July 5, 2012 at 9:58 AM ET
The 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film—“Dr. No,” released in 1962, with Sean Connery as the secret agent—is being celebrated with two special exhibits, one with costumes, props and gadgets from the entire series of films, the other with more than 50 vehicles driven in them.
Both exhibits precede the November 9th U.S. release of the 23rd and latest Bond movie, “Skyfall," with Daniel Craig returning as Bond and Judi Dench returning as M, the head of the secret service. Also appearing in the film are Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem and Albert Finney.
The Bond novels were written by English author Ian Fleming, who served as an assistant to the director of naval intelligence in the Admiralty in London during World War II, a job that later inspired many Bond characters and incidents. Connery played Bond in nine films, including the 1963 “From Russia with Love”; 1964 “Goldfinger”; and 1971 “Diamonds Are Forever.” Craig is the sixth actor to portray Bond.
The vehicle exhibit, "Bond in Motion," is on display through December 31 at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, 70 miles southwest of London. The largest exhibit of its kind ever staged, it features everything from cars, boats and motorbikes to sleds and jets.
The oldest vehicle is a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III, driven by the villain Goldfinger in the film of the same name; its license plate, AU1, is the symbol for gold in the periodic table.
The newest vehicle, whose identity is currently under wraps, will go on display July 13; this comes from “Skyfall.”
Also on display is a BMW 750iL, driven by Pierce Brosnan remotely, via cell phone, in a car park chase scene in “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Visitors also can watch behind-the-scenes film footage showing how vehicle stunts were created.
From July 6 through September 5, the Barbican Center in London is showing a multi-media exhibit, “Designing 007—Fifty Years of Bond Style,” which curator Bronwyn Cosgrave said will let visitors experience “time travel through the iconic locations where Bond went on his missions.”
This will feature over 400 items from the Bond archive, including costumes worn in early films, like Ursula Andress’ white bikini from “Dr. No,” and a recreation of Connery’s “Thunderball” swim trunks, plus more recent outfits like Halle Berry’s orange bikini from “Die Another Day,” and Daniel Craig’s sky-blue trunks from “Casino Royale.”
There will also be a montage of film sequences of casino scenes; a room devoted to what Cosgrave called “Bond villains and enigmas--you never know if they’re Bond’s friend or foe”; and costumes by designers like Prada and Versace.
After its London run, the Barbican exhibit will go on display at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from October 26 to January 20, 2013.
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