RARA-AVIS: Helms & Bond

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 29 Apr 2002

Ray said:

While I consider Batman hard-boiled (and noir), one of MY defining characteristics of hard-boiled is that you could drop this guy into a bucket-of-blood roadhouse and he'd be at home. He wouldn't have to be a drunk, or even drink, but he would know how to act and what not to say. That's why (in my opinion) Matt Helm is hard-boiled and James Bond is not. Bond is a gentleman adventurer.

For female characters, it's a little tougher to figure out.


I assume Ray is talking about dropping Matt Helm into a bucket-of-blood roadhouse and not Batman. I imagine Batman would create a stir, and perhaps prompt some requests for autographs, but doubt he would "be at home."

I completely agree with Ray about Matt Helm and James Bond. Helm (and Joe Gall) I consider HB but not James Bond. One of the more interesting tidbits in this sometimes tedious discussion was someone's remark that Fleming's Bond traced his heritage to adventure writers like Talbot Mundy. I never thought of that before but Mundy's Jimgrim might well have been a precursor to Bond. As a fan of Mundy's, that was an interesting thought. Fleming, of course, came from a prominent British family and Mundy was the black sheep of all black sheep of his.

Now to Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Yeah, Marvin was the real thing. If you want a real hoot, rent his "Shack Out On 101" from 1955 with Frank Lovejoy, Terry Moore and Keenan Wynn. While I have not seen Mel's Hamlet, I do recall Marvin's role in "The Iceman Cometh" and he did a good job with that O'Neil. Perhaps not Jason Robards, Jr. but a solid job. And man his "Emperor of the North" for Aldrich was wonderful. I have come to appreciate Marvin's
"Point Blank" after the false start of seeing it at first release and arriving five minues late. I was lost in the flashbacks.

And somebody mentioned Bruce Taylor, formerly a mystery bookstore owner in SF and now relocated to Tuscany. I really do miss that big guy but am glad someone I admire and respect managed to make it to one of the truly lovely spots on this planet.

Finally, I think K.C. Constantine's Mario Balzac made my final list of 20. I have not gone back to check but if he didn't, he should have. Is he truly HB? It might be close but he makes it in my book.

Richard Moore

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