Hugo Drax (who has the honorary title of "Sir" in the novel) is a fictional character created by author Ian Fleming for the James Bond novel Moonraker. Fleming named him after his friend, Sir Reginald Drax. For the later film and its novelization, Drax was almost entirely changed by screenwriter Christopher Wood. In the film, Drax is portrayed by French actor Michael Lonsdale. In both versions of Moonraker, Drax is the main antagonist.
In the film adaptation, Hugo Drax is a billionaire living in California in a château that was imported brick-by-brick from France. He owns Drax Industries, which constructs space shuttles. In addition, Drax supposedly owns the Eiffel Tower, but apparently couldn't export it from France because they wouldn't issue him an export permit. Drax portrays himself as an accomplished pianist, as evidenced by his recital of Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude in D flat major (op. 28) on his grand piano (which he plays in the key of D); in fact, he poses at a player piano in an attempt to impress his guests.
- "Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him."
- ― Drax orders Chang to kill Bond.
An example of the Drax character's ruthlessness as portrayed in the film is given by the manner in which he disposes of enemies. In one case, after discovering that his personal pilot Corinne Dufour had assisted Bond in discovering his plans, Drax fires her and proceeds to set his trained dogs on her. The Beaucerons chase her into a forest on the estate and kill her.
Meeting BondWhen a plane carrying a Moonraker space shuttle on loan to the UK by Hugo Drax crashes, James Bond is sent to investigate what happened to the shuttle. As the shuttle was crafted by Drax Industries, Bond travels to California, where the shuttles are manifactured. There, he is picked up by Drax' pilot Corinne Dufour and flown to Drax' estate, which is from France. Bond is then welcomed by Cavendish and brought to the drawing room, where Drax is playing Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude in D flat major (op. 28) on his grand piano. He is then interupted by the butler, who introduces him to Bond. After his female companions have left, Drax welcomes Bond, believing that his government sent him to apologize for the loss of the space shuttle. Bond tells him that an apology will be made to the American government when the British Secret Service has found out why there was no trace of the Moonraker in the crash site. They are then interrupted by Drax' henchman Chang, who delivers tea. While drinking, Bond asks Drax about the Moonraker. Dufour then returns and Drax tells Bond that she will bring him to Dr. Holly Goodhead, who will show her around. After Bond and Dufour are gone, Drax tells Chang to make sure that some harm comes to Bond.
After having been shown aroung by Goodhead, Bonds returns to Drax' office at night and opens his safe. Inside he finds files containing blueprints. He takes pictures of the files and returns them to the safe. This is witnessed by Chang.
The next day, Drax is having a pheasant hunt on the countryside surrounding his estate. He invites Bond, but Bond declines as he is leaving. He stops by to bid Drax farewell and thank him for his hospitality. Drax convinces him to participate, as a pheasant could fly over. The billionaire arranges for an "accident" to occur to Bond. Having posted an armed henchman in the trees nearby, Drax arranges for an "accident" to kill Bond. After exchanging some pleasantries, Drax hands 007 a hunting rifle and requests that he accompany him on the pheasant hunt. Bond shoots, missing the pheasant. Drax tells Bond that he missed but Bond responds "Did I?" At that point the dead sniper falls from his perch in the tree. Drax takes his rifle back when Bond gives it to him and watches Bond drive off.
He then turns to see Corinne Dufour arrive. He tells her that he knows that he and Bond were in his office last night and that she showed Bond the safe. Although Corinne denies it, Drax tells her that her employment is terminated and that she will leave immediately. Corinne then turns, but Drax orders Chang to release his doberman pinschers, which follow Corinne into the forest and rip her apart.
After finding out that Drax is manufacturing a highly lethat toxin in his Museum Of Antique Glass in Venice, Bond reports this to his superiors. However, when they arrive at the place instead of a laboratory they only find a vast office. They are greeted by Drax, which forces them to apollogize to Drax. Leaving the building, M tells Bond that he has never been so humiliated in his life. Bond then hands him a flask of the toxin which he took from the laboratory.
Drax calls an associate in order to employ a replacement for Chang, who was killed by Bond. This leads him to employ Jaws as his new henchman but Drax is not seen until much later in the film.
In the jungle
Bond is eventually captured by Drax' henchwomen while investigating the Brazilian jungle for the plant Drax uses to create his toxin. He is brought before Drax, who brings him into the control room of the base. He there tells him about his toxin. On a screen, Bond and Drax then witness the lift-off of four moonraker shuttles, causing Bond to ask for Drax' motivation for stealing the shuttle he lend to the British government. Drax tells him that he needed it as one of his own was faulty.
Claiming that Bond has distracted him enough, Drax tells Jaws to place Bond somewhere where he can get warm after his swim. Bond is brought into the chamber underneath the last moonraker shuttle, where Dr. Goodhead already awaits him. Drax then enters the shuttle, leaving Bond and Goodhead to die in the fire when the rocket lifts off. By use of his watch, Bond and Goodhead manage to flee into the airvent and escape their fiery demise. To uncover Drax' plan, Bond and Goodhead enter the sixth Moonraker shuttle which takes them to Drax' space base.
Space base and death
- Hugo Drax: "At least I shall have the pleasure of putting you out of my misery. Desolated, Mr. Bond?"
- James Bond: "Heartbroken, Mr. Drax. Allow me. Take a giant step for mankind."
- ―Hugo Drax and James Bond[src]
Employees & Henchmen
In his novelization of the movie, screenwriter Christopher Wood describes Drax as red-haired and with a face scarred and botched by poor plastic surgery (from a time "before he could afford the best in the world"), much as originally envisioned by Fleming. Although Drax's nationality is not specified, Bond idly wonders to himself which side he fought on during World War II.
Behind the scenes
Fleming used aspects of his private life to create the character Drax: Hugo Drax was named after his acquaintance Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax. Other elements of the plot came from Fleming's knowledge of wartime operations carried out by T-Force, a secret British Army unit formed to continue the work of 30 Assault Unit, itself created by Fleming.
Notes and trivia
- Drax's plan would have had the highest number of casualties if he had succeeded, as he intended to kill everyone on Earth. He is arguably one of the most evil villains of the series.
- "James Bond. You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season."
- "Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you."
- ― A frustrated Drax refers to the many attempts made on Bond's life.