30 Days of SPECTRE #004: M

Day 4 of 30 Days of SPECTRE!

Ralph Fiennes, Ralph Fiennes, Ralph Fiennes! Is there any finer actor for Judi Dench to pass the M torch to than that? We wager that there is not.

We had a brief glimpse at the end of Skyfall but SPECTRE is the first time we get to see the new M in all his glory.

We talk through all the M scenes from SPECTRE, ponder on the Gareth Mallory character in comparison to Sir Miles, as played by Bernard Lee and speculate on just how long we might see Ralph dishing out 007’s orders.

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12 Responses

  1. Agree, Fiennes absolutely brilliant and for me just half a notch below Bernard Lee. Hit all the right notes. On my first viewing of the film I took Daniel’s line to Denbigh in M’s office “No, I think I’ll calll you C” to be essentially the same joke as Fiennes’ more obvious (and fantastic) line towards the end of the movie. Not sure.

    As for the other M characterisations, I loved Judi Dench in GoldenEye, and to a lesser extent in Tomorrow Never Dies- the frosty attitude between her and Bond was really to my taste. Then she got really flaky with the whole Elektra King involvement in TWINE and then I found the character to be written quite unevenly in all of her subsequent films (sometimes a real prudish fusspot, other times the cold professional of GoldenEye). Just not to my personal taste.

    Robert Brown did a decent job but, after not re-casting out of respect in 1981, it seemed as though they just wanted him to almost literally step into Bernard Lee’s shoes and so he wasn’t (it seems to me) expected to come up with his own characterisation. I really like his scene with Roger at Ascot in A View To A Kill but I think he worked better with Tim, probably due to the more obvious generation gap there. Particularly like the ‘farewell to arms’ scene in Licence To Kill.

    I thought Edward Fox’s characterisation in NSNA was an interesting one (diffrrent to what at that time was the M template in the EoN films) but just didn’t work.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Nice write up of all the M’s there. Bernard Lee’s mantle is forever cemented at the top of the pile but Judi’s is right up there as well. I really like Robert Brown’s AVTAK Ascot scene too, but I guess in LTK he comes across at his strongest. Edward Fox was a young(ish) pompous M which was okay in the film but I’m glad we didn’t have an EON M like that!

      With Ralph Fiennes though, we’re definitely in safe hands! 🙂

  2. I wasn’t able to get to get tickets to the Mexico City Premiere on Monday but, considering that I live near to the Auditorium where it took place, my wife and I dropped by hoping for a miracle. Amazingly enough, not only did we talk the organizers into letting us in but we even secured “press badges” which allowed me to take pictures of the stars as they entered the red carpet.
    Just loved SPECTRE (specially the opening scene, for obvious reasons). I’ve also come to realize why several critics have disliked it: few Bond films have been aimed specifically for die-hard Bond fans as SPECTRE, case in point, how many casual audiences memmbers melt when they hear the name Ernst Stavro Blofeld?
    Love these podcasts. I do have one question thought. Was the scene with the skiers climbing the ski-lift (thus saving Q) a homage to FYEO?

    1. Hi Gerardo,

      Once again, some inspiring stories from the heart of Mexico City!! That’s amazing that you managed to secure press badges into the event. It’d be great to see what pics you got of the stars on the red carpet!

      Over in the UK the critical praise for SPECTRE has been a lot kinder than across the pond. You’re right about the film being aimed specifically for hardcore Bond fans, although saying that I saw it with my housemate who isn’t a Bond fan and she loved it. Hopefully the audience will see past some of the nonsensical poor reviews and have their own take on the movie.

      For sure, when the snowboarders get into the lift, to help cover Q it’s very similar to FYEO but slightly reversed. As in that, Bond is already with the public skiers and then Locques and Claus enter the lift.

      Thanks,
      JBR

  3. Ralph Fiennes was perfect in ‘Skyfall’ So when ended-up as the new M.
    I was so Glad. I wasn’t a Fan of Judi Dench as M in her debut in ”Goldeneye”
    my choice at the time was sir Patrick Stewart (star trek captain picard) since then Dame Judi dench has won me over. She was a Brilliant M during her time.

  4. I liked Robert Browns M. in the two timothy Dalton’s bond film’s. especially when bond goes rogue in ”licence to kill”

  5. If bond is rogue in Most of Daniel Craig’s films I don’t have a problem with it.
    the formula works well with Daniel Craig’s Bond.

  6. I thought Bond called him C because he can see (C) everything when he’s hacking surveillance cameras. And he is a member of the nine eyes.

  7. On your comments of Bond popping up in the plane, I think it was better served without showing the audience ahead of time. Having Bond in the Alps could have easily gone with a Chase on skis or snowmobile. Watching the Rovers speed away, you know they’ll be caught. Without showing the plane with an open door you’re given the gift of anticipation. Let’s face it, as Bond fans, we enjoy 2-3 years of guessing nearly as much as watching the films.

  8. In real life, the head of MI6 is referred to as ‘C’. ‘M’ is a Fleming creation.
    Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming was the first head of the British Secret Service and he use to sign his initial “C” with green ink on memos. Every subsequent director in a Nod to Cummings, signs their Sir Name initial in green ink.
    Charles Henry Maxwell Knight former Director General of MI5, was a major inspiration for the ‘M’ character. He signed his memos with an ‘M’ for Maxwell.

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