Representations of Thailand in European Spy and Action Adventure Films of the 1960s

Abstract

The James Bond spy thriller The Man with the Golden Gun (UK 1974) is among the most famous European films set in Thailand, using impressions of land- and cityscapes as �exotic� backdrops for the clash between the British super-spy Bond and his nemesis Scaramanga. Due to today�s iconic status of the Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s, other films of espionage also made then have often been forgotten. However, more than a hundred spy and action adventure films were produced in Europe at that time, cashing in on the success of the British series. Seven relevant continental European films preceded Bond�s mission to Thailand. They are: Mistress of the World (Germany, Italy, France 1960), The Black Panther of Ratana (Germany 1963), Shadow of Evil (France 1964), Mission to Hell (Germany, Italy, France 1964), Thirteen Days to Die (Germany 1965), Diamonds are a Man�s Best Friend (Italy 1966), and Island of Lost Girls (Germany, Italy 1969). These films are the products of a prolific period of co-producing in European cinema and are all set in Thailand. Through a close reading of these films, this paper seeks to focus on two aspects: first, the films� appropriation of a western ideology of hegemony that is steeped in Cold War politics and fears of the 1960s and that shows remnants of 19th-century notions of Eurocentrism and the implicitness of western colonial and imperial aspirations in Southeast Asia; and second, the thus resulting cinematic and cultural representations of Thai people, customs, religion and country.



Author Information
Alexander Klemm, Assumption University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - Media

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
Full Paper
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window

Posted by amp21