Bond literary/ film differences coda-Never Say Never Again.

Never Say Never Again was a sort of remake/re-adaptation of Thunderball by producer Kevin McClory, created through a mix of rights issues, lawsuits, and various other messes. The film debuted in 1983-the same year as Roger Moore’s Octopussy, prompting a “Battle of the Bonds” of sorts (Octopussy won that battle). It’s main selling point was that it would feature the return of Sean Connery to the role, in a remake of the film he starred in less than twenty years before!


“Never” follows the same basic plot of Thunderball’s book and film-After some rest and recuperation at Shrublands clinic (In the novel and NSNA, it’s because he’s getting kind of rusty; in the original movie it’s because he was injured)-where he witnesses at least part of SPECTRE’s plot-Bond is sent to the Bahamas to investigate the theft of two nuclear missiles by SPECTRE’s right hand man, Emilo Largo (Although he’s called Maximillion Largo in NSNA).


Helping him out-in addition to Felix Leiter-is Largo’s girlfriend Domino (Called Domino Patacci in this film) whose brother was part of the plot and killed by Largo. Domino was played by new star Kim Basinger, who of course went on to many other things.


Here’s one of the key differences between novel, original film, and remake. In the book, Domino’s brother was bribed by SPECTRE, but in the original film, he was replaced by a body double. NSNA returns to the original brother being the culprit of the theft, but in this version, Jack Petacci has been manipulated by SPECTRE not only by threats to Domino, but also due to drug addiction. Instead of simply stealing the nukes using his jet, he instead goes through a complicated retinal replacement and scan, causing a group of dummy warheads to be replaced with real ones, and delivered straight to Largo.




The film also switches locations. While the majority of the novel and the first film adaptation are set in the Bahamas, NSNA quickly switches locations to France-where Bond faces off with Largo in a video game…


and then eventually to Africa, where Bond is able to secure the nukes. Despite the location change, this part is a bit closer to the novel, as a submarine is involved…


and Domino’s killing blow to Largo-although still via harpoon-is also underwater as in the original novel.



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.

James Bond novel/film comparisons-The Man With The Golden Gun

The Man With The Golden Gun was Ian Fleming’s final Bond novel (although there was another posthumous book of short stories, Octopussy/The Living Daylights), pitting the agent against the killer Scaramanga, whose trademark is a gold pistol. Like many of the early Bonds, this was adapted into a film, although with several differences.

In the novel, Bond has been brainwashed by the KGB and nearly kills M when he returns. Instead of firing 007, M instead sends him on a new mission to take out Scaramanga. Bond travels to the Caribbean (a frequent setting of Fleming’s novels), and, using the alias of Mark Hazard, works his way into Scaramanga’s organization-which is attempting to smuggle drugs-rom the inside, with the help of his secretary, Mary Goodnight (Pretty much the novel version of Moneypenny; Moneypenny is still in the novels but has a far smaller role), before revealing himself and taking him out. He also gets a lot of help from Felix, who does not appear in the film adaptation. Mary Goodnight, in the film, does appear, but she’s played more for comic relief than anything else really.

The film version is somewhat different-most of the action is set in Hong Kong and Thailand  (an attempt to capitalize on the growing Martial arts craze of the time), and Scaramanga is shown to be far more wealthy and skilled, able to kill with one shot from his Golden Gun-which is a custom weapon in the film, as opposed to simply being a gold plated .45 revolver in the novel. He also has plans that involve the theft of a”Solex agitator”; although Bond initially assumes himself to be Scaramanga’s target (a ruse set up by Scaramanga’s girlfriend).

There are a few similarities-Scaramanga’s physical description for the most part matches the novel, if not his personality; his backstory about growing up in the circus and his first kill being a man who shot his favorite Elephant is pretty much the same.

