If Connery had played Bond in all of Moore's Bond films, and if Moore had played Bond in all of Connery's Bond films, what would the films have been like to you personally? Would the films have been better or worse?
In general I don't think that the films would be as good if the actors were swapped, maybe with one or two exceptions.
For one, I would quite like to see Moore in YOLT. His performances in TSWLM and MR (which are also both Lewis Gilbert films) would suggest that he would be a good fit in YOLT. I'd like to see him charming his way around Japan, and the lighter touch of Moore's' persona matches the spacecraft and volcano lair world of YOLT.
And then Connery in FYEO could work (minus the pre-title scene). It's not hard to imagine Connery kicking Locque's car off the cliff, and I'd enjoy seeing a young and fit Connery doing the rock climbing ascent to the monastery at the end of the film.
As for the rest, I'd probably prefer to keep them as they are.
Why wouldn't Connery be suited for the pre-title scene?
I think you're absolutely spot on regarding YOLT and FYEO.
Going film by film:
DN: Stick with Connery here.
FRWL: Stick with Connery here.
GF: Considering the playful tone, I think that Moore could have made this work. Not sure if it would have been better or not but it would have worked.
TB: Moore would have been great in the first act at Shrublands (reminds me a lot of the first act of AVTAK) and in the scenes at Largo's place, but I'm not sure how good he would be in the underwater footage.
YOLT: Moore would have knocked this one out of the park.
OHMSS: Lazenby was great here (yes, I said GREAT). I do think that Connery and/or Moore could have made this work.
DAF: Totally a Moore movie, apart from the elevator fight. If Moore were in there, that elevator fight would need to be reworked.
LALD: Not sure. I think Connery would have been too heavy handed here.
TMWTGG: Connery would have rocked this. So would Lazenby. Moore felt out of place in this one, through no real fault of his own.
TSWLM: Connery would have been good here too. Tonally the closest to YOLT.
MR: Moore all the way. The closest film to it is DAF and Connery was all thumbs in that one.
FYEO: Connery would have been great here. So would Lazenby.
OP: Moore all the way.
AVTAK: I could see Connery doing this one. Again, the first act felt a lot like Shrublands to me. Tonally, it's kinda similar to NSNA and, while I hate that movie, Connery is pretty good in it.
Great comparison listing.
there's so many classic Connery scenes repeated in the Moore films you can almost imagine how it'd work. Live and Let Die in particular repeats huge chunks of Dr No, and the Spy Who Loved Me is like a greatest hits from the first six movies. And we do see him handle Thunderball style underwater battles in For Your Eyes Only. There's also The Saint film the Fiction Makers that has Simon Templar acting out several scenes from Goldfinger.
Harder to find existing examples of Connery doing Moore type scenes, but I remember when Never Say Never Again came out after all the hype about the return of the real Bond, he was playing it as casual and jokey as Moore had been doing for the last decade.
Yes, Never Say Never Again was Connery playing it light. Though he did do that also in Diamonds Are Forever.
I watched Vendetta For The Saint this afternoon on Talking Pictures TV, and somehow I've never caught it before. It's not great, but it is fairly hard-edged in a few places with Templar showing a fair bit of grit, and it just cements to me how OHMSS should have had Roger in it: I think he'd have been terrific and really anchored the film. There's even a pretty lengthy sequence where a desperate Templar escapes from the villain's hilltop lair and has to evade their mob in the surrounding countryside. OHMSS basically opens like a Saint episode anyway with our hero cruising around European coastlines and playing the playboy, encountering a damsel in distress, and Roger would have looked a damn sight more comfortable in that casino than George does. I think he'd have been great in it.
I like the thought of Connery in Golden Gun. I think Moore's good in it but maybe hasn't found his feet and I'm not sure he's being directed right: it's certainly a fun idea to imagine him coming face-to-face with an enemy who could really challenge him and match him on every level, including urbanity: most of his baddies are old men.
