For James Bond fans still reeling from last week’s release of the 22-film, extras-laden 50th anniversary Blu-ray collection, stuffed with rare footage, images and nuggets of information, it’s hard to believe that there’s still more to be discovered about Her Majesty’s favourite employee.
That’s exactly what we get with ‘All About Bond’, a sumptuous new addition to the ever-growing library of titles dedicated to 007 which earns its place with the same effortless grace Dame Diana Rigg displays on page 91.
You see, while the closest most Bond fans ever got to their hero was the front row of the local cinema, photographer Terry O’Neill was on location with Connery, Moore, Lazenby et al, effectively the man with the golden lens. O’Neill captured the boredom and the thrill of being on a Bond set, snapping Connery taking a nap on a shag pile carpet during the filming of Diamonds are Forever or Lazenby lounging by the pool with girlfriend Jill St John (Tiffany Case), post-On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (I didn’t know Lazenby and St John had even met before seeing these photos).
Across 192 pages we’re taken on a trip through the films and the decades, with some famous shots, such as Connery playing golf on the set of Diamonds, presented at a slightly different angle alongside some never before seen images of the actor pulling faces between takes. We also see Connery playing the slot machines in Vegas and meeting some rather scantily clad dancers behind the scenes of the casinos.
The Bond girls also get a look in, with new photos of Britt Ekland, Maud Adams and Joanna Lumley some of the most striking. Some of the actresses also contribute their memories of working on the films in short essays, Lumley recalling that her work on OHMSS lasted longer than the other actresses as she did some dubbing back in England.
Names such as Maryam d’Abo and Honor Blackman join Lumley in reminiscing about their time in the spotlight alongside 007, while names perhaps less known to fans, such as GQ editor Dylan Jones and journalist Godfrey Smith, muse on Bond’s fashion sense and who the real Ian Fleming was. Sadly, the quality slips slightly in these text sections, with one page offering two spellings of the name ‘Blofeld’, both of them wrong.
Unsurprisingly, the photos are the real stars here, the large format of the hefty tome offering insights into a world that the rest of us can only dream of entering. It may be a cliché to suggest that ‘All About Bond’ would sit perfectly on any coffee table, but the Bond films are so rife with their own clichés that I can perhaps get away with it this once.