Not Tonight, Dear. I Have a Headache!

In On Her Majesty`s Secret Service (Chapter 16), Ian Fleming writes that knees are the Achilles heel of all skiers.

Rephrasing this anatomical pun (and according to Kingsley Amis, a clumsy metaphor), one might say that James Bond`s neck is his Achilles heel – or more correctly the area bordering the back of his head. It`s definitely bad luck for 007: in almost every movie, a henchman or a villain considers it his duty to hit Mr. Bond with some heavy object. And how convenient it is for the screenwriters! Bang – the scene changes, and now Mr. Bond is in the villains` – or villainesses` – hands. Or laying in an enflamed coffin, or in a drowning car. Sometimes, at these moments, his facial expression actually reads: Not again!

Let`s count together exactly how many times 007 gets knocked out in
such a painful way:

Dr. No (1)

The bad luck followed him right from the beginning. When Bond tries
fighting the dragon/vehicle drivers, one of them hits his head with the machine-gun handle. 007 isn`t knocked unconscious, but it`s obviously the cliche`s inauguration.

From Russia With Love (2)

Everyone who`s read at least one Fleming novel has probably been
thunderstruck by the amateurish way Bond conducts his missions: every
time a situation catches him off-balance he was supposed to foresee 15 pages earlier. Ditto with the movies. Fascinating! Bond examines the map provided by Donovan Grant (who had introduced himself as a British
Agent) with such fantastical readiness! Unfortunately, Grant instantly
takes out his cosh and – bang! One longs to admit about Bond: He`s
so naive!

Goldfinger (3)

When I want to get a can of a cold beer from my refrigerator (because
I`ve run out of Dom Perignon), I always look over my shoulder.
Otherwise when I finally come back to life, no beer and my girlfriend
is covered in golden paint.

Thunderball (-)

What can I say? You were lucky this time Mr. Bond. They didn`t hit the
back of your head. And you weren`t out of gas – another fate of yours,
by the way…

You Only Live Twice (4)

The tough guys from the Tokyo docks have a heavy hand, and also a heavy look in their eyes. The chase through the docks is great! Bond is in exquisite form running across the warehouse roof and also when he dives off onto the boxes not knowing what they contain (cement sacks, anyone?). He walks calmly down the pier, tidying his suit, then -bang…

On Her Majesty`s Secret Service (5)

What a meanstreak George Lazenby`s James Bond has! Twice he visits the suites of his women, and both times his head is in trouble! To begin with Tracy invites Bond to her room, and there Draco`s men strongarm him, hitting his neck unsuccessfully. But that`s not all! Having come to Ruby`s room, Lazenby`s Bond suffers a doubleshot of misfortune doubleshot. First he finds Fraulein Irma Bunt in Ruby`s bed then they knock him out; again. And another headache. Bond concocts a tale, but Blofeld is already on to him!

Diamonds Are Forever (6)

Sleek and fast: Kidd & Wint knock him out with a vase, and then stick
him in a coffin where he`s almost cremated.

Live And Let Die (7)

By the eighth James Bond movie you could actually anticipate when Bond
will be knocked out. After Mr Big`s interrogation, Tee Hee knocks Bond
out and sends him to the crocodiles for dinner.

The Man with the Golden Gun (8)

In Bruce Lee movies, even the most cruel villain doesn`t stab anybody
into the back – a code of Kung Fu. And here? Hardly has Bond done away
with the sumo fighters and prepared for another attack when – bang! A
rather unpleasant evening for a walk!

The Spy Who Loved Me (-)

Mr. Bond was lucky again. Well, not quite, one may say… Charming
female KGB agents have their own ways of doing away with British spies: cigarettes with a poisonous powder. Blow & Go. At least, Bond`s head is OK.

Moonraker (9)

Now, that`s what I call mean! Drax`s killjoys actually knock Bond
unconscious and drag him right from off his woman!

For Your Eyes Only (10)

Recall the beach scene: Colombo`s men knock James Bond out. This was
taken from the short story RISICO, though Fleming didn`t like using
this cliche. In Fleming`s novels, only twice is Bond knocked
unconscious after getting hit on his head (let`s not count
automobile-accidents and falling from heights): in RISICO and in
GOLDFINGER (the very beginning of part III). Bond gets kicked in the
side of the head at the end of FROM A VIEW TO A KILL, and Felix gets
“blackjacked” in LIVE AND LET DIE, but these don`t count…

Octopussy (11)

Among all the henchmen, only Gobinda really hated Bond: his
light-gray eyes said it all in BIG bold letters. Well, unlike Drax`s
men, at least he dully waited until James Bond had said goodbye to
Magda after their romantic night.

Never Say Never Again (-)

In the at-one-time-unofficial Bond movie 007`s head is OK.

A View to a Kill (12)

Scarpine, Zorin`s henchman, is a man of few words. If something is
wrong – you`re knocked out. James Bond, just before he`s put in the
Rolls-Royce before drowning in it. Bob Conley – because he knew (and
complained) too much. However, he gets his own in the end: Stacey
Sutton “extinguishes” him – the revenge is literally brought on
Scarpine`s head.

The Living Daylights (-)

In the Timothy Dalton era, the villains` methods of physical persuading became more sophisticated. Dalton`s James Bond is lucky as far as head injures are concerned, though he still becomes unconscious: Kara Milovy, double-crossed by General Koskov, puts a drug into Bond`s vodka-martini. La femme-fatale!

Licence to Kill (-)

Yes, Bond fights ninjas, but we don`t count it.

GoldenEye (-)

It`s become obvious that the screenwriters chose not to use the old
cliche. At the rendezvous with Janus, amidst the cemetery of sculptures of Soviet leaders, the bad guys knock Bond out with a tranquillizer.

Tomorrow Never Dies (-)

Bond`s head is OK. However, the tables are turned and Bond knocks one
of Carver`s men unconcious with an ashtray during the Hamburg soiree.

The World Is Not Enough (-)

Ok. But his neck must be awfully sore after nearly being “screwed” to
death in Elektra`s contraption…

So, the sum is 12… Not bad, not bad… It`s good that the back of
Bond`s head hasn`t been hit lately, otherwise he`d probably have to
consider taking precautions… perhaps a hard-hat? 🙂

–Vladislav Pavlov is the websmaster of General Grubozaboyschikov`s Secret Archive –

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