I'll have to watch Vendetta For The Saint next time it's on. There was a film Roger did in 1969 called Crossplot. He played a sort of Cary Grant in North By Northwest. I saw it about 40 years ago. Seemed enjoyable at the time as a kid.
Moonraker re-envisions several scenes from Thunderball, including the technothriller hijacking and the big battle scene with spacesuits and lasers instead of scubasuits and harpoon guns. Neither of those scenes feature Moore, so are not relevant to this thread. But... there is pursuit by the villain's chief assassin through the chaotic Carnaval parade in Rio, and MooreBond has his lovely local assistant Manuela just as ConneryBond had Paula. And most relevant of all is the out-of-control centrifuge accelerator scene which plays out almost exactly as did the out-of-control spinestretching machine in Shrublands. Also instead of manly posturing over skeet shooting we get manly posturing over pheasant shooting. These scenes are all similar to Thunderball, and the subtle differences reveal aspects of Moore's particular approach to the character.
Vendetta For The Saint is awesome, and earns bonus points for being the opposite of The Fiction Makers in just about every way. As you say Templar's escape from the big mafia don's house and the subsequent chase right through crowded town squares is similar to OHMSS.
but check out this passage from the book OHMSS where Bond is writing his resignation letter:
"The above unhappy circumstances have recently achieved their climax in my undercover mission (Ref. Station R'S PX 437/007) to Palermo, in pursuit of a hare of quite outrageous falsity. This animal took the shape of one 'Blauenfelder', a perfectly respectable German citizen engaged in viniculture--specifically the grafting of Moselle grapes on to the Sicilian strains to enhance the sugar content of the latter which, for your passing information, [Steady on, old chap! Better redraft all this!] are inclined to sourness. My investigations into this individual brought me to the attention of the Mafia and my departure from Sicily was, to say the least, ignominious."
An authentic Unseen Mission as hinted by Fleming! with a few overdubs Vendetta For The Saint could be rewritten as Bond's failed search for Blofeld in Sicily and unintended entanglement with the local mafia!
Yeah I tried Crossplot recently but I couldn’t quite get through it. He’s playing it more for laughs in that one as a slightly useless guy caught up in events. It’s probably fine though, I should finish it at some point.
Ha! That’s great, I wonder if Fleming had had a quick flick through some Charteris? :)
Vendetta For The Saint was written by science fiction novelist Harry Harrison and published under Charteris's name 1964. At least one year after OHMSS was published, Fleming might not even have been alive when it was written.
I think the idea of the hero getting into conflict with the Mafia when in Sicily is obvious enough. What else are you going to do while visiting the island? There's also The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Spy in the Green Hat (1967) where Solo and Ilya are pursuing a THRUSH villain in Sicily and Solo gets into trouble with the Mafia after being found in the bedroom of one of the local daughters. You can sort of imagine how Robert Vaughn would have done OHMSS from this episode!
But Fleming seems to have been thinking about the Mafia a lot when he wrote OHMSS (jan/feb 1962). A couple of chapters in, Bond has a would be father-in-law who is head of the Corsican Mafia, two islands over. So not just that Unseen Mission alluded to in passing.
A couple years earlier, while researching the series of articles published as Thrilling Cities, Fleming interviewed Lucky Luciano while in Napoli. That'd be 1959 or 1960? maybe that experience inspired the Mafia references in OHMSS. I think Sluggsy and Horror may have been Mafia in the previous book, their boss was named Sanguinetti.
Very interesting, thanks!
Only Moore could pull off the Lotus underwater nonsense in TSWLM, I suppose Connery's authority gets him thru most stuff but not that. Likewise, the Union flag ski jump is a classic Moore moment but in Connery's hands would have seemed cowardly, you'd expect him to stay and fight. Watching Clint in his Western trilogy, he really does seem to me a prototype Roger Moore, the whole idea being that he is cool and somehow a magical mythical character in his unruffled approach to outwitting the bad guys.