Raising audience expectations in three James Bond film posters introducing new James Bonds: Dr No (1962); Live and Let Die (1973) and Casino Royale (2006).
Ian Fleming, stated "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure - an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.” This is ironic because his average name does not correspond to his action packed, romantic, good looking character. Yet, he is an icon in British Film and is the most recognised name in film worldwide because the film series is the most successful. James Bond has been a household name and remains a huge influence within the action genre, almost becoming a genre in its own right across the world. All the music, vehicles, gadgets, girls and sophisticated locations add to the action, thrill and intensity of the film. The audience wants to identify with the hero and in a way, the Bond films have allowed the audience to be involved with him and the plot through conspiratorial humour. The audience get to unravel the case alongside Bond – acting as a detective. In a very real sense the audience partnered Bond in his adventures as he made jokes at the expense of his enemies or the very situations in which he found himself. His clever remarks are aimed directly at the audience.
“The Bond movies have achieved a cult status partly because of the fact that 007 has never been politically correct. He uses force, violence and kills in cold blood in the name of his fatherland. He makes love to a lot of beautiful women. Because he is a man, only a few spectators realise that, besides numerous non-professional affairs, he often prostitutes himself in the service of Her Majesty, the Queen. Nobody would trust him with their wife. His misogyny is also not politically correct. A lot of men - and women - like this macho attitude. Furthermore, Bond is sophisticated, fashionable and extravagant.” This quote summarises James Bond’s character, it explains his personality and how the audience might perceive him. This attitude, behaviour and traits, is the configuration of Bond in every movie, despite who plays him.
The film posters of all the Bond films have been powerful and dramatic. They build up audiences expectations and make them want to watch the film. The first Bond Film, Dr No is no exception to this. Being the first, this had to be insightful and interesting. It had to draw the audience’s attention to the poster, it had to make the audiences who have read the books, want to see they had been interpreted into a film. ‘Dr No’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Casino Royale’ all use common conventions in the film posters. They all represent glamour, tension, violence and sexuality. Each has the iconic gun logo of ‘007’ which connotes to the film series and James Bond himself. 007 is James Bonds secret agent number, the ‘00’ means ‘licence to kill’. The logo is authoritative and immediately suggests violence from the image of the gun. The posters include seductive, attractive women, wearing little clothing - reinforcing his playboy image. Bond dresses in a sophisticated manner, wearing a suit and white shirt and holding a gun which reinforces the idea that the film will contain violent behaviour, guns and fighting. He holds the gun in a relaxed approach, as if he is confident, has poise and holds supremacy.
The advertising campaign for Dr. No capitalised on the popularity of Ian Fleming’s source novel, as well as elements of glamour, intrigue and sexuality. Mitchell Hooks painted the iconic image of Sean Connery as Bond, with a smoking pistol in one hand and a cigarette in the other. This reinforces the fact that he is relaxed and paradoxically ready to kill - he is happy to do so. By reading his facial expression he looks confident and as if he knows how to charm...
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