Bermuda Film Blog
Monthly Archives: January 2013
(Hamilton, Bermuda – January 28, 2013) The Bermuda International Film Festival presents The Silver Linings Playbook on February 3rd at the Liberty Theatre. This is a fundraising event with the film screening at Liberty Theatre for one night only starting at 6pm.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper, “The Hangover”) has lost everything – his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”) and father (Robert DeNiro, “Raging Bull”) after spending eight months in a state institution on plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, “ Winter’s Bone”), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both their lives.
Featuring an all star cast including; Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jackie Weaver, Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker who makes his first film appearance in five years. Winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and nominated for a total of 8 Academy Awards including: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture. Silver Linings Playbook is one of the most talked about films of the year.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to screen the latest film from celebrated director David O’Russell, the film has already won numerous awards and is bound to win an Oscar or two,” says David O’Beirne, Acting Chair of BIFF. “Audiences from previous years will be sure to enjoy this quirky romantic comedy which is similar to previous BIFF opening night selections such as Barney’s Version (BIFF 2011) and Darling Companion (BIFF 2012).
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at Premier Tickets. Tickets will be available on the day of at the door from 5pm. Proceeds to support BIFF programmes and the 2013 festival.
This article was originally published by Bernews.com on 1/26/2013; Writer Tim Hodgson
James Bond is the man with the golden anniversary — and to celebrate 50 years of the classic film series the Bermuda International Film Festival [BIFF] screened “Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007″ at City Hall’s Earl Cameron Theatre last Friday [Jan. 18].
Drawing a capacity crowed to City Hall, the gala fundraising event for the upcoming 2013 edition of BIFF featured an opening reception at 7 p.m. followed by the documentary screening at 7:30 p.m.
The new feature-length documentary “Everything Or Nothing” focused on three men with a shared dream: Bond film producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. It provided the thrilling and inspiring narrative behind the longest running film franchise in cinema history which began in 1962 with the release of “Dr. No.”
With unprecedented access both to the key players involved and to Eon Productions extensive archive, this was the first time the inside story of the franchise has ever been told on screen in this way. While Bond was saving the world from chaos and catastrophe on screen, this compelling documentary drew back the curtain to reveal the battles, threats and real stakes unfolding behind the camera.
Released last October to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of “Dr. No”, the critically praised documentary took its name from the devil-may-care motto of producers Saltzman and Broccoli when they embarked on the Bond film series; its acronym — “Eon” — became the name of their production company.
Preview trailer for “Everything Or Nothing”
Hilary Saltzman, daughter of Harry Saltzman, participated in a Q&A discussion after the screening with Bermudian entertainer Bruce Barritt.
There were door prizes, a raffle and even a bevy of Bond Girls were on hand [pictured at top]. Guests were encouraged to attend in black tie tuxedo and were treated to a special Bond cocktail — shaken, not stirred — courtesy of Bacardi.
Hilary Saltzman with Michael Frith, Bermudian co-author/illustrator of the 1962 Bond spoof “Alligator”, and BIFF’s Tim Stewart
Bermuda has an association with James Bond and his creator Ian Fleming which pre-dates the 007 film series by almost 20 years; as a young officer in Britain’s World War Two Naval Intelligence Division, the future author first visited the island in 1941 and filed away mental details about Bermuda and Bermudians which he later used in both “Dr. No” and his 007 short story “Quantum of Solace.”
Two Bermudian actors – Earl Cameron, after whom the City Hall venue for Friday’s gala is named, and the lateMichael Ebbin – have appeared in Bond films. And in 1962 Bermudian artist/humourist Michael Frith co-authored the bestselling Bond parody “Alligator” for the “Harvard Lampoon”, drawing a sharply worded letter of rebuke from Ian Fleming who complained some American readers had mistaken the book for a genuine — if particularly outré — entry in his 007 series.
“You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve just stumbled into a lost episode of Downton Abbey” – Time Out
“A sustained balancing act between dry upper-crust cynicism and pent-up passions” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Crowd Pleasing” – Indiewire
(Hamilton, Bermuda – January 20, 2013) – BIFF today announces that the January instalment of The Bermuda International Film Festival’s film series, BIFFlix, will be “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.” Much compared to the popular British period drama television series, “Downton Abbey,” the film will screen on Sunday January 27, 5.30pm, at The Tradewinds Auditorium in the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke.
