The new James Bond.

Running thoughts on movies and their makings.
Oct. 11 2005 5:03 PM

For Your Eyes Only

A preview of the new James Bond.

On the run between screenings, I gulp down an espresso and check my e-mail. What's this? A note from my editor: "Anything Reel Timey to say about Daniel Craig, the new Bond?"

(The scoop has been  attributed to London's Daily Mail. My apologies to Cubby Broccoli's heirs if the tabloid has jumped the gun.)

Advertisement

Anyway, if he is the new Bond: Well done. Craig is rugged, brooding, English, and, as you'll see from my scribblings over the last four years, easily the most fascinating actor to assume the mantle since Connery.

Further thoughts (7:48 p.m.): He's a bit of rough trade, is Daniel Craig. A lot different than Pierce Brosnan—who I liked more and more, but who was fatally undermined by his too-convincing turn as the foppish Remington Steele. Timothy Dalton was peevish—the sort of Bond who'd look at his watch and exhale noisily: A good actor, but no generosity of spirit. Roger Moore had no edge—and after Connery, no edge meant no sexual threat. And as Moore got older and fatter and looked less and less like his stunt double, he became the drag-show Bond--pure camp.

If Daniel Craig does not have the men's-club aristocratic airs of Fleming's Bond, let's remember that neither did Connery, who was Scottish to boot.

Further further thoughts (4:55 a.m.): Many thanks to those who reminded me that Fleming's Bond is half Scottish. I read several of the books in my misspent youth, but that piece of information was muddled with memories of Connery. Robert Pauley argues that Fleming's Bond and the cinema's Bond are even further apart than I have suggested; the former isn't a men's-club sort at all, and likened to Hoagy Carmichael with a "cruel" and "saturnine" mouth. He adds that the "broad, beefy" Craig is wrong, too, and puts himself squarely in the Clive Owen camp. I agree that Owen would make a fascinating Bond, but think that Craig is enough of an actor--and a chameleon--to find the pulse of the character again. Also: Please no more e-mails about Layer Cake. I didn't write about it, and the quotes below are all recycled...

Further further update (7:55 a.m.): Dr. Richard Leung writes: "Actually, Bond's half-Scottish heritage is mentioned only once in the books, in You Only Live Twice, published in 1964, after the film series was already underway. It was Fleming's way of retrofitting Bond to be closer to Connery, not the other way around." See how much you learn from reading this column?

We've almost left Daniel Craig behind, but here are all those squibs from my old reviews:

In Road to Perdition (2002): "Also at the wake is a morbid, glowingly blue-eyed creature identified as Rooney's son Connor (Daniel Craig), who might as well have 'PSYCHO MORON' projected on his forehead. That a loose cannon wields so much power in so tightly organized an outfit is meant as one of the eternal mysteries of fathers and sons; the real reason, of course, is that without a senseless maniac there would be no movie."

In Sylvia (2003): "Craig finds an affecting middle ground between caddishness and conscience—the balance is all the more remarkable because people argue over the proportions of each in [Ted] Hughes today, five years after his death."

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.