Just finished reading Roger Moore's autobiography, “My Word Is My Bond.” It occurred to me that an autobiography written by his eyebrow (the one that did all the acting) would have been much more fascinating. It could have told of how it gradually rose through the ranks, climbing Roger’s forehead until it could gaze down at its lowly, pathetic twin, and how the true driving force behind its continuous upward trajectory was the desire to get further and further away from the horrendous safari suits its host insisted on wearing.
Anyway, while Rodge is undeniably a nice bloke – his work for UNICEF over the last 20-odd years is truly commendable – he was, by far, the worst thing that ever happened to James Bond. His insistence on turning Bond into a rubbish comedian will haunt my very soul until I breathe my last. What really scrapes my gums is this sentence from Moore’s book, something he’s trotted out ad nauseum as his defence whenever he’s accused of not taking Bond seriously:
“How can he be a spy, yet walk into any bar in the world and have the bartender recognize (sic) him and serve him his favourite drink? Come on, it’s all a big joke.”
Well, I might be wrong (unlikely), but I can’t think of a single example in any of the Bond films when this happens. Roger Moore has made up a big stinky whopper to excuse his avoidance of anything approaching acting. If Alan Partridge were ever to meet his hero, it would be Moore himself on the receiving end of Partridge’s rant: “Stop getting Bond wrong!!”
There are several other things in the book that made me want to tie Roger to a seatless chair and take a knotted rope to his nethers, including: his insistence on repeatedly referring to his most famous alter ego as “Jimmy Bond”; his tales of staggering arrogance as a young actor in Hollywood; and his recounting of advertising cigarettes on Japanese TV with the explanation: “as opposed as I am to smoking, I’m a bit of a ponce when it comes to earning a few quid.” Quite right. I’m opposed to people shooting each other but if Smith & Wesson chucked me a tenner I’d happily go round telling everyone to buy their guns.
So having vented my not inconsiderably gassy spleen, it’s time for the twist. Not the dance you understand, that would be incongruous and pointless. No, the twist lies in the excellent 1970 film The Man Who Haunted Himself, starring Moore in a dual role as Good Roger and Bad Roger. It’s not just a cracking supernatural mystery and a fantastic document of 1970s London and British filmmaking, but it’s also proof that the man can actually act seriously, despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Which, now that I come to think about it, just makes me even MORE cross that he couldn’t be BOTHERED doing it for Bond! GAAAHHH!! I’M INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE!!! DAMN YOU, MOORE!!!