A James Bond Screenwriter Was A Suspected Communist

When the first James Bond novel was published in the 1950s, there was no bigger threat in the world to the allies than communism. Naturally, because it was a series about a world-class British secret agent, it fit perfectly both into Ian Fleming's books and the film series that followed. But while Bond was subverting Soviet plans for world domination on the silver screen, there was a communist putting words into his mouth.

BBC News reports that screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz, who wrote the script for the 1966 Casino Royale and was part of the production for Dr. No, was suspected by MI5 to be a Marxist agent. According to the file on Mankowitz, his activities were monitored for more than a decade after an intercepted letter from known communist David Holbrook mentioned both him and his wife. A member of the Socialist Society at the University of Cambridge, a police report on Mankowitz said he was "known to frequently discuss the theories of Marxism with his friends whilst in lodgings." So why was he never blacklisted and why was he allowed to join the territorial army? Because a commanding officer wrote that "even if he possesses communist views [he did not] think he has the personality or strength of character to pass them on to his fellow soldiers."

Sure, it's not as though he was the screenwriter for every Bond film, but the story is certainly a fun bit of irony nonetheless. And who knows what kind of doors this may open up. Perhaps Steven Spielberg is a Nazi. You would have never guessed.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.