Monday 22 February 2016

Did Blanche Ravalec where brances in the film MOONRAKER?

This blog is dedicated to all the books about James Bond. But since I started a thread about Dolly in the film Moonraker in both The Ian Fleming Foundation and James Bond Enthusiasts on Facebook I feel the need to step out of my comfort zone and write a blog post regarding this.

We all seem to remember Dolly in two different ways in the film Moonraker. I remember her with braces and so do many others. But then there is a hole other gang of fans who remember her without braces. This question has gone on and on on the internet for quite some time and therefore I decided to write an open email to Blanche Ravalec's agents in France and hope that they can contact Blanche and help us sort this out.

You can read my email to Blanche's agents below:

Dear Cyril and Anne,

My name is Stephan Bäckman and I run a blog on the internet devoted to all things book related to James Bond, Agent 007.

You can find the blog here:

But now I need to step away from only blogging about books and make an exception and the reason is the actress Blanche Ravalec that you represent. 

She played Dolly in the James Bond film Moonraker. The love interest of the evil character Jaws. And her character has been the big talk lately amongst James Bond fans because we are divided to how we remember her.

Myself and many with me clearly remember her in the film with Braces (bretelles) others do not and say that she never had braces in the film.

I believe that Eon Productions or MGM/UA have altered the original version of the film and deleted the braces and changed Blanche Ravalec month. The below scene looks like she has something in her mouth before she opens it and the scene plays out like Jaws falls in love with her because he sees the connection to her mouth since he has metal in his moth as well.

Could it be that they changed her mouth to make her look more like she did in all the publicity stills? Or is it as simple that many of us remember incorrectly and that she NEVER where any braces in the film?

It would be fantastic if you as an agent could contact Blanche Ravalec and ask her how the scenes were recorded and if she knows if they have been changed. All of this is a big mystery to the Bond fans and it would be great if it could be solved.

Here is the link to the scene:

I hope to her from you soon and I do thank you for your help in advance.

Yours Sincerely

Stephan Bäckman

If I get an answer from Blanche Ravalec you will read about it here in a future blog post.

Here is a recent photo of Blanche Ravalec. Still as lovely as back in 1977.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Ian Fleming's salary for the first James Bond film

In 1961 Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli formed Danjaq together to produce the first James Bond film. The name Danjaq was the first three letters from their wife's name Dana and Jacqueline.

Harry Saltzman had an option for the James Bond books that was running out and Albert R. Broccoli used his contacts with United Artists to make sure they had the funds to produce the film and a world wide distributor to make the film accessible to cinema owners.

Ian Fleming had tried to get his creation sold to a film or television producer for a long time and the only thing he had managed to sell was the first story Casino Royale that had been made into a one hour live TV broadcasting in the US in 1954. He was in other words also keen on getting a contract signed.
Fleming also had problems with a lawsuit at the time and was accused of stealing the story for his latest book Thunderball and a very costly trial was on its way. Therefore the story Thunderball were not able to be included in the contract either. 

On June 9, 1961 Flemings US agent created a contract to sell the rights to use his creation on film. The contract was quite simple and consisted of three parts.

1. Ian Fleming received $50,000 as a signing fee for the option. 

2. When the film went into production Ian Fleming received another $100 000 for the film rights. 

3. Ian Fleming would receive 5% of the producers profits.

Now it is that third rule that made me write this blog post. I am truly curious to know if the Ian Fleming estate still receives 5% from each Bond film being made or if they at least receive 5%  of a the incomes Dr. No makes every year from broadcasting, VHS, DVD and Bluray sales. In that case the Fleming estate is still in truly great shape.
Nowadays when you draw up these types of contracts you usually write that "all upcoming release formats are included" making sure to follow the trends and not being left out.

Does anybody know if the Ian Fleming estate still makes profit from the James Bond films? Have they ever comment on this?

Below is a press photo created to look like Ian Fleming is signing the contract for his creation. In real life this was signed long before Sean Connery was chosen to play the lead.

Thursday 18 February 2016

VARGR Issue 4 is here

Dynamite Entertainments forth issue of the James Bond adventure VARGR is now available to buy in comic shops.
The story is written by Warren Ellis and has Jason Masters as the artist. This is the forth out of six numbers to be released.

June 21 this year a hardback version of the complete VARGR story will be released and later this year a new James Bond story by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters will be released.

I am waiting to read the story until I have all six comics at home.

