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The Inconstant 007. Part 2.

By Tom Colton.

I'm not convinced that this is entirely politically correct. Bond never was, I guess.

Picture of poster courtesy Ewbank Auctions.

In Part 1 of this article , Tom started by talking about the internal consistency of the Bond Movies with regard to characters, specifically, the supporting characters. Here, he talks about the central character and the major villains.


Time and tide wait for no man, and this goes as far as the leading man himself. Sean Connery got tired of the role just before the intended grand finale of the SPECTRE arc, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the time came to cast a new James Bond. George Lazenby spent the last of his money on a nice suit and a Rolex watch and landed the role.

Lazenby and Rigg filming On Her Majesty's Secret Service. No prizes for guessing which of the two is my favourite.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The rest... was not history, due to his agent convincing him that spy movies were on the way out, but that isn’t the point of this discussion.

What approach were they going to take with the new 007? It wasn’t the first time a part had to be recast, so did they say this was another secret agent with the same codename (cf. Major Boothroyd and Q, see article HERE), completely ignore his past characterisation (cf. Felix Leiter), or do their damndest to ensure the audience knew that this was the same James Bond character as in the previous five films?

Their efforts began even before establishing anything to do with Bond’s mission in OHMSS, where clips from the previous films played to reinforce that this film was in continuity with them, but it continued into the film itself where Bond turns in his resignation (surreptitiously amended to two weeks’ leave by Moneypenny – still played by Lois Maxwell!) and he goes and reminisces. To this end, he withdraws Honey Ryder’s knife from Dr. No, Red Grant’s garrotte watch seen in From Russia With Love, and the rebreather from Thunderball, all of which are scored with their movies’ themes just to hammer home the point.

Well, so far so good. The new James Bond was established as the same old James Bond, and...



... Oh wait, Lazenby went and resigned even before the film’s debut, didn’t he. Feck’s sakes.

So, when the time came to recast James Bond, did they have to do all this groundwork again? Did the status quo have to be re-established?


The one and only.

Picture courtesy Screenmusings

... Well, they bloody didn’t have to, did they?


Careful readers will have noticed that there’s a quadrant missing.

How about the same actors returning as different characters? Well, yes, it happens all the time in film and TV franchises, and half the time it’s something best left in trivia pages. (Did you know that Tim Russ played the victim of a Vulcan Nerve Pinch before being cast as the Vulcan Tuvok? Now you do!)

However, this time round it has a little more importance than previously, because it has to do with James Bond’s very archnemesis.

Blofeld For All Seasons

When the time came to depict Dr. No’s employer after his unceremonious demise in a radiation pool, someone had to be cast as Blofeld. However, to enhance his mystery, we only ever saw the back of his head and his hand (and his torso, and his legs), and never his face in From Russia With Love and Thunderball.

Nice kitty. But who is the man?

Picture courtesy Screenmusings

So, what did Ernst Stavro Blofeld, SPECTRE No. 1, look like in actuality?

That’s right, the actor of Professor R. J. Dent (killed all the way back in Dr. No) outlived the character, and Anthony Dawson was the first performer for Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Well, his body was anyway; his voice was provided by Eric Pohlmann. Audiences for those two films knew nothing of this since – once again, to enhance his mystery – his actor was just given as “?”.

Body and voice - not the same.

Picture courtesy Screenmusings

When the time came for Bond and Blofeld to finally meet, neither Dawson nor Pohlmann returned, and we instead saw Donald Pleasance, whose baldness (minus a blip with Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever, himself being a returning performer as he’d played Dikko Henderson in You Only Live Twice) went on to define the character in subsequent entries and parodies.

Different actor for Blofeld - but is it the same cat?

Picture courtesy Screenmusings

Next time I’ll look at how consistent – or inconsistent – character relationships get in the franchise.

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