The film premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and is set on a gorgeous morning in England in 1932. A young bride, Dolly (Felicity Jones, “Cemetery Junction,” “Like Crazy”), should be overjoyed at the wonderful day about to unfold. But instead she’s locked up in her room with a bottle of rum day- dreaming about the time she spent last summer with a wonderful man; who is not her fiancé.
The bride’s mother, Hetty, is played by Academy award-winning Elizabeth McGovern, who actually appears in “Downton Abbey” as Cora, Countess of Grantham, a role that earned her a ‘Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film’ Golden Globe nomination in 2011. Hetty scurries about the house trying to placate the arriving stream of cousins, aunts and assorted family that are beginning to chatter about the missing bride. Hetty has planned out the day to the final detail, but the one thing she can’t plan on is the arrival of Joseph (Luke Treadway), Dolly’s brash best friend, throwing everything into disarray.
A combination of delightful light comedy, passionate romance and gorgeous settings make “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding” a warm-hearted joy.
Tickets are available in advance at www.ptix.bm or purchase at the door on the day from 4:30pm with cash, check, or credit card. Tickets are priced at $15. The Film is in English and runs 93 minutes.
This article was originally published in 1/18/2013 edition of The Royal Gazette; Writer Nadia Arandjelovic
Most people who have read Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels or seen any of the films know the secret agent had an affinity for vodka martinis shaken, not stirred.
But what would 007 typically eat to go along with his beverage of choice?
In honour of tonight’s Bermuda International Film Festival screening of ‘Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007’, The Royal Gazette’s lifestyle section decided to dive a little deeper into what the iconic character would have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If ever a national intelligence officer knocks on your door, you now know what to serve.
Bond actually had a great passion for good food. It was described in detail in Mr Fleming’s books; Edward Biddulph even wrote a book of recipes inspired by the Bond series, called ‘Licence to Cook’.
Bond’s go-to breakfast meal was scrambled eggs with bacon or sausages. A recipe for ‘Scrambled Eggs James Bond style’ can be found online.
Ingredients (serves four)
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz of fresh butter.
Method: Break the eggs into a bowl and beat thoroughly with a fork, making sure to season well. In a small copper or heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.
Outside of eggs, James Bond was open to trying the national dishes of countries he visited. When in Istanbul in the novel ‘From Russia, With Love’, the spy ate a breakfast of yoghurt, with ripe green figs and freshly-ground, black Turkish coffee.
He was also known to eat whole-wheat toast with butter, strawberry jam, marmalade and honey, from time to time.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, a secret agent would need enough protein to help them get through their active day.
In 007’s case, he feasted on a fair share of meat and seafood, including Doner kebabs (a young lamb broiled over charcoal and served with savoury rice) and fried sardines in Istanbul.
Ingredients for kebabs:
500 grams lean lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbs plain flour
2 tbs each olive oil and chopped parsley
2 tsp each ground cumin and cinnamon
3 tsp ground coriander
1 egg, beaten
Lemon, warmed pita, salad, natural yoghurt and mint to serve
Method: Preheat grill to medium-high. Line base of a 28cm x 8cm pan with baking paper and lightly grease. Combine the lamb, garlic, flour, oil, parsley, spices, egg, salt and pepper into a bowl and blend. Press the mixture into an even layer in the pan.
Next, place the pan under the grill for four minutes or until lightly browned. Drain off any liquid, then invert onto a wooden chopping board. Discard the waxed paper, then return meat to pan, sealed side down, and grill for two minutes until cooked through.
Slice meat into thin strips, squeeze over lemon, then pack into pita with salad, yoghurt and mint.
James Bond’s diet also included such items as grilled sole, veal, steak, cold roast beef, French fries or potato salad.
In several of Mr Fleming’s novels the secret agent ate asparagus with hollandaise sauce or buttered peas. He also had a slice of pineapple after his meal in the novel ‘Moonraker’.
