No Time To Die is now scheduled for a November 2020 release, after the April 2020 delay due to the worldwide pandemic.  

Plenty of speculation of what will happen in the film – we have about 6 podcasts out on No Time To Die already!  The biggest question is:  What will happen to Bond?   Will he survive?  Die? Be Dying?  Will someone big, who we are used to, die?

James Bond has been around since Ian Fleming first published "Casino Royale" in 1953.   He has been on television with Barry Nelson playing an American version of Jimmy Bond, in the 1954 production of Casino Royale.  The first actor to play Bond on screen.   Then Eon Productions took over striking a deal with Fleming to produce James Bond movies, and Dr. No was the first one they produced, released in 1962. It was an immediate hit.    About $1 million to produce, and it grossed over $59 million!

Eon continued to produce James Bond movies, and No Time To Die will be their 25th film in the franchise. Over the decades, they grossed at the box office over $7 billion.  And then there are licensing fees, DVD and Blue Ray sales and more that bring in revenue.

The formula, although changed gradually over the decades, has worked well for Eon Productions.   It has made them a lot of money, has gained them tons of recognition around the world, and continues to be a juggernaut.   Skyfall (2012), their 23rd movie, grossed over $1 billion at the box office.   And Spectre, in 2015, grossed over $878 million dollars.   So, this franchise is strong and continues to grow in popularity and in making money.   Which is a good thing.

So, now we have No Time to Die, the 25th entry, scheduled.   And speculations abound.  Many serious reports that Bond will survive, and others that he will die.   Now, if you are Eon Productions, which has successfully tweaked Bond’s character over the decades, reducing his misogynist tendencies and womanizing, and make him more in tune with the brave new world.  

And, as of the last film, Spectre (not one of the fans' favorite films in general), they still grossed over $879 million. Not bad, right?

 

You're in a meeting with Eon.  Where should the franchise head?

So, now suppose you are sitting in one of the Eon meetings where they are deciding what to do next.   Are you raising your hand saying, “I think what is best for the business is if we kill off Bond in our next release?”

Well, if not you, who?  Danny Boyle?  And what is the argument?

“I think in Bond 25, we should kill off Bond and start afresh with a new 007 – perhaps a woman.   It would fit the social narrative of our cultures now, and we can gain a large part of the female audience that we lack so much now.   The male audience will continue to come to see the “Bond” movies because they are used to it and will want to see how the new 007 develops. We can merchandise lots of clothing and other items around the new 007 who is female.   We won’t lose out massive Bond audience if we do this right.”

What happens if you're wrong?

Well.   What if you DO lose your audience – your multi-billion-dollar business might be competing with Charlies’ Angels instead of dominating the spy movie world.   What happens if the new 007 is NOT accepted?  IF people want Ian Fleming’s Bond still around – after all, THAT is the whole basis of the James Bond franchise – the original Ian Fleming manuscripts.

 Yes – James Bond has changed over the decades as we have said. He is becoming more of a good social citizen.   But we must remember, a spy by nature is two-faced.   When we talked to Roberto Schaefer, Director of Photography for Quantum of Solace, he said as much.   A spy is something else in the known world and an undercover assassin in the dark underworld.   So, how much do we want him to change IN the dark underworld where his business takes him? Do we want a completely different spy? A nicer spy in this dark world?  

Then what?

Basically, what else do we demand to be changed in the character of James Bond?   Let’s make a list.

  1. He is still too much a misogynist.  So, we must get rid of that.
  2. He still does not have enough respect for women.  So, we must change that
  3. He has been a cold-hearted killer.   Shooting and killing people who are unarmed, like Professor Dent on Dr. No.  We can’t have that.
  4. Bond knows how to do everything.  He can fly any craft, drive any vehicle, get out of any jam, disarm bombs – is anyone THAT good?  He needs to be more realistic. 
  5. And on what an agent makes, how can Bond afford the best clothes, the best food and drink, the best of everything?  MI6 isn’t paying for all that stuff, are they? Unrealistic.   Need a more grounded agent – grounded in the real world.

And if we change all of this in Bond, no one will accept this new iteration of Bond.   So, maybe we switch to a whole new spy.  A female “Bond-like” character.

This is all possible. With the delay of No Time to Die, we have more time to speculate. 

Our thoughts

Now, if it were SpyMovieNavigator making this decision, we would do one of two things.

Leave Bond alone.  People for decades have been loving James Bond in the movies, so leave him alone. Sure, tweak some things as you have done in the past.   The faithful audience can accept that people, even spies, change over time.    And James Bond in the movies, HAS changed over time, and the last couple of Bond movies were the highest-grossing box office Bond films ever.   So, there is plenty of reason to stay the course. If you are going to introduce another MI6 agent to take Bond’s place - a complete replacement – then do it as an experiment.  Do NOT kill off Bond.  Ian Fleming left us hanging at the end of his novel, "From Russia With Love", not knowing if Bond would survive the poison unleashed upon him by Klebb.   In No Time to Die, do a similar thing then, if you must.  Leave us hanging.