However, Bond’s working his way to the heart of Scaramanga’s plans is actually something more prominently adapted in the film “Licence to Kill”, in which Bond quits MI6 in order to pursue a personal vendetta against Franz Sanchez, the man who ordered a hit on Felix Leiter, maiming Felix and having his wife killed. Like the novel Bond, Bond poses as a freelance hitman, working his way to get close to Franz (whose name is similar to Scaramanga’s-Francisco) until he can finally take him out, although in this case, he’s operating without official orders. Like the novel Scaramanga, Sanchez also has a drug smuggling operation going on, that Bond is able to totally destroy in the film’s final chase scene (It’s assumed that getting rid of Sanchez and his plans put Bond back in M’s good graces, as he’s back on active duty in Goldeneye). The central American setting of the film is also somewhat similar to that of TMWTGG’s novel as well.

The final battle between Bond and Scaramanga is also fairly brutal, like the one in Licence to Kill, which ends with both men injured but Bond ultimately gaining the upper hand-in the novel Bond shoots him several times; wheres in Licence to Kill Bond manages to immolate the gasoline-soaked Sanchez using a wedding present from the Leiters-a lighter.

The battle at the end of the film has Bond instead use Scaramanga’s “fun house” practice range against him, by dodging the house’s security cameras and posing as his own wax figure to take him out.

You Only Live Twice-novel/film comparisons

You Only Live Twice,Once when you’re born,: And once when you look death in the face.-Ian Fleming

You Only Live Twice, novel-wise, ends the SPECTRE/Blofeld trilogy of novels. However, film-wise, it starts them. Although Bond faced agents of SPECTRE in the films of Doctor No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball, he has yet to meet their mysterious leader.

In both cases, Blofeld’s plot involves Japan, where in the novel, he has fled from Europe after killing Bond’s wife Tracy in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, assumed the alias Dr. Shatterhand, and operates the poisonous “Island of death”. In the film, his plan is somewhat more ambitious and certainly more cinematic, as he uses a massive rocket hidden in a volcanic island to steal US and Russian orbiters, hoping to cause World War III.

Bond’s “Death”-the reason for the title-is also extremely different in both versions. In the novel, Bond is injured in the climactic showdown with Blofeld, causing him to develop amnesia and briefly live as the husband of the girl who helped him out, Kissy Suzuki, before he is captured by the KGB who then brainwash him (leading to the next novel, The Man With The Golden Gun). In the film’s teaser, Bond is apparently shot and killed in Hong Kong, but in fact this is a clever ruse so that Bond can kind of not be on the radar of SPECTRE and other enemies.

In both cases, Bond’s mission takes him to Japan, where he is helped by Dikko Henderson, who helps Bond get used to the local culture in the novel, but mainly just gives him some useful intel in the film before getting killed off (Although the death allows Bond to trace the killer to the Osato company, who are working with SPECTRE).

Bond is also aided by Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese secret service. Like in the novel, Tanaka’s forces utilize not only modern techniques, but ancient Ninja ones as well. Although his reasons for helping Bond are different-in the novel, he’ll give Bond important Russian intel if he takes out Dr. Shatterhand; in the film, he mainly helps him find out what SPECTRE’s up to in Japan.

In both cases, Bond goes undercover as a Japanese islander, posing as the husband of an “Ama” (Japanese Pearl diving) woman (and Tanaka’s agent) Kissy Suzuki in order to get closer to Blofeld’s mysterious island.

In both cases, Bond uncovers Blofeld, although with different motives and outcomes. In the novel, once he realizes that Shatterhand is in fact, Blofeld, he eventually gets his revenge on the criminal by strangling him and destroying his castle and garden of Death. (Of course this injures Bond as well as I outlined earlier). Whereas in the film, it’s their first meeting, and Blofeld narrowly escapes, and returns to pester Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, and finally For Your Eyes Only; he returns in the reboot continuity of the series in last year’s SPECTRE.

