As you may have seen, the first picture from the impending James Bond movie Skyfall was released earlier in the week. This isn’t noir, as far as I know. The Bond franchise probably isn’t built for bleak noir à la James M. Cain or Cornell Woolrich. But let’s not forget, noir is an appendage of hardboiled. I would suggest that James Bond is another such offshoot.
Put simply, Bond is a pulp hero. Is the Bond of Fleming’s novels really all that different from Mike Hammer? The anti-communism, the womanizing, the brutality. Now James Bond is a very Tory pulp hero, certainly. But compare him to another Tory pulp hero—Leslie Charteris’ The Saint—and it is perfectly obvious that Bond is hardboiled through and through. The last line of Casino Royale? “The bitch is dead.”
The movies have sometimes ranged far afield, though it’s hard to argue that even Octopussy was that much more ridiculous than Armand Assante’s turn as Mike Hammer I, the Jury. The first couple films show Bond as a sort of international detective. He might have more panache than Marlowe, but Marlowe was Aristotle compared to earlier pulp detectives.
What say you? How would you classify Fleming’s novels? Or the continuation novels?