If you KILL off Bond, and the new agent replacement for 007 is NOT accepted, what do you do?   Now, if this were science fiction, you have no problem.   Because no one ever dies in science fiction.  You can write anyone back into the next script. 

But this is not science fiction.

Where have we seen this before?

But wait.   Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did it with Sherlock Holmes!  Sherlock Holmes died in "The Adventure of the Final Problem", after falling off Reichenbach Falls.  Sherlock Holmes.  Dead.   And fans did not like it!  They were outraged!

So, after pressure from his publisher and the public, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “brought back” Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of the Baskervilles", which was a prequel to Holmes' death in "The Final Problem". So, he really was not brought back from the dead.   Yet. They COULD do the same with Bond. Bring back Bond, if the new non-Bond 007 is a flop – in a series of prequels.  

But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle finally did bring Holmes back to life, in a series of short stories, "The Return of Sherlock Holmes".

So, maybe EON Productions can bring back James Bond in a similar manner.   He dies, let’s say, in No Time to Die.  The movie-going public is outraged and rejects the new 007 in the next film released.   A board meeting.   Eon decides, we must bring Bond back.  And, they fabricate a screenplay that does just that.  It is possible.

And would the public accept it?  Yes, of course!  They did for Sherlock Holmes and they will for Bond!  

And that takes us to ... To die or not to die?  That is the question . . . that may not matter!

So, it seems:

  1. If Eon Productions kills off Bond in No Time to Die, they could probably bring him back to life somehow in a future movie, that is either a prequel or he is resurrected and is alive again to “Die Another Day.”  Or, perhaps the new 007 is even more popular than James Bond, and he remains dead as long as the money is rolling in. 
  2. If they leave us hanging, with Bond appearing to die, or dying at the end, then Eon could easily choose to do what they want next.
  3. If Bond survives, then life goes on.  And so does the Bond franchise.

So, it looks like Eon Productions can do whatever they want in No Time to Die, and all will be fine for them.   Sure, some rough waters could be ahead, but they can always return to calm seas.  

For us James Bond 007 fans, let’s see what they do.  But, whatever they do, let’s just chill out.  In fiction, where you write it and it is done, anything can happen. 

 

 

   

Related Content

Cracking the Code of the No Time To Die Oscar’s trailer

We're Cracking the Code of the NO TIME TO DIE trailer aired during the 92nd Academy Awards on February 9th, several new things are revealed.

James Bond is Like Coca-Cola, Which Is Why For Him, This Is No Time to Die

In 1985 Coca-Cola changed their formula for Coke. Is James Bond like Coca-Cola? He we see why, for him, this is No Time to Die.

No Time To Die Trailer Discussion – A Quick-Fire Look

Join Tom and Dan in Cracking the Code of Spy Movies! Here we take a Quick-Fire look at the December 2019 trailer for No Time To Die and speculate as to what it all means.

In NO TIME TO DIE, It IS Time for Somebody To Die!

Today we look at the strengths and weaknesses of some of the speculative scenarios that are possible directions for EON to take on the James Bond movie, No Time to Die. What are the potential character plot twists that might…

NO TIME TO DIE Official Game Day Spot 2020 – Trailer Discussion!

Dan and Tom examine the latest James Bond, NO TIME TO DIE trailer basically frame by frame, and look for clues as to what changes might be coming, and the nuances of the shots included in the trailer, compared with…

No Time To Die Oscars Trailer Reaction!

Join Dan and Tom as they dive into the latest James Bond, No Time To Die trailer that appeared as an ad on the Oscars, February 9, 2020!

No Time To Die Title Song by Billie Eilish – Reactions & Lyrics Analysis

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom as they dive into the lyrics of the title song for No Time To Die by Billie Eilish! James Bond is returning!

James Bond is to Spies What Sherlock Holmes is to Detectives

Podcast Episode

James Bond is to Spies What Sherlock Holmes is to Detectives

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming created some of the best known literary characters this world has ever known. Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond made the leap from the pages of novels and short stories to the big screen – and nothing has been the same ever since. Join Dan and Tom as they take a look at how these two literary characters have changed the world of fiction writing. James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detectives! Let’s journey into this dark London world together and see what clues we can find!

Today, Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are going to do some sleuthing around London – well, metaphorically that is! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming created some of the best-known literary characters this world has ever known. Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond made the leap from the pages of novels and short stories to the big screen – and nothing has been the same ever since.

James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detectives! Let’s journey into this dark London world together and see what clues we can find!

 

Related Content

James Bond is to Spies What Sherlock Holmes is to Detectives

This transcript is a subset of what is in the podcast.  We recommend you listen to the podcast.

Sherlock Bond? James Holmes? James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detectives! Let’s journey into this dark London world together and see what clues we can find!
Hi, this is Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato at SpyMovieNavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans – Spy Movie podcasts, videos, discussion and more!

Today, we’re are going to do some sleuthing around London – well, metaphorically that is! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming created some of the best known literary characters this world has ever known. Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond made the leap from the pages of novels and short stories to the big screen.  Nothing has been the same ever since.

