- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Rolling Stones are not the only randy Englishmen celebrating a 40th anniversary this year. Another mid-Atlantic superstar has reached that milestone: James Bond, the sassy superagent and surrogate father of Austin Powers.
It is easy to forget because, unlike the Stones, 007 and his always-stunning "Bond girl" helpmeets have remained relatively young-looking over the years, thanks to a fresh turnover of actors, now led by the dashing Pierce Brosnan and Oscar winner Halle Berry.
If the latest Bond movie, which opens Friday, is not enough to sate your Anglo-superagent appetite, you needn't worry; a veritable feast of Bond is being served up on television this week.
To coincide with the premiere of "Die Another Day," the 20th installment of the legendary international spy-caper franchise, the TNN cable channel is running a "Bond at His Best" series. It began last night and continues through Dec. 1.
Mr. Brosnan and Miss Berry, aptly enough, are hosts of the TNN series.
Beginning with 1962's "Dr. No," the MTV-owned network will show a total of 14 Bond films, including the classics "From Russia With Love" and "The Spy Who Loved Me" as well as midperiod Bond vehicles including "Never Say Never Again" and "For Your Eyes Only."
Produced between 1962 and 1983 the arc of the TNN series the films are a reminder of how James Bond movies jiggered Cold War anxieties with depictions of megalomaniacal villains bent on world domination.
Though the Cold War is over, the idea of a global terrorist network led by eccentric psychopaths is not outmoded.
A massive new book published this month, "James Bond: The Legacy" a trove of photographs, illustrations, anecdotes and interviews with various Bond actors, directors and designers artfully distills how the films played on American and British geopolitical fears and cultural sensibilities: the Anglophilic class insecurity, male vanity, a belief in inexorable technological progress.
Written by two inexhaustible Bond experts, John Cork and Bruce Scivally, the coffee-table book is a tad pricey at $49.95, but for the true Bond-phile, it might prove irresistible.
Mr. Cork and Mr. Scivally were in Washington last week for the International Spy Museum's "All Bond, All Day" event, where they signed copies of "James Bond: The Legacy" and supplied trivia questions for various giveaway contests.
It's no secret, Mr. Scivally says in a phone interview, why the Bond brand has endured for nearly half a century.
There's the sex appeal, of course.
"For men, James Bond represents everything we'd like to be," Mr. Scivally says. "He can have any woman he wants; he's able to get himself out of dangerous situations."
Some men have taken the Bond persona too literally.
The CIA, Mr. Scivally says, actually has a term for traitors that casts them as falling victim to the allure of being 007: the "James Bond Syndrome."
Notorious American double agents such as Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, he says, bought into the Bond myth as they betrayed intelligence secrets.
They used the money they earned as spies, Mr. Scivally says, to support the "Bond lifestyle": beautiful mistresses, lavish international travel, sleek sports cars and other Bondian tokens.
Aside from the sometimes dangerous testosterone boost the films can offer men, Mr. Scivally says women, too, experience the Bond frisson. The global mobility, the glamour, the elegance of James Bond's world appeal to them as much as to men.
It certainly never hurt that the actors who have played James Bond over the years have been off-the-charts handsome.
"Women went nuts over Sean Connery, and now they go nuts over Pierce Brosnan," Mr. Scivally says.
He defends Bond movies from the frequent charge that they are misogynistic: the politically incorrect patting of women's behinds, the salacious sobriquets that are not printable in family newspapers. They do not tell the whole story, he says.
Bond movies always "portray women very strongly they're right in there, getting involved in the action," he says. "They're not just eye candy."
Mr. Scivally particularly enjoyed Miss Berry's performance in "Die Another Day" and says Mr. Brosnan is "a terrific Bond."
He and Mr. Cork recently reviewed every Bond film for a documentary project in conjunction with MGM's James Bond DVD releases.
"Goldfinger," the 1964 movie starring Mr. Connery, the first of five actors to portray the British espionage agent, continues to blow him away.
"There's not a single misstep in it," Mr. Scivally says. "That set the standard for all the Bond movies that followed."


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