Previously in Part 3…
We talked about the support system and pseudo-family of secret agent James Bond. Now, we’re gonna talk about the many ladies Mr. Bond encounters in his travels: The Bond Girls.
While there are many women in the life of James Bond like Moneypenny or M, the Bond girls are specifically the women who are a love interest to (or have casual sex with) James Bond. A Bond girl can be damsels-in-distress, capable fellow agents or seductive mistresses intent on killing Bond. In Hollywood, the role of a Bond girl is a huge role that can give a significant boost to the career of young unknown actresses. The Bond girls have even had their own TV specials, documentaries and fan conventions dedicated to them separate from Mr. Bond.
Roald Dahl, known for children’s books like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and James and The Giant Peach, was a writer of the You Only Live Twice film. In an interview, he told of the formula he was given to work with for the film:
“You put in three girls … Girl number one is pro-Bond. She stays around roughly through the first reel of the picture. Then she is bumped off by the enemy, preferably in Bond’s arms.The next girl is anti-Bond and normally captures him, but Bond will save himself by using his charm and sexual potency: she is normally killed midway through the film. Girl number three will survive and end the film in Bond’s embrace”.
While Ursula Andress (as Honey Ryder) in Dr. No (1962) is widely regarded as the first onscreen Bond girl, she is actually preceded by Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench.
Sylvia Trench was the only Bond girl character to appear in more than one film (Dr. No in 1962 and From Russia with Love in 1963). She was meant to be Bond’s regular girlfriend, but was dropped after her appearance in the second film.
Swedish actress Maud Adams has the unique distinction of being in the most Bond movies with 3 appearances. She played Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) , the title character in Octopussy (1983) and she was a featured extra in A View To A Kill ( 1985).
The Women That Stole Bond’s Heart
Of all the many lovely ladies that have locked lips with Bond, there have been only two instances where James Bond actually falls in love with the Bond girl.
The first was Countess Teresa (Tracy) di Vicenzo played by Diana Rigg in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). She marries Bond but she is shot dead by Irma Bunt and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in a drive-by shooting at the end of the film.
The second was Vesper Lyndplayed by Eva Green in Casino Royale (2006). Bond falls for her and resigns from MI6 so that they can have a life together. However, he finds out that she had been a double agent working for the enemy organisation Quantum. They kidnapped her former lover and had been blackmailing her. She ends up dying by drowning in an elevator in a condemned building.
Bond girls often have highly suggestive names. Some of the double entendre names include:
- Pussy Galore from Goldfinger
- Holly Goodhead from Moonraker
- Mary Goodnight and Chew Mee from The Man with the Golden Gun
- Honey Ryder from Dr. No
- Plenty O’Toole from Diamonds Are Forever
- Xenia Onatopp from GoldenEye
- Christmas Jones from The World Is Not Enough
Although most Bond girls are unknown actresses and models, a number of Bond girls were already well-established stars before being cast as Bond girls.
Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman were both already big stars in the UK for their roles in the 60’s spy series, The Avengers.
Halle Berry became the first African American actress to win the Best Actress Academy Award for Monster’s Ball in 2002. She was presented to the Oscar while she was filming Die Another Day.
Teri Hatcher was already known as Lois Lane in the ABC series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Supermanbefore she was cast in Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan.
Some of the Bond girls went on to stellar careers after their appearances in the Bond films.
Jane Seymour was an unknown actress when she was cast in Live and Let Die (the opening credits even read “Introducing Jane Seymour”). She later won an Emmy Award and then became a household name playing the title role in her CBS TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Kim Basinger got her break-out role in Never Say Never Again opposite Sean Connery. Basinger went on to win an Academy Award for the film L.A. Confidential and star in a number of blockbuster films like Batman, Wayne’s World 2, Cool World and 8 Mile.
We’ve talked about beauty. Next time, we’ll talk about The Villains!! UNTIL NEXT TIME!!
James Bond Will Return in : BRING ON THE BAD GUYS!!