I have always been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and have read the 4 novels and 56 short stories. When Bond came to the screen in Dr. No in 1962, followed quickly by From Russia with Love and then Goldfinger – I was hooked on Bond as well. As you know by now, I like to collect autographs, and on this subject, I am a proud owner of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s autograph. Amazing! I still need to get Ian Fleming’s!

Sherlock Holmes has been in print since “A Study In Scarlet” was published in 1887.  So, Holmes has been sleuthing for roughly 130 years, non-stop, while James Bond has been spying now for roughly 65 years, and is as popular today as ever.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle learned a lot about what Holmes would become from his professor, Joseph Bell, at Doyle’s medical school. Joseph Bell would use his deductive powers to diagnose problems with patients and was usually right.  He was called upon by Scotland Yard for help. Ian Fleming learned a lot from his Naval Intelligence experience, and his boss, Rear Admiral John Godfrey. His real-life experience contributed immensely to his creation of James Bond and the detailed stories that surrounded Bond. He would create espionage plans.   He created the 30 Assault Unit of commandos which was made up of specialized intelligence troops. So, both authors drew heavily from their real-world experience.

And for Doyle, he was a trained doctor.  So the creation of Dr. Watson and his subsequent medical knowledge was natural for Doyle to write about. So, Holmes was like Professor Joseph Bell, and Watson was like Doyle. James Bond has no close sidekick on an ongoing basis, though the CIA’s Felix Leiter comes close. But the character of Bond was, for the most part, a compilation of real-world espionage personnel Fleming grew to know in his time in Naval Intelligence.  This included the Serbian double agent, Dusko Popov (Codename: TRICYCLE to the British; SCOOT to the Germans). Fleming knew Popov, and it is said that Popov was a skilled baccarat player.  Popov and won at the casino in Estoril, Portugal.  This was witnessed by Fleming, which is one of the reasons Bond is skilled and in casinos in the first novel!

AS AN ASIDE: Tom and I were in that very casino in Estoril, Portugal.  We were also in the bar at the Palacio Hotel next to the casino.  This bar is where Fleming met Popov on occasion.  We actually sat in the same spot they sat. When we were there, we were looking for the second exit in the bar. We knew there were supposed to be 2 doors. We came in the front door to the bar. There is a door on the side that goes into the restaurant area. We noticed the floor wasn’t the same between the bar and the restaurant. We asked them and they told us they added the restaurant seating a few years ago.

Fleming also attributed many things he liked in his life – from fast cars to sea island cotton shirts and elegance – into James Bond. So, both authors infused their main characters with dimensions of themselves, and both authors were, of course, very well educated.

Another similarity between Doyle and Fleming is this: Doyle was originally going to name Sherlock, Sherrinford Holmes, and Watson was going to be Ormand Sacker. Well, it turned out to be Sherlock and Dr. John H. Watson.  A 1952 draft of Casino Royale by Fleming, reveals James Bond’s alternate, albeit cover name: James Secretan. This was not in the draft we examined at the Lilly Library at Indiana University in the United States, in February 2019. They own 11 original Fleming Bond manuscripts and we examined them all page by page! We have all wondered, why James Bond almost always uses his real name.  Everyone knows who he is! Everyone of us has asked this same question reading any Bond novel or watching any Bond film. Well, here is the answer….. drum roll please!

In an article by Susanna Lazarus on April 15 2013, she quotes Fleming’s niece, Kate Grimond, as saying: “Ian must have realized it would cause confusion if he had Bond known as Bond to his friends and the security services in London, but as Secretan for his cover name to strangers or people he didn’t want to know he was a spy.”

So, when you are wondering about this the next time, then remember this! Though, we don’t think this makes a whole lot of sense.  Look at  Bond’s friend Mathis in the movies Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.  It comes out that Mathis was his “cover” name! See the death scene in Quantum of Solace for this tidbit! But now we know!

In total, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 4 novels and 56 short stories over 40 years, while Ian Fleming wrote 14 works, 2 of which were collections of short stories, in about 14 years. After the deaths of each, their characters lived on through authorized novels and stories by various authors, approved by their relative estates, and some not approved. The Conan Doyle Estate approved a novel in 2011 to be written about Sherlock Holmes – the first approved since 1915 the last canonical novel (by Doyle himself) was published.

In a January 8 2014 ruling, a judge in Chicago ruled that Holmes was out of copyright protection – meaning anyone can write stories about Sherlock Holmes now. Wow. Unless this ruling is overturned, this will stand. We have not heard of it being overturned, but if you are thinking or writing a Sherlock Holmes story, you better check it out yourself. Copyright laws have continually been extended in the US, and I think the last I heard it was 70 years after the author’s death, or something like that!

