James Bond Anachronisms

 Posted by on September 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm  Anachronisms-Continuity-Goofs, Film
Sep 092010

Joey says something to Danny about a James Bond pen to stab Danny in the throat.

The first James Bond film to use a pen as a gadget was 1979’s Moonraker. I know of no gadget pen in any of the novels. (Feel free to correct me.) 1964’s Goldfinger created the notion of James Bond having all kinds of fancy gadgets; it was the third Bond film, prior to that, gadgets were quite subdued. Many Bond purists actually objected to Goldfinger because it made the gadgets more important than the man; but it was the film that launched Bondmania. So, Joey could have meant something like a Bond-style pen and watches from https://www.spotsee.io/. Still kind of a stretch.

Domino, just before James Bond meets her underwater

Danny replies that James Bond met a woman underwater. That would have to be Thunderball (since Honey Ryder, in Dr. No, was on the beach, not underwater). Although Danny could certainly have meant the 1961 novel, the reference really does seem visual, and therefore about the movie, which won’t come out until December 1965.


  23 Responses to “James Bond Anachronisms”

  1. HA! I thought of you when I heard the pen reference. I’m inclined to cut them some slack because of the throwing knife hidden in Bond’s briefcase that he stabbed Grant with in From Russia With Love (1963). The briefcase was certainly a “gadget” albeit a down to earth one (in an episode named after another kind of case). But, as you say, it’s a stretch.

  2. Well, Joey and Danny are a little sloppy – kids these days and all that…

  3. I thought of you too, especially when I couldn’t remember any pens in the 60’s Bonds. Seriously, you are a published Bond expert, they should check these things with you first.

  4. kassy, I gave Matt a copy of my Bond book as a gift, the list of gadgets is right there.

  5. I know that the novels entered heavy public consciousness when one was listed among JFK’s casual reading. The paperbacks were everywhere not long after that, and they were considerably more racy than the movies–so everyone knew who James Bond was, and hip guys (like Stan) would have read them–Ian Fleming was published in Playboy, after all.

    (I bought’em at the drugstore and read ’em in the basement.)

  6. MW was way off base on this one…shame on him especially if you gave him a Bond gift, Deb!?!

    Danny clearly alluded to the film (Thunderball 1965) which was released in the US on 29th Dec 1965, the earliest release was in Japan (9th Dec) where Bondmania was off the charts, hence why the producers fast tracked production of You Only Live Twice to superseed OHMSS (the second book in the Blofeld trilogy)

    In the film Bond “paddles around” the Nassau waters to “bump” into Domino to get to Largo. The book (1961) has Bond meeting Largo and Dominetta Vitali in a restaurant (?). In the book Dr No (1958), Honeychile Ryder emerges naked (bar her knifebelt) from the surf to encounter Bond (closely replicated in the film). I have read all the books and cannot recall Bond stabbing someone with a pen?

    The only film that I recall with a penstabbing is Joe Pesci in Casino (1995)

  7. Steve, Ian Fleming was in fact published in the very issue of Playboy that Stan was seen reading.

    However, still no killer pen in the novels.

    I haven’t re-read Thunderball recently. I actually don’t think he met Domino underwater in the book, just in the movie, but I’d have to check.

  8. If anybody is more particular about facts than Maddicts, it’s the Bondies. And there are so many. This was east to check. Matt, Matt, Matt.

  9. I can’t remember Bond doing this in the books or movies but it wouldn’t have to be a gadget pen. People are always using regular pens to kill people in books and movies whether by stabbing them directly or taking out the ink cartridge and using the hollowed out pen to blow a dart to someone’s neck. In fact I seem to recall the latter in some Bond movie.

    And for some reason I assumed Danny meant Honey Ryder even though they don’t technically meet underwater. It’s such an iconic scene. And the lack of attention to details seems par for the course for him.