Ingredients for grilled pineapple:
1 fresh pineapple — peeled, cored and cut into 1” rings
¼ tsp honey
3 tbs melted butter
1 dash hot pepper sauce
Salt to taste
Method: Place the pineapple rings in a large resealable plastic bag. Add honey, butter, hot pepper sauce, and salt. Seal the bag and shake to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a grate. Grill the pineapple for two to three minutes per side or until heated through and grill marks appear.
Add mascarpone cheese or whipped cream to turn into a sweet after meal treat.
The BIFF fundraising event starts with a reception at 7pm tonight, followed by the documentary screening at the Earl Cameron Theatre in City Hall.
Hilary Saltzman, the daughter of the original James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman, will take part in a Q&A discussion following the movie.
Tickets, $50, can be purchased at www.premierticketsglobal.com.
This article was originally published in 1/16/2013 edition of the Bermuda Sun; Writer Sarah Lagan
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16: The story of Bond: Everything or Nothing explores the meteoric rise of a series of spy novels into a national treasure, an institution and a gold mine.
Following the shared dream of producers Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and writer Ian Fleming, we see how close 007came to failing before becoming the longest running film series in history.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary Bond: Everything or Nothing digs up reels upon reels of old footage from the Eon Productions’ extensive archive to help tell the inside story of the franchise for the first time.
All the big guns were gathered for this extensive documentary from the screenwriters, art designers, directors and actors to family members and friends.
The glaring omission is Sean Connery — the original and, as many believe, the best Bond of all.
He is sorely missed — much of the documentary focuses on his involvement in the films but we don’t really get to hear his opinions about the franchise that made him a household name. He doesn’t come out of the film looking very good.
Formerly an unknown actor, Bond made Connery an overnight star but as his fame rocketed so did the tension between him and the producers. Despite his success, it is suggested that Connery believed Broccoli and Saltzman were greedy with their money and that, as the star of the show, he deserved to be paid more.
Eventually he pulled out saying he would never return.
Then, in 1983, he made the ironically titled Never say Never Again after being artfully coaxed back by Kevin McClory — the litigious thorn in the side of Eon Productions.
McClory was determined to prove he had the rights to create a rival Bond franchise claiming to have co-written the storyline for Thunderball.
Other tensions rose within the Eon family as Saltzman fell into financial difficulties forcing Broccoli to carry on the franchise without him.
Daughter Barbara Broccoli explains how the opening scene of The Spy Who Loved Me — with Bond skiing off a sheer cliff face before opening up a Union Jack parachute — was a metaphor for her father’s gamble in continuing without Saltzman.
It’s the details like this that make this documentary more than just promotional fluff.
Aside from the archival material there are some great new interviews including those with all but one of the Bonds.
Roger Moore tells how bad he now feels for having to knock a little Thai boy off of a boat during a scene in one of the films, it doesn’t fit especially well with his role as a UNICEF Good Will Ambassador.
George Lazenby recalls how he tricked his way into the Eon offices and lied to the producers about his acting experience. Attracted by his audacity they gave him a shot but he blew it. His interview is candid — he talks of his deepest regret and how, when director Roman Polanski announced at a party “here’s George, the redundant actor!”, Lazenby had to go home and look up the word redundant in the dictionary.
The film makes clear that Fleming, a former Commander in the Royal Navy specializing in intelligence, created the man he wished he could be through Bond. It was “the autobiography of a dream,” says one interviewee.
Bond was his alter ego — Fleming is said to have once told a girl: “I hope you are not a lesbian” before passionately kissing her in true Bond fashion.
While Fleming is portrayed as a confident, charismatic man, we are given an insight into his vulnerability. As fellow actor Christopher Lee put it “the world was not enough for him”. Early on, unsure about the future of the books, he hit rock bottom before the producers came along to save the day.
The film is packed with clever editing that intertwines the story of Bond with the real off screen story at any given moment making for highly entertaining viewing.
The Presidential following of Bond plays a big part in the documentary with admiration flowing in from John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. We see footage of JFK reading his favourite books list and From Russia With Love was down as number four. The President even went as far to say said he wished he had Bond on his team.
Fleming offers some of the most vivid quotations throughout the film — he talks of wanting to, “thrill the reader right down to his taste buds.”
After a scene about Timothy Dalton’s reinvention of Bond as a violent, brutal killer, it cuts to an old clip of Fleming explaining: “It’s not for children, it’s for warm blooded, heterosexual adults”.
