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‘Bond Girls’: Sexy color-drenched retro-style prints of the ladies of 007

Thunderball
A print of the 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming’s 1961 novel, “Thunderball” by Michael Gillette.
 
These reconceptualized covers done for the 2008 reissue of all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels (including the collection of Fleming’s short stories from 1960, For Your Eyes Only) published by Penguin Books in the 1950s through the 1960s, are about as sweet as eye-candy can get. The punchy, psychedelic candy-colored covers by artist Michael Gillette featured in this post (which were printed in a limited run and signed by Gillette), can be had for $95 bucks a pop over at Gillette’s website. I don’t know about you, but I want them all.
 
The 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming's 1956 novel, Diamonds Are  Forever by Michael Gillette
A print of the 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel, “Diamonds Are Forever.”
 
The 2008 update for the cover of Ian Fleming's 1964 novel, You Only Live Twice by Michael Gillette
A print of the 2008 update for the cover of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel, “You Only Live Twice.”
 
More Bond girls after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.25.2016
09:29 am
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Behind the scenes with James Bond in ‘You Only Live Twice’

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The revolution of the sixties kicked off on October 5th, 1962. This was the day The Beatles released their first single “Love Me Do” and Sean Connery was launched on to the big screen as James Bond in Dr. No. Between these twin poles of movies and music the decade began. By 1967, The Beatles were the most influential band on the planet while Connery was the world’s best known actor, and iconic star of the most successful movie franchise of all time.

During the filming of the fifth James Bond movie You Only LIve Twice journalist and presenter Alan Whicker—best known for his rather snide, tabloid and often condescending reporting—made a documentary examining the success and cultural obsession with Ian Fleming’s super spy, or as he termed it “Bondomania.” Whicker bangs on about sex, sadism, amorality and violence, quizzing Connery, producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and screenwriter Roald Dahl—who disagrees with Whicker’s insinuation, describing Bond as a “tough, rather insensitive fellow who’s very good at his job.”
 
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The Bond format of gadgets, girls and guns was set by the previous two movies Goldfinger and Thunderball. This time Dahl’s screenplay pushed the form to the limit—dumping most of Ian Fleming’s original novel and inventing his own comic book narrative—an action scene on average every five minutes—throwing Bond into unrelenting danger until the final climactic moments.

Dahl considered You Only Live Twice to be “Fleming’s worst book, with no plot in it,” and he therefore filled the movie with his own quirky inventions—rocket gobbling spacecraft, a volcanic island disguised as a mini Cape Canaveral, and so on. I think Dahl’s criticism harsh, as I am on the side who think Fleming’s books are actually superior to the films, as they reveal a conflicted Bond, insecure, violent, remorseful, smoking, drinking and popping pills to keep himself functioning. Fleming gave Bond an emotional narrative—from strong, confident agent to broken, haunted spy obsessing over his own mortality—which the films have generally ignored.

You Only Live Twice was the last Bond novel published in Fleming’s lifetime—he died of a heart attack, aged 56, two months after its appearance—the last novel The Man with the Golden Gun and the story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights were published posthumously. The film was to be Connery’s last Bond until Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The title comes from a haiku Bond writes when he is “reborn” as “Taro Todoroki,” a mute Japanese coal miner, to gain access to Dr. Guntram Shatterhand or rather Ernst Stavros Blofeld’s Garden of Death.

You only live twice:
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face.

 
More behind the scenes of ‘You Only Live Twice,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.29.2015
10:46 am
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Double-O-Heaven: Behind the scenes of 25 James Bond films
12.05.2014
10:41 am
Topics:
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When it all began: ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Sean Connery, Ian Fleming and Harry Saltzman discuss filming ‘Dr. No,’ 1962.
 
Noël Coward told his friend Ian Fleming to get on and “write his bloody book,” as he had been talking about it for too bloody long. Fleming had a good idea of what he wanted to write and why he wanted to do it, but he did not get round to writing his first James Bond novel Casino Royale until 1952. His reasons for writing were complex—he wanted to prove he could do it as his brother was a highly acclaimed travel writer, while his future wife and their close friends were part of a glittering and dreadfully snobbish literary set; and Fleming liked the money being a successful writer might bring, though he did claim he wrote for pleasure and only published for money.

