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 Posted:   Nov 1, 2013 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

Has anyone ever done a tally on where the James Bond theme elements have been integrated into the underscore of any of the movies (and where the most interesting use/changes have been made)?

The elements
1. The gun barrel fanfare
2. Rising and falling semitones
3. The twangy guitar theme
4. The big band swing section

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2013 - 6:29 PM   
 By:   Tango Urilla   (Member)

Interesting topic, as the James Bond theme appears plenty of times throughout the series' 23 film span. Maybe one day I'll be ambitious enough to actually note down every appearance in every film, but here are what I find to be some of the more interesting and unique instances of the theme.

David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is notable for its restraint in NOT using the classic James Bond theme, but rather a similarly bold and brassy kind of "Bond Begins" theme heard in "Blunt Instrument", "I'm the Money", "Aston Montenegro", and the title song "You Know My Name". This creative restraint makes for a very satisfying final scene where Bond is finally the Bond we all know and love and Arnold lets loose with one of the coolest, most classic sounding renditions of the James Bond theme to date in "The Name's Bond... James Bond".

But earlier in the film, during the dinner jackets scene with Vesper, Arnold playfully and coyly inserts part of the James Bond theme in the bassline beneath his "You Know My Name" theme as Bond checks out his new tuxedo from Vesper in the bathroom mirror. One of the strengths of Casino Royale as a film is how it strips away the traditional trappings of the character of Bond and allows the audience to gradually see how the man becomes the icon. This playful piece of music known as "Dinner Jackets" is one of those fine moments that smartly nods to Bond becoming Bond. The moment I'm talking about plays from 1:07 onward here:



Arnold's next film, Quantum of Solace, continues Royale's more restrained use of the James Bond theme, notably deploying the theme in far subtler statements than in past outings, for example at the tail end of "Pursuit at Port au Prince" or on twangy guitar in "Bolivian Taxi Ride", heard here:



As Quantum of Solace served as a direct continuation of Casino Royale and was still essentially about Bond finding his footing, carving his own way, and becoming a trusted agent of M's, I appreciated having the James Bond theme in the film's "subtext" so to speak. Thought that was a really smart way to go about it.

My personal favorite instance of the James Bond theme appears in On Her Majesty's Secret Service when Bond meets Draco for the first time. Barry uses a subtle fluctuation of the theme to underscore Draco's following outburst regarding the state of his suicidal daughter, Tracy: "What she needs is a man...to dominate her! To make love to her enough to make her love him! A man like you." Amidst the lovely "We Have All The Time in The World" music surrounding this brief inclusion of the James Bond theme, the theme takes on a mysterious and peculiarly dangerous quality, casting a bit of a shadow or a question mark over the nature of the kind of man Bond really is. Brilliant scoring there from Barry.

Other brief instances of the James Bond theme I really like include the striking opening brass of the From Russia With Love titles, the equally striking brass of Skyfall's opening as Bond appears in silhouette, and Kamen's piano sprinkling of the theme as Bond sneaks across the roof of the casino in Licence to Kill.

And as far as interesting uses of the James Bond theme go, you can't forget the one time the theme appeared in the film proper in Octopussy, however much the scene may make some groan:

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2013 - 10:24 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

Has anyone ever done a tally on where the James Bond theme elements have been integrated into the underscore of any of the movies (and where the most interesting use/changes have been made)?

The elements
1. The gun barrel fanfare
2. Rising and falling semitones
3. The twangy guitar theme
4. The big band swing section



A tally would certainly be possible for the clear instances, but there are several other places where a judgement call would be required because one or more musical elements of a cue might be considered a development of the Bond elements.

Take the Venini glassworks from Moonraker. The solo flute snippets that start the cue could be considered altered versions of the tune from the big band section of the Bond theme. Then a slow version of the Bond accompaniment appears but overtop there is a melodic fragment that could be heard as deriving from the end of the guitar riff. Whether these "count" depends on how one defines statements of the Bond theme elements.

Or how about the tune in this lively cue from The Living Daylights:



Is this tune a development of the guitar riff, or something new? I consider it the former, but there's bound to be disagreement on these things. Perhaps there could be a "maybe" category if someone is considering creating such a list.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2013 - 10:40 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is notable for its restraint in NOT using the classic James Bond theme,

Which they stated was done because "Bond isn't Bond" yet (whatever that's supposed to mean; actually, I do know what it means, but I find it lame) and hasn't "earned" his theme until the end, a notion that seems to have greatly influenced many prequels/remakes/firsts-in-a-series that has become really tiresome. Look at all the older films that were the first of a series (or essentially just one-offs) that had great main themes right out of the gate, providing a hook with which we could identify the character and film, and providing a memorable piece of music. None of this "they have to earn their theme" nonsense.

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 6:38 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

Yeah, Monty Norman is the only composer to have his music in all 23 films.

And yes, I *am* lighting a rocket and then running away.

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is notable for its restraint in NOT using the classic James Bond theme,

Which they stated was done because "Bond isn't Bond" yet (whatever that's supposed to mean; actually, I do know what it means, but I find it lame) and hasn't "earned" his theme until the end, a notion that seems to have greatly influenced many prequels/remakes/firsts-in-a-series that has become really tiresome. Look at all the older films that were the first of a series (or essentially just one-offs) that had great main themes right out of the gate, providing a hook with which we could identify the character and film, and providing a memorable piece of music. None of this "they have to earn their theme" nonsense.


Right.
One of many reasons i didn't like the first two 'reboot' Bonds!
bruce

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2013 - 1:19 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is notable for its restraint in NOT using the classic James Bond theme,

. None of this "they have to earn their theme" nonsense.


Well, in the case of Tall Guy, i have told him time and again that he "has to earn his theme"
before i compose one for him.
smile
bruce

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2013 - 1:07 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

David Arnold's score for Casino Royale is notable for its restraint in NOT using the classic James Bond theme,

. None of this "they have to earn their theme" nonsense.

Well, in the case of Tall Guy, i have told him time and again that he "has to earn his theme"
before i compose one for him.
smile
bruce



Aaargh! I'm up to six kills now - what else do I have to do?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2013 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Yeah, Monty Norman is the only composer to have his music in all 23 films.

And yes, I *am* lighting a rocket and then running away.


Norman or Barry, they do all have at the very least a touch of that iconic theme. Now, I actually haven't seen the last couple of Harry Potters but I'm pretty sure they all have a smidgen of Williams' theme over the Warner Bros logo. These things remind us we're watching the same character, however much he might have changed over the years. For me a Bond film without the Norman/Barry theme just isn't the same. Try watching those other two we all know and see what I mean!

Shame then that someone at Warner couldn't have insisted that the Batman franchise should always carry at least the five note Elfman motif from the first two (Burton) films. Just that little bit of unity..

And yes, I know that franchise was totally rebooted. Still.. At least the last three would have had five more notes of melody than they have!

 
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