Single movie marketplace dominance … Sean Connery in Dr No, 1962. Photograph: Danjaq/Eon/Ua/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

After No Time to Die ends, we look at how the British representative of death-defying daring-do has survived for so long by inventing new things

The James Bond Chord, an E minor chord with a major 7th and a 9th, was first used in the soundtrack for the first Bond movie, Dr No, which debuted on October 5, 1962. It is now the 60th anniversary of James Bond, and everyone on TikTok is going crazy for “James Bond chord guy” Jord, or @jrw21, who has 1.4 million views and climbing for his hilarious guitar tutorial on how to play it.

Jord claims that the tension, unresolved chord often occurs after Bond says something great, and he then gives a surrealistic Sheffield accent demonstration: “Oh Mr. Goldfinger, sure. Do enter. You may get a haircut here; we have room. Please take a seat here. You’re kidding, dickhead. I don’t really cut hair. I’m the real James Bond. Blow your fuckin’ ‘ead off and short back? TWAT!” Then came the ominous chord.

Nothing better than that viral video illustrates the extraordinary power of the classic 007 movie brand over 60 years. Secret agent Bond, that ridiculous dinner-jacketed relic to imperial times, has somehow survived into 21st-century popular culture as the archetype of a carefree alpha-male. He has evolved in such a manner that he has absorbed all the sarcasm and criticism that has been directed at him.

It is the most durable action franchise, maintaining its fundamental unity for more than 60 years. Bond has survived through evolving, from Connery to Lazenby to Moore to Dalton to Brosnan to Craig, similar to how Doctor Who has done, although Doctor Who lacks the continuity and global reputation (or not quite). Like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple, 007 is a character that people want to see again and again. However, despite being celebrated in movies, these renowned detectives have never achieved the same level of commercial domination as 007.

Forgiven by the Beatles … Sean Connery in Goldfinger. Photograph: United Artists/Allstar

The success of Harry Potter coincided with the publication of the novels, but Daniel Radcliffe is now an adult. The Mission: Impossible films and the Top Gun reboot starring Tom Cruise are enormous box office successes, but even the Cruise can’t continue forever. Bond yet continues, seemingly perpetually restarting. However, with the fantastically catastrophic conclusion of No Time to Die, the new Bond has to be adjusted or retconned in some way. The numerous cardinals who are now gathered at Vatican City of Eon’s headquarters in Piccadilly, London, must pick a new pope of expensive watch wearing and sexual banter: Thomas Hardy Page, Regé-Jean Will Tom Hiddleston? A Idris Elba? We are aware that Eon is not seeking for a person in their twenties. Gen Z has passed. Brooklyn Beckham is not a must.

The cinematic debut of James Bond has been and will continue to be a source of income for Eon productions (which Amazon has now acquired along with MGM). It was a consoling declinist ideal for Britons, mainly the image of Ian Fleming’s “secret” action man from the Second Society War, whose daring-do is ingeniously portrayed as “secret” in a postwar world when Old England doesn’t matter as much.

However, Britain still held a number of imperial territories at the time Dr. No was presented in theaters in 1962, including Hong Kong, Grenada, Kenya, Malawi, and Qatar. Additionally, Sean Connery’s Bond became the representative of that newly erupting contradiction of British reputation known as soft power. Bond was a fantastic representative of British elegance and sophistication. International flight travel and consumer electronics were still uncommon during the Connery-Lazenby-Moore era, at least not for the IMF-humiliated, penny-pinching Brits who savored it all. As a result, Bond was a delightful Walter Mitty fantasy that carried over to the present.

007 … Lashana Lynch in No Time to Die. Photograph: MGM/Nicola Dove/Allstar

The key was soft power. The irony was that alongside those long-haired caterwauling non-establishment layabouts that Bond despised, British pop singers, this fundamentally conservative establishment figure became Britain’s soft power standard-bearer throughout the 1960s and beyond. In the movie Goldfinger, Bond claims that consuming Dom Perignon ’53 beyond the threshold of 38 °F is equivalent to listening to the Beatles without earplugs. That was a stuffy and haughty thing for Bond to say, but The Beatles actually forgave him since Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach, who was, in the toe-curlingly sexist lingo of the day, a “Bond girl,” and Paul McCartney composed one of the great Bond themes with Live and Let Die.

And so Bond continued; through the Reagan-Thatcher, the precarious special relationship, the 9/11 attacks, the “war on terror,” the 2012 London Olympics (in which Daniel Craig’s Bond co-starred with the Queen), and now the Brexit retreat into Fortress Britain, he somehow aligned himself with the exo-skeletal inhumanity of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and the wised-up ordinariness of Matt Damon’s Bourne, moderating his style to accommodate these e Additionally, there is some parody of Bond’s outmoded views, his aging, and his problematic knee in the last Bond film, No Time to Die, in which the 007 designation is handed to a new spy, tastefully portrayed by Lashana Lynch.

Modified style … Daniel Craig in No Time to Die. Photograph: MGM/Universal Pictures/Eon/Danjaq/Nicola Dove/Allstar

Will the brand-new Bond launch himself? In my opinion, no. No Time to Die director Danny Boyle is said to have sacked himself from the film after being recruited because he and writer John Hodge wanted to rewrite the screenplay and add some new components to the Coca-Cola recipe. Eon executives Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli refused. The idea is that although the audience and commentators may reimagine and ironize the story, Bond plays it straight with a few subtle hints and oddities.

I am one of the (many) persons who have asked Eon to dramatize the original non-gadget Bond from the Ian Fleming books published in the 1950s in order to revitalize the Bond brand. Well, it won’t work in a streaming TV series either since movies require the glitz and the luxury. What about a prequel series that imagines the raffish young M’s own exploits after the end of the war and later in rationing-stricken London? That would preserve the integrity of the main symbol. In any case, Bond’s tux will likely return from the dry cleaners looking almost brand new.

Thanks to at The Guardian whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.


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