Bond Continuity Theory: DN & CR both reference the original CR from 1954

sinlumsinlum Posts: 166MI6 Agent

In this thread I theorise that both DN and the Craig CR make references to the original CR with Barry Nelson from 1954. In the case of DN there are ties-ins during Bond’s mission briefing with M. The connections I make with DN are likely going to upset the Bond purists so you have been warned if you read on. In the case of Craig’s CR, the references are more thematic.

 

References in DN

When M is giving Bond his mission briefing, they talk about Bond’s berretta. Bond says that he’s been using the gun for 10 years and hasn’t missed with it yet. M then says that it jammed on his last assignment and he spent 6 months in hospital as consequence. This is a rare occurrence in the Bond series since they talk about an incident that is never shown on screen. The theory I put forward is that the two men are actually referring to the events in Casino Royale in 1954.

If we assume Bond has been armed with his berretta for 10 years prior to DN, he armed himself with it in 1952. I deduced in another thread that Bond had his first field assignment in 1953 when he went after Major Dexter Smythe (but he didn’t actually kill Smythe).

In the screen depiction of Casino Royale 1954, Bond ends up unconscious on the floor in his hotel room but the events of how he ends up there are not shown on screen. It’s possible that he pulled his gun out on Le Chiffre to fire but the gun jammed and he ended up getting knocked out by his bodyguard. This would tie in with M’s comment in DN that the gun jammed on his last assignment. Bond is then tortured but ultimately kills both Le Chiffre and his bodyguard. This matches with M’s comment that Bond ends up in hospital for 6 months. I deduce that Bond probably then registered kills using other weapons and not with his berretta on later assignments. M therefore might have been referring to the last time Bond tried to kill someone with his berretta when he talks about his last assignment. Bond’s comment that he hasn’t missed with it yet does not necessarily mean he has killed people and could be referring to target practice.

Of course trying to explain Barry Nelson’s portrayal of Bond is difficult in line with the other actors. My fan theory speculation is that Bond is shadowing as a CIA agent to bluff Le Chiffre and his lack of calmness in some scenes can be explained due to the fact that he is still a rookie.

 

References in CR

The opening of CR seems to reference the original 1954 from a thematic perspective quite a bit. Firstly, the sequence in the 2006 version is in black and white. I always assumed that the original 1954 was also in black and white but this apparently was not the case. However most people alive today only know the 1954 version in black and white.

In the opening, Dryden goes up in a lift seemingly up to the 6th floor. In the 1954 original, Bond also uses a lift but in this version he never gets to floor 7. I theorise that this could thematically reference that Bond is not a 00 agent in the 1954 version just like the beginning of the Craig version. Bond doesn’t get to the 7th floor in either version as metaphorically speaking he’s not 007 yet in either version.

In Bond’s conversation in the office, Dryden reveals that in order for an agent to get a 00 licence, they first must register two kills. Craig’s Bond does this in the PTS. But this also might be a thematic explanation for Nelson’s Bond as he also gets his first 2 kills in CR 1954 – the bodyguard and Le Chiffre. He therefore also becomes a 00 agent after the mission.

 

Comments

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,363MI6 Agent

    I can't see how Casino Royale 54 was ever in colour? It was a TV show - they only did black and white then, surely.

    I enjoy these threads in the same way I enjoy reading occasional conspiracy theories sometimes - even if they're rubbish I like the thought that's gone into it, and sometimes it might almost get you... Tbf, I think I picked up on a few things in the Casino Royale TV thing that may have popped up in Dr No - I can't recall it now but it seems they must have got hold of a copy to prep.

    Of course, the reference to Bond's Beretta in Dr No comes from the finale of the previous novel, From Russia with Love, where unlike in the film, Bond struggles with Klebb because his gun is stuck and she goes at him with poisoned knitting needles. This hadn't occurred in the Bond film world and the order of the books is reversed, to less chronological mishap than when they reversed YOLT and OHMSS. That said, even ignoring this it's a stretch to imagine that it took eight years or so for M to act after the incident, unless you ditch the idea that CR occurred so many years before Dr No.

    Much of the photography in the early part of Dr No seems to mimic a black and white film, possibly to give it a classic old school look or to make the Jamaica scenes seem more colourful and exotic.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 166MI6 Agent

    This conspiracy theory was the one that kicked off all the others. It was my old partner who started off the whole thing actually. When we were together, she admitted she had never watched a James Bond film so I tried to get her into the series by watching the films in chronological order starting with Casino Royale 1954.

    Once we got onto DN she commented on the scene when M talks about Bond's beretta and Bond ending up in hospital for 6 months. She said "So they're talking about the black and white film then here?" And so that got me into developing these outlandish theories trying to join the dots based on things that are said or referenced in the films.

