My Photo

Welcome to Mannionville

  • Politics, art, movies, television, books, parenting, home repair, caffeine addiction---you name it, we blog it. Since 2004. Call for free estimate.

The Tip Jar

  • Please help keep this blog running strong with your donation

Help Save the Post Office: My snail mail address

  • Lance Mannion
    109 Third St.
    Wallkill, NY 12589

Save a Blogger From Begging...Buy Stuff

The one, the only

Sister Site

« October, as if you didn't know | Main | Finally, a very fortunate event in a Series of Unfortunate Events »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Too early in the morning, Lance. PolanSKi misspelled several times....(sorry, bro).



Thanks for the catch. I think I mis-typed all of them! My right index finger is just a much faster typist than my left ring finger.


Your talk of Roman Polanski made me remember that “The Fearless Vampire Killers” was on TMC last week. I was not able to see it, but was thinking of how much I loved that movie as a kid. I caught it one night when my best friend and I were having an overnight and were planning on watching another scary movie. I was probably 11 at the time. I remember being amazed by the movie… it wasn’t just scary, but it was it was funny. I remember thinking that my friend and I had made a discovery and surely we were the only ones who “got it”. We were in that stage of knowing just enough and of being certain that no adults knew as much as we did. As I said, I did not get a chance to watch the movie again last week and haven’t seen it for decades. I wonder if it would hold up or if my fond memories of it would fade if I watched it as an adult. When I saw it the first few times, I did not know as much about Polanski as I do now so I wonder if that will color my reaction as well. Same for Oliver. I think the one that is most indelibly etched in my mind is the Mark Lester/Jack Wild version. Of course Jack Wild just makes me think of H R Puffinstuff… but I digress… As for Bond, I have to admit I have never seen an entire Bond movie which my husband cannot believe. I know they said the most recent pick is the first blonde, but I always thought of Moore as a dirty blonde.

PZ Myers

Oh, man, Oliver're right, he was awesomely menacing. Another role you didn't mention was Tommy; creepy and nasty, but you had no problem understanding why Ann Margret would marry him. He would have been an excellent Bond. Too bad that opportunity passed him by.

The Countess

Oliver Reed was one of my favorite actors when I was a kid. I always thought he would have been perfect as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights". He was perfectly cast as Athos in the "Musketeers" movies.

mrs. norman maine

Take it back about Ewan or I'm going to boycott yo' ass like you was some American Doll. Ewan would do just fine as Bond. Go watch him in "Down With Love" and tell me he can't do suave. (Of course, he may not want to do another franchise after his less than joyous experience in SW.)

But I'm glad you made a sly allusion to Mr. PolanSKi's legal woes. If you didn't I would've had to: "Consider yourself...18/ Consider yourself.... spread out on the furniture..."

But let's not go there.

Exiled in NJ

It seemed to me that it took over-the-top directors to use Oliver Reed to best effect. Richard Lester's Musketeer duo, and then as a properly menacing young Bismarck in Royal Flash, a wonderful film that has sadly disappeared. If anything, Four Musketeers is superior to Three, since Lester does not have to follow the book.

Find Ken Russell's The Devils for another great Reed role, and of course, Russell used him in Women In Love. My late wife thought the young Reed the sexiest man she'd ever seen.

Loved your comment about Tim Curry; for some real scenery chewing, catch him playing Richelieu in the awful 1993 version of Three Musketeers.

So right about eyes: Jude Law's are too vicious to make the transformation to Bond, but the Craig who played Connor Rooney in Road to Perdition has nothing behind those blues but weakness.

I treasure my tape of Polanski's Macbeth.


Oh my, you bring up so much in this post! Oliver Reed was an excellent actor, a pure film actor, which is rare in Britain. I want to see The System (a.k.a. The Girl-Getters) which is supposed to be very good, and also I'll Never Forget Whats 'Is Name. From what I've seen, his best work is in Women in Love, and I have a lot of affection for the admittedly silly The Assassination Bureau (which has appeal for men in the form of Diana Rigg). The Assassination Bureau is very much a Bond-ish role for Reed, and I think you are right, he could have been marvelous. But by the time the role came up, in the early 1970s, he was already a bad bet in terms of reliability and his waistline was already shot. Thanks very much for the link, by the by. That was a visual before-and-after collage I'd been meaning to do for a long while.