On the whole the story is extremely favourable of Eon and there are few voices included in the story that contest that. However it does explore the difficulties along the way not least Bond’s ongoing identity crisis following the lead of Connery. It is certainly worth watching though and not only for the die-hard fans — the documentary is a highly entertaining and informative watch.
This article was originally published in 1/14/2013 edition of The Royal Gazette; Writer Nadia Arandjelovic
As a child Hilary Saltzman had no clue her life was different.
The daughter of the original producer of the James Bond films didn’t realise her everyday surroundings were atypical until the age of 11, when she invited a school friend over to her country house in Buckinghamshire, UK.
Celebrities like Michael Caine, Peter Sellers, Roger Moore, Paul McCartney and Sean Connery were frequent visitors to her home; and when her friend stepped into the living room and spotted a familiar face from the big screen she fainted.
Ms Saltzman will be on Island for the Bermuda International Film Festival screening of ‘Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007’ on Friday. The fundraising event will start with an open reception at 7pm, followed by the documentary screening at the Earl Cameron Theatre in City Hall.
The documentary tells a thrilling and inspiring true story behind the longest running film franchise in cinema history, which began in 1962.
Ms Saltzman, the daughter of film producer Harry Saltzman, will also take part in a Q&A discussion.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette, she said the films contributed a great deal to her extraordinary upbringing.
“Last year 2012 was the 50th anniversary of the first Bond and my 50th birthday,” she said.
“I was born right at the beginning of it all and growing up it was my life. I didn’t know anything different until I really started going to other schools.
“I didn’t know that other children didn’t live life like I did. We travelled all over the place, there was press everywhere we went and it was a very creative environment because there were always lunches and dinners and people over the house discussing the films.”
She said one of the best parts of the experience was going on set and seeing what everyone was talking about come alive on screen.
Her father lived the kind of life great movies are made of. Born in Canada, he was first exposed to the entertainment industry while working in a vaudeville theatre after school.
He ran away from home at age 15 and later joined a circus that travelled throughout the US. “By the time he was 21, he owned the circus and was the manager,” Ms Saltzman said.
“It wasn’t just animals, but vaudeville acts as well. He started out as a kid just sweeping and then he moved up hiring all the people he worked with.”
When the war broke out, Mr Saltzman returned to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. He was honourably discharged before joining the US Armed Forces and becoming a high-ranking US intelligence officer.
Just seven years ago, when Ms Saltzman’s Canadian passport expired, she learned the truth of her father’s classified wartime activities.
“I didn’t know what my father had been doing in the war until after I moved to Canada. He never talked about it, he talked about being in the war, but we never knew who he served with and in what capacity.”
In order to get more information to assist with her citizenship request, she had to apply to the US State Department for details about her father.
“I found out at that time, then Secretary of State Colin Powell had to sign off the information to me because [my father] had served in the overseas war office. That’s when I found out he hadn’t been from New Brunswick, but in fact from Sherbrooke, Quebec.”
It then became clear to her why her father would make spy films.
“I believe the people that served in the war in that capacity, they were sworn to secrecy and weren’t allowed to talk about their exploits or experiences,” she said. “But many wrote these books that weren’t an autobiography, but a secretive expose on certain things they experienced or wished they had done and they make it a creative outlet.
“That resonated with my father in reading the Ian Fleming books.”
She has heard rumours that her father and Mr Fleming’s paths may have crossed during the war very briefly, but she doesn’t have the proof.
Regardless, she said men who served in that capacity seem to have an “unspoken connection, bond and understanding” with each other.
“[Mr Fleming] knew my father could take these situations and explore them on film without giving away state secrets because my father experienced that himself.”
Her father teamed up with American film producer Albert (Cubby) Broccoli to make nine James Bond films: ‘Dr No’, ‘From Russia with Love’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Thunderball’, ‘You Only Live Twice’, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.
Ms Saltzman, who has been an independent film maker for more than 15 years, said her dad inspired her own professional work.
She also understands how incredibly difficult it is to raise money to make films and remembers the stories he told about struggling to break into the business after the war.
“He would go to meet with people for a big deal and be sleeping in his friends’ bathtubs,” she said.
