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Casino Royale

For England, James?

The last time I attended an all-night movie marathon was over a decade ago, but the Prince Charles dangled a James Bond All-Nighter in front of me and I heeded the call. The lineup, after all, very closely matched my list of top Bond movies:
  • Goldfinger
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • The Living Daylights
  • Goldeneye
  • Casino Royale

I'd have picked Skyfall over Casino Royale, but one can't have everything.

I was a little unsure, on arrival, whether I was doing a sensible thing, but it turns out that when there's big-screen Bond on the menu I will happily stay up all night and love it. For everything up to Goldeneye, this was my first viewing in a cinema, which added to the excitement, and it was lovely to be sharing the reactions of >100 other people to films we, presumably, all knew and loved.

Goldfinger

Probably the best-known Bond film, giving a good solid start to proceedings and lots of opportunities to cheer at the best lines. Honor Blackman is easily my favourite Bond girl, and the cuddly Gert Frobe my favourite villain.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

There's a lot of silliness in this one, and it was reassuring to hear the audience hoot at the suggestion that what Tracy needs is a man to 'dominate' her. Despite the high-spirited midnight giggles, though, the final scene generated a tense silence in which you could have heard a pin drop.

The Spy Who Loved Me

Oh, Roger, we do like you really, even though we laughed at every single love scene. This is my favourite Moore Bond, and utterly redolent of the '70s, but it gets a bit draggy towards the end when you're watching in the small hours. I can take or leave mass battles between colour-coded goodies and baddies. (It was fun watching the effect of various big explosions on those weaker souls who'd fallen asleep, though.)

The Living Daylights

Tim got the graveyard slot - 4am - but obviously I was not going to nod off for my favourite Bond in my favourite Bond movie, and lapped up the chance to see it in detail. (Everyone around me who fell asleep: you are dead to me, random strangers!)

Goldeneye

Props to whoever shouted out "I can't wait to watch Sean Bean die!" as the lights went down. Audience a little subdued by now, but Xenia Onatopp got laughs in every scene. I was mostly interested in the bed Bond and Natalya share in the Caribbean, which looked pretty inviting at this stage.

Casino Royale

This is a great film but God it's gritty, and I am here to tell you that watching it stone cold sober at 9am on a Sunday, on no sleep, will make you question your life choices. From the unforgiving viewpoint of someone who would really like a nap, the ending could be tightened up, too.

I'd never watched a film from each era back to back like this, and it was very illuminating on the evolution of the series and the continuity along the way. Goldeneye in particular draws on OHMSS in the ways it establishes that this new Bond is the same as the old Bond. The effect of an audience was energising, too, as we clapped each gun barrel.

Shortly after 11am I emerged into the West End's Chinese New Year parade, which felt very Bond-movie: struggling against the flow of oblivious, happy revellers to get somewhere important (i.e. HOME). I channeled Daniel Craig and behaved as if bad things would happen should I not get through. It worked.

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Comments

Oh, fantastic! Probably a bit out of the way for a weeknight, but splendid anyway.