As for Oliver Twist - you didn't mention how Fagin was handled? Alec Guinness was terrifying in the part in David Lean's (superb & probably definitive) version, but debate goes on to this day about whether he made the role even more anti-Semitic than Dickens wrote it. (Whether Dickens was personally anti-Semitic as a 21st-century person understands the term is something I'd love to hear your thoughts on, one day.)

Now I think I must go back to the novel. I remember Sikes as a total sociopath, his sole redeeming feature an off-handed affection for his dog. The running into the burning house at the end was, in my memory, not so much an act of redemption as a desperate attempt to lose himself in physical danger as he is haunted by having murdered Nancy. And remember Lance, it is AFTER the fire that he calls to his dog ... and the animal won't come. He's achieved no real redemption, in my view.

Dickens does refer repeatedly to Nancy as "the girl." I don't know how old that makes her, in the eyes of a Victorian reader. I agree that Polanski should have more sense; it must be another case of "epater le bourgeois."

Sorry for this long comment, but one last thing. So Polanski includes Charlie Bates? does he also preserve Dickens' repeated references to "Master Bates"? One prof I had said drily that he figured this "belonged to the humor of the unconscious."

Exiled in NJ

And here I thought Master Bates was the young man who ran a motel on a forgotten stretch of road out west. He adored his mother, you know.


I'd be very interested in a LM review of this movie... I have to admit I'm highly skeptical. My brother (who is one of my flatmates) went through a Polanski phase last summer. (He went through several odd auteurs last summer, before he got a job, getting to know the surly movie snobs at our cheap rental place around the corner.) I watched "Fearless Vampire Killers," and I'm willing to bet, Jennifer, that it won't hold up to your 11-year old perspective. The one to *really* stay away from, though, is The Tenant. Eesh. What a work of complete ego. He's trying very hard to be Hitchcock and it's really terrible. I've been itching to watch Chinatown again, though. Man, that movie is fantastic.


C, You're right. Sikes isn't redeemed. And it could be argued that what he's doing at the fire isn't heroic, it's suicidal. He's trying to damn himself---fire, hell, yadda yadda. But I think Dickens means him to be seen as acting with true heroism; we're meant to admire the person he might have been if poverty and Fagin hadn't gotten hold of him when he was a child.

Charlie Bates is definitely an important character in the movie, although Polanski gives his big scene to the Dodger.

Claire, If you didn't know Polanski directed it, you wouldn't know Polanski directed it. I think I will do a review.

Mrs M, I'm a McGregor fan. But he can't do Bond. He's too short. And I say that as someone who is not all the much taller than him. 5' 10" doesn't cut it. Bond has to be at least 6'2". He has to physically dominate his scenes. Plus, if you cast McGregor, you couldn't cast any actress over 5 foot 6 and think what that would do to the ranks of the Bond girls.

Jennifer, leave this page and don't come back until you've seen at least Thunderball, Goldfinger, and the first 15 minutes of The Spy Who Loved Me.


I loved Oliver Reed in Hammer's "Curse of the Werewolf." He was also good in "Prisoner of Honor," a very good HBO film about the Dreyfus Affair.


Lance, my husband reminded me that I did indeed see Goldfinger in August of this year. I was under the weather though so I'm not surprised I had forgotten. I seem to remember Sean in some really scary terrycloth unitard/toddler beach outfit... or maybe it was my fever talking. Anyhow, I will indeed watch Thunderball, etc.

Claire- thank you for the warning. I think I will indeed stick with my fond memories.


I will definitely take another look at Sikes, with that thought in mind. Dickens was such a humanist and he often manages at least a drop of sympathy for even his vilest characters. Reed's performance as Sikes was brilliant, but I don't think he gives off even a touch of the heroic in that movie, aside from his heart-stopping sex appeal. In fact he is so frightening that at time he seems to have wandered in from David Lean's version of twenty years earlier.

Red Tory

I wonder how long we'll have to endure the oh-so-clever "James Blonde" references in the tabloid magazines?

Daniel Craig is a weird pick. Personally, I would have chosen Jude Law.

Seems odd that the first film out of the gate with this new Bond is "Casino Royale"... Wasn't that a spoof?

mrs. norman maine

Tory -- Thank you! Better a short Bond than a blonde bond, in my book. (You would think he'd dye his hair but so far nobody has said he will.) And yes, I've already heard or read "Craig -- Daniel Craig" too many times to count in the last week or so.

