‘From A View To A Kill’ by Gerald Wadsworth

Gerald Wadsworth is back! This time he’s taken on Ian Fleming’s thrilling short story ‘From A View To A Kill’. Here Gerry explains why:

The short story was filled with so many possible visual interpretations that I was determined to find a unique nuanced element that would give me something that wouldn’t turn into a visual cliché. My first choice was the great line, “Crash dive – you’re wanted at the office,” but I couldn’t conceive of a good visual that would accompany the line. The later admission by Bond, smitten as he was by Agent 765 (Mary Ann Russell) – as he is with most Bond Girls – that her car exuded unforgettable elements of her personality, character and aura – struck me immediately. Fleming’s recitation of the items belonging to her that Bond found in the glove box of the battered Peuguot 403 was the clincher. To bring full closure to the visual, I included things that Mary Ann Russell might have had on her person, and used in her capacity as a secret agent for the government. Keys to drive the car were obvious. And the gun, mentioned in the last paragraph as “one that looked like a target pistol” made complete sense – especially in that she used it to save Bond’s life.

From a View to a Kill: "There Were Bits of Her in the Glove Compartment"

From a View to a Kill: “There Were Bits of Her in the Glove Compartment” …in which Bond is sitting at a bar in Paris, his reverie shattered by a Peugeot 403 screaming to a halt, and the lovely female driver making her way to him with a breathless, “Crash dive – you’re wanted at the office.” Ordered to find and eliminate the assassins of British dispatch riders, Bond works with Agent 765, Mary Ann Russell, commandeers her Peugeot – the car is filled with her presence – and discovers that Russians are behind the killings. In the process of taking down the gang, Bond’s life is saved by Russell, who shoots his assailant with a 22 cal. target pistol.

Incidental Intelligence

Interview with Gerald Wadsworth, James Bond Artist

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14 thoughts on “‘From A View To A Kill’ by Gerald Wadsworth

  1. I just love Gerald’s Bond art. To be to distil the essence of a story into one visual is a consummate skill and he captures FAVTAK perfectly — a great work. Bravo!

    • Thanks, David!
      The real challenge for me with visually interpreting Fleming is the wealth of potential visual material – as his references virtually inundate the reader. What do I use? What reference should I allude to? In “From a View to a Kill” there was so much to absorb – from 50’s era motorcycles, automobiles, uniforms, camouflage, literary and cultural references, preferred drinks at his favorite Paris watering hole to women of (perceived and inferred) extreme beauty. Choosing the “scene” that I did, I noted that, among other things, Fleming referred to “a paperback by John O’Hara.” Which begged the question, why John O’Hara and what paperback specifically would he refer to? I chose “Appointment in Samarra” because I liked the title and the typography and I thought that since Bond was summoned by M to get back to the office – “appointment” was appropriate and possibly an oblique reference to his mission. In adding the target pistol, I asked a retired military friend and excellent pistol marksman, Carl, what would Mary Ann Russell have used to do target shooting, circa 1950’s? He said, without hesitation, a High Standard Supermatic Citation – military version – which, as luck had it,he just happened to have! It definitely helps to have great props!

  2. I can verify that Mr. Wadsworth has a fascination for detail and does his research…the dashboard in the painting is indeed that of a 1960 Peugeot 403 Berline Grand Luxe…and damned if that’s not the correct ignition key, too. That said, we’ll have to take his word on everything else. And, we look forward to more.

  3. Love it Jerry!! Not only will I have to re-read Bond, I have to look up Appointment in Samarra, I remember loving all O’Hara’s book, read long, long ago along with Flemming. Thanks for reviving them with such terrific visuals!

  4. Gerald, your explanation of how you work is really insightful.
    If I were the chairperson at IFP I’d commission you immediately for all Bond covers on future re-prints – not to mention the continuation novels.
    In my opinion, with the notable exception of Richie Fahey’s work for Penguin, everything since the great Raymond Hawkey’s covers for PAN has bee decidedly lack-lustre.
    Your visual for AVFAK is so captivating I can virtually smell the contents of the glove box. Fabulous stuff and so correct for the era and your friend was so correct about the pistol – it is the perfect selection. Major Boothroyd would have approved!

    • David…I accept the “commission” – now wouldn’t that be a kicker!
      Spoiler alert: I have a new painting that is soon to hit the blog and I can’t wait to unveil this one. Have to keep “schtumm”…

  5. The detail and texture you’re able to achieve with watercolors is astounding! I’m a huge fan of your work and this latest piece just furthers my admiration and appreciation. Keep reading and keep painting!

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