Notts) and not Never Say Never Again.

Fittingly I was aged 007 at the time and that was the thing about the older Bond films, they were a family affair full to the brim of gadgets, girls, stunts and laughs. It was something that simply had to be seen as a collective and Moore’s Bond was perfect for the family audience.

I was bought the glossy film programme from that viewing, I must have memorised every picture and fact as I read it until it practically fell apart and became more sellotape than brochure.

Although Sir Roger is no longer with us, his cinematic and television legacy certainly is. The great thing about the latest release of Bond films (how many times and how many formats have I bought them on now?) is that all the Moore ones feature a Sir Roger Moore commentary, which are a great and informative listen. It also means you can have Sir Roger visit your house at any time.

The name Roger Moore continues to make me smile, not because of his puns or raised eyebrows, but because he always – in film, in interviews or in person – came across as a genuinely lovely man who would be top of anyone’s dinner party guest list.

And I was lucky enough to meet the man twice, once at the reading of some Rudyard Kipling poetry and for a second time at the book signing of his first autobiography, My Word Is My Bond. It all seems a bit Alan Partridge but I met him at Norwich Waterstones, outside in the queue I was also fortunate enough to be interviewed by ITV Anglia News about why I was there.

I’ve since read Last Man Standing and received Á bientôt just yesterday, on my birthday. Naturally I had to start reading it today, with a suitable cuppa of course!

man-who-haunted-himself5Don’t let him fool you that he can’t act either, not everyone can pull off the right mix of suave, funny and deadly as Bond and you genuinely believe his vulnerability when he stumbles from the simulator in Moonraker. He would have admitted though that his greatest acting role was in the fantastic The Man Who Haunted Himself, catch my review here.

My favourite Moore Bond film? It’s a constant flux, but my faves for various reasons are Live And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and yes, even A View To A Kill. The latter isn’t the best Bond film ever, I know, but the impression it made on me as a nine year old has stuck and it is my Bond guilty pleasure. I loved it so much it was the very first original Bond quad poster that I bought.

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And Moore was so much more than Bond, so wherever his acting roles took him, I followed. He was a delight as Sherlock Holmes against Patrick Macnee’s Doctor Watson in Sherlock Holmes in New York, great playing a Bond/Moore pastiche in The Cannonball Run, kind hearted German commander in Escape To Athena (not the poster shop) and real hard ass merc in The Wild Geese, check out his opening scene with a drug dealer that is still surprising and shocking. Eat it, all of it!

Sir Roger, you’ll always be the man with the golden puns, the spy who I loved, you’ll always be my James Bond. And he’s also the reason – for the next couple of year at least – keeping the scant hope alive that I could be the next James Bond as he wasn’t announced as picking up his Walther PPK until he was 45. And that record of seven official Bond films isn’t set to be toppled anytime soon.

I’d also like to see Moore appear in the Bond main titles one final time as the last credit with a dedication. He probably wouldn’t have been bothered, but I think it is what we and his legacy deserve.

live and let die

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Beard to the Bone – Top Ten Movie Beards

Dean Newman ditches the razors and shaving gel as he takes up some method writing as he investigates cinema and television’s love of bearded bad guys and why no discerning villain should leave home without one.

Hans Gruber
As seen in Die Hard (1988). Altogether now, “shoot the glass.” Perhaps the sharpest dressed movie villain ever, this was Rickman’s film debut and he was handpicked for the masterful role after being spotted playing the thoroughly nasty Valmont in Dangerous Liaison on Broadway. Chill at the way he offs the Nakatomi plaza boss with aplomb and cheer as he falls to his death in slow mo, the greatest such fall moment in cinematic history folks, from x amount stories high.

Mr Dark
As seen in Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). Perhaps most shocking in this film, which deals with many dark aspects and is an effective and sometimes shocking, especially for younger viewers, thriller, is that it is from cuddly wuddly studio, Disney.

Based on a Ray Bradbury novel we see the evil Mr Dark and his circus arrive in town and promise to make everyone’s dream come true, but only at the great price of giving up their souls. A deal with the devil. And in that role is a devilishly good Jonathan Pryce, a character he haunts forever once you have seen it, especially as a child.

The Sheriff of Nottingham
Panto is perhaps the best way in which to describe Rickman’s version of Robin Hood’s foe, stealing not just his scenes but the whole darn movie. Put that in your outlaw pipe and smoke it Hooded man! Had great fun ‘cancelling Christmas’ and demanding to have people’s hearts ‘cut out with a spoon…because it will hurt more.’

Dr Hans Reinhardt
As seen in The Black Hole (1979). Essentially he’s the Captain Nemo of the piece (important not to mix the Nemo influence and Captain Birdseye up, as he’s more likely to turn children into fish fingers than feed them to them). Like all good captains he goes down with his ship. In fact he is that evil that he even has Norman Bates himself offed!

Hugo Drax
As seen in Moonraker (1979). For me this is a real guilty pleasure and Drax, a superb Michael Lonsdale, delivers some of the finest Bond villain lines such as: “Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him.” Takes a giant leap for mankind in a classic Bond death as he is jettisoned into space.

The Master
As seen in Doctor Who (1963 – Present). Not the latest incarnation, as (over) played by John Simm or the diabolical TV movie, as (over over) played by Eric Roberts, but as masterfully portrayed by both Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley. At this time The Master was very much the Moriarty to The Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes and this will forever be The Master’s most iconic appearance. In fact he also had a beard as portrayed by Jonathan Pryce in the Comic Relief spoof “The Curse of Fatal Death.”

General Zod
As seen in Superman 2 (1980). Kneel before Zod! His Geography might not be up to much (planet Houston anyone) but his boo hissness and delivery makes the General, as portrayed by Terrence Stamp, the greatest comic book big screen villain ever, yes even better than Ledger’s Joker.

Stamp is clearly having fun playing it oh so straight and camp at the same time and who doesn’t wince at that hand crunching scene. The only shame is that they never found a way of bringing him back. I mean, Richard Pryor and Nuclear Man, c’mon! Stamp’s Zod is also just so iconic.

Ming
As featured in Flash Gordon (1980). He’s supreme Emperor of planet Mungo and merciless don’t you know. Sporting more than a passing resemblance in beard to Fu Man Chu the 1980 experience was a veritable clash of the beards, Ming’s to the left and the beard of the leader of the Hawkmen, as wrapped around the bombastic chops of one Brian Blessed, to the right.

He amuses himself by destroying other planets in the solar system, has numerous concubines, kills anyone who gets in his way and seems to have a thing for S&M with all those outfits about. All good clean family fun then. Go Flash, go!

Evil Twin Beards
As seen in Star Trek and Knight Rider. The mirror universe of Star Trek more or less gave us the cliché of the Evil Twin with a Beard of Evil, as evil Mr. Spock has a goatee, how illogical!

Also enter, driving K.A.T.T., Michael Knight’s Evil Twin, Garthe Knight, sporting a beard of evil. It has to be noted that the car didn’t sport an LED beard of evil. Personally, I think every TV show should have an episode with a goatee wearing Evil Twin, even the female characters! I’m not sure what that says about those episodes of Friends with a goatee wearing Chandler though. Hmmm.

I could do with a beard myself, to stroke, as I ponder that very thought.