Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen

  • Spectre directed by Sam Mendes
  • The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters edited by Fergus Fleming
    Bloomsbury, 391 pp, £25.00, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 4088 6547 7
  • Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir by Robert Harling
    Robson, 372 pp, £20.00, October 2015, ISBN 978 84 95493 65 1

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. Waltz’s speech in praise of this torture method is drawn from Kingsley Amis’s Bond novel Colonel Sun; he also taunts Bond for not remembering the faces of the women he takes to bed – not the first time we’ve seen 007 slut-shamed. The crater is an allusion to the Japanese volcano that Spectre operated out of in You Only Live Twice, and despite the quasi-Freudian set-up of the jealous birth son having his revenge on the usurping adoptive brother, we know from the presence of a white cat that Oberhauser will reveal himself to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the sinister mastermind familiar from three of Ian Fleming’s later novels and from his showdowns with the Bonds played by Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. (Copyright issues prevented any showdowns with Bond as played by Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.)

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