Almost called this Bond Fun. Reminds me of the fan club mag for the James Bond American Fan Club in the 80's ie Bondage Magazine.
Just a fun what if post. Nope, not even political or spiritual etc. Just fun REALLY!
If Ian Fleming's character had existed in fiction in the 30's and 40's, who would have been cast in the various roles?
I think Errol Flynn would have been a natural for Bond. He was the quintessential Brit type hero. Maybe David Niven, as Ian fleming had suggested later, could have done it, but I prefer Flynn. Love em and leave em and risk taker.
Louis Hayward or Leslie Howard would have been 'smoother' choices. Think Moore vs Flynn's Connery. Whereas, Stewart Granger would have been the era's Dalton and Douglas Fairbanks jr for a Brosnanlike Bond. Lazenby like could have been given to John Payne the lone American. Incidentally, he optioned Moonraker for a while but it never got off the ground. Nothing against Daniel Craig but I think he is the only one who is purely modern and just wouldn't translate to the past. Maaaaybeeee Richard Denning had the oomph for the part.
As for M, there are several choices.
C. Aubrey Smith might have made a very proper M. He was often cast as upper class English types and had just that touch of stuffiness that suits the head of SIS.
Henry Stephenson could have been a younger interp. Donald Crisp possibly as a stodgier M could have filled the bill.
Villains were legion in the actual films of the era and would have easily segued into evil geniuses and thugs out to destroy and conquer and get Bond.
Basil Rathbone had a smarmy but elegant air about him. He could have played Bill Tanner, M's assistant as well.
Lionel Atwill could have been Hugo Drax, if we transposed time.
Here is a fave that would have provided plenty of creepiness and menace: Bela Lugosi. He was to my mind, a great actor, though he suffered from typecasting and a series of bad vehicle choices. Imagine,'Good evening, Meester Bond', with an evil leer preparing to torture 007.
Martin Koslick had a younger presence suitable for secondary villains/henchmen.
Of course Boris Karloff had the range to play anything from thug to henchman to evil genius. 'Yes, Mr. Bond, I'll give you the brain of the wolfman', lol.
Surely John Carradine would have been employed as a mad scientist/henchman, not to mention Claude Rains.
Throw in erich von Stroheim and Conrad Veidt for monacle wearing monomaniacal villains.
Add Peter Lorre for additional creepiness.
Van Johnson or Franchot Tone as Felix Leiter, Jill Esmond as Moneypenny and Akim Tamaroff as Kerim Bey had possibilities to round out a cast.
Now for the crowning roles aka Bond girls.
Hands down, my fave would have been my longtime crush, Susan Hayward. She could have been one of the smarter, gutsier babes, maybe Tracy.
For lighter fare, there could have been Jean Harlow as Tiffany Case.
For a Honey Rider type, how about Hedy Lamarr?
Acquanetta might have played paula from Thunderball.
Lauren Bacall, Anna May Wong, Olivia DeHaviland, the list is almost endless.
And wow, how about Maureen O'Hara? Vavavoom, as my Dad would say.
Some fun what ifs at the end of summer.
Now back to the things that make us tick and the crappola coming down in this country.
21 hours ago