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Old 11-25-2002, 06:57 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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As has been pointed out, the early movies were quite close to the novels, though they started to get pretty far afield with You Only Live Twice. The early movies kept playing up the SPECTRE organization, though it only appears in a few of the later Fleming novels.

Spoilers galore follow, so consider yourself warned. Film titles are in italics, novel titles are in quotes:

Dr. No: Very close to novel, though the villian's operation was somewhat altered. No mention of SPECTRE in novel, but it was in the movie.

From Russia With Love: Very close, though the operation in the novel was organized by the Soviet SMERSH, not SPECTRE as in the movie.

Goldfinger: Very close to novel, though the movie improved on the novel by realizing it was easier to nuke America's gold than steal it. The Pussy Galore character in the novel is a definite lesbian, though this element was eliminated in the movie.

Thunderball: Very close to novel, which is appropriate since the novel's premise was originally conceived as a sceen treatment (do an internet search for Kevin McClory for the whole ugly story).

You Only Live Twice: Movie had rockets launched from Japan, trying to trigger WW3. Book had Bond seeking revenge on Blofeld (in Japan) for killing Tracy in the previous book, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Aside from the Japanese setting and a few characters in common, the film is a major departure.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Very close. The character of Tracy Draco is very close, though she plays a more active role in the movie (understandable, since she was played by Diana Rigg). The young women hypnotized into going out and spreading bioweapons were all from the U.K. in the book, while they were international in the movie.

Diamonds are Forever: The diamond smuggling is vaguely portrayed, and the character names of Peter Franks, Tiffany Case, Shady Tree, and Wint and Kidd are kept. Everything in the movie dealing with Blofeld and lasers is pure Hollywood hogwash. The novel is significantly better than the movie.

Live and Let Die: Tenuous connection. The character of Solitaire is in both, but the similarity is vague. There are some elements in the novel that were used in later movies, including the mangling of Felix Leiter (seen in the movie License to Kill) and dragging Bond and a woman across a coral reef so they'd be eaten by sharks (see in the movie For Your Eyes Only).

The Man With the Golden Gun: Aside from the names Scaramanga (and some details of his life story) and Mary Goodnight, no similarity to novel.

The Spy Who Loved Me: the novel by this name is unique among the Fleming books. It's the only one written in the first person, through the eyes of a French-Canadian woman who only meets Bond in the later chapters. Similarity to the movie is nil.

Moonraker: The villian's name in each is Drax. Beyond that, zip.

For Your Eyes Only: Fleming's book by this title was actually a collection of short stories, named "From a View to a Kill" (see movie entry below), "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico" and "The Hildebrand Rarity". This movie was mostly a combination of elements from "For Your Eyes Only" (young bow-and-arrow-wielding woman seeks revenge on man who killed her parents) and "Risico" (two Greek smugglers involve Bond in their violent rivalry). The movie also got the coral-dragging idea from "Live and Let Die" (see above).

Octopussy: Fleming's "novel" was another collection of short stories titled "Octopussy and the Living Daylights," consisting of those two stories, with a third, "The Property of a Lady", added for the paperback edition. The movie combined elements from "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady." In "Octopussy", the title refers to the nickname given to an actual octopus that lives in the coral near the beach home of retired secret service agent Dexter Smythe. Bond goes to Smythe's house to reveal his knowledge of Smythe's criminal actions during WW2, with the idea of letting Smythe kill himself honorably rather than submit to a court-martial. In the movie, "Octopussy" is the nickname of the Maud Adams character, who says she is Smythe's daughter (in the short story, Smythe had no children) and she appreciates that Bond gave him a chance to avoid dishonour. The "Property of a Lady" is the lot name of a Fabergé egg put up for auction. In the short story, the egg is being used as a payoff for a double-agent, while the movie uses it as a payoff to the bad guy.

A View to a Kill: Although the title was from a Fleming short story, the similarity between this lousy movie and that story is nil.

The Living Daylights: The short story by this name featured Bond going head-to-head with a blonde sniper. The rest of the movie, involving Afghanistan and whatnot, is pure Hollywood.

License to Kill: The first movie title not taken from a Fleming work. One element, a rather messily-murdered oceanographer named Milton Krest, is taken from the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity" (see above). Felix Leiter gets mauled in this movie, in a manner taken from the novel "Live and Let Die".

Goldeneye: A Hollywood original, though the film was named after Ian Fleming's house in Jamaica.

As mentioned, The World is Not enough is a Bond family motto, though the connection to James Bond is doubtful. In the novel "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", Bond meets with some heraldry experts with the idea of learning enough to pass as one under the cover name "Hillary Bray". The first expert insists on regaling Bond with the history of a famous English family by that name (with "The World is Not Enough" as a motto and for whom "Bond street" in London is named) but Bond shows scant interest and denies any connection, since his father is Scottish.

Quote:
[Heraldry Expert Griffon Or] reached for another volume that lay open on his desk and that he had obviously prepared for Bond's delectation. "The coat of arms, for instance. Surely that must concern you, be at least of profound interest to your family, to your own children? Yes, here we are. 'Argent on a chevron sable three bezants'." He held up the book so Bond could see. "A bezant is a golden ball, as I am sure you know, Three balls."

Bond commented drily, "That is certainly a valuable bonus" - the irony was lost on Griffon Or - "but I'm afraid I am still not interested. And I have no relatives and no children. Now about this man..."

Griffin Or broke in excitedly, "And this charming motto of the line, "The World is not Enough". You do not wish to have the right to it?"

'It is an excellent motto which I will certainly adopt," said Bond curtly. He looked pointedly at his watch. "Now, I'm afraid we really must get down to business."
The later movies may have a few random Fleming elements here and there, but you'd need a freeze-frame to find some of them.