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Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

Erm, not sure. Too much to spend over £100 methinks. Some typos might be cleaned up for the second edition. Look over on mi6.co.uk for what might be taken out, I'm not sure it amounts to much for the general reader, ie it's not necessarity that entertaining. Only thing is, the current book looks very nice, some great photos on it. You can always maybe go back and buy that one if the new one doesn't cut it.

Update: It's a very reasonable price on Ebay.co.uk, that said that's before the auction kicks in! I tried bidding for a mid-50s Moonraker rare paperback yesterday, it was £38 then jumped £20 in price in last few seconds!

http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search. … atref%3DC6

Last edited by Napoleon Plural (17th Apr 2008 11:11)

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

27

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

Well, here's the second edition. Looks much the same, but there's a foreword by Len Deighton this time...


http://www.mi6.co.uk/sections/articles/ … p;id=01936

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

28

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

"The Book They Tried To Ban!"  I think Elliot Carver must be working in the publicity department!

Vox clamantis in deserto

29

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

I'm a fan of this book, but I really don't like the whole "The book they tried to ban" thing. They imply the oh-so-hot content has something to do with this when it was simply a matter of the publisher trying to skirt copyright and use images without permission. They had to remove the images. That's hardly a "ban." I think the way they are twisting and exploiting their own screw-up is sleazy and unfair to the Ian Fleming Will Trust.

www.thebookbond.com - New Look. New Book. Pure BOND.

30

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

Was it that? I thought it was about court documents used that were part of the Ian Fleming Foundation or something. But if they've been taken out, then surely this isn't the book they tried to ban! I mean, they succeeded...

Edit: It's going for only a tenner in the St Martins Lane London store, signed by the author too...

Last edited by Napoleon Plural (28th Jun 2008 16:48)

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

31

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

I just bought this on Amazon for some knockdown price (£8) Reading the above makes me wonder if I should have bothered.
I already glanced at the introduction and, as Napoleon states, there is a massive typesetting error on the opening paragraph! I was fuming ajb007/mad I don't pay good money for shoddy work. I hope the info inside is better than the initial impression....

32

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

chrisno1 wrote:

I just bought this on Amazon for some knockdown price (£8) Reading the above makes me wonder if I should have bothered.
I already glanced at the introduction and, as Napoleon states, there is a massive typesetting error on the opening paragraph! I was fuming ajb007/mad I don't pay good money for shoddy work. I hope the info inside is better than the initial impression....

Well, to each their own...But I found it an interesting read...and certainly worth £8... ajb007/martini

Aevo rarissima nostro simplicitas
The higher the monkey climbs the more you can see its arse

YNWA: Justice For The 96

33

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

As a sub-editor, the general grammatical writing errors are a real distraction and really very odd. I mean, all credit to the author for producing the book, settting it all up (what does he do for a living in the meantime?) but almost any idiot could read it and tighten it up a bit, proof it, so why couldn't the author? I rank him above me in the food chain.

But the colour photos are great, and the chapter about the guy who was recruited by McClory to sort out his Jamaican home while he was away is worth the cost of the book alone, so to speak, assuming you didn't pay silly money for it. The stories about NSNA, in particular Clement and Le Frenais's testimony, are v interesting though it's a shame the writer couldn't have got hold of the original script by Lorenzo Semple, with a bald headed Fatima Blush, which drew so much flak and precipitated an as-you-go rewrite.

Still, even the intro by Ipcress File writer and Warhead scribe Len Deighton rambles on. Surely that could have been tightened.  ajb007/confused

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

34

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

Napoleon Plural wrote:

Still, even the intro by Ipcress File writer and Warhead scribe Len Deighton rambles on. Surely that could have been tightened.  ajb007/confused

I just read the 'Foreward'. I have learnt that Len Deighton liked Ian Fleming and he also liked Kevin McClory, warts and all in both cases. So? And? He also seems to think the book is a valid critique on the entertainment industry as a whole. Seems a bit harsh and a bit far reaching, still...
Interesting to see there is also an 'Introduction' and a 'Prologue'. Exactly when did Mr Sellers decide to start telling his story?
I'm sorry, I know I'm being a right pain and bit pedantic, but this is really poor workmanship. I agree with you, Napoleon, the guy clearly didn't get a proofreader, or if he did, he was crap at his job/ asleep on the job/ drunk.

35

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

I really enjoyed the book.  I think if you can look past the editing problems you will find it to be a good read.  I've got to say the editing didn't bother me at all, but then writing is not my profession.

"A blunt instrument wielded by a Government department.  Hard, ruthless, sardonic, fatalistic.  He likes gambling, golf, fast motor cars.  All his movements are relaxed and economical". Ian Fleming

36

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

I got a copy of the original edition when it was released and think it's a great read. I didn't notice any editing problems and got through the entire book in a few days.

I definitely recommend it!

'Yes, dammit, I said "was". The bitch is dead now.'
The James Bond Dossier | Bond 24 | Q-Branch James Bond Podcast

37

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

I just completed Robert Sellers ‘The Battle for Bond’ and, leaving aside the presentation errors, I found it an engaging read which filled in a lot of detail I wasn’t previously aware of in the Kevin McClory saga. For that I can only thank Mr. Sellers.

