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The name's Bond, James Bond: 007 marks 50 years

James Pheby
5 October 2012
'Bond' star Sean Connery poses with two women in Cannes in 1965
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'Bond' star Sean Connery poses with two women in Cannes in 1965. A series of events are to be held around the world on October 5 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bond films, the iconic spy saga that helped define half-a-century of cultural, political and technological upheaval

"The name's Bond... James Bond". Fans of 007 on Friday celebrated 50 years of the suave British spy's adventures on the silver screen with a day of themed events around the world.

Bond strode stylishly into a film for the first time in the now classic "Dr. No", released on October 5, 1962, introducing himself with the immortal line over a high-stakes game of baccarat.

The movie franchise has gone on to become one of the most successful in history, with the 22 Bond films taking more than five billion dollars (3.85 billion euros).

To mark "Global Bond Day", British diva Adele released a clip of the theme song for "Skyfall", the 23rd and newest Bond film, on her website as anticipation built for its worldwide premiere on October 23.

The rugged Daniel Craig is the latest of the six actors to play Bond, but some things have stayed the same -- 007's taste for fast cars, beautiful women, high-tech gadgets and vodka Martinis.

"For all the attempts at change, the core of the Bondian world remains the same: obsessed with sex and violence, hypermasculine, simplistically nationalistic, and addicted to conspicuous consumption," Christoph Lindner, editor of "The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader", told AFP.

A collection of cars from the films, including the iconic Aston Martins, were gathered at Pinewood Studios near London where the movies are made.

An auction of memorabilia at Christie's in London was another highlight of the day before the action moves across the Atlantic.

In New York, the Museum of Modern Art was unveiling an installation dedicated to the title sequence of 1964's "Goldfinger," which it said "captures the sexual suggestiveness and wry humor of the James Bond mythos."

James Chapman, historian at Leicester University in England and author of "Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond films", said the "Bond Girls" -- a fixture of all the films -- had subtly evolved with the sexual politics of the time.

"The villains have become rather more bland whereas the female characters have been given a little bit more depth (with each new film), although I say a little bit more, because they still ultimately conform to stereotypes," he said.

Another key feature of the films, the music, was being celebrated at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, which was hosting an evening of "memorable title songs and indelible scores" from the films.

British session player Vic Flick, 75, who laid down the signature guitar riff for the James Bond theme song, is due to attend.

In Washington, the International Spy Museum is staging an interactive exhibition, "Exquisitely Evil," which pays homage to Bond's adversaries with more than 100 artefacts from the Bond movies as well as "real stories from real spies", recalling their own Bond-like moments in espionage.

London's Barbican Centre has put on an exhibition showcasing the design and style of "the world's most influential and iconic movie brand". It will move on to Toronto later this month.

Britain's tourist agency has joined forces with Bond for the first time, launching a campaign across 21 countries based around the slogan "Bond is GREAT Britain."

A new feature documentary "Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007", will also be unveiled, focusing on producers Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and 007 author Ian Fleming, the three men most responsible for building the brand.

The release of "Skyfall" caps a busy year for 007, who provided one of the highlights of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony by "parachuting" into the stadium with Queen Elizabeth II, in a well-received spoof film.

Few would have believed that Bond would become a global institution when "Dr. No", an adaptation of Fleming's 1958 novel, was released.

Critical reaction to the first film was mixed, with Time magazine calling Sean Connery's Bond -- still many fans' favourite -- "a great big hairy marshmallow".

Meanwhile, Adele's new track was revealed as a soaring orchestral number that seemed a return to classic Bond themes in the mould of Shirley Bassey's songs for "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds are Forever".

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