Drink of the Week: The Countess Tracy (TCM Fest Salute #3)

The Countess Tracy.If you head over to Bullz-Eye’s James Bond Fan Hub, you may notice that the writer behind the painfully in-depth explorations of the Sean Connery 007 films is the same guy bringing you these beverage recipes week after week. So, of course, when I attended this year’s TCM Fest, I was going to make it a priority to finally check out the 2012 restored version of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” on the big screen.

Though originally regarded as something of a disappointment largely due to the replacement of Connery by George Lazenby, an unknown whose performance remains controversial (I’m not a huge fan), there is a small but growing community who argue it’s the best film in the entire series. My position is that it’s pretty great and very likely would have topped even “Goldfinger,” if only Connery had, in fact starred opposite the film’s actual leading lady, Diana Rigg, who very definitely is the greatest of all Bond girls.

Lazenby aside, OHMSS remains a mighty entertaining piece of work and by far the most faithful to any of the 007 novels, a most romantic and strangely melancholy tale for all its Bondian absurdity. (For more background information, feel free to check out my brother in Bondage Ross Ruediger’s fine ONHMSS exploration for Bullz-Eye.)

Today’s drink is devoted to easily the most complex and affecting leading lady in the Bond cannon so far. Teresa Draco, later the Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, and ultimately simply Tracy Bond. Especially as played by Diana Rigg, Tracy is no mere Bond girl. No, for all her girlish beauty, she’s really a full-fledged Bond woman who is more than capable of saving a superspy’s life after he saves her from death by suicide in the film’s opening.

My liquid take on OHMSS and Tracy Bond is an homage and update to the Vesper, Ian Fleming and bartender Ivar Bryce’s tribute to the first of Bond’s lost loves from “Casino Royale.” And, yes, the Countess Tracy features bourbon, not gin. In the novels, Bond drank it probably more than anything else, and that meant he drank an awful lot of it.

The Countess Tracy

1 1/2 ounces Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce Smirnoff 100 proof vodka
1 orange twist (desirable garnish)

Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and, yes, shake this drink vigorously and never, ever, stir it. Ian Fleming hated ALL stirred drinks and his smirky, snobbish ghost will haunt you forever should you ever consider stirring any drink remotely related to him.

Anyhow, once you’re done shaking your drink as if being chased by the nefarious twosome of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt, strain it into a chilled cocktail glass (coupe or standard martini style). Add the orange twist and toast Diana Rigg. The adorable and entirely first-rate actress who played Tracy and also, of course, the greatest of all filmic female superspies, Emma Peel.


I selected Basil Hayden’s bourbon because A. I had it in the house and B. It’s a damned fine bourbon of which I’m sure Bond and Fleming would have approved. Though named for an 18th century distiller, the brand wasn’t introduced until about three decades after Fleming’s untimely death. It was nevertheless featured, I understand, in the 2011 James Bond novel by Jeffery Deaver, Carte Blanche.

My selection of Campari was directly inspired by the choice of beverage of Tracy’s beloved father, benevolent criminal mastermind Marc-Ange Draco. In the movie (and the book, if memory serves), he drinks the very sweet/extremely bitter liqueur straight while serving Bond one of his shaken martinis.

Finally, the Lillet Blanc and the 100 proof vodka are pretty obviously ripped off from my explorations of the Vesper. I believe David Wondrich assumed the original Vesper used 100 proof Stolichnaya. I used Smirnoff because, well, it was in front of me. Today’s Lillet is apparently a fairly far cry from the Kina Lillet of Fleming’s day, and is one of the many reasons a modern-day Vesper needs to be modified a great deal to work properly. However, Lillet Blanc is a very lovely product in its own right, and it adds needed sweetness and light to the Countess Tracy.

As for the drink as a whole, I think I did good this time. It’s a bittersweet and very tasty tribute to the only woman, save Moneypenny, James Bond ever truly loved. Like Tracy, it’s refreshing and bold, with more than a hint of darkness. It’s a drink for which, you might say, I have all the time in the world.


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5 memorable James Bond moments

James Bond movies are a bit of a Marmite “love them or hate them” type of thing. But it seems most people are firmly in the latter camp – and here are five good reasons why we love the peculiarly British super-spy:

Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger” has many great moments to choose from but the best has to be the Aston Martin DBS car chase. This is the first Bond movie where our hero really gets to use all his tricks and gimmicks in a high speed chase. Among these are smokescreens and oil jets as we speed along the road.

However, it isn’t enough to stop Bond from getting caught and being forced to drive at high speeds with a gun to his head. But then, of course, the ejector seat comes into play – a gimmick Bond had previously scoffed at when it was first shown to him!

Read the rest of this entry »


007 One by One: Live and Let Die

Bullz-Eye continues its look back at every James Bond film, 007 One by One, as part of our James Bond Fan Hub that we’ve created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.

Pimpmobiles. Alligators. A trip through Harlem. Voodoo. Cigars. Blaxploitation. George Martin. Bourbon and water. Tarot Cards. Snakes. The City of New Orleans. Paul McCartney and Wings.

“That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.” – 007 in “Goldfinger”

Somebody’s out to prove Roger Moore ain’t your daddy’s James Bond.

On the calendar, 007 entered the ‘70s with Sean Connery’s last official entry, “Diamonds are Forever”, but it wasn’t until two years later in 1973 that the shift of the decade really affected cinema’s most popular secret agent.

