In the mid-‘70s I had a blind date with Sean Connery. A friend, producer Marty Bregman, called to ask me to meet him at Le Club, a distinguished dinner and dancing establishment. I just had flown back to New York from Paris, running from an engagement to Claude Picasso. Meeting 007 might be good for a devastated heart.
“Carole, can you be at Le Club about 8? Connie and I are having dinner with Sean Connery. I’d like you to meet him.” “Of course, Marty,” I said, suppressing my eagerness at the thought of meeting James Bond in the flesh. When I met him, I was not surprised by his sexuality. He lived up to his reputation as 007.
“Marty has told me a lot about you,” Sean said as he stood to shake my hand. He was taller than I had expected, while his voice sent ripples through my veins. Then he asked me to dance. No question, the most appealing quality to Sean was the timbre of his voice. Daniel Craig’s voice cannot compare.
Now we have another Bond film, but is it the best Bond ever, as some are saying? I think not. Yes, it is good and action-packed so that breathing can become a problem. But while Daniel Craig is a good Bond, it is Javier Bardem as Silva who owns this flick. With his broken nose and blonde wig, he oozes terror even when he smiles.
In the film, MI6, has come under attack by Silva and his people, and his target is the forever charming M, Judi Dench. Bond chases from Istanbul to Shanghai to Macao to London to Scotland eluding and trying to trap Silva who wants to kill M, his former employer. Craig is steady as they go, but I couldn't help wondering what Connery would have brought to the part. His ghost lingers.
The script by Neal Purvis, John Wade and John Logan provides great dialogue, and thanks to direction by Sam Mendes it moves along at a fast pace, though it was a tad long. A wet-behind-the-ears nerd, Ben Winshaw, has replaced the brilliant Q as the gadget master — but for nostalgia buffs an original Aston Martin is along for the ride.
The Bond women do not disappoint. Berenice Marlohe as Severine is an exotic beauty whose fear of Silva is apparent when she trembles while smoking in her opening scene. But Bond seems to prefer Naomi Harris, who plays (spoiler alert!) Miss Moneypenny with deft aplomb. Eve is Bond's assistant, and in an opening sequence filmed in Istanbul she mistakenly shoots him. But we know he will survive. Harris has a spunky wit and twinkle in her eye that makes her a near perfect Lady Bond.
The opening credits disappoint as they are not creative as past Bond openings such as in “Goldfinger.” But the music is skillful and punctuates scenes at the right times — and adds a touch of nostalgia from the old Bond films of yore. But it is Adele's soundtrack of “Skyfall” that makes the opening work and is faintly reminiscent of Shirley Bassey's unforgettable rendition of "Goldfinger.”
The locations are spectacular and filmed with a whiz-bang thriller look and pace. The sequence in Shanghai is particularly beautiful to watch.
As for the title, if you make it to the shoot-‘em-up ending with a blazing cameo by Albert Finney — and I'm certain you will — you will see “Skyfall.”