Saturday 8 December 2012

Taschen's The James Bond Archives:
The Biggest Book In The World

First things first: this book is enormous. When fully open, it's approximately 2.8% the length of the average blue whale. It weighs roughly the same as two newborn babies, and if you want to read it on your lap you must wear armoured trousers to prevent your thighs being crushed while two strapping men must sit either side of you to hold each end while you read. It's even too big for this blog post.
Big book is big

It will come as little surprise to discover that the reason for the book's exaggerated dimensions is that there is a ridiculous amount of stuff in it: a plethora of pictures, an abundance of anecdotes, a deluge of details. If all that is contained within was not stuck to the pages you could happily tip it all out into a hollowed-out volcano and there would still be rivulets of trivia trickling down the side.

Fortunately, the injuries caused by lifting the book are worth it if, like me, you require a daily intake of Bond minutiae to get through the day. Editor Paul Duncan has collated first-hand evidence from a cornucopia of personalities who worked on the James Bond films, and has set it all out over 26 chapters (one per film including bastard children Casino Royale [1967] and Never Say Never Again, plus a 1964 interview with Ian Fleming). He's plundered the EON archives for previously unseen images, telegrams, scripts, notes and storyboards, and there's some amazing stuff in there. Sean Connery's criticisms of an early draft of Goldfinger, a note from Pinewood Medical Services detailing superficial injuries sustained by Roger Moore's right buttock after an accident on the set of The Spy Who Loved Me and a mind-boggling shot of GoldenEye's script supervisor June Randall crushing Pierce Brosnan with her thighs all add to the value of what is, at an RRP of £135, a fairly valuable tome.
If it's considered criticism you're after, look elsewhere (try the BlogalongaBond links over on the right, for example) - this is a factual document of how these films were made. Nevertheless, like 007 himself, it's bloody good at what it does and it looks absolutely stunning. If you owned this and John Cork & Bruce Scivally's equally weighty and excellent James Bond: The Legacy, it's hard to imagine you'd need anything else to provide you with a comprehensive history of 007. Basically, if you're willing to spend over a hundred quid on a Bond fan this Christmas, and he or she is an Olympic weightlifter, look no further than The James Bond Archives.

Sorry, I appear to have written another blog post about James Bond. I'm trying to get help for this condition, honest.