I just rewatched The Man With The Golden Gun, which, given that I recently gave Live and Let Die a second viewing, I think just about wraps up the reappraisal of Roger Moore’s Bond that I embarked upon two or three months ago. I know there are three more, but I think For Your Eyes Only and A view to a Kill can wait, and I don’t think I can be arsed with Moonraker. What I wanted to establish is whether I’d been too hasty in dismissing Moore’s bond in my initial marathon viewing; I suspected that my Judgement had been clouded by having recently tasted the other Bond Vintages. I now think there is an element of truth in that – Moore played the character quite differently to those who went before or came after him. However, I now see him as less camp than I thought he was: as I wrote here, Moore initially struck me as a cartoon version of bond, but in the Man with The Golden Gun, I saw a reassuring bondish brutality. Mind you, I must say that the plot stil struck me as incomprehensible this afternoon: I used to think the problem was with me, that I had missed plot points, but having paid proper attention, I think it was just badly written. Frankly, it struck me that the writers may have just made it up as they went along.
That is not to say that I thought it a bad film – there have certainly been worse. There are a few good stunts in this film, and I love the character of JW Pepper, who appears in both Live And Let Die and Golden Gun. This film also resolves my personal debate over whether 007 would use a taxi: when he arrived at buckingham palace in a black cab to do his Olympic assignment, I wondered ether it was in keeping with the character. But sure enough in Golden Gun he hails a taxi twice, so that’s okay then. I ove the character Nik Nak, an indeed the nefarious Scaramanga, played to perfection by the great Christopher Lee.
Nevertheless, I still think Moore is my least favorite bond, simply because, from a purist’s point of view, he is the least like Flemming’s character. Bond is supposed to be a cold, hard, callous man, not the camp figure in a safari suit Moore played him as. And yet, for all that, I like Moore’s bond -he is the fun bond, the bond of my childhood. For that, I suppose, I’ll forever have a soft spot for him.