“Fleming” Puts Jamaica Back in the Spotlight

CatamaranThroughout the month of February, BBC America is airing the four-part original miniseries “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond,” a dramatization of how British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming becomes the creator of the world’s most licensed-to-kill spy. The series opens on “Goldeneye,” Fleming’s 15-acre waterfront estate just east of Ocho Rios in Jamaica’s Oracabessa Bay where the British writer typed out his Bond novels. The locale remains a busy tourist attraction to this day.

As Celebrity Cruises’ Axess magazine details, Fleming first dreamed up the idea for suave secret agent James Bond in 1952 and imbued his hero with the characteristics of real-life spies. The fictional Bond’s missions weren’t just wild tales from an overactive imagination; much of the material stemmed directly from Fleming’s firsthand experiences during World War II. In total, Fleming authored 13 Bond books and then handed over custody of his dashing creation to Hollywood producers Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.

The filmmakers choose “Dr. No,” Fleming’s sixth novel, to be the first of what they hoped would be a successful franchise. It turned out to be a highly prescient choice. As Bond neutralized a West Indies-based lunatic with a plan to destabilize the West, audiences got to see the good guys win and paradise get redeemed. Ultimately, “Dr. No” would take in $16 million in box office receipts in the United States (and $60 million worldwide) on a $1.2 million budget.

In addition to the film studio, the other big winner of this global phenomenon was the film’s tropical location. “Dr. No” helped transform the image of Jamaica from a banana republic into a glamorous, golden-beached playground of secret agents and earth-bound goddesses. During pre-production for “Dr. No,” Fleming recommended the son of a neighbor to help the filmmakers with location scouting. A young Chris Blackwell introduced them to some of the most exotic spots on the island, including Laughing Waters, a beautiful stretch of sand on Ocho Rios that became the stage for Honey Ryder’s iconic bikini scene. It has since been renamed James Bond Beach, and the nearby Dunn’s Rivers Falls has grown into one of the Caribbean’s biggest tourist draws.

Blackwell went on to found Island Records, “discover” Bob Marley and purchase GoldenEye. Eventually, Blackwell developed the property from a private villa to a full-fledged, 220-room resort that still retains a laid-back island vibe, which has allowed Fleming’s creative legacy to continue to serve as an inspiration to other great artists.

Celebrity Cruises can experience the majesty of Ocho Rios, Jamaica on a variety of different Caribbean shore excursions.

11 thoughts on ““Fleming” Puts Jamaica Back in the Spotlight

    1. Eric Bryce

      A stones throw (5 Km) from Ocho Rios a major cruise ship stop on Jamaica’s north coast. Unlike most landlocked water fall Dunn’s River Falls empty into the Caribbean Sea at the western end of an attractive white-sand beach. At about 180 feet high and 600 feet long, the waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs. Climbing the waterfalls is a popular tourist activity and is often, but not exclusively, performed with the help of tour guides from the park. The climb can be relatively hard so is often undertaken as a hand-holding human chain led by a guide to make it easier.It takes about 1-1.5 hours to climb with short breaks for photographs and video recordings taken by the guides. Allow most of an afternoon for this. Closes at 4 p.m.

  1. G. Innes

    Well, folks . . . I’ve enjoyed the entertaining fantasy of the Bond novels from WAY back, but to call Fleming a “great artist” may be stretching things a bit.

    He did pen a choice line about post-hump let-down, calling it “the mess of
    dis-entanglement.”

    As for his military career, the enlisted men who served under him in the war didn’t have much good to speak about him afterward.

    Gary in Arizona/Feb.’14

    1. If I remember correctly, Flemming was in a casino,in the late 30’s or early 40’s I dont remember which country, where he saw a real double agent, named Duscov Popov,Dont mind my spelling please!! If you read about him,His escapades were the basis for the Bond films. Popov actually warned J.Edgar Hoover about Pearl Harbor!! And the cocky Hoover threw him out of his office!!

  2. Bud

    The Bond series were very interesting to read and see the movies, but to watch re-runs, it’s so corny, O can’t believe in retrospect that I actually enjoyed them.So much for high-tech today, eh ?

  3. Mike

    I was told by a local during my vacation to Dunn’s River that Fleming’s home was named “Bolt House” and was owned by Naomi Campbell. Did I misunderstand?

  4. Conservatus

    The early Bond movies – Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Goldfinger – made up for in style (in beautiful Technicolor) what was lacking in techno-spy tools. But 50 years later, though camp to some, the cinematic movie style of Goldfinger remains a hallmark. Also, if you look at the early Bond’s wardrobe, the timeless quality is apparent as opposed to the now wince-inducing garb of Roger Moor’s portrayal, with all due respect to Sir Roger.

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