Regardless, both Sherlock Homes and James Bond have survived their respective authors’ deaths through many additional books, short stories, movies, plays, radio adaptations and more – and by many different actors. The first Sherlock Holmes radio show was in 1937 starring Louie Hector, Clive Brook played the first speaking Holmes in film.  Basil Rathbone did 14 Sherlock Holmes movies. But one interesting actor played Holmes in a 1976 made-for-television movie called “Sherlock Holmes in New York”: Roger Moore – this was in between The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)! Many different actors played Sherlock Holmes, and so far, through EON Productions official James Bond 007 movies, only 6 different men have played James Bond. But the similarities are there – the characters live on!

ASIDE: Watch the entire “Sherlock Holmes in New York” here:  https://youtu.be/7K3Nwdg9x3w

Of course, both characters are fictional, but Conan Doyle used to get letters from people asking for Sherlock Holmes’s autograph.  They would also ask if Holmes could help them with a case. Now, we don’t think many or any people out there think James Bond is a real live person . . . but who knows?!

For Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he never dreamt he would be writing so many stories about Sherlock Holmes. After “A Study in Scarlet,” his first novel (1887), he thought he was finished. Doyle really wanted to write historical novels – medieval stuff – but Holmes was in demand, and he wrote for the money, like Fleming said he did! In 1891, just 4 years after his first Holmes publication, Doyle wrote to his mother, saying he was thinking of killing off Holmes – basically because Holmes was ruling his life! His mother said No! But in 1893, Doyle wrote, “The Final Problem” in this story, both Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarity, plunge off a cliff into Reichenbach Falls – to their deaths.

In a similar vein, Ian Fleming, at the conclusion of his fifth James Bond novel, “From Russia With Love,” (April 1957), Bond is left poisoned at the end of the novel, and his fate is unknown. Perhaps, Fleming was going to kill him off too. And even in Fleming’s book, “You Only Live Twice,” Bond is a Japanese fisherman, with amnesia. Another way to get out of Bond? Who knows!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle received such an outcry from Holmes fans demanding Holmes return! They would not accept his death! And Doyle, feeling trapped to keep Holmes alive, indeed resurrects Sherlock Holmes in 1903, after 10 years, and writes Holmes stories until the last one published in 1927.

Holmes and Bond
• It has been written that all modern detective stories begin with Sherlock Holmes. And we at SpyMovieNavigator.com contend that every spy movie since Bond must tip its hat to EON Productions.

• Holmes was a “social genius” meaning he knew how to move through society to solve his cases – through the Baker Street Irregulars, disguises, science. Bond was a spy genius – he knew what to do in most instances. Now – there is a huge difference – Holmes did not fail often – even in the sub-plots. He was beaten by The Woman, Irene Adler, but not in many other episodes. Bond never really fails the ultimate goal – but in the sub-plots, a lot of people he touches dies – in Goldfinger alone, for example, both Jill Masterson and her sister Tilly Masterson both die after Bond got involved with them. Holmes doesn’t lose too many comrades along the way, if any.

• Holmes had some fighting skills, as he was very good with boxing.  He has strong hands (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”), where he says he unbent the fireplace poker.  He’s a swift runner. He has some martial arts skills as he makes reference in “The Empty House” that he has some knowledge of bartitsu.  This is some type of Japanese martial arts. It’s actually a combination of many modified by a man, Edward Willian Barton-Wright.  The name is kind of a combination of his name Bart and jujitsu.   I believe Conon Doyle calls it ‘baritsu’ in the story. He is also good with a sword and stick fighting. In short, he can take care of himself if necessary. Though he rarely carried a weapon, he is a skilled shot as is evidenced in “The Musgrave Ritual” when he shoots the Victoria Regina insignia in the wall. Bond is trained well in martial arts, and always carries a weapon. However, in terms of intellect, Holmes has the edge, which is why he most often did not have to fight.  His powers of deduction were baffling to all.  His mind is superior to any other literary mind, except maybe for Mycroft’s (his brother’s). So, both are men who take care of themselves in a fight – whether with guns or hand to hand.

• In a chaotic London in the late 1800s, with Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes was a beacon of sanity, and hope. Every Bond story paints a chaotic world scene as well, and we develop our opinion of James Bond also as a beacon of hope for our times.

• Both Bond and Holmes lived in London. Holmes got out of London too – to exotic places for the time, like France and Switzerland. He traveled the world extensively for three years when the world thought he was dead. Bond, of course, mostly gets out of London, and has been all over the world. The movies continue to focus on exotic locales, like Bond 25 returning to Jamaica.

• Holmes of course worked for himself, and for whatever client he accepted. Bond of course is a public servant, working for MI6.  He was a “blunt instrument of the government” as Fleming described him once. Holmes answers to no one but himself. Bond must always answer to M.