Fleming later rather disingenuously described his books as “the pillow fantasies of an adolescent mind,” which belied the truth that his fictions were well written, stylish and contained the structure most thriller writers would imitate over the succeeding decades. He was an assiduous worker writing 2,000 words a day—a hard discipline he had learned from his time as a journalist, which had also taught him the importance of economy in descriptive writing:

“If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky to write five hundred words a day.”

When Casino Royale was first published in 1953, it was rightly praised by readers and critics alike, with the poet John Betjeman astutely pointing out that Fleming had “discovered the secret of narrative art.” The following year saw the publication of Live and Let Die, then Moonraker in 1955 and Diamonds Are Forever in 1956. After the overwhelming critical success of his first Bond novel, the literati were quick to turn on Fleming and damn his books as pornographic, unhealthy and obsessed with sadomasochism. However, he did have his supporters, key among which were Raymond Chandler, who considered Fleming as a “most forceful and driving” thriller writer, while Noël Coward correctly stated that Fleming’s books would outlive the literary critics and their weighty tomes.

Fleming was never of robust health, and after being mauled by the snobbish reviewers, he decided to put his all into his next book, 1957’s From Russia With Love, setting Bond up with a fateful and near fatal confrontation with SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb and her hired assassin the psychopathic serial killer Red Grant. It was a winning roll of the dice especially once President John F. Kennedy said From Russia With Love was one of his favorite novels, which quickly established Fleming as major writer on both sides of the Atlantic.

With greater success in America, Fleming’s books were soon the source of much consideration from Hollywood—but this proved to be false bonhomie and an excess of hot air. Eventually, film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli formed a company with a former circus performer and intelligence agent, Harry Saltzman, who had bought the rights to all of Fleming’s books (except Casino Royale) called EON—“Everything or Nothing.” The pair decided to film Dr. No and began considering potential actors for the role of Bond. Fleming wanted the likes of Cary Grant or David Niven, but Broccoli and Saltzman held out for a little known Scottish actor called Sean Connery. At first, Fleming was none too happy, but after being told by a close female friend that Connery had “it” he decided to agree on having the former milkman, body builder and coffin polisher star as James Bond.

The success of the Bond films was far greater than either Fleming, Broccoli or Saltzman had considered, spanning six decades and six different actors in the title role—from the first film Dr. No in 1962, to the recent announcement of next year’s release of the 24th official Bond movie Spectre, it is difficult to imagine a time when there won’t be a new James Bond movie on the horizon.

While everyone has their own favorite James Bond—usually the actor they first saw in the role—this selection of stills shows the diverse nature of Bond from 25 different official and unofficial (the comic Casino Royale (1967) and Connery’s reprise in Never Say Never Again) 007 movies and the incredibly durability of Ian Fleming’s creation.
 
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‘Dr. No’ (1962)
 
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‘From Russia With Love’ (1963)
 
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‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
 
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‘Thunderball’ (1965)
 
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‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967)
 
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‘Casino Royale’ (1967)
 
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‘On Her Majesty’s Setvice Service’ (1969)
 
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‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)
 
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‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)
 
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‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ (1974)
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.05.2014
10:41 am
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The first screen James Bond was NOT Sean Connery, it was an American actor named Barry Nelson!


Barry Nelson, the “original” James Bond, seated at left

Although this will probably not come as too much of a surprise to fanatical James Bond fanboys, the very first time 007 was portrayed onscreen it was by an American actor named Barry Nelson! Yep, a Yank James Bond, as seen on a live 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale that was part of a CBS adventure series called Climax!

For the live CBS broadcast, Ian Fleming was paid just $1000 for the rights to his novel. Co-starring with Nelson as the villainous “Le Chiffre” was none other than Peter Lorre, whose typically weasley malevolence is the real reason to watch this (as always, Peter Lorre is great in this role). There’s a “Felix Leiter” character, but he’s the British agent and he’s called “Clarence.”

To add to this topsy-turvy Anglo-American sacrilege, Nelson’s not-so-suave Bond (he’s just terrible and horribly miscast) is referred to as “Jimmy” several times! Jimmy!    (When Casino Royale was made into the 1967 spy movie spoof, Woody Allen’s character, the wimpy nephew of David Niven’s Sir James Bond, was also called “Jimmy Bond.”)

