A JBR Listener’s Homemade Bond Monopoly Board Game
Interview by Jack Lugo
If you’ve listened to Part 1 of JBR’s Big 5th Anniversary Extravaganza then you were no doubt fascinated and intrigued when JBR listener Marlene Orth told Tom and Chris about a homemade version of Bond Monopoly that she made herself. The kind of passion and devotion Marlene has as a Bond fan is something we at JBR both applaud and encourage. In addition to providing us with photos of her Bond Monopoly game, Marlene was kind enough to answer some questions for the JBR website. Not only do we learn all about her personal Bond Monopoly creation, I was also curious to learn what her experience has been like as a Bond fan in Germany.
JBR: What made you become a Bond fan?
Marlene: I don’t actually quite remember what triggered my Bond geekdom. It now feels like it has always been part of my growing up. I have a hazy memory of watching Goldeneye on TV, but I was not introduced to the franchise by anyone in particular. It was just a natural thing for me since watching my first few films to grow into a Bond super geek. My family consists of casual Bond fans but I took it to a whole other level, hunting down all the movies and Fleming novels, the (some of the) comics, watching and re-watching the films, reading and re-reading the novels and decorating the walls of my childhood bedroom with James Bond posters (I think I had a total of 8 or so up at one point). I can’t place a finger on what triggered my love for Bond – it’s like Tom said at one point, “It’s like a disease” in the sense that you can’t help but love it.
JBR: What has it been like being a Bond fan in Germany? How popular is Bond in Germany? Do you have other German friends who are also Bond fans?
Marlene: Growing up in Germany, I initially watched all the movies in German and read all the books in German, so I got to know Bond through the translations (reading the comics in English was about all I could muster at 12/13). While nowadays a lot of movies are shown with the original audio at German cinemas as well – which is great, and these are the types of screenings I attend now – whenever a Bond film is broadcast on TV it will be the German dubbing.
Bond is very popular in Germany, too, and as much a part of German pop culture as it is of British and American. There are a very big fan communities there as well and dedicated people who run websites and now Facebook groups, but I have to admit, when I was growing up, I was very much in my own little fan bubble and I didn’t really reach out to other fans. In fact, reaching out to JBR was the first time I contacted other fans ☺
Funnily enough, Ralf (from Hamburg) is my closest Bond friend in Germany – and I met him through JBR 😀
My mum and my sister are also Bond casual fans, but their knowledge is not quite up there with mine (not blowing my own trumpet here – they’d agree with me on that). They couldn’t name all the films in order, know who Maud Adams is or what the Lector does, bless their hearts, but they’d always be up for watching a Bond film with me – especially if I picked a Pierce or a Daniel. A funny little anecdote is that when I was at university and my mum would send me a parcel with German chocolate and things from home, whenever she had dropped the parcel off at the post office she would text me and all the text would say is “The baby is asleep.”, quoting, of course, from Pussy Galore’s flying circus pilot, meaning “The job is done.”
JBR: You mentioned that your first exposure to Bond was through watching the films dubbed in German. What was that experience like? How faithful were the German translations of the dialogue? How long was it until you saw the films in English?
Marlene: When you are a child and you grow up watching movies dubbed you tend to get used to the lips and the voices not being perfectly in sync, maybe even to the point where you don’t even notice it anymore. Credit has to be given to the people who dub films into German – they are perfect as far as dubbing goes. Yes, the lips won’t perfectly match what is being said but other than that everything else is spot on: the intonation is exactly what the actual actor would say in the original dialogue and the length of whatever is being spoken matches the original perfectly, so you can pretend the actors are actually speaking German. Many actors get the same German voice artist for all their films, so it really is like that actor has a German voice – this is done to an extent that the dub artists even do radio advertisements pretending to be a certain actor because their voices have become so recognizable, or read audiobooks that in turn will be advertised with something along the lines of “Have the voice of Pierce Brosnan narrate such and such a book to you”. (And, yes, of course I had such an audiobook that was narrated by the “German voice of Pierce Brosnan”.)
That said, once you speak English well and you get used to watching everything in English without subtitles – which for me would have been around 17/18 or so – going back to watching a dubbed movie takes a bit of time getting used to again and it feels a bit odd now.
For the vast majority of the Bond scripts, the German translations are very faithful to the original dialogue. Of course, it is difficult to translate idioms, quips and double entendres but the translators do their best to preserve the humour of a situation or bring the intended meaning of it across in some other way. For example, in Goldeneye when Bond and Xenia introduce themselves to each other and she says “Onatopp” in the German dubbing Bond asks “Ohne Top”, which almost sounds the same as Onatopp but means “Without [the] top?” to which Xenia repeats her last name like she does in the original dialogue “Onatopp”. Or in OHMSS after Bond joins the Angels of Death for an afternoon session of curling and he says “You have no idea how it’s piling up.” in German Bond says something to the effect of “This is how it’s done: One thing at a time.” in a Swiss German accent (though he normally, of course, speaks standard German throughout all the films) and that line always made me laugh a lot – still does. That scene is hilarious. A curious dubbing moment is in TMWTGG when Bond wakes up at the karate school being cared for by the three Asian ladies and he sighs “Heaven. Definitely heaven.” In the German dubbing he says – in English! – “God save the queen.” 😀 Another funny translations from TMWTGG is when Bond escapes from the karate school in a boat and after the little boy helps him speed up the boat and says “20,000 baht!”, while in the original Bond says “I’m afraid I’ll have to owe you” in the German dubbing Bond says “I need to change money first” and pushes the boy out of the boat, to which the boy in the water yells “I also accept dollars, but preferably Deutsch Mark!” (instead of “Bloody tourist!”).
