Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Death of Roger Moore, Saint and Secret Agent

I became quite addicted to the Saint books while at school. Written by Leslie Charteris, the books featured Simon Templar as a swashbuckling Robin Hood style figure.

I was not the only one. Brother David found himself in a minor degree of trouble when he and friend Simon tried to open bank accounts at the local branch of the Bank of NSW in the name of Simon Templar and Sebastian Toombs respectively. The manager recognised the boys and immediately rang our father. Spoilsport!

Much later when we moved back to Armidale just before eldest's birth, some of David's more adventurous kit was still there, including the rope ladder he constructed to be able to be able to escape from the upstairs attic window, avoiding the narrow, creaky stairs down.  The girls were much attracted to this!

I was reminded of all this because of the death of Roger Moore who played The Saint in the TV series before going on to play James Bond.

Roger Moore was the epitome of suave and debonair.He was also quite a funny man who did not take himself too seriously. This BBC quote piece captures some of that. On Bond, for example:
The Bond situations to me are so ridiculous, so outrageous. I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet everybody knows he's a spy. Every bartender in the world offers him martinis which are shaken and not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognized everywhere he goes? It's outrageous
Quite, and that's why the series has survived so well, I think. At a time when there is so much apparent seriousness in the world (news of Roger Moore's death coincided with news of the Manchester bombing), its nice to have a degree of the outrageous.    


Anonymous said...
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Jim Belshaw said...

From kvd - deleted in error:

I suppose Moore was eye candy for some, but I thought he was the worst of the Bonds. He carried his Simon Templar persona into Bond, and the franchise was very lucky to survive imo.

Your quote puts it very well - he treated the role as a lark, when in fact (for its times) it was always a very dark series of books. The insistence on "shaken not stirred" goes to the heart of a man out of his comfort zone, insisting on 'the little things' which he could control - and the request was always made by Bond, not 'offered all over the world' by bartenders.

I wonder if Moore ever actually read the books? Perhaps the sadism and misogyny, mixed with humor, were considered a little below him? I'd rank him double-O-3-&-5-8ths


Jim Belshaw said...

Evening, kvd. I'm sorry that I deleted your comment. Fortunately I had it in email so was able to restore by cut and paste.

I can see where you are coming from. As you will have seen from the Anne of Green Gables post, I can get cranky where new productions go too far outside my perceptions of favourite books. I didn't have that reaction with Bond.

I read the books before I saw the films. The First Connery films weren't far removed from the books, but then the franchise took on a life of its own. Moore's films represented the best and worst of the film genre. I thought that this Sky News piece had some interesting comparisons -

Anonymous said...

I'll read your link after I post this.

Perhaps my first comment comes over as a little tetchy - if so, apologies to Sir Roger's family. He lived (as far as I have read) a gracious life, and supported many good causes - after he skipped England's extortionate tax regime :) He had a few good film, particularly later in life - ffolkes for one, and (won't look it up) a duo with Michael Caine which was fun.

But my comment was more directed to his 'Bondness' - which I still regard as miscasting. Like you Jim with your AOGG, I expect my opinion is heavily influenced by the fact that I've read each of the (real i.e. Fleming) Bond books at least half a dozen times - and some more than that.

But my mum loved him as The Saint - and why wouldn't she? - so I guess it's more appropriate to simply say R.I.P.