• Holmes had a great influence on real police work.  He studied forensics before there was forensics, ballistics, chemical analysis, handwriting analysis, autopsies, microscopic examination, blood analysis, going undercover with disguises – he did all these things before police forces did them! There are many shows about the real Sherlock Holmes that go into how he impacted criminal investigations forever forward. Bond, on the other hand, had special skills that were pertinent to his line of work as a spy.  He was MI6’s best gambler, he knew cars, he was the best shot, he was a quick thinker, he could outguess opponents and so on. For Holmes, science was omnipotent, and reason could solve any problems. For Bond, it was finesse, strength, winning people over, killing skills. Did Bond influence anything in the real spy world? It was more the opposite. Remember the rebreather he uses in Thunderball where he could stay submerged underwater and breathe for a set number of minutes?  That got the attention, I believe, of the real British military, as the production crew got a call. The military asked about the rebreather, and asked exactly how long you can stay submerged using it? The answer, through the prop man who built it, was: “As long as you can hold your breath!”

• Sherlock Holmes had very few outside interests, and really had no friends other than dear ole Watson. He was devoted to his detective work.  He had no genuine interest in art, great food, politics and so on.  And he used cocaine. Yes, he played the violin, and occasionally he and Watson went to the theater or a concert. But most of his time was dedicated to advancing his knowledge of detection – doing experiments, writing monographs (papers, theses) on various topics, like tobacco, etc. And we know that Holmes, after he retires, takes up bee keeping in the countryside. We know Holmes only through Watson remember.  That friendship between Watson and Holmes is the greatest in literature. Bond, in his world, was very similar. At one point when asked if that is a friend, he quips, “I have no friends.” His only true interest was in cars, and he loved his Bentley in the books, and other faster cars like the Aston Martin DB5 in the movies. So, both were very similar – as Bond was also dedicated to his job. Both, we think, were a little out of touch with the day to day world around them.

• ARCHENEMIES: Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond had archenemies. For Holmes, it was Professor Moriarity, the (“Napoleon of Crime”).  For Bond, it was Blofeld, SPECTRE, and SMERSH. Professor Moriarity was the intellectual equal of Holmes, but on the criminal side. Many of Bonds villains, including Blofeld, are equally clever as Bond. Though, they never just shoot him to kill him. But the Professor didn’t just kill Sherlock Holmes either, though he tried at times to do so. In the actual Doyle stories, Moriarity was only featured twice, but was given a greater role in subsequent stories, television and radio adaptations, and movies.

• Though half a century apart, we don’t think Holmes and Bond lived too close to each other geographically.  Holmes lived on Baker Street and Bond in Chelsea. They were probably about 12 miles or so apart (or 19.3 kilometers).

• What does Holmes look like? Sydney Paget’s illustrations in ‘The Strand’ magazine set the image of Holmes forever – tall, thin, pronounced nose, long lanky fingers, etc. Basil Rathbone was a perfect fit for the Sherlock Holmes films. Bond is described by Fleming as looking like Hoagy Carmichael. Generally, he is considered to be about 6 feet tall, a slim build, a scar on his right cheek; blue-grey eyes; a “cruel” mouth; short, black hair, a comma of which rests on his forehead. Some similarities, though Holmes is much taller. Both have stern looks.

• Holmes often said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Holmes always subscribed to the premise that data drives theory.  In other words, the theory should fit the data. And we think Bond acts on that premise as well, as he collects data through observations and acts on it. The premise follows the thread of data to the theory, and ultimately the solution.

• Holmes in “The Sign of Four,” and Bond in The World Is Not Enough had chase scenes on the Thames in London!

• And lastly, was Holmes a spy? There are various theories about this.  In part, because he did work for his brother Mycroft, who was a very high up person in the British Government.  But it is never made clear exactly what Mycroft does. But at one point, Sherlock claims that Mycroft “remains the most indispensable man in the country”. In “The Adventures Of The Bruce-Partington Plans”, plans were stolen for a secret submarine, and so Holmes was doing spy work! Bond is ALWAYS doing spy work, but Holmes is mostly doing his consulting detective work, and generally not involved in international intrigue, but sometimes he is!

Of course, James Bond lives on through additional authorized James Bond novels, with the approval of Ian Fleming Publications, and through the EON Productions 24 James Bond 007 movies to date – with Bond 25 in the works as we speak. Bond is spying in his 66th year already!

Sherlock Holmes has been the subject of something like 120 novels since the death of Doyle, 100s of films and information segments about Holmes, radio adaptations, and live plays. Holmes is in his 132nd year now sleuthing! If you like Sherlock Holmes, check out a nice website, EverythingSherlock.com

All of this makes us believe more than ever, that James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detective! That’s how BIG Bond is!

We hoped you enjoyed sleuthing and spying with us today! Please keep coming back to our website at SpyMovieNavigator.com, download our podcasts and spy with us! Thanks for listening! This is Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato at SpyMovieNavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans – Spy Movie podcasts, videos, discussion and more!


More Episodes

All That Glitters – the Gold in Goldfinger – Part 1

Join Tom and Dan as we go gold mining for the unique elements and special highlights of Goldfinger, and how other spy movies and real-world events affected Goldfinger, in the James Bond podcast, All That Glitters – the Gold in…

ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE – On Location – Road Where Tracy is Killed

Join Dan and Tom as go on the road to Portugal to find the spot where Tracy is killed in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.

Gadgets in James Bond’s YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Decoded!