I was particularly impressed with his descriptions of the Thunderball scripts (Fleming’s first two and Whittingham’s two upgrades) and the similarities between McClory’s chaotic Xanadu Production company’s attempt to make Thunderball and Jack Swartzmann’s equally non-plussed production Never Say Never Again. 

Overall, it was quite a hefty read. Robert Sellers has a tendency to repeat himself. I lost count of the number of times I read that McClory wasn’t a very nice man unless he needed something from people [I’m paraphrasing] or that Connery was fed up with Bond [again] or that Jack Whittingham’s family bore a grudge against McClory for decades [and again]. Having told us once or twice, he really ought to let it lie. Part of Seller’s problem is that he’s telling the story chronologically. It’s like he’s reminding us and himself how a particular person feels every time they have something to say on a subject, as if several years not pages have elapsed since he last told us. 

Additionally he utilises only the documents available to him plus a few assorted sources. Most of these are from the Whittingham estate and relate to the plagiarism trial in 1963. Mr. Sellers sets his stall out early on when he mentions how kind and cooperative he found Jack Whittingham’s daughter Sylvan. My suspicions aroused, I wasn’t surprised to find the book tends to favour McClory’s version of events and exhibits a lot of sympathy for screenwriter Whittingham. While McClory is painted warts and all, and clearly isn’t a reliable or very pleasant person, something of a spendthrift shyster IMO, Ian Fleming and Ivar Bryce both come across as unsympathetic and rather snobbish, as though their place in society, their upbringing, counts against them – and that’s hardly their fault.

Interestingly it is the very ‘old boys network’ style of business which Bryce and Fleming favour which is their eventual undoing, for as McClory states, they all got into the mess because nobody had any binding written contracts. Hence the approbation of responsibility, cause and effect regarding the aborted Xanadu film project could only be judged through a series of interminably dull and contradictory personal correspondences.

Whittingham does seem hard done by. IMO the other three protagonists do display a typical attitude towards the jobbing screenwriter (McClory as a producer, the other two following his lead as employer and advisor) in that Whittingham was the only one actually contracted to work: he was paid $5000 to fashion a shooting script in tandem with Fleming. Legally speaking he has less of a leg to stand on than anyone in the story, although morally you might make a case that he’s entitled to due recognition.

However I’d throw caution on that too, for while the legal wrangling between McClory and Fleming/Bryce then Eon revolved predominantly around the film rights to make Thunderball, the close detail of the shooting script is markedly different to that which Fleming delivered. Indeed the novel Thunderball bears more relation to Fleming’s earliest two stabs at the script. It also includes SPECTRE, which he was persuaded to drop and replace with the Mafia, and Domino, who in later versions is called Gaby and has a much harder persona. Given that Maibaum’s final screenplay was based on the published novel, it is hard to see how Whittingham can be given more than the credit he already receives. Certainly Fleming stole some of his ideas, but then they were often suggested in consultation with McClory and/or Fleming.

While Fleming was shortsighted and lazy in adapting the scripts for his ninth opus, he sticks quite closely to what he envisaged and elaborates on that. Much of the McClory/Whittingham stuff was incidental and several major elements of their script are jettisoned completely by Fleming. I may be simplifying. McClory apparently trawled through the book and raised every single point where he considered Fleming used something from the script he had copyright on. This was Fleming’s problem because much of that script was his work as well, in spirit if not in word, from the very earliest beginnings, as noted by the lawyer Ernest Cuneo. Legally, I don’t think either side has much of a case. It boils back down to the point I made earlier, that without proper binding agreements the whole farce was always going to end in tears.

McClory’s later assumption that it is he and not Fleming (or even Eon) that created the cinematic 007 is the ultimate clutch at a straw. McClory seems to have ended a very bitter man. Making Thunderball in 1965 was the smartest move he made over the whole affair – probably over his whole career, which was fairly non-existent and low grade – and yet he still wanted to seek recompense two or three decades later, as if earning 20% of the profits from a hugely successful film isn’t enough. He seems a shallow individual, more concerned with appearances than substance.

James Bond isn’t his creation; it is Ian Fleming’s. While McClory can take credit for the influence Thunderball had over the franchise as subsequent movies developed, his assertion that Dr No and From Russia, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds are partially his creation because they utilise SPECTRE (which was Fleming’s creation anyway) is petty and obscure.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It’s certainly food for thought.

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Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

That's a good review, there's also a lot on NSNA in the book which is interesting of course, and it's strange to read the screenplay or treatment for Warhead, which frankly didn't seem the masterpiece everyone seemed to think at the time (or those in the know) and you get the sense TSWLM's underwater theme was devised to trump the TB remake and make it irrelevent.

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

39

Re: 'The Battle For Bond' Coming on 18 June 2007

Napoleon Plural wrote:

That's a good review, there's also a lot on NSNA in the book which is interesting of course, and it's strange to read the screenplay or treatment for Warhead, which frankly didn't seem the masterpiece everyone seemed to think at the time (or those in the know) and you get the sense TSWLM's underwater theme was devised to trump the TB remake and make it irrelevent.

Agreed, Napoleon, the NSNA stuff was interesting, but McClory had almost zero input into that. warhead was a very strange script I thought. Sellers assumption it would have made one of the best Bond movies ever seems mightily optimistic. I imagine Bond tramping through New York sewers - a bit like Jean Reno in Godzilla - and I tremble.