Below you can see the cover art for issue 4. Issue 5 will be released sometime in March, 2016.

Look here to se all covers for issue 1.
Look here to se all covers for issue 2.
Look here to se all covers for issue 3.

To order the hardback edition from Amazon please click below:

Tuesday 16 February 2016

I almost had a THE SPY WHO LOVED ME first edition

I had four copies of the Jonathan Cape edition of the Ian Fleming novel THE SPY WHO LOVED ME but no actual first edition.

I also had Jon Gilbert fantastic book Ian Fleming: The Bibliography. A book in which you can read about all the Fleming releases in both Great Britain and America.

There I could find an exact documentation of the dust jacket for a true first edition and I was wondering if my fifth impression from 1963 that I bought for £12.50 a long time ago might have a dust jacket that looked exactly as the true first edition dust jacket.

This is what a true first edition dust jacket should have according to The Bibliography:

1. The rear panel prints opinions of Thunderball entitled "Verdicts of THE TIMES!, being seven reviews from newspapers whit the word "Times" in their title. CHECK!

2. Front flap text (aligned left) VIVIENNE MICHEL writes:...nineteen lines. After that it should say Jacket design by Richard Chooping, Dagger by Wilkinson Swords Ltd, (c) Ian Fleming 1962. It should also be priced at lower corner. CHECK!
3. The rear flap is entirely blank.

4. All four corners are clipped by Jonathan Cape. CHECK!
Everything looked great so I decided to buy a Cape first edition of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and I got it out of Ebay for £52. A few days later I received it.
But then it hit me what I have read in The life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson. Fleming often complained that he did so little profit on his books. He always felt they were to cheap for the reader so the price often increased during this time.

Sadly I could not be more correct. After some investigation on the matter I found that a true first edition of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME cost 15s and a fifth edition one year later cost 16s. And I have a dust jacket that reads 16s. So I guess the hunt goes on for an affordable true first edition of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. So close but no cigar.

If you are also hunting for a First edition print of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME dont be cheated by a seller that says that their book is price clipped. Make sure that it says 15s. It would be so easy for me to price clip my book and make it look like a first edition.

PS. Today I have updated my sales page with an 1968 Airfix construction kit. It is being offered here!

Thursday 11 February 2016

The one time James Bond went to Sweden

Many of the worlds James Bond fans often get a visit from 007 either in the novels or the films. If you are British then you know that James Bond is your guy, doing all the dirty work for your queen and country.

If you are Swedish, like me, then you do not have that connection. James Bond has never gone to Sweden in any film and probably never will. You see the films only take place in countries and cities that MGM and EON Productions can benefit from. Countries with big amount of inhabitants that can lead to big box office sales when the film is released. A clear example of this is the car chase in SPECTRE that was set in Rom and the pre title sequence for the same film set in Mexico city.

No in Sweden there only live 10 million people so I am (sadly) quite certain that a Bond film will never take place here.

But 007 has been to Sweden once in the books. It was actually his mission here in Stockholm, a few meters from my day job in Old Town that Ian Fleming decided that James Bond should assassin his second victim. A mission that would give him his so famous double 0 status.

Ian Fleming tells the short story in the first novel Casino Royale on page 163.

"The next time in Stockholm wasn't so pretty. I had to kill a Norwegian who was doubling against us for the Germans. He'd managed to get two of our men captured - probably bumped off for all I know. For various reasons it had to be an absolutely silent job. I chose the bedroom of his flat and a knife. And well, he just didn't die very quickly
For those two jobs I was awarded a Double 0 number in the Service".

And that is it. That is the only time James Bond has been in Sweden. The above episode in Stockholm was later picked up in John Pearson's excellent James Bond book called James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007. In that book the assassination by James Bond in Old Town, Stockholm, is a hole chapter. The only problem is that Pearson writes that Bond goes in to a bakery and buys a peace of a Smorgasbord. The problem is that a Smorgasbord is nothing you can buy a peace of. A smorgasbord is a table full a food that you can choose from. Just like a buffet.

In the 1980 when John Garner started to write the James Bond novels he blessed 007 with a new car. A Swedish SAAB 900 TURBO. But that's another blog post later on. 

A Swedish Smorgasbord

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Anthony Horowitz has seen the paperback

As a James Bond book collector it is hard for me to wait to see the paperback cover design for TRIGGER MORTIS until it will be released on May 19 2016.

