Friday, December 08, 2006

New Coat of Arms

Cool Britannia 28 years before its time

A few weeks ago I went to see the new James Bond film “Casino Royale.”

Normally I’d have plenty to say about this, as it not only marks a fresh start for a very old series, but it also features poker and a rather nice DB5. Sadly Gemma’s disappearance meant I was in completely the wrong mood for the film, which is quite a bit darker than of old, and features a harrowing extended drowning scene. But it was a good film, and the only thing that really disappointed was the title sequence, normally the most dependably enjoyable part of any Bond film, even the really crap ones made back in the 1980s.

For many years I was looking for a DVD loaded with nothing but these title sequences, but nothing was ever produced.

But now we have You Tube, where you can see the whole evolution of the titles from the early 1960s onwards. At their best, the sequences have a dreamy erotic vibe that hints of danger and a fetish for guns and killing. At their worst, they desperately attempt to be thrilling and sexy but come across as camp and kitsch and horribly dated instead. Most are the work of a bloke called Maurice Binder, who seems to have something of Bond in him himself Charles Taylor describes him as “an art collector, a lover of women, [and] a lifelong bachelor.”

A personal fave is the coat of arms from the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). It’s a shame that New Labour missed it in their rebranding Britain/Cool Britania phase in the 1990s. Never mind - it still works. Britannia and two naked women, one of whom is chilling on the floor and maybe about to pass out surround a union flag cocktail glass that seems full to the brim. Above it is the crown, below a motto which is blank. In a prosperous country renowned worldwide for its binge drinking culture, illiterate tabloids, and high teenage pregnancy levels the image suits us perfectly.


Post a Comment

<< Home