There are a couple of more moments like that, but these scenes I could think of from the top of my head. These aside though, the translations are very faithful to the original dialogues.
In OHMSS they even translated the song “Do you know how Christmas trees are grown?” – something they wouldn’t do today because it is fashionable to keep as many things in English as possible – and the German version of the song is called “What does a Christmas tree dream of in May?”, which is so weird and makes so little sense, I don’t even know where to begin 😀
JBR: What made you decide to build the Bond Monopoly game? Where did you get the images from? How much time did it take to build the game?
Marlene: It actually started all with a James Bond-based card game that I made because I was bored and wasn’t allowed to watch movies during the day but still wanted to do something James Bond related. That was my first instance where I turned an ordinary game into something Bondian (read, something much cooler).
My sisters (I grew up with three) and I played Monopoly a lot in those days, so I was very familiar with the game. From this sprang the idea to create a Bond-Monopoly game. That was at the beginning of 2006 when I would have been around 14/15 – by the way, my sincere apologies for getting the timeline wrong during the podcast: So, I made this game the same year they released the official Bond Monopoly but at the time I created mine I didn’t know about it.
For the images I went on Google and printed out the ones that I felt represented the scene / location I wanted to capture best. I just used our printer at home for that, so the images aren’t the best quality.
Pew, I don’t really remember how long it took me, maybe a total of 5 days or so, spread over a two-week period. I enlisted the help of one of my sisters to stick the community and chance cards onto actual playing cards but apart from that did everything myself.
JBR: Did you have a regular group of family and friends to play your Bond Monopoly game with?
Marlene: So, my sisters and I played Monopoly a lot at the time, for example, every year on Christmas Eve (which is the main day of Christmas celebrations in Germany) to pass the time until we were allowed to open presents, which is done in the evening of 24 December. We would play my Bond Monopoly from on occasions like these, but it was a prized possession of mine and I was very careful with it, so I would only allow for it to be played from time to time.
JBR: You mentioned in a previous message that the spaces for the film For Your Eyes Only were your favorite in your previous message. Why was that?
Marlene: Yes, so back in the day that colour-section was my favourite. It wasn’t too expensive to buy and build houses and hotels there, so you could build them quite early in the game and start charging the other players more money early in the game, which increases your chances of winning. Plus, green is my favourite colour. (The things that matter when you’re a child, eh.)
JBR: I admire the Bondian slant that you took with the Community Chest and Chance Cards. How much fun was that to create?
Marlene: That was SO much fun! It gave me a chance to pour all my knowledge of the Bond universe and the quotes into the game – finally, that knowledge had some kind of purpose. Whenever I used quotes on the chance and community cards, they are the exact ones from the movie (the German dubbing that is) as I naturally I stayed as faithful to the dialogue whenever I could.
Of course, no one around me understood or appreciated it at the time. So, I finally get a chance to show it to someone who will ☺
JBR: If you were building your Bond Monopoly game today, what would you change? Would there be enough room on the board for the Daniel Craig films?
Marlene: Oh, I love this question! It was so much fun to answer because it was like building the game again! Also, quite possibly, the question I struggled the most with here. Why is there so little space on the board – I don’t remember picking the movies to go on the board to be so hard. Absolutely, there would HAVE to be room for Daniel’s movies. In my defence: When I made the game none of his movies had come out yet.
So, after careful deliberation, the colour-sections and property names would be from cheapest to most expensive:
- SPECTRE island
- Orient Express
- Osato Chemical and Engineering Co., Tokyo
- Himeji Castle, Japan (ninja training school)
- Blofeld’s volcano lair
- The Baku palace
- Electra’s pipeline
- The Maiden tower
- Bladen safe house
- Brad Whitaker’s villa (Palace El Mendoub) in Tangier
- Casino Royale
- Body Worlds exhibition in Miami
- Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music in Venice
- Casino Royale, Montenegro
- College of Arms, London
- Palacio Estoril Hotel (where Bond meets Tracy)
- Piz Gloria
- St. Georges wreck
- Holy Trinity monastery (Kristatos’ hideout)
- Goldfinger’s Kentucky Horse Ranch
- Fort Knox
Goldfinger has to be the most expensive colour section because Fort Knox naturally has to be Mayfair (Boardwalk on the American monopoly). And I now have moved FYEO up the second most expensive street just because I love this movie.
At some point I also had LALD (locations: Fillet of Soul in New Orleans, Crocodile farm, and San Monique) and TMWTGG (locations: Hai Fat’s estate, Hong Kong HQ on the sunken Queen Elizabeth, and Scaramanga’s island) on there but, alas, they had to go because I wanted to have a Timmy film and YOLT’s iconic hollowed out volcano on there as well. It pains me because the Bahamas and Kingston, Jamaica, should be on there as well in honour of the novels but there just wasn’t enough space on the board. Maybe at some point I can invent an extended (3D…?) version of Monopoly or something where there is more space for more films.
Interview by Jack Lugo