So I decided to ask Anthony Horowitz knowing that he has answered my questions before and the answer I got back makes me think we will be in for a treat (positive thinking).

have you seen the paperback version of yet? Different coverdesign?

Yes. I like it very much.

Since I work in the film industry during the day I will try to get in contact with Orion Publishing and try to persuade them to let this blog have a 24 hour world exclusive on the cover design for Trigger Mortis. I do know that it is boldly to try and make this happen but this blog has only been around since October last year and thanks to you, the readers and fans of James Bond, it has already past 14 500 page impressions. In the movie industry we work like that all the time giving one site exclusive content for 24 hours. Both parties benefit from it.

Lets hope for the best. I am so anxious to show the fans the cover as soon as possible.

If you have not bought TRIGGER MORTIS on Hardback yet you can now do it for as little as £7 by clicking the link below.

Sunday 7 February 2016

It is burdensome to be a book collector

It is not always fun and games to collect books. Once in a wile I begin to ask myself what I am actually buying and why. I see myself often as an insane collector.

A sane James Bond fan would buy the James Bond books as cheaply as he can. Maybe an old used series of hard back versions (not first editions) that he could read over and over again when he felt the need.

But as a James Bond book collector. I must try to find the first edition and if I have it I will buy a new one if it is in better condition. I will also buy the same book over and over again if I am attracted to the cover design. As I have written before, I have over 30 versions of Flemings first novel Casino Royale. 

Below I can show you my latest catch and then you can decide if I am sane or insane.

When I was in London in December I talked to a book dealer who had many James Bond books and was offered NO DEALS MR.BOND in hardback in great condition for £20. I bought it right away along with a first edition of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.
NO DEALS MR. BOND was the only John Gardner first edition I was missing but I was so happy that day that I did not notice that the book I actually bought was a second printing book club edition instead of a true first edition.

The differences between these two books are minimum. It is the logo on the spine (as you can see above) and the first edition have the price of £10:95 on the dust jacket and the book club version has no price.

The true differences is actually on only one of the pages. It is the page for the book publisher stating that this is a book club edition with its second printing.

Otherwise the book looks absolutely the same as the first edition.

But I was still not happy. I wanted a true first edition and as the old man said "Good things comes to those who wait".

The other week I finally found a true first edition on Ebay and I bought it for as little as  £7.58. A true bargain even cheaper then it was when it was released. I would easily have paid £40 for it.

No what is your verdict? Am I sane or insane? What do you collect?

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Added to my collection: Did you know that this is a James Bond car?

Most people on earth would say that the true James Bond car is the Aston Martin DB5. Dave Worrall even wrote a book about that car calling it The most famous car in the world. And I can agree that the Aston Martin is THE James Bond car to the world. But you must have read the books to learn that Ian Flemings James Bond drove a hole other car in the first novels. The first car he drew was not a car from the Quartermaster. It was his own car. And he used it for the first time in the first novel called Casino Royale while going to France.

So lets go to page 44 in the novel Casino Royale and see what it says:

"Bond's car was his only personal hobby. One of the last of the 4 1/2-litre Bentleys with the supercharger by Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 and had kept it in careful storage through the war. It was still serviced every year and, in London, A former Bentley mechanic, who worked in a garage near Bond's Chelsea flat, tended it with jealous care. 
Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. It was a battleship-grey convertible coupé".

It seems like green was the main original colour for this car because when you Google the car only green cars appear. Maybe Bonds Battleship-grey was even offered at the time?

Since this is the first James Bond car I had to have it in my collection. Therefore I  bought the Franklin Mint version on Ebay and I paid £33 for it.
As you can see on the below pictures the Franklin Mint version is green as well. But maybe I will have it repainted in the future to be be more like Bond's car.

So what does a car like the Bentley 4 1/2 Litre with a supercharger cost today? Around 2 million pounds is the correct answer.

In 1987 Little Lead Soldiers produced The James Bond Bentley car set in a limited edition of a 1000. That car was green as well and seems to be some sort of miss mash of The Bentley from the books and the Bentley from the film From Russia With Love.

The book on the below pictures are a rare Swedish First edition of Casino Royale. The LIFE Magazine picture is Ian Fleming sitting in a Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Supercharger.

In the 2006 film version of Casino Royale James Bond drives an Aston Martin in a car chase borrowed from the novel with the same title. The bad guys in this seen drives a Bentley.

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