“He knew that one day he would make it and he had already made a few films by the time he had got to meet with Ian Fleming, but it was still a struggle. It was Europe after the war, everything was still healing and coming back to life and the first film he made reflected that — ‘The Iron Petticoat’ in 1956.”
Ms Saltzman admitted she mostly got into the film industry to be closer to her father, but she said: “I loved the process as well.”
“I learned a lot from him, like trust your instincts and your gut. Don’t ever give up and don’t ever be swayed or let people tell you that you are doing things wrong or different. Trust yourself, trust your instincts.”
She was persuaded to come to the Island for the screening by BIFF’s Niklas Traub, a friend of hers.
In addition to seeing Bermuda, she said she was excited to meet film enthusiasts here and see their reaction to the documentary.
“I love documentary film and I worked very closely with the film makers on this one. I archived all my photos for them and flew to New York for interviews and I was very happy with it.
“It’s a great film so I am very honoured to be associated with it and to see the reaction of the audience when we get there.”
Tickets to BIFF’s screening of ‘Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007’ are $50, which includes one speciality James Bond Cocktail. They can be purchased through www.premierticketsglobal.com.
This article was originally published by Bernews.com on 1/11/2013; Writer Tim Hodgson
Diamonds are forever – and so, it seems, is James Bond, the most famous member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Bermuda will be participating in worldwide celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the timeless movie franchise with a charity screening of the new documentary “Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007” at the City Hall’s Earl Cameron Theatre on Friday [Jan.18].
Hilary Saltzman, daughter of legendary producer Harry Saltzman who co-launched the film series a half-century ago with partner Albert Broccoli, will be on hand for the event which will raise funds for the upcoming 2013 Bermuda International Film Festival [BIFF].
The City Hall venue was recently renamed after Bermudian actor Earl Cameron who co-starred with Sean Connery in the 1965 Bond blockbuster “Thunderball”; he played Pinder, the head of the British Secret Service’s Bahamas station in that movie – which remained the highest grossing entry in the spy film series on an inflation adjusted basis until the release of last year’s “Skyfall”.
Earl Cameron with Sean Connery, Claudine Auger and Rik Van Nutter in “Thunderball”
Based on the bestselling series of novels by journalist and World War Two intelligence operative Ian Fleming [1908-1964], there have been 23 James Bond films made under the banner of Eon Productions beginning with “Dr. No”  and continuing up to the present day with “Skyfall” – nominated for five Academy Awards this week including a nod for Adele’s title song.
“Everything Or Nothing” was the never-say-die motto of aspiring filmmakers Mr. Saltzman and Mr. Broccoli when they purchased the film rights to the Fleming novels – its acronym, “Eon”, became the name of their production company. The two men literally invested every penny they had or could borrow in the first Bond film in what proved to be one of the most astute gambles in the entire history of cinema.
The new feature-length documentary takes a revealing behind-the-scenes look at the history of one of cinema’s most enduring and profitable franchises, drawing on the memories of key players — including actors who have portrayed the dapper but deadly British secret agent — as well as Eon’s extensive archives.
From the beginning, the Bond films were as perfectly blended as the secret agent’s trademark Martinis. Featuring fast-paced plots, witty dialogue, exotic locations, dynamic editing and arresting music, the early 007 movies are credited with breaking the dreary torpor of post-World War Two British cinema.
Big screen wish-fulfillment fantasies in which sophisticated James Bond battles a rogues’ gallery of larger-than-life villains and romances a never ending parade of beauties who became known as Bond Girls, it’s been said they key to the character’s universal appeal is that every woman wants him and every man wants to be him.
Released in October to coincide with the 50th anniversary of “Dr. No’s” premiere, the UK‘s “Guardian” newspaper said “Everything Or Nothing” paints a compelling portrait of “the remarkable movie-industry bromance, between Albert [Cubby] Broccoli and Harry Saltzman … There’s more than enough to enjoy, and plenty about the remarkable and melancholy figure of Fleming himself, who never lived quite long enough to enjoy the success of his creation.”
Tickets for the event — which will include a post-screening Q.&A. session with Ms Saltzman moderated by Bruce Barritt — are $50 each and can be purchased from premierticketsglobal.com.
