Roger Moore during the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me, with the camera crew.

It’s a dream for many people to go behind the scenes on a James Bond film. To meet their favourite actors preparing for a cool scene, seeing the director choose an angle with the photographer, or watching the stunt men being set on fire safely, or joining the prop masters working hard to get the gadgets done in time, and so on. There are many books and documentaries that show this type of behind the scenes stuff, so you won’t need to spend whole days watching people moving lights between short snippets of acting.

Going deeper than behind the scenes

But going behind the scenes of…

Sean Connery, making a face during the filming of Goldfinger.

For many, it may seem there are two types of James Bond films.

One type consists of the the entries that focus on the spy stuff, the action or psychology of Bond. We may, in the interest of brevity, call these the serious Bonds.

The other type consists of the entries that instead are fun, adventurous and don’t take themselves too seriously. Here I’ll call them the camp Bonds.

Don’t get too hung up on the labels. I’ll get back to them in a little bit. What’s important is what they mean, and why there are two types of Bond…

Several articles describe how it happened that famous children’s book author Roald Dahl came to write the screenplay for the fifth James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Many of these articles have a passage about a formula set forth by the producers, such as in this quote:

Screendump of article in Vulture about how Roald Dahl wrote You Only Live Twice.
Screendump of article in Vulture about how Roald Dahl wrote You Only Live Twice.
One of the articles that describe the Dahl formula.

“Dahl wrote his adaptation according to a formula he was given by the producers: You include three women as love interests, kill off the first two, and end the movie with Bond in the arms of the third.” [emphasis mine]

But is that claim true? And what does such a formula mean…

Lennart Guldbrandsson

Writer, reader and writing coach. @aliasHannibal on Twitter. Also runs the @BondWriting account on Twitter.

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