Join Tom, Dan and Vicky as they have some fun with the gadgets in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

James Bond is to Spies What Sherlock Holmes is to Detectives

Contributed by:

Posted on

James Bond is to Spies What Sherlock Holmes is to Detectives!

Sherlock Bond?   James Holmes?  James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detectives!  Let’s journey into this dark London world together and see what clues we can find!  Download our podcast! At SpyMovieNavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans –we're going to take a look at the relationship between James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, as we look  at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming as well! Today, we’re are going to do some sleuthing around London – well, metaphorically that is!  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming created some of the best known literary characters this world has ever known.   Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond made the leap from the pages of novels and short stories to the big screen – and nothing has been the same ever since. I have always been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and have read the 4 novels and 56 short stories.   When Bond came to the screen in Dr. No in 1962, followed quickly by From Russia with Love and then Goldfinger – I was hooked on Bond as well.  As you know by now, I like to collect autographs, and on this subject, I am a proud owner of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s autograph.   Amazing!   I still need to get Ian Fleming’s! Sherlock Holmes has been in print since “A Study In Scarlet” was published in 1887 – so Holmes has been sleuthing for roughly 130 years, non-stop, while James Bond has been spying now for roughly 65 years, and is as popular today as ever. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle learned a lot of what Holmes would become from his professor, Joseph Bell, at Doyle’s medical school.   Joseph Bell would use his deductive powers to diagnose problems with patients, and was usually right, and he was called upon by Scotland Yard for help.   Ian Fleming learned a lot from his Naval Intelligence experience, and his boss, Rear Admiral John Godfrey.  His real-life experience contributed immensely to his creation of James Bond and the detailed stories that surrounded Bond.   He would create espionage plans and created the 30 Assault Unit of commandos which was made up of specialized intelligence troops.    So both authors drew heavily from their real-world experience. And for Doyle, he was a trained doctor, so the creation of Dr. Watson, and his subsequent medical knowledge, was a natural for Doyle to write about.   So Holmes was like Professor Joseph Bell, and Watson was like Doyle.  James Bond has no close sidekick on an ongoing basis, though the CIA’s Felix Leiter comes close.  But the character of Bond was, for the most part, a compilation of real-world espionage personnel Fleming grew to know in his time in Naval Intelligence, including the Serbian double agent, Dusko Popov (Codename: TRICYCLE to the British; SCOOT to the Germans).   Fleming knew Popov, and it is said that Popov was a skilled baccarat player, and won at the casino in Estoril, Portugal, witnessed by Fleming, which is one of the reasons Bond is skilled and in casinos in the first novel!. AS AN ASIDE:  Tom and I were in that very casino in Estoril, Portugal, and in the bar at the Palacio Hotel next to the casino, where Fleming met Popov on occasion, and actually sat in the same spot they sat. Fleming also attributed many things he liked in his life – from fast cars, to sea island cotton shirts and elegance – into James Bond.  So both authors infused their main characters with dimensions of themselves, and both authors were, of course, very well educated. Another similarity between Doyle and Fleming is this:  Doyle was originally going to name Sherlock,  Sherrinford Holmes, and Watson was going to be Ormand Sacker.  Well, it turned out to be Sherlock and Dr. John H. Watson. A 1952 draft of Casino Royale by Fleming, reveals James Bond’s alternate, albeit cover name: James Secretan.  This was not in the draft we examined at the Lilly Library at Indiana University in the United States, in February 2019.  They own 11 original Fleming Bond manuscripts and we examined them all page by page!  We have all wondered, why does James Bond almost always use his real name – everyone knows who he is!  Everyone of us has asked this same question reading any Bond novel or watching any Bond film.   Well, here is the answer….. drum roll please! In an article by Susanna Lazarus on April 15 2013, she quotes Fleming’s niece, Kate Grimond, as saying: “Ian must have realized it would cause confusion if he had Bond known as Bond to his friends and the security services in London, but as Secretan for his cover name to strangers or people he didn’t want to know he was a spy.” So when you are wondering about this the next time, then remember this!  Though, we don’t think this makes a whole lot of sense – since even Bond’s friend Mathis in the movies Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace – it comes out that Mathis was his “cover” name!  See the death scene in Quantum of Solace for this tidbit!   But now we know! In total, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 4 novels and 56 short stories over 40 years, while Ian Fleming wrote 14 works, 2 of which were collections of short stories, in about 14 years.  After the deaths of each, their characters lived on through authorized novels and stories by various authors, approved by their relative estates, and some not approved.     The Conan Doyle Estate approved a novel in 2011 to be written about Sherlock Holmes – the first approved since 1915 the last canonical novel (by Doyle himself) was published. In a January 8 2014 ruling, a judge in Chicago ruled that Holmes was out of copyright protection - meaning anyone can write stories about Sherlock Holmes now.   