The complicated birth of the big-screen 007. After several false starts, author Ian Fleming handed his character to two relatively small-time film producers:
“It is 1959, and Sean Connery is putting in time in a cornball live-action Disney feature called Darby O’Gill and the Little People. He’s the second male lead, billed beneath not only Albert Sharpe, the elderly Irish character actor in the title role—a kindly farmhand who sees leprechauns—but also the green-eyed girl, the ingénue Janet Munro. Though verily pump-misting pheromonal musk into the air, to a degree unmatched before or since by any actor in a Disney family movie, Connery is still a jobbing scuffler, not a star. He has no idea of what lies in store for him.
“The seventh of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels, Goldfinger, has recently reached the shops. But there are no Bond pictures yet. In London, a Long Island–born film producer named Albert R. Broccoli, known as Cubby, is still lamenting that he blew his chance with Fleming. The previous year, Broccoli had set up a meeting with the English author and his representatives to talk about securing movie rights to the Bond series, only to miss the meeting to tend to his wife, who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. In Broccoli’s absence, his business partner, Irving Allen, let Fleming know that he didn’t share his colleague’s ardor. ‘In my opinion,’ Allen told Bond’s creator, ‘these books are not even good enough for television.’”