Club James Bond 007, a France-based James Bond fan club with 300 members, is almost unanimous in rating Sir Sean Connery, who died on Saturday, October 31, aged 90, as the best Bond.
“Of course it is a debate that we have had often and we even had a weekend event around 10 years ago on the theme,” said the club president Luc Le Clech.
“But now it is generally accepted that as the first Bond, and with the superb team around him in the early films, Sean Connery set a standard for Bond, and indeed for the representation of British secret service operatives in cinema, which all others conform to and try to match.”
The club has Sir Roger Moore, who played Bond in films after Mr Connery, as its patron.
Eric Saussine, the club secretary, said he agreed with George Lazenby, who played Bond after Mr Connery and said, “Connery was Bond, all the others are impostors,” a sentiment that Mr Le Clech judged “a bit harsh”.
Members are passionate about Bond films, and many were infected with the bug early.
“It is for all the reasons you would think, the glamour, the stunts, the gadgets, the love life and all the rest of the character and the films” said Mr Le Clech.
“The difference I suppose is that as adults we have come together to share, discuss and enjoy the films still.”
He said that the closest the club had got to Mr Connery in person was being in the audience when he appeared on a Canal Plus talk show.
“As you know he lived abroad for many years, and as a major film star was not easy to approach.”
Not many members get dressed up often as James Bond in tuxedos or in golf shirts and slacks, apart from occasional theme nights.
“That is something that the American fan clubs seem to be more keen on,” said Mr Le Clech.
“For us it is more an analysis of the films – after all we are French.
The club’s main activity is the production of two to three glossy magazines for members each year, called Le Bond, plus a high quality annual encyclopaedia magazine called Archives 007.
It also organises events with a Bond theme.
“We are lucky in that so many Bond films and scenes were filmed, at least partially, in France,” said Mr Le Clech.
“Perhaps the most spectacular event was in 2013 when the club held an event at the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, where key scenes from the film Moonraker were filmed in 1979.
Most of the actresses in the film were present, at the event.
Bond’s former French home
A luxury villa on the hills above Nice, once owned by Mr Connery, is for sale for €30million.
The five-bedroom, two-swimming pool villa with a view over the sea, also has a sauna and a gym, as well as parking for five cars.
It has had several owners since Mr Connery and his wife Micheline Roquebrune stayed there regularly, but when it goes up for sale, the Bond connection is usually made.