Even as "alternate Bonds" go, the Hitchcock-directed version of Thunderball that came up in last week's Variety article was unlikely.
Still, as counterfactuals go it is one of the more interesting, and not solely because of its linking of the series with the famous director (or the unlikely casting of the lead), but because of just how different it would have been.
Hitchcock would have given us a suspense-thriller, probably truer to the structure, pace, feel we tend to get with Fleming's books. I can picture his version reflecting the Fleming irony and dark humor, two particular strengths of Hitchcock, of course.
However, the place of the EON Bonds in film history is in large part due to the fact that, with their pacing, use of the set piece and cinematographic and editing techniques, they invented the action film as we know it.
The result is that while Hitchcock's version might have been a great film, perhaps even a better film by conventional critical standards than the Bond movies we did get, it would not have revolutionized the thriller genre the way that EON's take did; and probably would not have been a basis for a series still running a half century on.
James Bond, Mythic Hero
Review: Dark Force Rising, by Timothy Zahn
A Note on Golgo 13
"Of Alternate James Bonds" or "The Name is Stewart, Jimmy Stewart."
Just Out. . . (James Bond's Evolution)
Just Out . . . (The Forgotten James Bond)
That Jinx Johnson Movie . . .