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May 1999, Week 3


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 19 May 1999 12:32:32 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (40 lines)
John Dougill asked:

> "Significantly, perhaps, the James
> Bond series (as well as the books) displaced Cold War fears from the
> USSR to the supercriminal organization SPECTRE "
> I'm interested in the implications of 'significantly' here.  Were not the
> James Bond films simply displacing Cold War fears in the way of the fifties
> films that displaced the fear onto aliens?  Or is there a significance that
> I've missed here.......(I'm doing a bit about Bond films with my classes
> later this term so have a special interest.)

I'm sorry to take so long to respond.  I think there's a difference in
the types of fears and how they are displaced.  The '50s aliens films
tended to be about outright military conquest or, more disturbingly (as
in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), about the loss of individual

Bond's villains, though (including Dr. No, Goldfinger, Rosa Klebb,
etc.) are just fronts for Ernst Stavro Blofeld and SPECTRE.  In a
somewhat tongue-in-cheek way, that criminal mastermind and his
organization do not represent the Red Menace so much as offer a new
variation on Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu and the "Yellow Menace," except
even this one is displaced racially and nationally.  At least some of
the roots of the type can be found, I suppose, in Sherlock Holmes' Dr.
Moriarty and his criminal network.  Of course, the reductio ad absurdum
of the type is Austin Powers' Dr. Evil.

Don Larsson

Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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