These are the Bond covers I grew up with in the '80s.
Ian Fleming's work can be underrated by those passionate about other escapist espionage fiction. I subtly make that point in the blindfold test with Lawrence Block.
Not that they are literary masterpieces, of course. But the books are far stranger than the movie franchise.
An interesting new essay, by Chris Ryan for Grantland: Spectre and the Age of Blockbuster Continuity. (H/T Vince Keenan.)
Like many American males, I recently thought it might be enjoyable to watch the Bond movies in order. I gave up because four and five (Thunderball and For Your Eyes Only) are so bad as to be essentially unwatchable.
The most fun about that aborted project was relearning some of the early movie history I knew as a kid but had basically forgotten. Of course, broccoli is a designed vegetable – some kind of cross between kale and cabbage, just like cauliflower is – and Albert Broccoli was the younger son of the Broccoli family responsible for that vegetable's invention. After Broccoli fell in love with the Fleming books, he decided to invest the family fortune. Broccoli acquired the rights to Doctor No, with the option to make the rest of the series, despite not knowing anything about moviemaking!
Amusingly, broccoli was a small factor in a few ways for the franchise in the beginning. Sean Connery was not a fan, and his rather "tough" attitude towards the complimentary bowl of raw broccoli outside of the casting room impressed director Guy Hamilton. And the famous opening gun barrel sequence? Albert Broccoli knew film designer Maurice Binder slightly as a boy, since Binder's father was the first large-scale importer of broccoli into New York.