This production was presumed to have been lost since its original 1954 live telecast, until an incomplete version on a kinescope was uncovered by film historian Jim Schoenberger in 1981 and aired as part of a TBS James Bond marathon. Eventually the entire show was located (minus a few seconds of credits) and MGM included it as a DVD extra on their release of the 1967 Casino Royale.

An urban legend persisted for years that following his death scene, Peter Lorre got up an walked to his dressing room, unaware that he was still in the shot, but this was debunked by Snopes.com. (The story had more than a grain of truth in it, this DID actually happen, but it was on a different live televised episode of Climax!)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.04.2014
02:07 pm
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The story behind James Bond and his weapon of choice

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We are in the land of bewhiskered firearms experts, secret agents, and eccentric Majors, where the quality of weapons are considered by their effectiveness to kill, without thought to the consequences of this function. It’s a fictional land, but with much bearing in fact.

Geoffrey Boothroyd liked to read spy novels, and in 1956, he was much taken by the latest thriller from Ian Fleming. But there was something wrong with this novel that featured the dashing Secret Service agent, James Bond, “certain inaccuracies” that made Mr. Boothroyd contact the author, to tell him:

“‘I don’t think Bond was going to last very long if he used a 25 Beretta pistol…

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If we look at the series of James Bond novels, we can see that in the first, Casino Royale, Fleming armed his hero with a .25 calibre Beretta M418. This was a small pocket pistol that had limited stopping power. Bond kept this weapon in a chamois shoulder holster, which sounds overly fashionable (and done so as not ruin the line of his jacket), but it is not practical for a quick draw, as the soft leather catches onto the pistol. This is why holsters are usually made of solid, hard leather, for easy access.

Boothroyd wrote a politely critical letter to Fleming, in which he stated:

I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.

May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?

 
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Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming try out a pistol for James Bond.
 
Ian Fleming was greatly impressed by Boothroyd’s knowledge, and wrote back:

KEMSLEY HOUSE, LONDON, W.C.1.

31st May, 1956

Dear Mr Boothroyd,

I really am most grateful for your splendid letter of May 23rd.

You have entirely convinced me and I propose, perhaps not in the next volume of James Bond’s memoirs but, in the subsequent one, to change his weapons in accordance with your instructions.

Since I am not in the habit of stealing another man’s expertise, I shall ask you in due course to accept remuneration for your most valuable technical aid.

Incidentally, can you suggest where I can see a .38 Airweight in London. Who would have one?

As a matter of interest, how do you come to know so much about these things? I was delighted with the photographs and greatly impressed by them. If ever there is talk of making films of some of James Bond’s stories in due course, I shall suggest to the company concerned that they might like to consult you on some technical aspects. But they may not take my advice, so please do not set too much store by this suggestion.

From the style of your writing it occurs to me that you may have written books or articles on these subjects. Is that so?

Bond has always admitted to me that the .25 Beretta was not a stopping gun, and he places much more reliance on his accuracy with it than in any particular qualities of the gun itself. As you know, one gets used to a gun and it may take some time for him to settle down with the Smith and Wesson. But I think M. should advise him to make a change; as also in the case of the .357 Magnum.

He also agrees to give a fair trial to the Bern Martin holster, but he is inclined to favour something a little more casual and less bulky. The well-worn chamois leather pouch under his left arm has become almost a part of his clothes and he will be loath to make a change though, here again, M. may intervene.

At the present moment Bond is particularly anxious for expertise on the weapons likely to be carried by Russian agents and I wonder if you have any information on this.

As Bond’s biographer I am most anxious to see that he lives as long as possible and I shall be most grateful for any further technical advices you might like me to pass on to him.

Again, with very sincere thanks for your extremely helpful and workmanlike letter.

Yours sincerely

(Signed)

IAN FLEMING

G. Boothroyd, Esq.,
17, Regent Park Square,
Glasgow, S

Indeed, Fleming did take on Mr. Boothroyd’s advice. In the fifth Bond novel, From Russia With Love, the Secret Service agent was greatly imperiled when the silencer on his Beretta snagged on his favorite chamois holster. This was the last novel in which Bond used a Beretta 418. In the subsequent novel, Dr. No, Bond was armed with a Walther PPK.

