A little cover montage tribute to mark the 60th anniversary of the publication of the first James Bond story, Casino Royale, on April 13th, 1953.
Panzer Brigade 150 was a specialist unit of the German army in World War 2 formed from English speaking combatants from across all branches of the German armed forces. Several units wore American uniforms and traveled in captured American vehicles (such as the American M3 Half-track in the background in the photo above.) with the aim of infiltrating US positions during the Battle of the Bulge.
According to the novel Moonraker, the man who wold become known as “Hugo Drax” claimed to be a member of this unit operating behind Allied lines when he was injured.
Born in Germany as Graf Hugo von der Drache, but educated in England until the age of 12 he returned to Germany and became a loyal Nazi and eventually a Waffen-SS commando. While a member of German Panzer Division 150, and dressed in uniform of British Signal Corp, he killed a dispatch rider and took his place with aim of infiltrating British units, but was spotted, straffed and wounded by a German fighter plane. Found by British soldiers was taken to the liaison office his squad of German commandos was tasked with blowing up. Injured and disfigured in the explosion, he was assumed to be a British casualty. Taking the chance he reinvented himself as Hugo Drax.
In Ian Fleming’s novel of Thunderball, the USS Manta is erroneously described as a George Washington class nuclear submarine, with a 4,000 ton displacement, a crew of one hundred, and armed with sixteen Polaris nuclear missiles. It is placed at Felix Lieter’s disposal for support during Operation Thunderball. The submarine is called in to action by Lieter and Bond to shadow Emil Largo’s yacht, the Disco Volante when they believe that the atomic weapons stolen by SPECTRE are scheduled to be loaded aboard. A dive crew from the Manta also tackles the SPECTRE dive team in underwater hand-to-hand combat stopping the deployment of one of the atomic bombs.
In reality the USS Manta was a Balao-class submarine of the US Navy. She was launched in 1943, commissioned in 1944 and first saw war service in 1945 (photo above) when she was based at Pearl Harbor. After the war’s end she was decommissioned for three years before being reactivated as a target ship for experimental anti-submarine warfare testing. In 1960 she was assigned to Naval reserve training duties before being finally retired and sunk for use as an aircraft target in 1967.
In Ian Fleming’s novel of “From Russia With Love” the movie poster for the 1953 movie “Niagra” starring Marilyn Monroe and Joesph Cotten covered the billboard that served as one wall of the shack where the Bulgarian hitman Krilencu makes his hide-out. Krilencu’s escape trap door is lined up with Monroe’s mouth. As this scene in the novel is set in Turkey, on the poster the movie title is spelled as NIYAGARA. (A detail that is duplicated in the artwork of the Daily Express comics strip adaption.)
As “Niagra” was produced by 20th century Fox rather than normal Bond distribution company United Artists, in the 1963 movie version of “From Russia With Love” the poster was replaced by one promoting a contemporary UA film “Call Me Bwana,” featuring Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg.
Another milestone reached on THE JAMES BOND LEXICON - Along with all the live action Bond’s we now have all the original Ian Fleming stories (novels and short stories) annotated and written up. - Onward to the continuation novels next …
It’s exactly what it says. Over a thousand James Bond books from around the world. Includes international editions of all official and unofficial authors, as well as the Young Bond and Moneypenny Diaries series, fan-made creations and books and magazines about the Bond novels and films.
Excellent 10 minute video piece from BBC Newsnight’s Stephen Smith as he explores the idea of British power and influence embodied in the character of James Bond and asks why we are so fond of this “old-fashioned, British hero.”