Screw Connery as Bond: where’s his safari jacket?

ReelScotland 1 December, 2010 2
Screw Connery as Bond: where’s his safari jacket?

Lynne Henderson puts Sir Sean Connery in her sights as she takes a look at his portrayal of the world’s best-known superspy.

Sean Connery is not the greatest Bond.

Now there’s a controversial statement from someone Scottish if ever there was one. Almost worse than saying you hate Irn Bru, haggis is evil, shortbread is rubbish and the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t exist. ¨I have tried, really, but Sean Connery just ain’t the Bond for me. There. Said it.

With Connery’s outing as 007, we have a man once described as displaying a panther-like movement and the look of an ever-ready sexual predator. I don’t know about you, but for me that just brings to mind the image of a sex offender – something I definitely do not want from a James Bond.

He did get to come up against villains in under-sea lairs though, have his Aston Martin fitted with machine guns and kick about on a jet pack whilst grooving along to eardrum-worrying numbers from Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey. Also got his mitts on Kim Basinger and Ursula Andress. Lucky boy. Grabbed Pussy Galore, so he did (I am so sorry).

Sir Sean appears to do the trick for the majority where Jimmy Bond is concerned, so what in the hell is wrong with me? I want a Bond who is basically a walking mass of suave, and Connery never really pulls that off. Too stilted. And I’m sorry – but for me, anyway – there isn’t enough sex appeal.

While I’m all for hardmen, Sean is maybe a little too rough with the ladies. A deal breaker, I’m sure you’ll agree. With regards to the rest of the action, he has the physicality down, and always has a handle on the bad guys, but there seems to be something missing. An extra element that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t see that individuality within the role, the spark brought by some of the others. This could, however, just be a symptom of him being the first version of Ian Fleming’s classic spy that doesn’t really allow for any riffing on the format.

With Roger Moore we had the longest serving member of the Bond franchise. A Bond who dealt in pure sleaze, but also added humour and charm. He faced voodoo nightmares, space stations and atomic bombs while listening to Duran Duran! – bonus points, there. It did all get a little ridiculous, but the man snared Jane Seymour, Britt Ekland and the stunning Barbara Bach.

If Bond were purely about the women, Moore would win hands down. Not sure where those hands would be, mind…

Timothy Dalton took up the challenge of portraying a more realistic Bond, becoming a “Bond on the edge” out for revenge. Didn’t get to try his hand for long. Perhaps lacking in the lady-capturing abilities?

Previously playing another suave-as-all-hell number – Remington Steele – Pierce Brosnan was a perfect fit for a crack at Bond. With eyes that had panties dropping at fifty paces, and some of the sharpest suits known to man, the man dripped suave.

Sean Connery introduces The Man Who Would Be King

Sean Connery introduced The Man Who Would Be King in Edinburgh in June 2010

Lazenby? Well, he had free chocolate going for him at least, and he did manage to slip a ring on the finger of the lovely Diana Rigg – but the less said about him, the better. Cracking theme music though, eh George?

Stepping up the action in a post-Bourne world, Daniel Craig has thrown out the suave in favour of swagger. I’m not so sure of his theme music these days – and he could stand to have a few more one night stands – but with the next Bond film finally set to go, things are on the right track.

I can see the plus points in all of these Bonds, but can’t really be bothered watching when it comes to Connery.

Is it due to my first memories of Bond involving Roger Moore sliding down zips with magnets and working his eyebrow on the ladies? Is it because Sean Connery became etched into my brain at a young age as King Agamemnon and Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez?

By the time Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade came out, I saw Connery as grizzled adventurer, more the go-to man for experience than smooth spy. Maybe it’s more to do with the whole Look at me, I’m the greatest living example of a Scotsman there ever was, but I’ll bugger off out of here as soon as I can for tax-purposes. Yeah, don’t try and squirm your way out of that one. National treasure? Don’t start, mate.

From experience, Sean Connery falls into two categories when you’re from Scotland. You either love him with a fervent passion, and swear blindly he is the greatest Bond known to man – regardless of how great that Daniel Craig fella is – or hate him for loving his homeland from afar. The former probably happy if Bond were played by wee Jimmy Krankie’s dad/husband (cause, you know, he’s Scottish) and the latter enraged by Connery’s twenty quid coffee table tome ˜Being A Scot.’

Mind you, if I’m being totally honest, does it matter? Who really cares about who plays Jimmy-boy when you have pretty ladies and the possibility of well-executed violence?

I know my mother will be dreadfully disappointed in me, but once you have seen Connery in Zardoz there is no going back. If such a thing as mind-bleach existed, I’d need fifty bottles of the stuff to rectify the mess. No Connery Bond can be viewed without the spectre of that orange nappy hovering into view. ¨All cool-factor irreparably damaged.

Note: Shortbread isn’t rubbish, it just comes in tins emblazoned with ill-advised stereotypes, and Nessie DOES exist. I’ve seen the garishly coloured stuffed toys that prove it.

Lynne sells books, but doesn’t read nearly enough of them as she’s too busy watching films.