At the end of the novel, Bond is presumed dead by M and he writes an obituary for the agent. This is very similar to what happens at the beginning of Skyfall, where Bond is presumed dead following an accidental shot and falling from a great height.

In both cases Bond of course lives his own life for a while; in the first because he’s amnesiac and doesn’t know who he is or that he’s an agent, and the second, well, because he’s injured, tired, wasted and furious at M’s call to “take the bloody shot”, and hence wants to lay low-until a crisis at MI6 brings him back into the fold.

Both the rest of Skyfall-and the novel version of The Man With The Golden Gun, which I’ll cover next-will see Bond rise from the dead…

Bond Novel/film comparison, The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me is mainly regarded as the film that resurrected the franchise after a brief slump following lukewarm reaction to the film adaptation of The Man With The Golden Gun. The film upped the stakes and scale of the adventure, featuring a world-spanning plot instead of the relatively small operations of Kananga and Scaramanga from the previous films two films, as Bond works with a rival agent to recover missing submarines from a deranged shipping magnate. It also featured Roger Moore relaxing more into the role, playing up more Bond’s wit instead of trying to match Connery’s machismo. However, it shares very little with the novel which shares it’s name, although there was a later novel adaptation of the film itself (but with several differences)

The novel is set instead in a motel in Upstate New York, and told in the first person (Hence the title) by a troubled Canadian woman, Vivienne, who is running the night shift there. She and the motel are threatened by two gangsters, but Bond arrives and is able to outsmart the gangsters and save her. This is the main element the film borrows from the book, apart from the title-the villains Sluggsy and Horror are pretty much Jaws and Sandor from the film, Stromberg’s henchmen. Although Sluggsy is far more vocal than the mostly quiet Jaws (It’s established in the film version of “Moonraker” that he can speak, though). Jaws of course, would become of the series’s most iconic henchvillains alongside others such as Red Grant and Oddjob, also appearing in the next film, “Moonraker”-and surviving that film too!


I actually think that perhaps “Spy” shares more similarities with the Colonel Sun novel, in which Bond also works with a rival agent. “Sun” was the first post Fleming original Bond novel. In particular that character Ariadne Alexandrou-sounds a lot like the Spy film’s Anya Amasova.

There’s also a scene in that novel where Bond faces off with two henchmen near the Greek acropolis. In the film of “Spy Who Loved Me”, Bond faces off against two of Amasova’s men-Ivan and Boris-near the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

For some reason I couldn’t find any good pics of the actual fight, but here’s the next scene, where Bond and Anya have this exchange.

Anya: “I’m sorry about Ivan and Boris-they exceed their orders.”

Bond: “Good staff is hard to find these days…”

Next: You Only Live Twice, Bond’s final confrontation with Blofeld in the novel world, and his first in film, leading to some interesting story changes.

Bond novel/film comparisons: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is an interesting sort of turning point in the Bond films. After Sean Connery left the series due to tiring of the role (and also due to the immense media coverage of You Only Live Twice damaging his privacy), it was decided to cast a new James Bond. The man they chose was Australian model George Lazenby, whose only acting job had been a Chocolate commercial.

“This never happened to the other Fella”.

The film received mixed reviews, and Lazenby, due to several factors, quit after one film, leaving the producers to briefly re-cast Connery as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever before finding a more permanent replacement with Roger Moore. The legacy of Lazenby and the film adaptation of OHMSS have often been disputed; although it’s often agreed it’s fared better in the years since it’s release, and that Lazenby, while not an actor, does okay with the material. The film’s storyline and one-time director (Peter Hunt), as well as lack of a sung theme, instead using a classic orchestral piece by John Barry (Who scored most of the films up to 1987) also give it a fairly unique place in the Bond film canon.

