Bond films turn 50 with Adele song and documentary

Fri Oct 5, 2012 5:40am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The James Bond film franchise turns 50 on Friday with the release of a revealing new documentary about its turbulent past and the first listen of the new theme tune performed by Adele.

The premiere of the first Bond film, "Dr. No", was held in London on October 5, 1962 and starred Scottish actor Sean Connery as the suave and brutal super-spy working for British intelligence to thwart the plans of an evil megalomaniac.

By the time the third movie in the franchise, "Goldfinger", hit the screens two years later, Bond was a cultural phenomenon generating the kind of public excitement more often associated with British pop group the Beatles.

The character was quickly adopted by the British public and further afield as the embodiment of sophistication and courage, and his dress sense, taste in fast cars and beautiful women and catch phrase "shaken, not stirred" entered mainstream culture.

Not everyone liked Bond. The films have often been dismissed as sexist for the seemingly endless line of scantily clad women who fall into bed with Bond, and several have been panned by the critics.

But Bond's lasting appeal was underlined this summer when actor Daniel Craig, as 007, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth appeared together in a short, comic scene at Buckingham Palace in a highlight of the London Olympics opening ceremony.

Over the last five decades, EON Productions, formed by the central partnership of Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, has made 22 Bond movies which have amassed around $5 billion at the global box office.

The 23rd film "Skyfall" gets its royal world premiere in London later this month and Adele's theme tune for the movie starring Craig on Her Majesty's secret service hit the airwaves early on Friday to mixed reviews.   Continued...

A worker walks past a complete set of original cinema door panel posters from the film "Thunderball", during a media preview of "50 Years of James Bond - the Auction", at Christie's in London September 28, 2012. The set is estimated to sell for 5,600 - 7,400 GBP ($9,100-12,000) at an online-only auction from September 28 to October 8. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth