The James Bond Archives

It certainly is Bond season at the moment with the new film coming out. There have been various books in the offing looking at the franchise, or aspects of the franchise. Taschen, known for their “Archive” series haven’t wasted any time in securing the services of Paul Duncan for their latest addition to the series.

Yes it’s all things James Bond with a lovely introduction from the films producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson. There is an addition intro from the main author/editor. The biography of Ian Flemming is delved into which naturally sets out his background as well as through the books that he wrote.

When you get to the real meat of the book you’ll find chapters on each film. Each chapter is on average 20 pages long – each full with some rarely or not seen behind the scene photos, set photography, poster designs (including mock-ups).

The text opens with a brief synopsis, release information, running time and the main cast and crew. You then get various shots of the opening credit sequence for that particular film before the text moves onto divulging the production history. There are various authors on hand who tackle each film and their own comments are interspersed with commentary from various people connected with the films. Often the main cast and crew.

To be honest – anyone who have owned volume on the making of these films or have to checked out the documentaries on the available DVD and Blu-ray discs will know most of what is stated here. This is more of a prestige edition of what you already know. It’s beautifully laid out and will make an impressive coffee table volume but is lacking new background information. If some of the authors had read the books, seen the documentaries and then conducted new interviews then it might hold more worth than simply reiterating what has already been said.

But for anyone not in the know this is a must have edition. Those in the know will want to be a real collector of this material as it is still one of the better books on Bond you are likely to buy. Impressively the edition includes chapters on the 60’s pass at Casino Royale and the rival Bond flick Never Say Never Again featuring Connery again. The book goes right up to the current film, Skyfall which will help keep the book in date for at least a couple of years to come. Recommended, but be sure you know what you want from it as the price is high.

Steven Hurst

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