Just keep it short and snappy, 007, says JENNIFER SELWAY

It’s not so much that I have the attention span of a goldfish, it’s more that most movies these days could benefit from being 20 minutes shorter. Less is more. 

It’s said that the new James Bond film No Time To Die will be two hours and 54 minutes, possibly... aaagh... longer. Possibly much more than three hours, which allows plenty of Time To Die... of boredom.

Months ago we learnt that Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge had been brought in to titivate the script of this much delayed film – which will be Daniel Craig’s last shout as 007. 

A mole close to the production said: “The script was constantly being added to. The plot was changing as we went along. Phoebe was adding in pages. It was chaotic. They just kept shooting more and more. Everyone is determined this will be the best Bond ever, so they kept adding scenes.” 

Alfred Hitchcock, who knew a thing or two about movies, said that the length of a film “should be directly related to the endurance of a human bladder”. But great film-makers are also guilty of making bum-numbing marathons. 

In 1982 Ingmar Bergman directed Fanny And Alexander which lasted a whopping 312 minutes, one of the longest films ever made. Staggering out of the cinema, I remember one audience member saying: “If only it could have been Fanny or Alexander, but not both.” 

In the 1980s that was the exception but now super-long movies are commonplace. Bond films have become longer and longer. The early ones with Sean Connery – Dr No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger – were all under two hours. When Roger Moore took over they usually came in at just over two hours. 

But Skyfall and Spectre – with Daniel Craig as 007 – were edging towards two and a half hours. 

It’s understandable that producers want to give customers their money’s worth (especially as you can binge on a box-set at home for hours) and making a film very long gives a sense of occasion, but it also can make it feel like an endurance test. 

To ensure that audiences had a good night out, there used to be B-movies, playing along with the main feature as a double bill. The economics of movie-making doesn’t allow for that now. More’s the pity. 

Here’s hoping we don’t have to be shaken and stirred – awake – when the credits on the new Bond film roll.

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