Bond Style – Blue in Beirut (The Man with the Golden Gun)

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Beirut, Lebanon, Spring 1974

Film: The Man with the Golden Gun
Release Date: December 20, 1974
Director: Guy Hamilton
Tailor: Cyril Castle
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell

Background

Happy 00-7th of April!

Following a lead on the gold “007” bullet received at MI6 headquarters takes James Bond to Beirut in search of information related to deceased agent Bill Fairbanks. Naturally, this being a Bond movie, that search leads him directly into the arms of a slinky Lebanese belly dancer named Saida.

Bond: Did you see who shot Fairbanks?
Saida: No, I was in his arms. My eyes were closed.
Bond: Well, at least he died happy.

And, this being a Bond movie, his interrogation of the scantily-clad woman leads to a fistfight with two thugs. Moore deftly knocks out the bastards, sneakily removing a melted down gold bullet from Saida’s belly button that may provide further clues. Before he leaves, Saida notices her empty navel and cries out: “Ah! I’ve lost my charm!” Without missing a beat, our hero gives her a look-over and responds:

Not from where I’m standing.

… and he dashes out of the room, his mission accomplished. Moore’s Bond was always a lover rather than a fighter, but it’s fitting that his parting words should be so appropriate to his character.

What’d He Wear?

For his adventure in Beirut, Bond puts aside the warm weather safari jackets he sports in other scenes and wears a cool, refreshing springtime suit in medium blue, tailored by Cyril Castle. The luxurious fit of the suit is magnified by its sheen, indicative of a mohair or mohair blend fabric. This hypothesis is backed by Matt Spaiser’s excellent 2011 breakdown of the suit on his blog, The Suits of James Bond.

Bond is stunned when he realizes after reading the script that he just met a woman he won't be sleeping with.

Bond is stunned when he realizes after reading the script that he just met a woman that he won’t be sleeping with.

In both the DVD commentary and his autobiography, Moore talks about a blue silk suit from The Man with the Golden Gun that was unfortunately ruined by a bucket of paste before he could take it with him. This is the only blue suit (not counting the double-breasted blazer) that Moore wears in the movie, so it’s very likely this was the one he was describing. Mohair has a very silk-like texture, so it’s not unreasonable that he would make that confusion, especially after so many years. These days, costume manufacturers make up to sixty suits for just a single action sequence, so poor Roger Moore would have been much luckier had this film been made forty years later… although he was unconvincing as a 57-year-old James Bond in A View to a Kill so I doubt an 87-year-old one would fare much better.

The suit jacket is cut the same as his other single-breasted suit coats in the film with a 2-button front, 12″ long double rear vents, welted breast pocket, and flapped hip pockets that slant slightly back on Moore’s waist.

The suit coat also has a distinctive single link button on both of the flared cuffs, similar to the way a link fits through a shirt cuff. Although the suit was certainly tailored by Castle, Spaiser states that this type of cuff was likely Moore’s own idea. More can be read about the link-button cuff – and all of James Bond’s suit cuffs – in Matt’s comprehensive post from last September.

Fisticuffs!

Fisticuffs!

Extremely long double vents often flip up during action sequences, and this is no exception, revealing a very loud purple floral-printed lining on the inside of the suit jacket. It’s doubtlessly the most dated and least attractive part of the outfit, but it’s only the inner lining, so that doesn’t matter. (If some jackass from 2014 made a beautiful suit coat with “YOLO” all over the inner lining, I’d probably still wear it… I just wouldn’t let anyone see the inside.)

Sure, the lining may be obnoxious, but you don't see Paul McCartney complaining.

Sure, the lining may be obnoxious, but you don’t see Paul McCartney complaining.

Spaiser further explains that the front of Moore’s evidently “flat front” suit trousers are actually fitted with small darts to enhance the fit throughout the hips. These darts and the trousers’ lack of front or side pockets keep the look clean around the waist and hips. Moore must have preferred this look, as he wore them on many of his Bond trousers… some with no pockets at all!

These trousers do have pockets; as seen above, both rear pockets are jetted with a single button to close. The trousers have a lower rise for the era, but higher than today as they reach his natural waist and provide the perfect transition from jacket to trousers without any bit of shirt or tie sloppily showing in between. 1974 doesn’t show up very often with this suit, but the plain-hemmed trouser bottoms do have a slight flare. They’d still be far too conservative for Greg Brady, though.

The trousers have wide belt loops, through which Moore wears a black textured Italian leather belt, likely by Salvatore Ferragamo, with a large semi-oval gold buckle.

MWTGGblue-CL2-belt

Moore takes the matching belt and shoes an extra step by not only wearing black Italian leather shoes but matching the manufacturer as well. The black calf horsebit loafers are also likely Ferragamo with gold horsebit detail. His socks, too, are black.

When action kicks into high gear, James Bond kicks back with Italian loafers.

When action kicks into high gear, James Bond kicks back with Italian loafers.

Bond’s shirt, made by Moore’s usual shirtmaker Frank Foster, is an updated version of the standard Connery-era dress shirt in light blue cotton poplin with a spread collar, front placket, and 2-button turnback cuffs. (In a continuity error, the cuffs go from only the upper button fastened to both fastened. This small factoid will not affect your life in any way.)

A victorious Roger Moore studies his conquered foe.

A victorious Roger Moore studies his conquered foe.

 

The only real difference between this shirt and one of Connery’s is the slightly larger collar, which was more fashionable in 1974 and fits better with both the jacket lapels and tie knot. The lightweight cotton reveals that Bond, as usual, is wearing no undershirt.