In both the novel and film, Bond is in pursuit of Blofeld and SPECTRE (in the film, after the events of You Only Live Twice, in the novel, Thunderball), as part of “Operation Bedlam”-but the search for the criminal has reached a dead end, and M isn’t happy, putting Bond on temporary leave. Bond also tries to help a troubled young woman, Countess Teresa Di Vincenzo. Unexpectedly, her father, Draco, is a criminal himself, but more of a noble man who, in exchange for Bond courting his daughter, is willing to help him find Blofeld. (Although Bond is really interested in her, despite the incentive).

Bond eventually finds a clue to the villain, that he seems to be seeking to be declared a count by the coat of arms, but that those claims need to be confirmed. Bond goes undercover as Sir Hilary Bray, a Coat of Arms member. It’s also here that Bond learns his family motto “The World Is Not Enough” (Which became the name of the third Brosnan Bond film).

Bond goes to the mountaintop resort and clinic Piz Gloria, where he finds out that Blofeld is brainwashing young woman to try to ‘cure them’ of phobias (but in fact his real aim is far more devious). There’s a slight continuity error in the film here. In the novel timeline, Blofeld and Bond have not yet met each other face to face, and it makes sense that they don’t recognize each other.

However, film-wise, they had already met each other in the previous film, You Only Live Twice. Although they both look different-Bond now looks like George Lazenby, and Blofeld now looks like Telly Savalas and lacks the scar over his eye (He’s still got that cat though!).

Bond’s cover is blown eventually in both cases. In the novel, it’s because a man-Shaun Campbell-another MI6 agent-is captured who recognized Bond. This same man appears in the movie, but he mainly is Bond’s backup, and Bond ignores him to maintain his cover. In both cases Shaun is killed by Blofeld.

However, Bond’s cover is blown differently in the film, once it’s clear he’s not Sir Hilary Bray because respected Coat of Arms men don’t romance women, like he was doing at the clinic (Bond in other words, being Bond). Blofeld then monologues his plan to Bond, that the girls have been brainwashed to spread a deadly disease that will destroy livestock and grain products, and eventually humans if Blofeld doesn’t get his way. In the book, this is mainly discovered later during a debriefing at MI6 after Bond escapes.

In both cases Bond attempts to escape by ski, eventually making his way to the village below, but with SPECTRE in hot pursuit. Thankfully, Tracy shows up in the nick of time.

However, whereas in the book she mainly helps him get to a local airport, the movie adds in more action, with a car chase which spills over into an actual race:

and then, after proposing to Tracy, she is captured by Blofeld after a ski chase.

Both film and novel end with Bond, with the help of Draco, returning to Piz Gloria with an assault force to take down Blofeld’s operation, ending with Blofeld injured but able to escape….and then Bond and Tracy are married.

But their happiness is short-lived. Blofeld and his henchman drive-by and shoot up the Bonds’ car. Bond is unscathed, but Tracy is dead from a fatal bullet wound. As a shocked Bond cradles his dead wife, he says to an arriving police officer:

“It’s all right. It’s quite all right, really. She’s having a rest. We’ll be going on soon. There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.”

The credits then show the damaged window from the bullet.

The film series wouldn’t have this depressing an ending until “Casino Royale”. Bond’s wife would be mentioned in passing in future films, or alluded to many times. What’s worse, in License to Kill, Bond’s friend Felix is maimed (A similar thing happened in the novel of Live and Let Die) and his new wife killed by the villains as well-perhaps providing some of the impetus for Bond’s quest for revenge in the film.

Next: The Spy Who Loved Me…which is *really* different.

The literary Bond-ThunderBall-The basics-Novel vs the original film

Thunderball is easily one of the more complicated Bond novel-to-movie adaptations-maybe, because it’s been adapted into a movie twice; or perhaps, because it actually started life as a movie script, and has led to several rights issues which cost the film series the use of the criminal organization SPECTRE and it’s head, Ernst Stravro Blofeld, for decades. However, I’ll discuss those issues (and how they led to NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN) in a later post.