As a “thank you” to the Glasgow-based firearms expert, Fleming created the character Major Boothroyd, who first appeared in the sixth novel Dr. No as Bond’s service armorer. This character became “Q” in the Bond films, who was first played by Peter Burton in Dr. No, then from the second film, From Russia With Love, onwards, he was played by Desmond Llewelyn, until the actor’s death in 1999. John Cleese then took over the role right up to the arrival of Daniel Craig, where “Q” disappeared from the film series, until Ben Wishaw took up the role in Skyfall (2012).

Boothroyd also helped design the three-quarter trigger guard pistol used on the cover of Fleming’s From Russia With Love. Due to his interest in handguns, Boothroyd gave advice to the police during the murder investigation of American-Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel.

Boothroyd died in October 2001.

During the filming of the third James Bond movie, Goldfinger, at Pinewood Studios, England, in 1963, Sean Connery took time-off to present a brief film on the history of Bond’s weapon of choice.

Connery introduces Geoffrey Boothroyd, who explains the background to his interest in the character, the differences between the Beretta 418, Walther PPK and Boothroyd’s preferred gun, the Magnum 44—Dirty Harry’s favored tool of his trade.
 

 
H/T Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.22.2014
10:14 am
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Michael Caine: Behind the scenes of ‘Funeral in Berlin’

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I always preferred Len Deighton’s anonymous spy to Ian Fleming’s James Bond. There was something too glib and unexciting about Bond, like Superman you knew he could never be defeated, which made it all rather pointless. Whereas Deighton’s spy was fallible, awkward, funny and quite often messed things up.

When it came to the films, it was a more difficult choice. Sean Connery made Bond his own, and has never been equalled. But Michael Caine was equally successful with his interpretation of the Deighton’s insubordinate spy (now named) Harry Palmer in a trilogy of brilliant spy films. Of course, he later nearly blew it all by making two sub-standard Palmer films in the 1990s, the less said about which the better.

Here is Michael Caine with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the second Palmer movie, Funeral in Berlin. The quality of this video is not brilliant, and yes, it does have an irritating text written over it, but there is enough fascinating things going on to make Man on the Wall very watchable.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The true story behind ‘The Mackintosh Man’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.16.2012
08:43 pm
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James Bond and his guns

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An interesting curio from the 1960s explaining the derivation of James Bond’s weapon of choice.

In the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, Ian Fleming armed 007 with a .25 calibre Beretta Jetfire, which he kept in a chamois shoulder holster, so as not ruin the line of his jacket. However, in 1956, a Glasgow-based firearms expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, wrote to Fleming suggesting a Beretta wasn’t necessarily the best gun for a spy:

“I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.

“May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?”

Fleming opted for the Walther PPK, and graciously thanked Boothroyd for his advice by creating the fictional character Major Boothroyd, a service armourer, who first appeared in Dr. No and subsequent Bond novels. Later, Major Boothroyd was identified simply as ‘Q’ in the Bond films, and was played first by Peter Burton, then from the second film onwards, by Desmond Llewelyn, until his death in 1999, when John Cleese took over the role.

In the following clip from 1964, Sean Connery introduces Boothroyd, where he explains the differences between a Beretta, a Walter PPK and a .44 Magnum - better known as Dirty Harry’s favored tool of the trade. A longer version can be viewed here.
 

 
Via Letters of Note
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.08.2011
06:30 pm
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When Raymond Chandler met Ian Fleming

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Philip Marlowe and James Bond are two of the greatest fictional characters of the 20th century, and this is what happened when their authors, Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming met for a BBC radio program in July 1958.

Fleming and Chandler talk about protagonists James Bond and Philip Marlowe in this conversation between two masters of their genre. They discuss heroes and villains, the relationship between author and character and the differences between the English and American thriller. Fleming contrasts the domestic “tea and muffins” school of detective story with the American private eye tradition and Chandler guides Fleming through the modus operandi of a mafia hit while marvelling at the speed with which his fellow author turns out the latest Bond adventure.

Chandler sounds slightly squiffy. Fleming breathless. Even so, it is a moment of literary history, as both men, wary at first, reveal some slender truths about their lives and work.

“…You can write a very lousy, long historical novel full of sex and it can be a best seller and be treated respectfully but a very good thriller writer who writes far far better …there’s no attempt to judge him as a writer.”