Wow. Unless this ruling is overturned, this will stand.   We have not heard of it being overturned, but if you are thinking or writing a Sherlock Holmes story, you better check it out yourself.  Copyright laws have continually been extended in the US, and I think the last I heard it was 70 years after the author’s death, or something like that! Regardless, both Sherlock Homes and James Bond have survived their respective authors’ deaths through many additional books, short stories, movies, plays, radio adaptations and more – and by many different actors.   The first Sherlock Holmes radio show was in 1937 starring Louie Hector, Clive Brook played the first speaking Holmes in film, and Basil Rathbone did 14 Sherlock Holmes movies.  But one interesting actor who played Holmes in a 1976 made-for-television movie called Sherlock Holmes in New York: Roger Moore – this was in between The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)!  Many different actors played Sherlock Holmes, and so far, through EON Productions official James Bond 007 movies, only 6 different men have played James Bond.  But the similarities are there – the characters live on! ASIDE: Watch the entire Sherlock Holmes in New York right here! https://youtu.be/7K3Nwdg9x3w Of course, both characters are fictional, but Conan Doyle used to get letters from people asking for Sherlock Holmes’s autograph and if Holmes could help them with a case.  Now, we don’t think many or any people out there think James Bond is a real live person . . . but who knows?! For Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he never dreamt he would be writing so many stories about Sherlock Holmes.   After “A Study in Scarlet,” his first novel (1887), he thought he was finished.  Doyle really wanted to write historical novels – medieval stuff – but Holmes was in demand, and he wrote for the money, like Fleming said he did!  In 1891, just 4 years after his first Holmes publication, Doyle wrote to his mother, saying he was thinking of killing off Holmes – basically because Holmes was ruling his life!  His mother said No!   But in 1893, Doyle wrote, “The Final Problem” in this story, both Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarity, plunge off a cliff into Reichenbach Falls – to their deaths. In a similar vein, Ian Fleming, at the conclusion of his fifth James Bond novel, “From Russia With Love,” (April 1957), Bond is left poisoned at the end of the novel, and his fate is unknown.   Perhaps, Fleming was going to kill him off too.   And even in Fleming’s book, “You Only Live Twice,” Bond is a Japanese fisherman, with amnesia.  Another way to get out of Bond?  Who knows! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle received such an outcry from Holmes fans demanding Holmes return!  They would not accept his death!  And Doyle, feeling trapped to keep Holmes alive, indeed resurrects Sherlock Holmes in 1903, after 10 years, and writes Holmes stories until the last one published in 1927.   Holmes and Bond
  • It has been written that all modern detective stories begin with Sherlock Holmes. And we at SpyMovieNavigator.com contend that every spy movie since Bond must tip its hat to EON Productions.
  • Holmes was a “social genius” meaning he knew how to move through society to solve his cases – through the Baker Street Irregulars, disguises, science. Bond was a spy genius – he knew what to do in most instances.   Now – there is a huge difference – Holmes did not fail often – even in the sub-plots.   He was beaten by The Woman, Irene Adler, but not in many other episodes.   Bond never really fails the ultimate goal – but in the sub-plots, a lot of people he touches dies – in Goldfinger alone, for example, both Jill Masterson and her sister Tilly Masterson both die after Bond got involved with them.   Holmes doesn’t lose too many comrades along the way, if any.
  • Holmes had some fighting skills, as he was very good with boxing, has strong hands (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”), where he says he unbent the fireplace poker) a swift runner, has some martial arts skills as he makes reference in “The Empty House” that he has some knowledge of bartitsu – some type of Japanese martial arts (actually a combination of many modified by a man, Edward Willian Barton-Wright - which is kind of a combination of his name BART and jujitsu;, though I believe Conon Doyle calls it ‘baritsu’ in the story; he is also good with a sword and stick fighting. In short, he can take care of himself if necessary.   Though he rarely carried a weapon, he is a skilled shot as is evidenced in “The Musgrave Ritual” when he shoots the Victoria Regina insignia in the wall.  Bond is trained well in martial arts, and always carries a weapon. However, in terms of intellect, Holmes has the edge, which is why he most often did not have to fight – his powers of deduction were baffling to all - his mind is superior to any other literary mind, except maybe for Mycroft’s (his brother’s).   So both are men who take care of themselves in a fight – whether with guns or hand to hand.
  • In a chaotic London in the late 1800s, with Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes was a beacon of sanity, and hope. Every Bond story paints a chaotic world scene as well, and we develop our opinion of James Bond also as a beacon of hope for our times.
  • Both Bond and Holmes lived in London. Holmes got out of London too – to exotic places for the time, like France and Switzerland.  He traveled the world extensively for three years when the world thought he was dead.  Bond, of course, mostly gets out of London, and has been all over the world.  The movies continue to focus on exotic locales, like Bond 25 returning to Jamaica.
  • Holmes of course worked for himself, and for whatever client he accepted. Bond of course is a public servant, working for MI6, a “blunt instrument of the government” as Fleming described him once.  Holmes answers to no one but himself.  Bond must always answer to M.
