I’m going to the LACMA exhibit on Thursday, … Is James Bond, an ode to all 22 opening credit sequences, in honor of the 50th anniversary. It occurs to me that I don’t delve into the opening credits very much in my new book, James Bond Unmasked (Spies). Sure, I credit Maurice Binder’s revolutionary graphic work with the silhouetted girls in Dr. No, but I spend more time on the gun barrel sequence. And I only casually allude to Robert Brownjohn’s alluring design in Goldfinger, Binder’s nostalgic/time motif in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the freewheeling gymnastics of The Spy Who Loved Me, Daniel Kleinman’s post-Cold War look in GoldenEye, the first-time narrative spillover in Die Another Day, the Fleming-inspired graphic design of Casino Royale, and MK12′s return of the silhouetted girls in Quantum of Solace.
In other words, there’s an in-depth article here about the art of the Bond opening titles just as there’s one about the pre-credit sequences. Sex and violence in a recurring strip tease played to the beat of the hot title song. What are my favorites? Goldfinger, which seductively sums up the look while also providing a sneak peek; Thunderball, which adds the underwater motif of sex linked to violence; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which sums up the Connery era while introducing a Bond who doesn’t have “all the time in the world”; Live and Let Die, which spices up 007 with voodoo love; Die Another Day for daring to continue Bond’s torture; Casino Royale, which brings us full circle back to Fleming while hinting at the love and betrayal; and Quantum of Solace, which moves like a bullet from Bond’s Walther.
Co-organized by LACMA and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television (SFTV), the exhibition runs through Sept. 9 and takes place in the Art of the Americas Building at LACMA. The opening credit sequences are thematically grouped and displayed on a series of 40” monitors. Audio for each sequence is available via headset, and the full set of sequences are also looped and projected with audio in a large format with sound on one wall of the gallery.