BONDAGE: 007′s CLONE ARMY

by Jake on December 13, 2012

BondBond, James Bond. You know the guy. No matter who plays the role, he’s that suave ladies’ man with a licence to kill. The cool car, the hot women, the crazy gadgets, the maniacal villains. Yeah, you know who I mean.

Since Ian Fleming first started putting ink on paper to narrate the sex and violence version of spy fiction that is the Bond franchise, 007 has remained the epitome of cool. Okay, maybe we stopped taking him seriously for a bit there in the 80′s (‘Octopussy’, anyone?) but it’s now 2012 and ‘Skyfall’ proves that James Bond is just as popular today as he was when Sean Connery first faced Dr. No – and embraced Ursula Andress!

Now, if ever there was a time when Bond should have gone out of style, it was in fact the 1960′s, when his movies started. Why? It’s said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, the Bond movies must have been feeling PRETTY DAMN FLATTERED after awhile! Because the list of imitators seems endless!

One of the most noteworthy ripoffs of the James Bond movies was, in fact, a James Bond movie!

Casino Royale1967′s ‘Casino Royale’ was based on Fleming’s first Bond novel – you may recognize the title as the same one from the first Daniel Craig Bond flick in 2006 – and it is an outright parody. The film had five directors, an unknown number of writers and so many plot points, it’s hard to follow. BUT, the movie had the brilliant notion that the original James Bond had retired years ago and that now, other spies were called by his name to increase their reputation! It’s too bad the “official” Bond movies never thought of that; it would have made much more sense!

Emma SteedOn television, the British were certainly doing their part. Both ‘The Avengers’ (not to be confused with any recent superhero movie) and ‘The Saint’ (which I wrote about) were very popular programs. While The Saint character was created before Bond, a comparison is inevitable, considering that the character was portrayed on TV and that he was played by future 007 Roger Moore. The Avengers, John Peele and Emma Steed, were wild fun and made a subtle mockery of upper class English behavior. In the 90′s, this show was made into a miserable failure of a movie.

Across the pond, us Yanks had ‘The Man from UNCLE’, ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Get Smart’. The less said about ‘Girl from UNCLE’, the better.

Also, ‘Wild, Wild West’ was essentially a James Bond style show set in, well, the Old West. It was also later adapted into a terrible movie.

Special mention has to go to ‘Tarzan and the Valley of Gold’, which was mentioned in my Tarzan article. This is very much a James Bondian film, despite being about the Jungle Lord.

Rat-Packer Dean Martin got into the act in four movies as Matt Helm, secret agent for I.C.E. These were, as usual, parodies of the Bond films (unlike the much more gritty and serious novels they were derived from), and they were fun for folks who liked to watch Dino smirk at the camera and get the girl.

Derek FlintPossibly the very best of the Bond pastiches were the Flint pictures. James Coburn starred in two films as Derek Flint, former agent of ZOWIE (I’m not kidding), who is called out of retirement when danger looms and no one else can get the job done. To call the Flint movies over the top would be like suggesting the Atlantic Ocean is moist. These movies are so outright wacky that they begin to move past Bond parody and into the realm of the 60′s Batman show! They are also both great fun to watch.

Modesty Blaise, Adam Adamant (sort of), Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, really, there is almost no end to the homages, parodies and outright ripoffs of the Bond films that the world endured throughout the 60′s and early 70′s. Even the parodies had parodies – witness ‘A Man Called Flintstone’ in which, yes, Fred Flintstone even does the whole secret agent routine! There were print ads, commercials, awesome Italian comics and movies and really, almost anything and everything was trying to take away some of that Bond movie mojo.

Craig BondBut despite all of this, James Bond continues to stay at the top of the heap. Because nobody does it better. We’ll be looking more at the real deal in later articles, but for now, I gotta strap on my jetpack before this secret volcano lair explodes! I don’t wanna ruin this tux – it’s a rental.

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