The “Everything Or Nothing” screening will be preceded by a fundraising cocktail reception where guests will receive a special Bond cocktail courtesy of Bacardi — presumably shaken, not stirred — and a raffle will be held at the end of the evening.
The reception gets underway at 7 pm and the screening is at 7:30 pm and there is an unofficial Bond-themed dress code with guests being encouraged to attend in black tie tuxedo.
Bermuda has an association with James Bond’s creator and the ensuing stories and films which dates back to the Second World War.
In May, 1941 Britain’s World War Two Naval Intelligence Director Admiral John Godfrey and his aide Commander Ian Fleming arrived in Bermuda en route to New York to liase with their American counterparts.
“The two men flew KLM [from the UK] to Lisbon and then took the Pan Am Boeing 314 seaplane via the Azores to the British colony of Bermuda, 600 miles east of North Carolina, where the first American garrisons were building a base to help protect what President Roosevelt called ‘the Western Hemisphere’,” author Nicholas Rankin wrote in his recently published book “Ian Fleming’s Commandos”, the story of the 007 author’s real espionage activities during World War Two [1939-1945].
Admiral Godfrey and Commander Fleming spent several days on the island, being briefed on the activities of the massive British espionage infrastructure established here soon after the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and Nazi Germany.
Ian Fleming at the time he first visited Bermuda as a Naval Intelligence officer in World War Two
“Hamilton, Bermuda was where the British had set up the Imperial Censorship and Contraband Control Office to read the world’s mail, taken off transatlantic ships and planes,” says Mr. Rankin. “Fifteen hundred British ‘examiners’, also known as ‘censorettes’ because most were women, worked in the waterfront Princess Hotel, processing 100 bags of mail a day — around 200,000 letters — and testing 15,000 for microdots and secret ink messages, before sending on the bags on the next plane or ship.”
With his journalist’s eye for detail, Commander Fleming is said to have stored away details of a floor-to-ceiling aquarium at the Princess Hotel in his mental files — retrieving them in 1958 when he installed a million-dollar fish tank in the villain’s lair in his 007 novel “Dr. No”. He also used a Bermuda background for his 1959 Bond short story “Quantum of Solace” although the local setting and most of the slim plot was eliminated for the 2008 movie adaptation starring Daniel Craig.
During his wartime travels to the US Ian Fleming first became acquainted with Sir William Stephenson, the Canadian industrialist who coordinated British intelligence activities in the Western Hemisphere — including the Bermuda censorship operation — from offices in New York’s Rockefeller Center.
The two men remained close friends until the author’s death. Sir William retired to Bermuda in the 1960s and died here in 1989 at the age of 92. He is buried at St. John’s Church, Pembroke.
“High up on my list of heroes is one of the great secret agents of the last war …,” said Fleming in a preface to Sir William’s 1962 biography. “People often ask me how closely the ‘hero of my thrillers, James Bond, resembles a true, live secret agent.
“To begin with, James Bond is not in fact a hero, but an efficient and not very attractive blunt instrument in the hands of government, and though he is a meld of various qualities I noted among Secret Service men and commandos in the last war, he remains, of course, a highly romanticised version of the true spy.
“The real thing, who may be sitting next to you as you read this, is another kind of beast altogether.
“… Sir William Stephenson — decorated with the Military Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross for his exploits as an aviator in World War One — became one of the great secret agents of the last war, and it would be a foolish person who would argue his credentials …”
In 1973 British author John Pearson, a former colleague of Ian Fleming’s who had written a bestselling account of his life and work, used the author’s friendship with Sir William as the point of departure for his “authorised biography” of James Bond. In the book, which was sanctioned by the Fleming Estate, Bond is supposedly staying in Bermuda as a guest of Sir William while recovering from injuries sustained on a covert mission.
When the tongue-in-cheek biography of one of the world’s most celebrated fictional characters was published, it received good reviews and sold well on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It is this book’s pretense that there actually was — and is — a James Bond, whose real life corresponds startlingly with Fleming’s ‘fiction’,” said “Time” magazine. “Run to earth in Bermuda and interviewed by Pearson, the real Bond is slightly older than he was at his last appearance in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.”
