Writer John Latchem of the Agent DVD web site has a very in-depth article about the factors that have kept the James Bond franchise relevant through the years.
"Ian Fleming could scarcely have imagined the longevity and influence of his most famous literary creation, a British superspy named James Bond. Three generations of fans have enjoyed Agent 007’s adventures in books, on the big screen and on home video.
“The action-film genre was reinvented when Dr. No was released in 1962,” says Lee Pfeiffer, author of The Essential Bond and editor in chief of CinemaRetro.com. “But it wasn’t until Goldfinger in 1964 that the Bond movies exploded into a pop culture phenomenon.”
The cinematic exploits of Bond flowed from the fateful partnership between producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Their company, Eon Productions, remains the creative force behind the Bond epics to this day, with a 22nd film on the way and no signs of slowing.
“It really shows the ability of the franchise to refresh itself,” Pfeiffer says. “I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that the films are still being made by the same family.”
Saltzman sold his Eon shares to Broccoli in 1975, and when Broccoli died in 1996, the reins of Eon passed to his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and his stepson, Michael G. Wilson.
“They realize when the series needs to be reinvented,” Pfeiffer says. “Other productions such as ‘Batman’ run the franchise into the ground, and then a new team comes in to start over.”
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