The commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale (April 13, 1953), the first James Bond novel, is marked by a challenge for the iconic English character: to survive and stay current, films must adapt to a society more inclusive.
Both in his novels and in the films inspired by his character, scenes abound that turn out to be a cocktail of emotions: paradisiacal settings, beautiful women, masculinity and danger.
The publishing success, with twelve novels, and at the box office of Bond, inspired by the experience lived in the flesh of its author, Ian Fleming, as a spy, has been maintained because these unlikely adventures have conquered fans in several generations.
Bond has struck a chord with millions of people who fantasize about having a similar life. Being the hero in a world of villains without breaking a sweat, traveling in collector cars.
“Both the character and the books are all about escapism. They were written in post-war Britain, so Bond’s travels around the world and, by Fleming’s own admission, his ‘improbable’ adventures, served to provide the necessary excitement, amidst some realistic espionage elements.explains expert Alex Baratta, from the University of Manchester.
The character of James Bond embodies the star secret agent of the British intelligence center MI6. He is an English gentleman in every expression of him.
Fleming explained that Agent 007 collects items from various spies he crossed paths with during his time in the naval intelligence division during World War II.
“Ian Fleming originally envisioned the agent as an adventurous macho in a perfectly tailored suit. Yet each Bond actor has brought something new to the character – from Sean Connery’s confident swagger and Roger Moore’s cutesy charm to Timothy Dalton’s chilling intensity and Pierce Brosnan’s suaveness,” says Dr Huw Jones, Professor of film studies at the University of Southampton.
For Ignacio Peyró, an expert in British culture and director of the Instituto Cervantes in Rome, the formula is simpler: “James Bond continues to be popular for a few primary reasons: he is a man who likes to drive fast cars and he also succeeds with the women telling bad jokes.
Bond, British icon in transformation?
Experts affirm that the success, especially of the 25 films, has been maintained because Bond has been transformed over the years and with the customs of each era, without losing the English charm and the implausibility that surrounds his life.
“A female M, Bond’s boss, and a black Moneypenny, his boss’s secretary, might have been unthinkable to some in the 1960s, partly because of sexism/racism, but because it just wasn’t the norm at the time. ”says Baratta.
The adaptation of the character of agent 007 will continue to be given to maintain and capture audiences in an evolving world.
“As long as the fundamentals of Bond (action/adventure, the ‘good life’; M, Moneypenny, and, above all, the British gentleman persona) hold up, then I think we can see Bond lasting a few more decades,” says Baratta. .
As James Bond fans around the world hold their breath waiting for the announcement of who will be the next Bond, the successor to Daniel Craig, the star of five films, his last being No Time to Die, it is believed that the chosen one will be a black actor
“Ultimately, the casting decision will come down to the qualities and attributes the actor can bring to the role, rather than solely his or her ethnicity”Jones maintains.
According to The Telegraph newspaper, Ian Fleming’s publisher, owner of the James Bond rights, will republish the books to remove racist references, just to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale.
Even if the weight of reality exerts force on the James Bond narrative in the future, the expert Baratta dares to predict that what will never change will be the accent of a true English gentleman.