On at least two occasions, in Casino Royale and in the short story Octopussy, Ian Fleming describes James Bond’s cigarette case as holding fifty. Bond’s cigarette case, which holds his custom Morland cigarettes – in fact there are several of them, as he loses the one he has in Diamonds Are Forever while the one he is carrying in From Russia, With Love is struck by a bullet – is described as made from black gunmetal and variously flat, wide and light.
Fleming writes that Bond carries his cigarettes in his right hand hip pocket and although I had often assumed that this meant his coat pocket, it appears that the author meant his trouser pocket; after losing his coat in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond reaches into his hip pocket for his cigarette case, only to find it missing.
However, this presents something of a dilemma; a cigarette case large enough to hold fifty would be bulky in a coat pocket, but surely it would be impossible to miss in one’s trouser pocket. However, it seems that 007 carries it there with ease.
And how did Bond manage to slip his cigarette case between the pages of Eric Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios unnoticed when sitting opposite Red Grant on the Orient Express?
Lucky for him it did go unnoticed though as, holding the book in front of his heart when entering the tunnel, it is was his cigarette case that deflected the bullet and saved his life.
Also, when fans have looked at obtaining a cigarette case to hold fifty cigarettes it has proved to be nigh on impossible; there have been attempts to replicate Bond’s cigarette case from the books (I will update when I can find links to the forum threads) but it appears that cigarette cases for fifty cigarettes were rare, or perhaps only made to order.
Presumably Ian Fleming carried a similar cigarette case in his hip pocket and it is this that he is describing in the books. It would therefore be useful to verify what type of cigarette case he carried with someone who knew him, but attempts to do so have thus far been unsuccessful.
In the films the case is quite different, much smaller as it is much more typical of a case designed for twenty cigarettes. When Sean Connery first introduces himself to Sylvia Trench in Dr No his cigarette case and lighter are on the table in front of him, but normally he carries it in his inside jacket pocket.
In James Bond’s London Gary Giblin writes (page 91) that after scouring London for a gunmetal cigarette case and lighter similar to those described by Ian Fleming, a duplicate set made for a Bond fan were located and purchased by Eon Productions from Dunhill’s in St James.