American cinema has changed as American culture has changed. This can be observed by focusing on genre movies produced during different time periods. A fantastic example is to analyze different James Bond movies. The James Bond franchise began with Sean Connery starring in the movie Dr. No in 1962 and is currently still very popular with Daniel Craig starring as James Bond, most recently in Casino Royale. There are some things that never change with James Bond, he always drives stylish cars, uses gadgets and gets the girl or girls.
But stylistically the movies have changed as American culture has changed. An excellent example of this is by comparing From Russia with Love (1963) and Golden Eye (1995). Both plot lines deal with Russia and Soviet agents and involve travel to exotic locations. Many plot points are actually almost identical, Sean Connery seduces a Soviet defector and Pierce Brosnan has relations with a Soviet government worker. Both movies deal with finding or stopping an important device, the Lektor and the Golden Eye. Both films also contain unknown evil organizations, S.
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P. E. C. T. R. E. and Janus. (Broccoli, A. , 1963, Broccoli, B. , 1995) One of the largest differences is the roll of women. The females in Goldeneye are very active in the story line not only as love interests. Xenia Onatopp is the main assassin and second in command to Alec Trevelyan. Nataylia is a Russian computer programmer working with Goldeneye who first appears to be passive as she is the only innocent survivor from the massacre at her work. From Russia with love also has females but their actions are not on par with the men.
Tatiana is a Soviet spy that eventually defects because she has fallen in love with Bond, but she doesn’t actually save Bond, her image is much more of the perception of woman from the mid 1900s. The woman was just beginning to become independent and self-reliant. During Goldeneye and the future modern Bond films woman can take care of themselves and they even save Bond! During the Bond era of For Russia with Love women were still very much eye-candy and caused trouble, they haven’t gotten to the point of saving Bond. (Broccoli, A. , 1963, Broccoli, B. , 1995)
Do to the advancement of cinematography the stunts are bigger and louder and the gadgets are even more complex and cool. In For Russia with Love James Bond is looking for Lektor a cipher machine used by the Soviet’s. In Goldeneye Bond is trying to find the Goldeneye, a satellite system with killer capabilities. Pierce Brosnan manages to take out Russian buildings with a tank and a Russian armored train. This really is an example of how technology has developed and been incorporated into films.
Computers play a large part of Goldeneye and computer usage had not become popular yet during the 1960s and is not featured in From Russia with Love. At the time of From Russia with Love a cipher machine would be very important, where as during Goldeneye space technology has advanced and weapons threat has become very advanced. Bond and Tatiana do travel by train but it is a passenger train, no secret armored vehicle. The clothes, cars and music of the times are incorporated into the films.
Despite the fact that Golden is supposed to take place in the mid 1980s the clothes, except for the uniforms are very modern from ten years or so in the future. During From Russia with Love the clothes are very mush from the 1960s and traditional of what one thinks of when they picture Russia. Large thick coats with fur collars, very Dr. Zhivago. (Broccoli, A. , 1963, Broccoli, B. , 1995) Even the quality of the picture and influence of new cameras has an effect on the style of film. Both films are good quality but the more modern films are sharper, you can almost see the influence and advances made using digital images.
It is a fascinating time to watch the James Bond films in succession as you see how American culture influences almost all parts of the film even down to the costumes. The basic plot lines contain some very similar scenarios but the role of women, influence of technology and advancement of weapons make it possible to place the time period in which each movie was produced. References; Broccoli, A. , (producer), Young, T. , (director), From Russia with Love, USA, MGM, 1963 Broccoli, B. , (producer), Campbell, M. , (director), Goldeneye, USA, MGM, 1995
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