Bond and Blofeld

Bond met Blofeld face-to-face in You Only Live Twice. But in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Blofeld doesn’t recognise him. Yes, both characters were played by different actors; but in the series, Bond is Bond and Blofeld is Blofeld. They should have known each other.

Possible evidence for the “James Bond is a role” theory – it’s a code-name that various different agents have used in succession.

(There was a charming allusion to that theory in a Marvel Comic – made by the “new” Nick Fury!)

Heck, it was jokingly implied in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Lazenby/Bond says “This never happened to the other fellow,” a fourth-wall reference to Sean Connery.

The two movies (You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) are in reverse order compared to the novels:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963 Novel): Bond is chasing Blofeld, who he has never met, after the events of a previous novel, Thunderball. Along the way, he meets Tracy and goes undercover in the Swiss allergy clinic to see if the mysterious proprietor is Blofeld. Tracy is later killed, Blofeld escapes.

You Only Live Twice (1964 Novel): Bond has pretty much fallen apart after Tracy’s death, has blown two recent missions, is on the verge of being discharged when M assigns him to the Japan station. Bond, rather implausibly, finds out that the head of the Japanese Secret Service is fretting about a foreigner who is creating a minor embarrassment for the Japanese government and enlists Bond to take the foreigner out. Bond recognizes the picture of “Guntram Shatterhand” as Blofeld and accepts the mission for personal revenge.

By reversing the order but also wanting to retain elements from the novels (OHMSS is especially accurate to its source, YOLT rather less so), the movies just created a plothole for themselves.

Writing error I guess. They instantly recognize each other in the next film, Diamond Are Forever, although Bond is played by the original actor, and Blofeld is played by a new actor … I mean, the prior ally, I mean, that prior ally died, but still … got better, and regrew his leg. So …

Perhaps they weren’t yet as invested in the lets run this as a series theme.

Unless I’m mistaken, Blofeld knows Bond isn’t the real genealogist immediately the minute he sees him but keeps him around to humor him before capturing him.

The solution is obvious. When the movie was made, people didn’t genuflect to the God of Continuity and didn’t fear the holy wrath of fanwank. It was a different time, when people judged movies on what was on the screen in front of them, and not on a completely different film.

In the movie, yes. He gets some detail of Blofeld’s lineage wrong, but Blofeld strings him along just for the fun of it.

In the book, Bond’s cover is blown by another agent recognizing him during his first interview with Blofeld. Again, he strings Bond along just for kicks.

Going back to the original question and those two specific movies, let’s remember that James Bond had been disguised to pass for Japanese (or for a mixed parentage) so he could live with the Ainu people in YOLT. While the book goes into much greater detail about the process, it’s obvious that some steps were taken that might have rendered him not-so-easily-recognized in their subsequent encounter.

Boy, next you’re gonna want to know how it is that Professor Moriarty can still be alive and committing crimes in The Valley of Fear when we know that Watson first even learned of his existence in The Final Problem, and Moriarty had gone of the edge at Reichenbach Falls at the end of that story, before there was any opportunity for the events of Valley of Fear to take place.

Great villains always come back. And what they can do and what they know is determined by the immediate needs of the story. Blofeld was supposed to die at the end of Diamonds are Forever, but they ran out of money and time, so it was left ambiguous. Then he was supposed to be that bad guy in The Spy Who Loved Me, but they found they didn’t have the rights to the name, so he became Stromberg. Then they killed off a bald bad guy with a white cat at the start of For Your Eyes Only, but you know he wasn’t really dead. even though they’re separate continuities, Blofeld showed up again in Never Say Never Again, and in * S.P.E.C.T.R.E.*. I think they did it just so Christoph Waltz could play him. He’ll be back, just like Moriarty and Lex Luthor and The Joker.

It’s not a matter of Blofeld coming back. The writers can always contrive a way for that to happen. What I’m talking about is that Bond and Blofeld knew each other by sight, and yet Blofeld didn’t recognise Bond.

Well Bond *is *a master spy, after all, and in disguise in both books/movies. It’s not unreasonable that he could keep his identity hidden.

You didn’t quote my next sentence, though:

And Blofeld is a master criminal who would instantly see through any disguise Bond may adopt.

Obviously the writers can write anything. That’s how Blofeld keeps coming back. But it’s hard to say that Blofeld doesn’t recognise Bond in a business suit, just because the last time he saw him, Bond was wearing a kilt. It would be like not recognising Arnold Schwarzenegger because he’s wearing Groucho glasses.