THE HISTORY PRESS
Any franchise spanning over 50 years and two dozen films is remarkable indeed, as is this exhaustingly detailed history of one of cinema's most iconic characters.
The first few chapters are brief biographies of the three major players involved in getting the franchise off the ground, author Ian Fleming and producers Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman. Then, from Dr. No through Skyfall, each film gets its own lengthy and detailed chapter which chronicles the entire production, from initial challenges in adapting Fleming's original story right up through its theatrical release. Each chapter is loaded with personal anecdotes from those involved, as well as information about every aspect of the production...casting, director selection, music, production issues, etc. The chapters covering the earliest Connery-era films are arguably the most interesting, when Bond had yet to become the cash cow & pop cultural phenomenon as we know it today.
Also fascinating are the chapters covering those films in which Broccoli & Saltzman were forced to cast a new James Bond to keep the franchise alive (and yes, Sir Connery does come across as a Grumpy Gus). Personally, I was pretty surprised to learn about some of the actors once considered for the role.
Authors Matthew Field & Ajay Chowdhury leave no Bond stone unturned, and wisely remain objective through the entire book. In no way is this a critical assessment of any Bond actor or film in the franchise (though they do include critiques and reviews of others). Besides, anyone interested in a book like this already has their own opinions of each film, as well as which actor played the character best. Most importantly, Some Kind of Hero is worth re-reading from time to time, such when you decide to pop-in your old copy of Goldfinger. Having the book handy while watching is almost like having a textual commentary.
Some Kind of Hero is as close as we'll likely ever get to a definitive history of this iconic franchise. Even the latest film, SPECTRE, still in theaters as of this writing, is given a brief chapter at the end, mostly confirming Bond isn't going away anytime soon. For any fan, from the casual to the obsessive, this is a great read.
MEE-OW! BETTER THAN AN OPEN CAN OF TUNA
(OR A BEDROOM FULL OF BOND GIRLS)