James Bond novel/film comparisons-the remaining Fleming short stories

Note: Some plot spoilers for the latest Bond film, SPECTRE below.

In addition to the full Bond novels, Ian Fleming also composed a series of short stories, many of which were expanded and adapted into films, or at the very least shared their title (this is pretty much the case with “Quantum of Solace”, in which the short story shares the title and little else, except for pretty much the theme finding ‘solace’-in the film, Bond after bringing those partially responsible for Vesper’s death to justice, in the novel, it relates to a story Bond is told about a troubled couple). Apart from a partial French setting, From a View To A Kill and the film A View To A Kill only share the title (minus the “From” part in the movie). These were largely collected in two books-“For Your Eyes Only” (Which contains the title story and Risico, which were incorporated into the film of the same name, as featured in an earlier post)-and “Octopussy and the Living Daylights”. We’ll look at how some details of these stories relate to the films (With the exception of those already covered.)

The Hildebrand Rarity deals with a murder mystery onboard the yacht the Wavekrest, where a millionare, Milton Krest, has invited Bond on a fishing expedition. Krest is portrayed as a sort of unpleasent person, and is eventually murdered by someone on the ship.

Licence to Kill featured Krest as one of the henchmen of Franz Sanchez, helping him maim Bond’s friend Felix Leiter (and also killing Bond’s other friend, “Sharkey” later on) and operating a cover operation for his smuggling. While investigating Krest, Bond is able to make away with Sanchez’s money being held by Krest, which becomes key to his revenge against Sanchez (and also used by Bond to implicate Krest later on). Krest is portrayed as even more unpleasant here, especially with him helping out Sanchez.

“Octopussy” the novel, deals with Bond tracking down Major Dexter Smythe, a man who stole gold from an icy mountain during World War II and killed his German guide. Bond tracks down Smythe-as the guide killed-Hannes Oberhauser-was a man who taught Bond how to ski, hence giving Bond a personal interest in the case-but only intends to arrest him, until Smythe is killed by a poisonous fish, and then dragged under water by his own pet Octopus (Which is where the name comes from novel wise).

Here’s where things get interesting. Not only was Smythe’s story incorporated into the plot of the film with the same name-as it served for backstory for the film’s main Bond girl, Octopussy (His pet name for his daughter, instead of an actual Octopus)….

….but it also was worked into the backstory of the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE. In SPECTRE, we learn that Daniel Craig’s Bond was in fact, adopted by Hannes Oberhauser, and raised as a son, which left his biological son, Franz, neglected. Franz, like Smythe, killed Hans, faked his death and later reemerged to torment his stepbrother as the “Craigverse” version of Ernest Stravro Blofeld.

The next story, “Property of a Lady” also is part of the inspiration for the film Octopussy. Early in the film, Bond is attending an auction for a Faberge egg, trying to find it’s connection to the murder of a fellow OO agent in Berlin-a complicated plot involving not only Jewelry smuggling but also a rogue Russian general in cahoots with the film’s villain (With Octopussy and her all-female smuggler group being played). The short story deals with bidding for the egg being cover for the payment of a double agent.

The Living Daylights short story is the foundation for part of the plot of the film, with Bond assigned to be on the lookout for a sniper. In the novel, it’s to help a British agent escape from East Berlin. In the film, it’s to help a Russian general defect (Although things eventually turn out  to be more complicated than that) in Bratislava.

In the novel, the sniper disguises herself as a cellist at a local orchestra. In the film, the woman-Kara Milovy-actually is a cellist being set up by her boyfriend (The general), and as Bond puts it, “Doesn’t know one end of the rifle from the other”-which raises’s Bonds suspicions that the defection might be phony.

In both cases, Bond hesitates and only wounds the sniper, upsetting Bond’s fellow contact  and prompting the exchange from Bond.

“Whoever she was, I must have scared the Living Daylights out of her!”

Finally, we have 007 in New York, sort of a short, funny side story. The only major connection to the films is the name Solange, used for an ill-fated Bond girl in Casino Royale, who is killed by Le Chiffre after she lets Bond know the location of her husband, one of Le Chiffre’s henchmen.


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