The Critics: Cries And Whispers: The real Bond is Moore, Roger Moore

we're no strangers to controversy here at Cries & Whispers. Our radical treatises, from "Liv Tyler doesn't look all that gorgeous to me" to "I'm not sure if Anna from This Life is such a brilliant actor", have challenged the assumptions of the age, time and time again. And today we're going to devour the meat of popular culture's most sacred cow - right off the bone. Hate-mail and death threats be damned. This is the column that dares to say: Roger Moore was a superb James Bond.

The contemporary climate of Moorephobia has gone too far. Of all the reviews that accompanied the release of Tomorrow Never Dies, few could resist a tangential kick at 007 Mk III, whether it were an all-out attack or a simple comment that Pierce Brosnan is "the best Bond since Sean Connery". And each of these kicks has wounded me personally. For people of my generation, who first went to the cinema in the Seventies and early Eighties, Moore is the real Bond, and the mean-spirited Scotsman who turned up on television in the series' earlier films was nothing but an imposter. Our Bond was suave, urbane, unfailingly polite: everything a gentleman spy who went to Eton and Cambridge should be. He may not have been as tough as Connery, but this was one of our Bond's defining characteristics. He didn't rely on brute strength. Paving the way for Harrison Ford's action heroes, he could be thrown across the room by a man with metal teeth - but he still had it in him to kick a Mercedes over the edge of a cliff when the need arose.

Harder to defend is the fashion sense of Moore's 007. Having had the misfortune to fight for Queen and country during some of history's less stylish years, he could be identified by the flap of his flares as he strode across the screen during the opening gun-barrel sequence. But does this really make him less well-dressed than Connery, who wore a trilby during equivalent segments? Well, yes, it probably does. All I can plead is that fashions change, and given time, the elasticated waistband and cuffs of Moore's jerkin will be seen on the catwalks once again.

The other charge against Moore is that he kept blowing up megalomaniacs' undersea bases long after he should have been pensioned off. And true enough, by A View To a Kill, the sight of the wrinkled roue kissing a girl young enough to be his granddaughter did have an Alan Clarkish repulsiveness. However, Commander Bond must have been getting on a bit himself, having served in the Second World War, and by ageing with him, Moore made him more human than any other actor has done. At the start of For Your Eyes Only, Bond is at his wife's grave when the vicar hurries out to pass on a message from the "office". "Some sort of emergency," says the priest. "It usually is," mutters Bond, with a fitting air of world-weariness. This was a secret agent who had grown pensive and caring, while Connery's Bond regarded a girlfriend's murder as less of an inconvenience than losing his car keys.

I don't believe Moore is any worse an actor than Connery, either. The two men just interpreted Bond in different ways: Connery saw 007 as being exactly like Sean Connery. Moore saw him as a Roger Moore-ish sort of chap. Basically, this meant that, whether faced with a gun, a beautiful woman or a voodoo ceremony, his reaction was to be mildly perplexed. And why not? That's just the way Bond was. He didn't telegraph his emotions in the way Brosnan does. Less is Moore.

But for the most compelling evidence of Moore's under-rated acting skills, just observe his way with an awful play on words. He was the master of the double entendre, as you'd have to be with a name like his, and we shouldn't assume that all his quips served the same purpose. "He just dropped in for a quick bite" was worlds apart from "no sense going off half-cocked". Moore could invest his words with a lasciviousness, a grim steeliness, a reassuring levity, an insouciant twinkle, and enough other nuances to fill a film student's dissertation. Truly, he was the man with the golden pun. And, as far as Cries & Whispers is concerned, that makes him the best Bond since Sean Connery.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

    Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager - Events, Digital, Offline

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager (Events, Digit...

    Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

    £30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable