I’ve been filling in for someone for the last week or so, doing a job that occupies a great deal of time, but involves very little actual work. This has given me some time to pop in a DVD or two, read, and work on catching up on some miscellaneous administrative things.
One of the DVDs I watched recently was the old James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, circa 1969. The film had always been one of my favorites, and was based on one of Ian Fleming’s best 007 books. In the book, Bond uncovers his arch-nemesis Blofeld hiding in the Alps and running an allergy research institute. Unbeknownst to the world, Blofeld (and his cat) are using the research institute as a cover to develop biological weapons, which they will use to blackmail the world in exchange for…
…One million dollars! Or something like that.
Anyway, after capturing 007, Blofeld decides to do two things. First, he (naturally) decides to keep James Bond alive for...um...some reason or another. I have to give the writers credit, as Blofeld actually says he has some motive for keeping James Bond alive (unlike his actions in a number of other films). Secondly, Blofeld also decides to broadcast his dastardly threat to the United Nations, naturally prefacing the statement with “if our demands are not met” (wonderfully parodied using a sock puppet in the 1960s Bond spoof video game "No One Lives Forever"). This is in keeping with the modus operandi of James Bond villains throughout the Cold War—whether it be threats broadcast to the UN in New York or to NATO headquarters in Brussels (the nuclear weapons threat in Thunderball).
I find it interesting that, today, you never see the villains broadcasting their threats to the UN or NATO headquarters—they usually just direct their threats toward the American government itself, and more often than not, the US President (Air Force One, Independence Day) or the Secretary of Defense (Transformers) has to fight off the terrorists or Decepticons or Aliens or whatever we’re fighting in that particular movie. I wonder if either a.) This reflects the US' decreased involvement in the UN, or b.) Hollywood thinks that most Americans are unfamiliar with the UN and NATO, hence resort to having the Secretary of Defense battle Decepticons.