The magazine noted while the secret agent still had his gun-metal cigarette case and “that laconic, infallible way with svelte women and gross villains” he was heroically abstaining from Vodka Martinis while spending his sick leave at the Princess Hotel in Hamilton.
“The narrative of James Bond ‘The Authorised Biography’ of 007 is divided between Pearson’s adventures interviewing the sometimes uncooperative James Bond living in forced ‘retirement’ in Bermuda [in which Bond’s mysterious female companion is revealed to be none other than Honeychile Rider from’Dr. No’] and Pearson’s own retelling of Bond’s ‘true’ life story,” said another critic. “Many of the events Pearson chronicles in the book read like James Bond short stories — and good ones at that!”
In 1962 — at the height of early Bondmania — Bermudian Michael Frith and writing partner Christopher Cerf received a strongly-worded rebuke from Ian Fleming when they collaborated on the dead-on satire “Alligator” while contributing to the Harvard “Lampoon” magazine as undergraduates at that Ivy League university.
Published by the “Lampoon” as a short novel and becoming an unexpected bestseller in the US, the spoof’s title character Lacertus Alligator hatches a plot to form The Organisation Organised To Hate [TOOTH]. He proceeds to blackmail the British government by stealing landmark London buildings including the Houses of Parliament and floating them to Bermuda. Alligator’s lovely assistant is Anagram Le Galion, daughter of an Irish mud-wrestler, who ultimately succumbs to the charms of secret agent J*mes B*nd when he is sent to Bermuda to investigate the case.
The note-perfect send-up of Ian Fleming’s writing style had resulted in some American readers confusing “Alligator” for a genuine — if particularly bizarre — entry in his 007 series, the alarmed author informed the young Bermudian.
Today Mr. Frith is perhaps most well-known for his role as executive vice president and director of creative services at The Muppets/Jim Henson Productions, where he developed many of its most memorable characters for “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” and “Saturday Night Live.” He was also co-creator of HBO’s International Emmy Award-winning series “Fraggle Rock”, loosely inspired by Bermuda’s Crystal Caves.
“Alligator”, which is largely set on the island, had cover art by Bermudian co-author Michael Frith
And Earl Cameron isn’t the only Bermudian performer to have appeared in a Bond film. The late actor and dancer Michael Ebbin shared a licence to kill along with secret agent 007 in the 1973 Bond thriller “Live And Let Die.”
In that film — the first in the series to star Roger Moore as James Bond — Mr. Ebbin played Dambala, one of the chief henchman of villain Dr. Kanaga [Yaphet Kotto].
Dambala is a voodoo priest of sorts who first appears during the pre-credits sequence, killing a British agent named Baines with a venomous snake during an occult ceremony on the fictitious Caribbean island of San Monique.
In fact, the ritual murder carried out by Mr. Ebbin’s character leads directly into Paul McCartney’s Oscar-nominated title song for the film.
The Dambala character later shows up to menace heroine Solitaire [Jane Seymour] and during the film’s action-packed conclusion when James Bond shoots him while attempting to find the entrance to Dr. Kananga’s hidden lair.
Mr. Ebbin, who shot his scenes at the Pinewood Studios outside London, was a highly-respected featured performer in many local dance revues and plays and also trod the boards in theatrical shows in New York and the United Kingdom.
This article was originally published in 1/11/2013 edition of the Bermuda Sun; Writer Sarah Lagan
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11: Think you know your Licence to Kill from your View To A Kill?
Die-hard Bond fans will have the chance to really test their knowledge of the iconic spy thriller films at the screening of a new documentary next Friday.
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, highlights the struggle between the original James Bond producers, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in bringing the Bond books to the big screen.
It includes rare archive footage and interviews with most of the leading protagonists.
Mr Saltzman’s daughter Hillary will be at the screening as the festival’s special guest and will be on hand for a question and answer session hosted by Bruce Barritt after the film.
On the evening of the screening, BIFF is holding a fundraising cocktail reception where guests will receive a Bond cocktail (courtesy of Bacardi) and there will be a raffle at the end of the evening.
The screening and fundraiser will be in the Earl Cameron Theatre City Hall on Friday, January 18.
The reception begins at 7pm and the screening is at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $50 and are available from premierticketsglobal.com. Guests are encouraged to attend in their best black tie outfit. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Bermuda International Film Festival.