Bond gets the upper hand. Literally.

Bond gets the upper hand. Literally.

Bond’s dark red satin silk necktie, tied in a four-in-hand knot, is wide by today’s standards but is very reasonable for an era responsible for breathing life back into the kipper tie. The tie flips around several times during the fight, revealing the gold lining and – more importantly for this blog – the black rear loop with the manufacturer’s logo. I can rule out Moore’s brands Gucci (which was orange writing on black) and Ferragamo (which was white cursive text on black), so I’ll leave it to any ’70s necktie enthusiasts to determine what brand used this silver and red logo as seen on the tie label. The first person who can correctly identify it will receive a tie of their own. (I’ll go to Goodwill, buy a cheap red vintage tie, and send it to you. Wow!)

Make Saida proud, fellas. Identify that tie!

Make Saida proud, fellas. Identify that tie!

Finally, a less mysterious object is found on Bond’s left wrist as he sports his usual Rolex, the brand of choice for the first nine Bond adventures. Specifically, he is wearing a stainless Rolex Submariner 5513 Oyster Perpetual with a black rotating bezel, black dial, and a stainless link bracelet.

Bond's Rolex Sub is revealed during the brawl (left). A similar Submariner 5513 from 1966 (right).

Bond’s Rolex Sub is revealed during the brawl (left). A similar Submariner 5513 from 1966 (right).

The Man with the Golden Gun would be the last time 007 wears a Rolex until Licence to Kill in 1989.

Go Big or Go Home

Although the filmmakers had softened the “Moore is not Connery” message delivered in Live and Let Die, Moore’s Bond sticks to his cigars rather than both Connery’s and the literary Bond’s preferred cigarettes. Never a cigarette smoker, Moore looks extra masculine as he casually questions Saida with a Montecristo whispering smoke from his right hand. After all, when you have no trouser pockets for your hands, you may as well clutch a cigar.

Although Bond is plenty capable of finding other productive uses for his right hand.

Although Bond is plenty capable of finding other productive uses for his right hand.

How to Get the Look

Navy comes to mind when most men think of a blue suit, but this variation – known as “Marine blue” to some – is a refreshing twist.

MWTGGblue-crop

  • Medium blue mohair blend suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped slanted hip pockets, link-button flared cuffs, and long double rear vents
    • Darted front trousers with wide belt loops, no side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed flared bottoms
  • Light blue cotton poplin shirt with large spread collar, front placket, and 2-button turnback “cocktail” cuffs
  • Dark red satin silk necktie
  • Black Italian calf leather Salvatore Ferragamo loafers with gold horsebit detail
  • Black dress socks
  • Black Italian textured leather Salvatore Ferragamo belt with gold semi-oval buckle
  • Rolex Submariner 5513 Oyster Perpetual stainless wristwatch with black bezel, black dial, and stainless link bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

You really do have a magnificent abdomen.

Footnotes

To read Matt Spaiser’s expert analyses on The Suits of James Bond, check out his post here.

6 comments

  1. teeritz

    Moore’s cigar smoking in the Bond films always really bugged me. Bond’s custom-made Morland ciggies, gunmetal cigarette case and ‘battered Ronson’ lighter were as much a part of him as his Rolex watch and Beretta .25 (before he switched to the PPK). To be honest, TMWTGG is one of my least favourite. It’s only redeeming feature, for me, is the absolutely perfect bootlegger’s turn that the stuntman performs with the Rambler Hornet. Oh, and the bridge jump…if you turn the sound down to avoid that silly popsicle whistle on the soundtrack.

    Oh, and I hope your feeling better, LS!

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      A well-timed comment, T! As I write this, I’m enjoying a satisfying Acid One on what one could arguably call the first reasonably seasonal spring night in Pittsburgh with Art Tatum and Bud Powell tinkling the keys from my iPhone (it would be a bitch to lug a turntable outside).

      But enough about my cigar habits, we’re talking about Roger Moore! I agree that Moore (and Brosnan) is the least Fleming-esque of the cinematic Bonds with his cigars, constant jocularity, brightly colored attire, and .44 Magnum (!) He certainly made the character his own and became iconic in his own right – plus I understand he is a perfect gentleman in real life – but it’s hard to go from reading a gritty Fleming-penned novel to seeing Bond trading places with a perfect replica of himself in a fun house. If I were to rank the Moore Bonds (and I’m doing so right now!), I’d say FYEO, TSWLM, LALD, TMWTGG, OP, MR, and finally the dismal AVTAK. TMWTGG is indeed saved by some stellar stuntwork with the AMCs, but – in true TMWTGG fashion – is then ruined by the whistle you mention. It would have been interesting to see the incomplete but more barebones Fleming novel in the hands of someone like Dalton fifteen years later.

      And thanks! I am feeling much better, as the cigar may have indicated, although it looks like frequent headaches will be my lasting reminder from the concussion. It’s still taking me some time to catch up on everything, hence the sporadic posting and even more sporadic comment and email replies!

      Like

      • Teeritz

        I’ll always have a soft spot for Moore, since his was the Bond that I grew up with. It’s just that, once I began reading through the books, from around 1981 through to around ’84, I realised how far removed his films were from Fleming’s source material. Moore, was, however, a very funny interview guest and he didn’t take himself too seriously. Coupled with his work for UNICEF over the years, you then realise that he’s a better person than most people think. Plus my mother liked him too.

        Yes, it would have been interesting to see Dalton get the role five years earlier than he did.

        And as cool as it would be, I probably wouldn’t wanna lug a turntable outside either. Sorry to hear of the headaches. Have you considered meditation?

        Like

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