Did the title Q Planes come from Q-Ships?

The movie Q Planes got it’s title post-production.   It is assumed the name was derived from the Q-Ships that were popular in World War I.

These were freighters or steamer designed to look like non-military ships that would be easy targets for German U-boats. The idea was to get the U-boat to surface, and then the Q-ship would reveal its guns and blast away. In the movie Q Planes, no one ever does this with one of the planes. Nor is the term Q Planes ever used in the film!  The title appears to have been thought of more for marketing to UK audiences than for how it relates to the plot.

The British public loved Q-ships in World War I, but they were not terribly effective according to some historians, and even less effective in World War Two. The designation “Q” came from the ships being outfitted in Queensland, Ireland, and it helped promote the idea of “Q” being a designation for taking something ordinary and outfitting it to be a deadly weapon.

This clip lets you see a real Q-Ship.  It’s old footage showing the troops and a Q-ship in action.


A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage: Briefcase

A smart looking piece of luggage – Bond is called into M’s office to get the details of his assignment to Istanbul to recover the Lektor.   We see Q Branch, the quartermaster (Boothroyd), for the first time played by Desmond Llewelyn. In Dr. No, we saw Boothroyd replace Bond’s Beretta with a Walther PPK.   This first scene with Q is one our my favorite scenes in any Bond movie because you just have to love Q!

Admittedly, I  have loved Q played by Llewelyn from this moment forward, and enjoy every moment he is in a scene. He is a special character and here we see him for the first time. Bravo, Desmond!

Gadgets – The Beginning of a Long Trend in Spy Movies –
A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage

It’s M’s office, which we are familiar with now, and it is comfortable.   But, this is where dangerous missions are assigned.  And here, Q is offering up for the first time in a Bond EON Production film, gadgets he can use.  Dr. No did not have many gadgets – a geiger counter was the big one.  Here we see an array of cool things, all in a single briefcase.

As we discover, this briefcase is “standard issue” because we will see another MI6 agent with one later.  So, gadgets will define many, many spy movies to come, not just Bond movies, mostly because of this scene!

And Q does give Bond a rather smart piece of luggage, which, of course, will come in very handy.  An ordinary-looking briefcase, with a retractable knife, a collapsible AR-7 rifle, gold sovereigns.  Also, it has tear gas canister that is set-off by the latches that open the briefcase.

Brilliant!  From here on out, Q is very much in tune with what field agents might need!  And somehow, most of Q’s gadgets that he provides to Bond get used.

This is a smart piece of luggage will come in very handy on the train when Bond and Red Grant get into one of the best train fight scenes ever filmed!


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