Friday, May 02, 2008

When art goes to the movies 2

Dr No will always be remembered as the first time Sean Connery said the words, “The name is Bond, James Bond” or, more likely, for Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) appearing out of the ocean holding a couple of large sea shells and singing Under the Mango Tree. But, for the art lovers who didn’t catch the Birth of Venus reference, Dr No will always be the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya.

Early in the morning on 21 August 1961 Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington was stolen from the National Gallery in London. It had only been hanging for three weeks after its purchase by the Gallery for $392,000 to prevent its export from the country. The alleged thief, Kempton Bunton, slipped the painting under his coat and walked out unnoticed.

Dr. No was shot the following year at Pinewood Studios and premiered on 5 October. As James Bond and Honey Rider walk up the stairs to join the evil Dr Julias No for dinner in his lair, Bond spots the painting on an easel by the stairs and does a double take. "So that's where that went". In the real world the painting was recovered in 1964.
Others in this series: A Clockwork Orange, Wall Street