Tuesday 18 February 2014

Happy 85th Birthday to Len ....

... I'm sure readers of this blog and around the world will want to join me in wishing Cyril Len Deighton, author, historian, designer and film-maker, congratulations on his 85th birthday!

Quite a milestone,and I'm pleased that having caught up with Len last December, after he'd been for his 'MOT' in Harley Street, I can report both he and his wife Ysabele are in good health and enjoying retirement and their family.

His friend and fellow author, Mike Ripley, has written a little encomium on Len's 85th birthday in his regular online treatise, Getting away with murder. In it, he looks in detail at Len's famous London Dossier.


  1. @Ripley “There is a school of thought (from which I was expelled many years ago) that OHMSS is not only the best Bond book, but also made the best Bond film. There was no doubt, though, that Ian Fleming (and Malcolm Gair) tapped into something popular when they set their thrillers on the luxurious ski slopes of Switzerland. It did not, however, work for everyone, even if their name was Fleming”

    Read through Ripley’s rambling, and he fails to see the argument behind that ”school of thought”. Watching the OHMSS film on its first day release, I rightly assumed that: Sean Connery fans would not accept an Aussie upstart as a Bond, Savalas sounded too American-in the previous villains were of unknown nationalities, the novice director- still Terence Young was considered the best director, and Peter Hunt the excellent editor was not seen as a director material then. Bond Novels acquired popularity more as a result of the film success, and OHMSS was not considered as a success for the reasons listed above., despite John Barry’s excellent music score particularly in ski –chasing scene. The fact that George Lazenby and Peter Hunt, the latter who was disappointed in not getting Sean Connery to direct, were not on speaking terms, did not help the film as it was being shot. George Lazenby was badly advised , which he followed and quit from his seven –film contract , which he regretted late. Had he continued, OHMSS would have got another look at that time for another review and acceptance. I a strong supporter of Connery as the Bond, and as some one who read the book in 1963 when it was published, watched the film when it was first released, reassessed the merits of both later, would not go as far as saying that it was the best Bond book and the film was the best Bond film. But I would have agreed with the members of the above “school of thought” and would have voted to expel Ripley!

    Ripley is wrong again in assuming that Ellery Queen is an iconic name and an industry in America, as any one of my vintage would testify that his crime novels were famous in other parts of the world where English is spoken and the written words are understood in those days. I can testify to the latter.