Following a couple of articles that broached the more serious side of Bond fandom (the recent passing of the wonderful Sir Roger Moore and the delicate appraisal of the ‘Bond Girl’), it feels à propos to engage in some frivolities.
Fans express and relish their appreciation for what they hold dear through many means. Generally, simply contemplating about their favourite subject will satisfy their lust. In many cases however, supporters of a property tend to expend a certain amount of liquid in order to possess articles, large or small, related to their obsession. By holding something, or in other cases, showing off a possession, one feels more deeply invested in the hobby, so to speak. Welcome, readers, to the world of collecting, 007 style.
I’m sure some of you have watched You Tube videos in which true collector’s filmed entire rooms replete with Bond paraphernalia, gizmos and gadgets, expensive or otherwise, adorning walls, desks, libraries, and so on. Say what one will about such individuals, but no one can claim they lack dedication, perhaps even a little too much dedication. Nevertheless, one feels either a tiny tickle of joy or exaltation when getting their mittens on official, and sometimes unofficial, pieces of James Bond memorabilia. While I have not given in to what can easily be considered the utter madness of filling entire rooms with tie-in material, I wilfully admit to having dabbled in online as well as on location hunting escapades for ‘stuff’ to make me feel good about being a 00 Aficionado.
It begins, understandably, with the films themselves. Ironically enough, despite being a rather big fan as a child and young teenager, my family never owned VHS copies of the movies. We certainly rented them a few times, but never gave in to purchasing. In fact, as crazy it may sound, I only started purchasing the series on home video in the autumn of 2006 when Casino Royale stormed into theatres. At that time, MGM released the Ultimate Edition DVDs. Collected in a somewhat schizophrenic quartet of box sets, it was an opportunity to relive adventures I honestly had not seen in a few years. From then came the infuriatingly incomplete Blu-ray releases from late 2008 and early 2009, when MGM was experience rocky financial waters. They didn’t even release the full series back then, only about a dozen of the films! Thankfully a course correction occurred in 2012 for the franchise’s 50th anniversary with the beautiful looking if slightly cumbersome Bond 50 Blu-ray set. 2015 saw some very eye catching exclusive steelbook Blu-ray cases sold at Best Buy in North American and various retailers internationally. Finally, last New Year’s the digital plunge via Itunes beckoned. Long live streaming Roger Moore audio commentaries wherever one travels.
The film I’ve purchase most is certainly CR. The original DVD release, the Collector’s Edition release, the original Blu-ray, then the collector’s edition Blu-ray, the disc contained in the Bond 50 set, the disc in the Best Buy steelbook, and finally the Itunes version. 007 times, fancy that.
While film props, be they screen used or professionally made replicas, are not quite my thing, the key admission is that my reticence towards purchasing them is more financially driven than from a lack of interest. Who wouldn’t want a Scaramanga Golden Gun replica shining in the sunlight in one’s living room? Alas, said toys are reserved for the big boys and girls who have given themselves to heavy spending on Bond, and that would equate to folly with my decent but unspectacular budgetary capabilities.
Nay, my expenditures are generally on more affordable but no less interesting and stimulating pieces of memorabilia. Those that have been reading the blog since its inception have witnessed me quote Taschen’s The James Bond Archives and Some Kind of Hero from authors Chowdhury and Field enough times to ascertain that I do very much enjoy reading books about the making of the films. The Bond on Set photography collections from DAD through SF are marvellous, as is the differently titled but conceptually identical Blood, Seat, and Bond: Behind the Scenes of Spectre. John Cork’s James Bond: The Legacy released to celebrate the franchise’s 40th anniversary, is probably my personal favourite of the bunch for how it brilliantly contextualizes each film from DN through DAD. I’ve recently begun purchasing from independent sellers on Amazon the vintage tie-in ‘making of’ books from some of the later 1980s and 1990s films. I have those for GE and TWINE, and that for LTK has shipped as I type these very words. By the by, those books are amazingly cheap if one knows where to lurk online.
Among all the physical products companies produce to satisfy fan interest and receive the latter’s hard-earned dollars, film posters are at the apex. It doesn’t even have to be for Bond, a well crafted theatrical one-sheet or teaser poster will always tickle my fancy (yes, among the books in my library is James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters). While posters are not, as a rule, as expensive as film props, one must beware: when financial constraints present themselves, be wise by opting for reprints rather than originals. Having perused and purchased through Ebay, I have sat agape at some price tags on one-sheets claiming to be originals. Might as well purchase a house while I’m at it. Posters are also among the trickier collections to amass considering the sheer diversity. Original English language, foreign language, A version, B version, C version, vertical posters, horizontal banners, teasers, different English language spelling between international and American version (I actually own an American License to Kill teaser) etc. Were someone to successfully collect most 007 movie posters in existence, they would need to rent out Fort Knox for enough space to safe keep.
I’d love to know about of your collections, readers. Feel free to share some words and pictures in the comments section below!