Would James Bond Films Work Better as Period Pieces

I saw some speculation about this in another thread, and it got me to thinking. Would the James Bond character - alpha male, flying by the seat of his pants, speaking from power, showing little regard for diplomatic consequences - be a good deal more plausible if kept in the 1950s-60s? It was such a different world then, with the intrigue of the two superpower alliances murdering each other by inches in the Cold War and the growing pool of nonaligned states playing the leviathans of NATO and the Warsaw Pact off of each other in diabolical chess games of statescraft. In this setting, a subtle yet violent agent could negotiate these intricate webs of power, tipping precarious balances toward a desired end–or decidedly away from it if he failed. Today’s international scene is more like a global police state, with large technoapparati responding to culturally imbedded cues. It doesn’t seem nearly as realistic to me that the adventures of one person are so significant in today’s situation.

That, and the traditional Bond attitude toward authority and gender relations would be an interesting thing to see again. It’s certainly worked for retro pieces like Mad Men.

What do you think? If the Bond franchise reboots again, should it do so as a series of period pieces? Or is 007 a timeless character who changes with the times?

This is one thing I didn’t like about the new Casino Royale. It would have been much cooler if it had been set in the 50s

I’ve often thought that the Bond books would make a good series if filmed pretty much as Fleming wrote them – without the added gadgetry, occasional cornball humor, and the updating.

Evidently the Bond folks feel that might be a good approach – the most recent Bond bookDevil May Care – abandoned the “updated Bond” of John Gardner and Raymond Benson and assumed the series started at the end of Fleming’s last published Bond books, and it worked pretty well as a period piece.