The Plot: Three MI6 agents are killed – one each in New York, New Orleans, and the fictitious Caribbean island of San Monique. M (Bernard Lee) assigns Bond (Moore) to the case. He follows the trail of bodies, only to discover an elaborate heroin producing, smuggling and selling operation, masterminded by the ruthless San Monique dictator Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), who operates under heavy makeup stateside as Mr. Big, where the goods are dispersed through a chain of soul food restaurant/bars called Fillet of Soul. But faux voodoo and mysticism surround Bond from the word go, as does the hypnotic spell cast over him by Kananga’s delicately beautiful reader of cards and seer of visions, Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

The Girls: Nabbing the role of lead Bond girl must seem exciting for an unknown actress, but as has been proven repeatedly, it rarely leads to a big time career. Seymour is one of a handful of actresses to buck that trend and with good reason: Solitaire ranks high on the list of Bond’s classiest ladies, and her story is arguably the heart of the picture. The character isn’t necessarily written with a huge amount of depth, yet that very simplicity makes her complex. In a movie full of charlatanistic voodoo, she stands out as the lone figure possessing the psychic ability to see into the future. Additionally, she differs from the Bond girl flock by sporting ornate, body-covering costumes that contrast with the oft-expected “Bond girl in a bikini” mold. And she’s a virgin, until James enters her, um, life.

Content - Jane Seymour as Solitaire with James Bond in Live and Let Die

Also on hand is Gloria Hendry’s Rosie Carver (see photo above), marking Bond’s first filmic foray into the wilds of jungle fever. Unfortunately for double-agent Carver, that’s about all she was good for, as she not only betrays James, but also does little more than scream until somebody shuts her up. At the start of the movie, there’s the adorable Miss Caruso (Madeline Smith), an Italian agent James worked with in an offscreen adventure, and is now bedding back home in his flat.

Content - Madeline Smith as Miss Caruso in Live and Let Die

The Nemeses: If a Bond movie is only as strong as its villains, then “Live and Let Die” is one of the strongest, with a half a dozen characters worthy of mention. Yaphet Kotto’s double act of Kananga & Mr. Big was quite a departure for a Bond baddie — after a decade of destruction by SMERSH, SPECTRE and Blofeld, here’s a guy who isn’t out to take over the world, only to keep his vast opium operation afloat whilst continuing his duties as dictator of San Monique. His fatal flaw is his mistaken belief in Solitaire’s ultimate devotion, and when the issue sidetracks his attention, it costs him his life.

Content - Kananga Live and Let Die

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Bond Girl Jane Seymour as Solitaire in “Live and Let Die”

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Lovely English actress Jane Seymour was an unknown when she landed the role as Solitaire in “Live and Let Die,” the 1973 Bond flick that started Roger Moore’s run as 007. In many ways the film revolves around her naïve character, and as a virgin she is one of Bond’s more memorable conquests. The costume design for her character is quite ornate, though unfortunately we don’t get to see any of the typical Bond girl in a bikini shots.

Solitaire has real psychic ability in this film using her Tarot cards, and Bond pulls a neat trick to convince her they’re destined to be lovers. Her innocent character stands in stark contrast to villain Kananga’s crew, which ratchets up the Blaxploitation feel of the film even higher.

Seymour of course has gone on to become a well-known celebrity as she’s a fixture on television and had a memorable role as a sex-starved MILF in “Wedding Crashers.” But her role as Solitaire makes her one of the most iconic Bond girls.


Bond in Motion Exhibition Overview

There are few heroes in the world that are as loved as 007 agent James Bond. It was Sean Connery’s infamous “Bond, James Bond” quote in DR. NO that kick-started a generation of movies that have captivated every audience that has watched them.

Over the years, James Bond has changed and so too have the movies, but one thing always remains the same – Bond gets to have the latest weapons, gadgets, ladies, and stunning cars. Arguably, it is the cars in the 007 films that have that have stood the test of time of most, with the likes of the Aston Martin DB5 now considered a classic and an icon.

With such a huge fan base and stunning selection of cars, the James Bond franchise will celebrate the years at the London Film Museum this year with an exciting family exhibition called Bond in Motion.

Bond in Motion is the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles and it’s an exhibition that welcomes all members of the family. Attendees will get to see first-hand movie memorabilia and stunning classic cars such as the Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger’s majestic Rolls-Royce Phantom III and the unforgettable Lotus Esprit S1. The vehicles at the exhibition stretch across all of the 23 films and so no matter what your favourite car from the James Bond films is, you will be able to see it in the flesh.

One thing unique to this exhibition is there are absolutely no replicas – every single vehicle exhibited is the real deal.

The majority of the vehicles at the exhibition are loaned by EON Productions who maintain and look after the cars. EON Productions produce the James Bond movies and when the cars are not on show, they are locked away to preserve them. So, this exhibition is the best way to see the most iconic James Bond cars for real. Bristol Street Motors are looking forward to the exhibition, its every car fans dream to see the Bond Cars up close.

The main exhibition area is dedicated to the cars but there will be an upper section at the London Film Museum which will display lots of production information, film reels, art work, and storyboards. There is also a section for gadgets and technology, which like cars, have become an essential ingredient for a successful 007 movie. There will be facilities for food and drink in the museum.

The prices for tickets are as follows:

Full price – £14.50
Child Ticket – [5-15years] £9.50
Concession Ticket – £9.50
[Students, 65 + and freedom pass holders]
Family Ticket – £38
Under 5 – Free

The exhibition runs from April 9th – April 18th. Past events have been reviewed extremely positively by attendees and the 2014 Bond in Motion event promises to be the best yet.

Overall, the Bond in Motion exhibition is highly recommended to all James Bond fans new and old. This is by far the best way to see all of the genuine bond cars from the movies.


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