Jacob Hall, writing for Esquire:
They say a James Bond movie is only as good as its villain. That’s not always true—weak bad guys unwind fantastic Bond movies. Stellar villains elevate terrible installments. While England’s top spy has gone head-to-head against a variety of foes, you can’t deny that some have served as meatier adversaries as others. That’s why we have to do what any Bond fan must do: rank every single James Bond villain in a big list.
Points to Hall for comprehensiveness — there are 24 Bond movies, with at least one boss and several henchmen in each film. I think he gets the order largely right, but there’s a lot to quibble with. (5th place isn’t shabby on a list of 104, but I’d rank Auric Goldfinger in the top 3, at least — he’s the quintessential Bond villain.)
The other thing I disagree with is putting Blofeld down as a single character. He appears in 7 films but, in the films in which we see his face, was never played by the same actor twice (yet). Hall’s rankings include the actors’ performances — I’d say each actor’s Blofeld should be included separately — or at least we need a separate list of ranked Blofelds. I’d go with: Donald Pleasence, Christoph Waltz, Charles Gray, Telly Savalas, Max von Sydow — and I’d probably put Pleasence’s Blofeld in the top 3 overall. Like Goldfinger, he’s quintessential. And the goofy unnamed “Blofeld” whom Roger Moore’s Bond tosses out of a helicopter and into a chimney in the dreadfully awkward opening scene of For Your Eyes Only ought to be dead last on the whole list.
★ Wednesday, 17 July 2019