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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Skyfall’, 22 November 2012

Skyfall 
directed by Sam Mendes.
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... when we thought we wanted him? This is not quite the way the publicity for Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes, has been running, but the makers of the film have in principle understood both the delusion and the question. Craig has said in an interview that he thought it was a mistake not to allow Bond to be funny, and that the new film would be ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond, 3 December 2015

Spectre 
directed by Sam Mendes.
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The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters 
edited by Fergus Fleming.
Bloomsbury, 391 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6547 7
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Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir 
by Robert Harling.
Robson, 372 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 84 95493 65 1
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... About​ two thirds of the way into Spectre, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is tied to a chair in the desert crater headquarters of Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), the head of Spectre and by coincidence both the son and the murderer of a man who took the young Bond under his wing. Oberhauser is operating a contraption that threatens to deprive Bond of his facial recognition abilities by driving a pair of pins into the sides of his skull – a painful operation in its initial stages, as indicated by Craig’s grimacing and an uncontained scream ...

What Works

Michael Friedman: The embarrassing cousin, 31 March 2005

The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity 
by Raymond Knapp.
Princeton, 361 pp., £22.95, December 2004, 0 691 11864 7
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... 1960s; and in film versions and revivals, the comfort is doubled as we recognise the famous tunes. Sam Mendes can frighten us with syphilitic dancers and Nazi flags, but the music tells us that everything is all right. The 1960s and early 1970s were also the era of the enormous movie musical. There is a clear difference between stage musicals and their ...

Frock Consciousness

Rosemary Hill: Fashion and frocks, 20 January 2000

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Fashion Writing 
edited by Judith Watt.
Viking, 360 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 670 88215 1
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Twentieth-Century Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £8.95, November 1999, 0 500 20321 0
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A Century of Fashion 
by François Baudot.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £19.95, November 1999, 0 500 28178 5
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The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914 
by Christopher Breward.
Manchester, 278 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 7190 4799 4
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Black in Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 144 pp., £35, October 1999, 1 85177 278 2
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... on closer inspection, to be mostly about men. In the glass of fashion, however, all is reversed. Mendes and de la Haye write in their introduction that fashion is ‘an indicator of individual, group and sexual identity’ whose ‘fluidity reflects shifts in the social matrix’; yet of the 280 illustrations that follow, nearly 250 are of women. High ...

In Time of Famine

R.W. Johnson: In Zimbabwe, 22 February 2007

... hardly believe his luck. (The story had a sequel at Namibian independence ten years later, when Sam Nujoma’s Swapo guerrillas were supposed to be confined to their camps for the duration of the first free election. Mugabe advised Nujoma to do exactly as he had done and infiltrate his guerrillas into the villages. The South African army, far less squeamish ...

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