  • Holmes had a great influence on real police work, as he studied forensics before there was forensics, ballistics, chemical analysis, handwriting analysis, autopsies, microscopic examination, blood analysis, going undercover with disguises – he did all these things before police forces did them! They are many shows about “The Real Sherlock Holmes: that go into how he impacted criminal investigations forever forward.  Bond, on the other hand,  had special skills that were pertinent to his line of work as a spy – he was MI6’s best gambler, he knew cars, he was the best shot, he was a quick thinker, he could outguess opponents and so on.   For Holmes, science was omnipotent and reason could solve any problems.  For Bond, it was finesse, strength, winning people over, killing skills.  Did Bond influence anything in the real spy world?  It was more the opposite.   Though, the rebreather he uses in Thunderball where he could stay submerged underwater and breath for a set number of minutes got the attention, I believe, of the real British military, as the production crew got a call.  They asked about the rebreather, and asked exactly how long you can stay submerged using it?   The answer, through the prop man who built it, was: “As long as you can hold your breath!”
  • Sherlock Holmes had very few outside interests, and really had no friends other than dear ole Watson. He was devoted to his detective work  - he had no genuine interest in art, great food, politics and so on – and he used cocaine.  Yes, he played the violin, and occasionally he and Watson went to the theater  or a concert.  But most of his time was dedicated to advancing his knowledge of detection – doing experiments, writing monographs (papers, theses) on various topics, like tobacco, etc.   And we know that Holmes, after he retires, takes up bee keeping in the countryside. We know Holmes only through Watson remember – and that friendship between Watson and Holmes is the greatest in literature.  Bond, in his world, was very similar.   At one point when asked if that is a friend, he quips, “I have no friends.”   His only true interest was in cars, and he loved his Bentley in the books, and other faster cars like the Aston Martin DB5 in the movies.   So both were very similar – as Bond was also dedicated to his job.  Both, we think, were a little out of touch with the day to day world around them.
  • ARCH-ENEMIES: Both Sherlock Holmes and James Bond had arch-enemies For Holmes, it was Professor Moriarty, the (“Napoleon of crime”) and for Bond it was Blofeld, SPECTRE, SMERSH.  Professor Moriarty was the intellectual equal of Holmes, but on the criminal side.   Many of Bonds villains, including Blofeld, are equally clever as Bond.   Though, they never just shoot him to kill him.  But the Professor didn’t just kill Sherlock Holmes either, though he tried at times to do so.  In the actual Doyle stories, Moriarty was only featured twice, but was given a greater role in subsequent stories, television and radio adaptations, and movies.
  • Though half a century apart, we don’t think Holmes and Bond lived too close to each other geographically - Holmes on Baker Street and Bond in Chelsea were probably more like 12 miles or so apart (or 19.3 kilometers).
  • What does Holmes look like? Sydney Paget’s illustrations in ‘The Strand’ magazine set the image of Holmes forever – tall, thin, pronounced nose, long lanky fingers etc.   Basil Rathbone was a perfect fit for the Sherlock Holmes films.
Bond is described by Fleming as looking like Hoagy Carmichael.   Generally, he is considered to be about 6 foot tall,  a slim build, a scar on his right cheek; blue-grey eyes; a "cruel" mouth; short, black hair, a comma of which rests on his forehead.  Some similarities, though Holmes is much taller.   Both have stern looks.
  • Holmes often said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, n matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Holmes always subscribed to the premise that data drives theory – in other words, theory should fit the data.   And we think Bond acts on that premise as well, as he collects data through observations and acts on it.   The premise follows the thread of data to the theory, and ultimately the solution.
  • Holmes in “The Sign of Four,” and Bond in The World Is Not Enough had chase scenes on the Thames in London!
  • And lastly, was Holmes a spy? There are various theories about this, because he did work for his brother Mycroft, who was a very high up person in the British Government but it is never made clear exactly what he does.   But at one point, Sherlock claims that Mycroft  “ remains the most indispensable man in the country,  “The Adventures Of The Bruce-Partington Plans?”  In that story, plans were stolen for a secret submarine, and so Holmes was doing spy work!  Bond is ALWAYS doing spy work, but Holmes is mostly doing his consulting detective work, and generally not involved in international intrigue, but sometimes he is!
Of course, James Bond lives on through additional authorized James Bond novels, with the approval of Ian Fleming Publications, and through the EON Productions 24 James Bond 007 movies to date – with Bond 25 in the works as we speak.  Bond is spying in his 66th year already! Sherlock Holmes has been the subject of something like 120 novels since the death of Doyle, 100s of films and information segments about Holmes, radio adaptations, and live plays.   Holmes is in his 132nd year now sleuthing!  If you like Sherlock Holmes, check out a nice website, EverythingSherlock.com All of this makes us believe more than ever, that James Bond is to spies what Sherlock Holmes is to detective!   That’s how BIG Bond is! We hoped you enjoyed sleuthing and spying with us today!  Please keep coming back to our website at SpyMovieNavigator.com, download out podcasts and spy with us!  Thanks for spending time with us and for being part of our the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

Subscribe to our Podcast: Cracking the Code of Spy Movies

Never miss an episode - be in the know!