    Thanks for the info regarding the use of the beretta in the novels. I guessed the beretta reference was more rooted in the novels than anything else.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    You can theorise all you want - keeps us sane, right? - but I'm not struck on this one. Your OHMSS theory had legs. This one is a dwarf [no offense to dwarves, they also have legs...] I can't think of any reason why the Beretta references are in Dr No other than the fact they were in Fleming's original novel. The writers [Maibaum and Harwood] manipulate the scene so it becomes an introduction to the prickly relationship OO7 has with M - note how Bond attempts to better his boss, who seems also to know best - notice how M despite not appearing to see Bond take his old gun from the desk, instinctively knows his agent has done it. It is a very effective scene. Yeh, you can try to meld the movies together, but as you point out, marrying Jimmy Bond and Barry Nelson to Connery, Moore, Craig etc, is almost impossible. For me, CR '54 has always been an oddity in the Bond canon, like CR '67, and not worth a look other than one of curiosity.

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 166MI6 Agent

    I fully admit that the theory here is off the scale in terms of fan fiction theorising but I thought it might be fun to share and maybe (just maybe) there might be somebody here who also might have thought of it.

    I have got a few more theories to share over the next few weeks. Some will certainly be more plausible than others 😅

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 4,002MI6 Agent

    I would like to see a way to tie CardSharp Jimmy Bond into EON continuity, but the only way I can think of is The Codename Theory: MI6 was so impressed by his efforts against Le Chiffre that they borrowed his name for one of their own agents. For a long time, the only version we had (the bonus feature on the "funny version"s dvd) was missing the last minutes, showing Le Chiffre still alive and Jimmy apparently dead, so maybe the codename was in recognition of his brave sacrifice.

    In real life, I doubt anybody involved with making Dr No was even aware there had been a American teleplay back in 1954, and I don't think even Fleming saw it. I always wonder if anybody watching Dr No in the theatre was suddenly reminded of this teleplay theyd seen once eight years ago about a similarly named American agent?

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 166MI6 Agent

    I don't get why Barry Nelson's Bond is always referred to as Jimmy Bond. Sure it is the nickname he uses on the mission but two times in the film he is referred to as James Bond.

    Interesting point you raise about EON's and Fleming's acknowledgement of the original Casino Royale. Maybe Fleming did watch it and decided against selling his other Bond novels in the same way as a result?

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 4,002MI6 Agent

    I would always call the character CardSharp Jimmy Bond to distinguish him from the character played by Connery and his successors. If I really accepted him as the same character I guess I'd call him NelsonBond, to distinguish the actor's take on the character, but theres just too many differences. The best I could do is maybe he's ConneryBond's cousin.


    I've never seen any evidence Fleming saw the teleplay. it was broadcast live once in the States and I don't think it was ever repeated. The kinescope we now all have watched was discovered sometime in the seventies or eighties, I don't think it was being used by the network for repeat broadcasts. this might be a question for @Revelator or @Silhouette Man , did Fleming see it?

    good question about Fleming choosing not to sell his other Bond novels in the same way. Definitely by the time the EON films were made, he was vocal about minor details being changed in the first two films (the migrating landcrabs, and the gypsy girls clothing, i.e. nothing plot related). But in 1954 he might not have felt in any position to expect faithful adaptations, he was just grateful to make a sale. One thing I learned from Pearson's Fleming biography, was Fleming was always intent on getting a film or television deal from the very beginning, there were several failed projects before Dr No, and there was even a radio broadcast of Moonraker that has been lost to history. The comic strips were quite faithful though, so maybe he was in a position to demand accuracy by then (1958 I think)

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,747MI6 Agent
    edited July 2023

    @caractacus potts - I recall a member on one of the Bond forums years ago saying that Fleming never actually saw it but that his agent or publisher did and reported back to Fleming about it over the phone. Fleming was in the UK at the time I think. I recall the member saying that they both had a good laugh about it so they weren't too impressed by the adaptation and the changes made for American TV. I'm not sure what their source was for this but presumably it was mentioned in a book somewhere. It was on one of the Bond forums, probably either on the old CBn or here at AJB as I was a member of both back in the day.

    Like a lot of plays on TV (and radio) in those days it was broadcast live and so apart from the black and white kinescope that was discovered in a hangar somewhere in the 1980s it was never broadcast again at the time. I believe it was actually broadcast live in colour and that it was only recorded on the kinescope in black and white.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 4,002MI6 Agent

    thanks @Silhouette Man !

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,747MI6 Agent

    My pleasure @caractacus potts. I just hope I've remembered all the details correctly!

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
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