The History Behind Halloween and Scary Movies
November 2021 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine
The Women of James Bond
Someone told me a story about a shopkeeper in Germany who put his child through college from the profits of the Ursula Andress poster that he kept in his shop window for years of her “Honey Ryder” character in Dr. No. It wasn’t the James Bond poster that created such a stir, and ultimately, wealth for the shopkeeper; it was the intrigue and infatuation of the Bond woman.
James Bond, a fictional character by novelist Ian Fleming in 1953, centers around a British agent working for MI6 under the code 007. James Bond has been portrayed by seven actors: Sean Connery; David Niven; George Lazenby; Roger Moore; Timothy Dalton; Pierce Brosnan; and Daniel Craig in 27 productions. The last and final entry of the series No Time To Die, which opened in October.
To accompany the various Bond men throughout the 27 productions were over 80 Bond women. Ahead of the times, these always beautiful women were more than brief bed partners. They were always tied to the plot or subplot. Early on, some of the Bond women were but brief encounters, but soon their characters developed as femme fatales, covert operatives, or rivals. One particular female roll escalated with the addition of Dame Judi Dench as “M” becoming James Bond’s boss.
Snagging a Bond girl role either as an actress, or performing the title song of a Bond film, is a real coup. When you think of Bond women most recall Ursula Andress coming out of the surf in Dr. No or “Pussy Galore”, a proclaimed lesbian, being tossed in a barn hay loft, Grace Jones as “May Day”, or Halle Berry as “Jinx” in Die Another Day, trying to replicate Ursula Andress as her character’s entrance is also coming out of the surf. And, that’s just four actresses out of the 80 who held significant roles.
The beauty of the Bond women is that casting included actresses representing every continent and race, in addition to American and British women. A few examples include: “Vida” (Aliza Gur) from Israel in From Russia with Love; “Bonita” (Nadja Regin) from Serbia in “Goldfinger”; “Fiona” (Luciana Paluzzi) from Italy in “Thunderball”; “Aki” (Akiko Wakabayashi) from Japan and Ling (Tsai Chin) from China “You Only Live Twice”; Felicca (Olga Bisera) from Bosnia in “The Spy Who Loved Me”; and “Pola” (Fiona Fullerton) from Nigeria in “A View To A Kill”. This franchise used a diverse cast of women in strong roles much earlier than any other Hollywood films were doing at the time.
The Bond character tolerated most of the women, whether they be friend or foe, and most often took them all to bed, though there never seemed to be much emotional involvement, more like playful exercise. But as the franchise developed and matured so did the emotions of the Bond character, and indeed, he began to fall in love. But there can’t be happy endings in spy thrillers, for each time Bond got a little close, his woman-of-the-day surely fell to her demise.
Was there no hope for James to find his true love and go off into the Jamaican sunset? After all, he had more than his fair share of gorgeous women to pick from.
Enter No Time To Die…
NO TIME TO DIE Only in Theaters
Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux (France)
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
James Bond is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service. However, his peace is short-lived as his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, shows up and asks for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond on the trail of a mysterious villain who is armed with a dangerous new technology. This is a high-action drama (kudos to the stunt drivers) filled with revenge, loyalty, discovering a unique and terrifying DNA weapon and love.
A must see.
Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Welles Theater in Cambridge Massachusetts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she travels to local and national film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film-goers to support Hilton Head local theaters; Coligny Theater, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a travel medicine nurse consultant. See you at the movies!