“[Philip Marlowe] is always confused… he’s like me.”

 

 

 

 

 
Previously on DM

Driven by Demons: Robert Shaw, James Bond and The Man in the Glass Booth


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.02.2011
06:05 pm
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Driven by Demons: Robert Shaw, James Bond and The Man in the Glass Booth

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Sean Connery once remarked that From Russia With Love was his favourite Bond film, as it depended more on story and character than gadgets and special effects.

This is true but the film also had a great title song, sung by the incomparable Matt Monro, and outstanding performances from Robert Shaw and Lotte Lenya in its favour.

By the time of making From Russia With Love, Lotte Lenya was a celebrated singer and actress, known for her pioneering performances in, husband, Kurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s Mahagonny-Songspiel (1927) and the legendary Threepenny Opera (1928).

In From Russia With Love, Lenya played Rosa Klebb, a sadistic former SMERSH Agent who has joined SPECTRE to become Ernst Blofeld’s No. 3. You can uess what happened to 1 and 2. The name Rosa Klebb was a pun contrived by Bond author Ian Fleming, derived from the Soviet phrase for women’s rights, ‘khleb i rozy’, which is a Russian translation for ‘bread and roses’. Lenya’s perfromance as the sadistic Klebb is one of the most iconic of all Bond villains, with her poisoned tipped dagger, secreted in the toe of her shoe.

Lenya’s Klebb often overshadows Robert Shaw’s underplayed, though equally efficient Donald ‘Red’ Grant. Shaw was a highly talented man whose own personal tragedies (his father a manic depressive and alcoholic committed suicide when Robert was 12) and alcoholism hampered him from rightly claiming his position as one of Britain’s greatest actors.

Shaw established himself through years of TV and theatrical work, most notably his chilling and subtle performance as Aston in Harold Pinter‘s The Caretaker. He went on to throw hand grenades in The Battle of the Bulge (1965), and gave a deservedly Oscar-nominated performance as Henry VIII in A Man For All Seasons (1966). He delivered excellent performances in Young Winston, and, as the mobster Doyle Lonnegan, in The Sting (1973), then gave two of his most iconic roles, the quietly calculating and menacing Mr Blue in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and a scenery chewing Quint in Jaws (1975).

But Shaw’s success as an actor was countered by further personal tragedy when his second wife, Mary Ure, who had followed Shaw into alcoholism, died from an accidental overdose. Ure’s death caused Shaw considerable guilt and despair, and led the actor to become severely depressed and reclusive in his personal life.

Shaw countered this by continuing his career as a respected and award-winning novelist and playwright. His first novel The Hiding Place, was later adapted for the film, Situation Hopeless… But Not Serious (1965) starring Alec Guinness. His next, The Sun Doctor won the Hawthornden Prize.  While for theatre he wrote a trilogy of plays, the centerpiece of which was his most controversial and successful drama, The Man in the Glass Booth (1967).

The Man in the Glass Booth dealt with the issues of identity, guilt and responsibility that owed much to the warped perceptions caused by Shaw’s alcoholism. Undoubtedly personal, the play however is in no way autobiographical, and was inspired by actual events surrounding the kidnapping and trial of Adolf Eichmann.

In Shaw’s version, a man believed to be a rich Jewish industrialist and Holocaust survivor, Arthur Goldman, is exposed as a Nazi war criminal. Goldman is kidnapped from his Manhattan home to stand trial in Israel. Kept in a glass booth to prevent his assassination, Goldman taunts his persecutors and their beliefs, questioning his own and their collective guilt, before symbolically accepting full responsibility for the Holocaust.  At this point it is revealed Goldman has falsified his dental records and is not a Nazi war criminal, but is in fact a Holocaust survivor.

The original theatrical production was directed by Harold Pinter and starred Donald Pleasance in an award-winning performance that launched his Hollywood career.  The play was later made into an Oscar nominated film directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Maximilian Schell. However, Shaw was unhappy with the production and asked for his name to be removed form the credits.

Looking back on the play and film now, one can intuit how much Shaw’s own personal life influenced the creation of one of theatre’s most controversial and tragic figures.
 

 
Bonus clips of Lotte Lenya singing ‘Pirate Jenny’ and Matt Monro after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.01.2010
05:26 pm
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