We’re talking all things James Bond, movie-wise, this month and this week we tackle Bond Girls and Sidekicks. OK, only the Hound actually would like to tackle a Bond girl, but only Janette hit on any sidekick.
Micki brought up “Q” the first week and I am surprised that no one else mentioned him. He is the ultimate Bond foil. Desmond Llewellyn was the perfect mix of exasperation and understated humor though most of the Bond movies. John Cleese is always amusing. We shall see how the new young one, “who still has spots”, will play. I expect a lot from him.
Miss Moneypenny is a mix of sidekick and Bond girl/wanna-be Bond girl. Lois Maxwell played the part perfectly,if for two long, through Connery, Lazenby , Dalton and Moore. The ironically named Samantha Bond took over the role for the Brosnan run. Both incarnations of Moneypenny had undying devotion to Bond and would have taken him to an otherwise deserted island in a heartbeat. But Moneypenny was not about to put up with James’ empty flirtations for long and was not about to let him ruin the work to be done. We shall see what becomes of the chemistry between them with the new , young Moneypenny.
There was a time when being a Bond girl was not a something that was good on a resume. Luciana Paluzzi was amazed at the amount of fame and continued recognition she received after her performance in “Thunderball“. Although it was fun for her and she enjoys all the attention to this day, she felt that she was never taken seriously again by the Italian film industry because she had been a ” Bond Girl”. Today, almost any actress would kill to get in on a Bond shoot. And it would give their career a boost.
Maud Adams made Bond history as the only repeat Bond girl, playing two different roles: one in “Man With the Golden Gun“ and another as “Octopussy“.( Seems the producers polled women on that name before releasing the picture, but they never asked me my opinion.)
Yesterday, The Hound noted a minor ‘performance’, by Lana Wood. There were many Bond girls who made brief appearances, (often briefly clothed). One never speaks English and is draped in only a sheet. Many are at gaming tables, leering at Bond, making suggestive remarks at times, or waitresses, maids, etc., with whom Bond may or may not have enjoyed a brief interlude. One is a nurse whom Bond blackmails into sex to keep her job. At least one is an assassin; I could go on. Many are the mistresses of the Bond badguys, who, though one encounter with Bond, often have their hearts and heads turned.
In one terribly funny scene, Minny Driver,(who never gets her hands on Bond), is on a stage with a couple of other attractive young women. She is the mistress of the fellow who uses the club as a ‘front’. The women are scantily clad in a version of the Cowboys Cheerleader costumes, only skimpier. In a heavy Russian accent Minnie is croaking out “Stand By Your Man“. Bond embarrasses the badguy, played by Robbie Coltrane, who first defends her, then shoos her offstage. Maybe you have to see it to appreciate it.
I do recognize beauty, but will not dwell on the female pulchritude of Bond women; it’s just not my thing. I will say there was more beauty than talent, for the most part.
Jane Seymour was so young; cute as she was, she needed time to mature.
[Aside: I heard her tell the story of years later of when her sons were young and they were all living near Pierce Brosnan and his family. One of Brosnan’s boys said to hers, “My father is James Bond”, to which hers replied, “Well, my mother is James Bond’s girlfriend”.]
It is no longer a secret that Ursula Andress had her voice dubbed in “Dr. No”; her accent was too heavy.I always knew there was something ‘off’ about the performance…no, not sour grapes. She’s a bit of an Amazon, if you ask me, (but all the guys pant after her).
I will wrap up with Halle Berry who, for all her considerable beauty, missed the boat.
Pre-publicity had a rumor going that they considered giving her a spin-off of her character, “Jinx” , but as far as I am concerned, she was one reason why “Die Another Day” is often panned and may have been a contributing factor to the change in Bond.
Halle admitted that she had to do takes of coming out of the water ala Ursula many times; she could not get ‘the walk’. When she was running after the badguys in her frilly dress and big gun, it was so comical;it looked like she was chasing them with her hair drier. Believe me, she would never have taken as Oscar for that performance.
Let me say this about her, though:I am in need of a body transplant and she is definitely on my donor wish-list.
Any more thoughts on Bond sidekicks or girls to wrap up the week?