And Lance, if EMcG can court the sublime Nicole Kidman without looking foolish, surely he can be a credible James Bond -- even if he has to stand on boxes.


"Casino Royale" was the first of the James Bond books. Ian Fleming sold the rights when he was broke to, I think, CBS and they made a serious TV movie in the 50's. Then, Charlie Feldman got the rights and made a spoof when he couldn't get Sean Connery.

Daniel Craig has starred in some small English movies including "Enduring Love", "The Mother" and "Layer Cake" that are OK. He is a very good actor but he has very little screen presence.


I have to agree that Ewan is too short and not menancing enough. I was hoping the new Bond would be Clive Owen as well. Have you seen Croupier? The man can wear a tux. And Jude Law is too foppish for the role. He's too pretty. At least Daniel Craig isn't too well known. I think that weighs in his favor, for some reason. I won't be thinking of his previous roles when he takes up the MI6 mantle.

Exiled in NJ

Jennifer: Having been 20 or so when the Bond film phenomenon broke, I can say that reaction to Thunderball was more Peggy Lee than anything else. Friends and I went to center-city Philly to see it. Back then all films opened downtown. Later at the diner I remember that sense of 'Is that all there is?' After 'Russia with Love' and 'Goldfinger,' Thunderball was a letdown, more gimmick than cool. We saw Goldfinger first-run in New York; it played 24 hours at the theater in midtown. After viewing it, Connery became 'my man, James Bond.'

And now for something completely different: how about Rupert Everett as Bond????!!!!! He has the looks, that is for sure, and he would bring a whole new sensibility to the series.


I think Brad Pitt would have made a nice Bond. Plus, he lives out here near Pinewood and it would be an easy commute. That is, if you're serious about a blond Bond.

But Daniel? What were they thinking?


Can you stand one more Oliver Reed comment? Found this at, one of the best fan sites I have ever seen (and I have seen way too many). Whoever runs this place has compiled an astonishing archive of Reed's career in both acting and raising hell. Anyway, here is the bit, on page 5 under "Trivia and Anecdotes":

Oliver Reed Missed Out On Bond
15 August 2000 (WENN)
Movie legend Oliver Reed missed out on playing superspy James Bond because of his love of alcohol and fighting. A new biography of the star has uncovered a letter from Bond mastermind Albert R. Broccoli outlining how close he came to replacing Sean Connery in the role. Broccoli wrote, "With Reed we would have had a far greater problem to destroy his image and remold him as James Bond We just didn't have the time or money to do that." According to Cliff Goodwin, author of the book Evil Spirits, "Oliver was probably within a sliver of being cast as Bond." He adds, "But by 1968 his affairs were public and he was already drinking and fighting - as far away from the refined Bond image as you could get."

So they were considering him even before poor George Lazenby, and not after "Diamonds Are Forever" as I thought. Reed would have had just the right darkness for that very, very dark Bond movie.

Red Tory

Regarding Oliver Reed, I'm surprised no one has mentioned his last role as the cynical, shagged out ex-gladiator turned self-serving fight trainer Antonius Proximo. (Gotta love the name.) It's hard not to think that role was almost written with him specifically in mind. According some accounts, Reed had been relaxing at a Valetta pub in Malta between filming and suffered a fatal heart attack after reputedly consuming 3 bottles of rum and defeating five sailors at arm wrestling. It's said in the original script he was to have escaped, but with his death... well, that had to be re-worked. Art imitating life and visa versa.

Kevin Wolf

Reed is one of those actors who was around long enough (though clearly it could have been longer) and whose output is erratic enough that some think he can be easily dismissed.

But the good movies are there and he's solid in them. It's nice to see this appreciation, Lance.


Claire, "Foppish"! What an excellent word! I don't think Jude Law would make a good Bond either. No, I am not an expert in Bond, but I am aware of the men who played him. That is a perfect word. I kept thinking any number of words that didn't quite do it, but foppish is it.

Exiled, was it Peggy Lee pre or post "Fever"? Also, I love Rupert Everett as Bond. I think that would have indeed taken the franchise into an interesting dimension. Instead, I guess they are merely stepping out of the box in hair color choice.



That's great! Thanks for digging that up. See, folks, can I pick a Bond or can I pick a Bond?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Data Analysis

  • Data Analysis


April 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Movies, Music, Books, Kindles, and more

For All Your Laundry Needs

In Case of Typepad Emergency Break Glass

Be Smart, Buy Books

Blog powered by Typepad