  10. Bond used a hollow reed as a blow-dart in Dr. No (1961), not a pen. He had a killer cigarette in You Only Live Twice (1979). The first deadly pen I can find is Moonraker (1979).

  11. PJ, don’t forget Grosse Point Blank.

  12. I’ve made my peace with the growing list of anachronisms. Mad Men takes place in a world very similar to ours, but it is not our world. After all, there was never a Sterling Cooper agency in our world, and Conrad Hilton never did business with them. And it goes from there… They violated my biggest pet peeve this most recent episode with a “555” fake movie-world phone number for Stephanie (actually, they used “KL5” which is the same thing).

  13. Deborah – Seeing as how you gave Matt the book…Maybe – just maybe the reference was added for you. It’s driving you a little crazy huh? Yeah – I’m reaching – but it would be kind of cool to think that might happen.

    Do you know if it’s a hard rule that they have to show the 555 as a prefix? If so, then I think the KL5 is at least an attempt to be a bit period correct without breaking the rules or putting someones real phone number out there.

    Anachronismin general don’t bother me much. I love the discussion though they happen. I am most fascinated with the language inconsistencies.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  14. #11 Deb: Actually it’s “Grosse Pointe Blank” (which takes place at my high school, kinda). 😉

  15. Ah, James Bond. I read all the books in paperback as a 15/16 yr. old and went to the early movies with my cousin. I stopped watching the movies when they had Roger Moore as Bond dressed in a gorilla suit. Can’t remember which movie it was, may have walked out. I actually enjoy the books to this day and have re-read them many times.

    Deb, do you have a copy of “The James Bond Dossier” by Kingsley Amis?
    Copywrited 1965 coincidentally enough. Anyone who is a Bondie should have a copy.

  16. Michael Gladis & pen stabbing on Law & Order!

  17. Never been a James Bond fan. John LeCarre was my kind of spy novel.

    The Bond movies were incredibly sexist; just rampant sexism. All the female characters were sex objects. Even the names they were given were humiliating; wasn’t there someone named Pussy Galore? I guess that’s some pig’s idea of a joke.

  18. My guess is that they were referring to a pen as a generic James Bond like gadget, and not necessarily a specific item from a particular book/movie.

    • RG, my argument would be that in 1965, there weren’t “generic James Bond like gadgets.” There had been only one gadget-laden James Bond movie up until that point, and even then, the gadgets were almost entirely part of his car. The notion that James Bond has amazing gadgets on his person that do crazy things—exploding cigarettes, poison pens, x-ray glasses, laser watches—was a trope that developed gradually, over time. May of 1965 was too early for it.

      Josie, there was indeed a character named Pussy Galore, a strong woman who spent a portion of the movie Goldfinger getting the better of Bond. I find nothing humiliating about her. I’ve field plenty of arguments from feminists who claim that Bond fandom is incompatible with feminism, but I disagree, and there’s a chapter in my book (The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book, if I may toot my own horn) on that very subject.

  19. @13 I’ve heard various over the years (because sometimes real phone numbers still make their way into movies but I believe they have to be “cleared” first) — but the best way to handle it is just to not show or say the whole number.

    Don’s thumb could have been over one digit and all would have been fine without use of an obvious fake.

  20. Not trying to turn this into a Bondie forum, but to correct myself (#6) Bond meets Domino in a tobacconists (How appropriate?)

    #11 Thanks Deb…Yes of course, I never really rated that film?

    #17 Josie – Pussy Galore in the book is a lesbian, former trapeze artist, now runnning her own gang of female (lesbian) cat burglars – The Cement Mixers

    Goldfinger’s respect for Pussy: “Even the big American gangs respect them. She is a remarkable woman”

    Imagine reading that in 1959! She pioneered feminism!!

  21. Maybe Joey was mixing Bond up with Napoleon Solo. Didn’t they show a pen on the TV show that could “homogenize” your brains? I’m going from memory, here; I would have been Sally’s age when I saw it.

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