Andrew Spicer
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In Bondage, 1964–73
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How Connery tried to deal with the frustrations he experienced playing Bond is the subject of Chapter 3, which examines the same period, the 1960s and early 1970s, from the reverse perspective. It analyses in detail Connery’s attempts to gain recognition as a talented actor capable of playing a variety of roles. These included playing a defiant working-class soldier in a North African prison camp (The Hill, 1965); a Greenwich Village beat poet in A Fine Madness (1966); a western loner in Shalako (1968); a rebellious miner in The Molly Maguires (1970); and a seedy, damaged police sergeant in The Offence (1973), all of which were deliberately non-Bond roles. The chapter also provides an in-depth analysis of Marnie (1964), showing the accomplishment of Connery’s portrayal of an attractive but psychologically disturbed character, even now rarely recognised, in what is conventionally applauded – though not on its release – as a great Hitchcock film. In addition, using George Cukor’s papers, the chapter discusses an unrealised project to film an adaptation of the novel Nine Tiger Man in which Connery was to have played a sexually attractive Indian revenging himself on the imperial English, which reveals much about his image in Hollywood. The chapter demonstrates that although Connery had considerable success in winning critical recognition for his acting accomplishments, these characters failed to interest or appeal to the cinemagoing public. This shows the profound difficulties stars have in altering their persona – in Connery’s case his persona as Bond – and of gaining audience acceptance in different roles.

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Sean Connery

Acting, stardom and national identity

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