Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (Stevan Riley, 2012)
If you know very little about the James Bond books or the James Bond films, yet have always enjoyed reading or watching at least some of them, then you might just really like this film. It provides a satisfactory chronology of how Ian Fleming – the author of the original novels – began writing, and how Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman – the producers of the original films – began filming. It features interviews – freshly shot and archival – with many of the key players in the movie franchise (though not Sean Connery, who became angry with the producers years ago, claiming under-payment and exploitation), and with many people who knew Ian Fleming. Somehow, though, it seems to lack, for me, a spark of real documentary flair, and just ends up feeling like another talking head + b-roll affair. It doesn’t help that I have always been something of a Bond aficionado, and recently boned up on my knowledge some more for my October 5, 2012, radio show.
Still, it’s the only kind of documentary like this out there, so I’ll probably end up buying it for future classroom use (since I plan to teach a course on Bond films next year). It doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful. Even a stirred vodka martini does the trick, if all you’re interested in is having a drink.