While they make their debut early on in the films-In the first film, Dr.No, and more extensively in it’s sequel-with Blofeld appearing himself (although only from the neck down) in from Russia With Love (In both novels, the original villains were SMERSH, although the latter stills receives a name drop in the FRWL film), The novel version of SPECTRE and Blofeld make their debut here.Novel wise, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice form a sort of “Blofeld trilogy” of sorts (With Diamonds Are Forever taking Thunderball’s place film wise). SPECTRE is mostly unknown in the novel “universe” at this point, although by this time in the film Bond has dealt with their agents twice.

Thunderball the novel starts with M concerned with 007’s health, due to his vices perhaps slowing him down in the field. The movie gives a more immediate explanation-Bond is somewhat bruised by a fire poker by Colonel Jack Beauvant, who posed as his own widow in order to escape (But Bond notices something’s not right and confronts the “widow” at his home).

This forms the opening teaser for the film, and also features the famous sequence in which in order to escape Jack’s minions, he briefly dons a jetpack.

“No well-dressed man should be without one!”

The rest of the novel and  film begin with Bond’s recovery at the clinic Shrublands, where Bond stumbles upon the beginnings of a SPECTRE operation, and begins a bit of a feud with SPECTRE agent Count Lippe, who Bond suspects is up to no good, and who also tries to kill Bond a few times as well. Bond also has a relationship with the nurse Patricia in both versions.

“Let me out of this bloody machine!”

In both cases, Lippe is organizing a complicated operation involving stealing nuclear weapons onboard a Royal Air Force Vindicator jet. In the novel, it’s by bribing Petachii, the pilot of the plane (NSNA uses a similar device). In the film, it’s a somewhat more complicated plot involving switching his film counterpart, Francois Derval, with a surgically altered SPECTRE body double, Angelo.

In both cases, the plane gets stolen with the nukes on board, and both pilots-original and body double-are killed. Also Lippe is dealt with; in the novel because his feud with Bond threatened SPECTRE being exposed, while in the film, it’s for the choice of Angelo, who demanded a higher pay for having to be surgically altered to look like Derval.

With the weapons now in SPECTRE’s hand, Blofeld demands a massive ransom, but MI6 wants to recover the weapons before the world is forced to pay up.Bond is then sent to the Bahamas-in the novel more so because of M’s orders, but in the film it’s more of a hunch based on him spotting a dead man similar to Derval at the clinic, despite the RAF base seeing him board the plane (The body at Shrublands is in fact Derval’s body itself, after Angelo had replaced him).

Most of the rest of the plot unfolds similarly, with Bond going to the Bahamas and teaming up with his CIA ally, Felix Leiter, and investigating the local treasure hunter Largo, who in fact is a SPECTRE agent who stole the weapons, while attempting to woo away Domino, Largo’s lover and also the brother of Petacci (in the novel) and Francois (in the film). The movie adds an extra obstacle for Bond-the nasty SPECTRE femme fatale, Fiona Volpe.

Fiona not only helps Lippe and Angelo kill Derval, she also personally kills Lippe herself with her missile-armed motorcycle, kidnaps Bond’s ally Paula (who then kills herself using cyanide to keep from being interrogated), and nearly kills Bond herself until finally outwitting her, causing her to get accidentally shot by her own men at an outdoor dance club.

In both the film and the novel, Bond is able to persuade Domino that Largo was the one who got her brother killed, and she helps him to unravel the plans of her former suitor, which ends in a massive sea battle-one above and under water-between Bond and Largo’s agents.

Ultimately, the scheme is brought to an end when Domino kills Largo by a harpoon to the back, in revenge for her brother’s death and him using her as a a pawn.

Next: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service-where Bond falls for a troubled countess and might have finally found happiness, but things get spoiled by Blofeld’s latest scheme….and film-wise, a new and inexperienced actor as Bond gets highly mixed results…..although a future article will explore the other Thunderball film, Never Say Never Again, as well as the whole rights issue surrounding it, and the “Battle of the Bonds”.