Tag Archives: Dr. No

Sean Connery Still Number 1

 

American television and film have long had a love affair with British actors. As the quality of television writing has improved many film level Englishman have made a name for themselves(some for a second time) appearing on small screens across the pond. Actors like Hugh Laurie have used American tv as a stepping stone to American cinema.

The Q scores organization which considers itself “The recognized industry standard for measuring consumer appeal of personalities, characters, lisenced properties, programs and Brands.” Bi- yearly since the 1990’s, QScores.com has released it’s top British actors according to American consumers.

For the third time since 1998 Sir Sean Connery has come out on top. Despite not having made a film in 10 years, and spending the last 8yrs as a tax exile in the Bahamas the 83 year old Scotsman is number one. Connery endeared himself to the American arriving on the scene at the end of the “golden era” of Hollywood.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Connery’s breakout role as James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No lead to a type casting he would spend 25 years trying to escape (despite returning to the role twice). Connery’s second coming began in the early 1990s playing the aging action star and sage adviser in films like The Untouchables. Sean Connery’s last live action film role as Alan Quartermaine in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman was a fitting finale to a fantastic career. Quartermaine is road-weary and tired, ready to pass the torch to the next generation.

“Connery ranks among the top 10 Hollywood actors of all time,” said Henry Shafer of Q Scores. “Awareness of Sean Connery and his appeal was strong across the country and with all ages.”

Sir Anthony Hopkins finished second in this year’s results, followed by Liam Neeson,  David McCallum of  NCIS  and Daniel Day-Lewis. Dame Judi Dench is the highest-placed woman in the list at six, followed by Dame Maggie Smith at seven.

The complete Q scores top 20:

1. Sean Connery
2. Anthony Hopkins
3. Liam Neeson
4. David McCallum
5. Daniel Day-Lewis
6. Judi Dench
7. Maggie Smith
8. Daniel Craig
9. Hugh Laurie
10. James Purefoy
11. Benedict Cumberbatch
12. Robert Carlyle
13. Eamonn Walker
14. Colin Firth
15. Jonny Lee Miller
16. Jane Leeves
17. Kiefer Sutherland
18. Gerard Butler
19. Lucy Punch
20. Daniel Radcliffe

What is your favorite Sean Connery Role? Who do you feel is missing from this list?

 

 

 

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Best of the Best: The Roles of Sean Connery

Sean Connery, star of more than 90 feature films and television programs, has retired from acting. This is not news. It happened almost ten years ago. I miss his work…a lot. From his superstardom of the 60s to the strange sci-fi films of the 80s and his resurgence in the 90s and beyond, Connery, to me, was always awesome. His performance would often outshine the other actors in a movie and often outshine even the movie itself.

With that in mind, I bring to you my top 5 favorite Sean Connery roles.

 

5. Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez – Highlander (1986)

The original Highlander actually made sense. The sequels really muddied the waters, but the original is a pretty good flick. Connery is a Scotsman by birth playing an Egyptian pretending to be a Spaniard. He is immortal, a master swordsman who seeks out other immortals to teach and train them for the final battle known as The Gathering. Connery makes by far the best entrance in film history.

 

 

4. Jim Malone – The Untouchables (1987)

This appearance is by far the best entry in the wise old man/mentor category that marked the twilight of Connery’s career. He teaches a group of accountants to be cops and (spoiler) gets shot up like Sonny Corleone for his trouble. Pity he could not teach Kevin Costner to act, but hey, he is only one man.

 

 

 

 

3. Professor Henry Jones – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

If Indiana Jones had a father, he would be James Bond. However, Connery played the father of our favorite now-Disney-owned adventured much differently than we expected. Though Connery is only 12 years older than Ford, they played father and son flawlessly. My greatest enjoyment comes from watching Connery unsure of how to throw a punch and frightened by guns.

 

 

2. King Arthur – First Knight (1995)

So someone had the bright idea to make a King Arthur movie that removes the magic and mysticism from the story. The focus is placed on a forbidden romance between a vagrant swordsman and the wife of the King. Yeah, it sounds super boring. Wait…what if we cast Sean Connery as King Arthur? Okay, okay I can watch that. This film suffers for a lot of things; casting Connery is not one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

1. James Bond – From Russia With Love (1963)

If you ask someone who their favorite Bond is, and they answer with any name other than Sean Connery, they misunderstood the question. Anyone who reads my work with regularity knows I am a big James Bond fan. It could not have been much of a surprise what was waiting at number one on this list. So why this film over Connery’s other 5 cannon outings as 007? The later films become a tad too gadget driven, and Dr No, this films predecessor,  lays down more back story than character focus. From Russia With Love is the story of a lone warrior trying to prevent WW3 and stay alive in the process. Connery plays the role of everyone’s favorite spy with pure bravado and swagger. A lack of gadget focus gives us the opportunity to see more of Connery’s wit, which is his true contribution to the character.

 

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I Owe it All to James Bond

Aashish950 at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a hero.  Since I was twelve, I have wanted that hero to be James Bond.

James Bond made a reader out of me. The stories held my attention and led me to discover other authors. Watching Dr. No at 13 was the first time I remember saying “that’s not how it happened in the book.”

James Bond has taught me so many wonderful things:

James Bond made me better at research:

At the point I discovered Ian Fleming’s master spy, the material was almost 40 years old.  In order to understand some of the references, I was forced to do some research.  Some old school pre- Internet research! In books!!  The work required an understanding of not just WW2, but the events surrounding it and leading to the Cold War.  Also, I needed an understanding of life in the ’50s and ’60s (in England no less).

James Bond helped me to embrace technology:

The books are hardly as gadget driven as the films, but the gadgets still play a role.  What is the same in both is the protagonist’s complete dislike and distrust of tech.  From the Walther PPK (Bond preferred the Beretta) to the famous jet pack in the film version of Thunderball, Bond always felt the Quartermaster put too much faith in the tools and not enough in the builder.  Still, it is often using the two in conjunction that allows Bond to live to fight another day (or Die Another Day as it were).

James Bond helped me to develop a personal sense of style:

always found his Bond a bit stiff
{By Jeremy from Leuven, Belgium (Ireland – London Trip) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons}

The tux, the cars, the cigarette case and gold lighter, monogrammed shirts, cuff links, etc. made me wonder  if it is the clothes that make the man. I am not sure.  What I can say is James Bond is an individual.  The novels dedicate pages to descriptions of the spy’s clothing and clothiers.  In the films, this gets a little lost in trend sometimes but never for too long.  Bond always returns to what works for him, and that is what he has taught me.  I am hardly the best dressed man in every room, but I always have a shine on my shoes (which are only brown if I am wearing brown… mostly).  I am the best dressed man in most rooms.

James Bond taught me to seek the simplest solutions:

Really, it was James Bond villains that I have to thank for this pearl.  If you intend to solve a problem, be direct. Be direct like a bullet to the head. Not indirect, like a laser-cutting-device attached to a trap door leading to shark tank on top of a volcano filled with swords.  Run straight at the problem guns blazing.

I am not sure I would tell my son to seek his answers in the fiction of a bygone era. I want him to be himself.  But, there are plenty of habits I am glad I did not pick up from Fleming’s work.

Then again, think about the beautiful women, fast cars, and….on second thought, be James Bond, son. Always be James Bond.

 

 

 

 

 

{Featured Image: Caroline Bonarde Ucci [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons}

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