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R.I.P. Sean Connery (1930-2020)

(5 posts)
  • Started 3 weeks ago by Dave Truesdale
  • Latest reply from Mark Pontin

  1. I'm sad to have just learned that Sean Connery (August 25, 1930-October 31, 2020) has died at the age of 90. I remember seeing him for the first time at age 9 when I saw him in _Darby O'Gill and the Little People_ (1959). And then a few years later in the first of the James Bond films as Agent 007. He was my favorite of all the actors to play the role. Not a good bit of news to start this Halloween day.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  2. dolphintornsea

    From my Facebook page:

    I remember the excitement I felt when I was in the cinema with my mom, and they showed the trailer for From Russia, with Love. She explained to me who the character was, and after that I was just a mad fanboy. I had a little gold Aston Martin with a working ejector seat and other working features. But in those days I never went to the movies without my parents. The first one I saw was FRWL, and the next one saw was Thunderball. I missed Dr. No and Goldfinger, probably because they seemed too adult, and because—horrors!—there was a glimpse of a nude lady in the latter.

    Connery, a working class lad by upbringing, was no actor to start with, but what he did with the role of James Bond was wonderful. He combined an air of menace with a savoir-faire and feline grace that haven’t been matched by any of the others. (Anyone who says there has been a better Bond is an idiot. Fight me.) Strangely, he seemed so wrong for the role to start with. His broad Scottish accent is completely wrong in terms of what Ian Fleming intended—and yet, somehow, it worked. It made him seem all the more strange and mysterious.

    Connery had to labour long and hard to prove that he could act, although not all that many roles called on him to do so. Now, the James Bond movies aren’t completely serious—but for most of the way the character has to be played straight, or the whole thing would just fall apart. Connery understood this. So watch the moment in Thunderball where he pauses to steal a grape from a bowl of fruit, in the midst of danger. It’s an iconic moment, and it was Connery’s own idea. And watch the moment in The Man Who Would Be King where Danny, his character (who is worshipped as king by a remote tribe) actually begins to believe that he could be a real king. He won an Oscar many years later, of course.

    Thanks for the memories, Sean. The one-liners will linger with us … “I think he got the point.” “Just a drop in the ocean.” “Named after your father, perhaps?” “That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’ve had your six.” I could go on and on …

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  3. LukeJackson

    ZARDOZ! “The gun is good...”

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  4. CarlGlover

    Thank you, dolphin. Well done!

    I had read all the Bond books published before the "Dr. No" movie came out, the first I bought being "Moonraker," because I thought it was sf. I well remember plunking down my hard-earned 35 cents (the going rate for lawn mowing in those days) at Molinary's grocery store. After getting over my initial disappointment that it was not exactly sf, I discovered a whole new imaginary world with a hero perfect for fulfilling the power fantasies of the male adolescent.

    Consequently, when the first movie came out, I already had a hard and fast concept of what Bond was like, and I fully expected to be disappointed in Connery's portrayal. After all, neither I nor anyone I knew had ever heard of him.

    Well, to put it mildly, I have seldom been so astonished. Here was the quintessential Bond in the flesh, as I had always imagined him: strong, fearless, intelligent, irresistible to the ladies, ruthless when he had to be, dedicated not only to himself but to his country as well. He was a teenage boy's dream of a fantasy role model.

    I understand Fleming himself had much the same reaction, disapproving of Connery's selection at first but greatly impressed when he saw the film. Indeed, producer Broccoli didn't want him, either, but his wife persuaded him otherwise.

    Against all odds, it was the perfect amalgam of actor and role, a magical moment of serendipity when all the stars aligned.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  5. Mark Pontin

    ZARDOZ! "Stay within my aura."

    Although that line right there, about two-thirds of the way through the movie, is where it jumps the shark and what was potentially a really interesting, maybe all-time classic SF film becomes the surrealistic camp classic that ZARDOZ is recalled as being today.

    Before that, the film has -- yes, alongside the flying stone head and Sean Connery's thigh-high go-go dancer's boots -- some ahead-of-their-time notions about post-humanity that wouldn't really come up again till Bruce Sterling's Shaper-Mech stories in the latter 1980s.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #

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