Bond fan sues MGM over incomplete box set

Ben Arnold
Disputed... woman sues MGM over incomplete Bond box-set - Credit: Warner Bros
Disputed… woman sues MGM over incomplete Bond box-set – Credit: Warner Bros

A federal judge is to decide whether a James Bond fan is right or wrong for expecting all the James Bond films ever made should have been included in a 50th anniversary box-set.

Mary J. Johnson of Washington is suing MGM after she bought the Bond 50 set from Amazon for $106.44 on the promise that on the box it was stated that it included ‘All the Bond films gathered together for the first time’.

However, on discovering that it did not including the 1967 version of ‘Casino Royale’, not 1983’s ‘Never Say Never Again’, Ms Johnson felt she had been misled.

A class action suit from Ms. Johnson and others who feel similarly duped will now be presented in court, with the judge set to decide whether the case should be allowed to move forward.

(Credit: Rex Features)
(Credit: Rex Features)

There are a number of issues at stake in the case, some resulting from the language used in the marketing of the product, to whether the aforementioned missing Bond films should even be considered Bond films at all.

Many Bond buffs would argue that the spoof ‘Casino Royale’, which starred David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen, and was produced by Columbia Pictures, not Eon, and ‘Never Say Never Again’, also produced outside of MGM, are not official Bond canon.

However, Ms. Johnson’s lawyer Alexander Kleinberg says that because of the marketing strap, which reads ‘All of the Bond films gathered for the first time in this one-of-a-kind box set — every gorgeous girl, nefarious villain and charismatic star from Sean Connery, the legendary actor who started it all’, all should mean all.

He says Johnson would not have bought the set had she known that the films weren’t included, adding: “To prove that a practice is deceptive, neither intent to deceive nor actual deception is required.

(Credit: Warner Bros)
(Credit: Warner Bros)

“The all-encompassing language on the face of the Sets creates an affirmative misstatement.

“The question is whether the conduct has the capacity to deceive a substantial portion of the public.”

In a motion to dismiss the case, MGM said ‘no reasonable purchaser would expect that a box set would contain films that are not included on the list of titles clearly printed on its packaging’.

Kleinberg counters that the list of films printed on the packaging was ‘barely readable print’ and that ‘More importantly, it impermissibly imposes on that reasonable purchaser the obligation to be a James Bond expert who would know every single James Bond film ever produced, marketed, and sold’.

A hearing will take place on May 26.

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