James Bond is a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming for the novel Casino Royale.
Fleming's novels have formed the basis of one of the longest continually-running film series in history.
Links to Alfred Hitchcock
Following the publication of Casino Royale, CBS television network paid Ian Fleming $1,000 for the rights to turn the novel into an hour-long drama, as part of the anthology series Climax Mystery Theater. The adaptation was written by Anthony Ellis and Charles Bennett, who wrote the scenarios for several Hitchcock films, including The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935) and Secret Agent (1936). The episode was first broadcast in October 1954 and starred Barry Nelson as Bond and Peter Lorre as the villain Le Chiffre.
By 1958, Fleming was considering the possibility of a Bond feature film and he worked with Ivar Bryce, Irish writer/director Kevin McClory and writer Jack Whittingham to develop an original script. It had been hoped the film would go into production in 1960 with Richard Burton playing Bond and Hitchcock directing, but McClory was unable to raise the finances. Fleming then repurposed much of the script into 1961 novel Thunderball, which led to McClory and Whittingham suing the author for breach of copyright.
One of the outcomes of the script development was turn Bond from the "ruthless, sadistic and misogynistic" secret agent of Fleming's early novels into a "much more suave character who was keen on women and affairs". It is believed that Fleming, McClory and Whittingham were influenced by the character of Roger Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) in Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959).
In his book The Battle For Bond, Robert Sellers republished a telegram sent by Fleming to novelist Eric Ambler in September 1959:
From Russia With Love
Although the film was based on Fleming's 1957 novel of the same title, two chase scenes were added to the film. The first of these involved a helicopter sequence which it is widely accepted was based on the iconic crop-duster sequence from Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959).
By the time Hitchcock was casting Marnie (1964), Connery was reportedly concerned about being typecast as Bond and "was growing desperate to change his image". According to Patrick McGilligan, Hitchcock had briefly considered Connery for the role of Mitch in The Birds (1963) before offering him the role of Mark Rutland in Marnie.
Following Marnie, Hitchcock had hoped to fulfil his ambition of filming an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play Mary Rose with Tippi Hedren playing the lead role. Some sources has stated that Hitchcock had intended to offer Connery a role in the film.