Skyfall, Ralph Fiennes and Raymond Chandler

Rather like Sony, Heineken and Omega I am jumping on the Bond bandwagon.  Skyfall, which you can hardly of missed if you’re in Britain, is the latest in the Bond franchise and it’s very, very good. Along with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes stars in the film as Gareth Mallory, chief of the intelligence committee. It’s a surname that may ring a bell for Chandler fans because Mallory was the name of Raymond Chandler’s first detective (from his 1933 story ‘Blackmailers Don’t Shoot’).

Chandler was himself making a reference to Sir Thomas Malory, author of the Arthurian romance, La Morte D’Arthur, suggesting his hero’s chivalric roots, roots which Philip Marlowe would also share. It would seem fitting for the screenwriters of Skyfall (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jon Logan) to reference Chandler since he and Fleming were great friends in the 1950s (they would often dine together at expensive London restaurants) and Marlowe’s influence on Bond’s character is quite clear (see this interview for a fascinating discussion between the two writers).

Given this, and given that Ralph Fiennes seems to be returning as Gareth Mallory at some point, I suspect the name is a deliberate reference, a subtle gesture that hints at the ancestry of James Bond.