Previously in Part 4…
We had a nice discussion about the beauties that frequent James Bond’s adventures. Now, we’ll talk about the larger-than-life villains that have tried to snuff Mr. Bond out permanently…
For the Bond novels, Ian Fleming knew that, without threatening villains, James Bond looks a lot less heroic. This tradition of strong literary villains was brought across to the Eon film series.
The infamous rogues gallery of James Bond rivals that of Batman, Spider-Man, The Flash or Dick Tracy for their distinct looks and imaginative skill sets. The typical Bond villain is a megalomaniac bent on taking over the world, destroying modern civilization or threatening the world’s government via extortion. However, Bond faced his fair share of drug lords, corrupt government officials, arms dealers and the occasional voodoo cult.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Of all of Bonds enemies, Blofeld is Number 1. That happens to also be his codename as the head of the global criminal organisation SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). Blofeld is an evil mastermind who is widely considered to the ultimate Bond villain and James Bond’s archenemy.
NOTE: Blofeld has the record for the most appearances of any Bond villain. He appears in three novels (Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; You Only Live Twice) and eight Eon Productions Bond films (From Russia with Love (1963), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) ,On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Spectre (2015) ). It is confirmed that he will also be appearing in the upcoming film No Time to Die (2020).
For Your Eyes Only (1981) has the pre-title sequence of which shows an unnamed character resembling Blofeld fall to his death. The character was unnamed due to a pending legal battle at the time.
Blofeld has been played on film by actors like Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, Max von Sydow, and Christoph Waltz (the current holder of the part). EON initially did not to show Blofeld’s face (in the credits, his role would appear as ‘?’), only a close-up of him stroking his white, blue-eyed Persian cat.
Many of Blofeld’s characteristics have become part of popular fiction. Many films and TV shows use Blofeld as the model for a stock character of the criminal mastermind complete with the stroking of his white cat. The best example of this in the Austin Powers film series with Dr. Evil and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth.
Francisco Scaramanga (1974)—the first ” Anti-Bond”
In the film The Man with the Golden Gun, Francisco Scaramanga (played by the late Christopher Lee) was the first villain to show what would happen if James Bond went bad. Like Bond, Scaramanga is a assassin but, instead of using his skills to help, he sells them to the highest bidder.
Supposedly the best hitman in the world, Scaramanga charged one million dollars per hit. He is best known for being “The man with the golden gun”, for using only bullets made of gold with a golden handgun made of a gold cigarette case, gold cigarette lighter, gold fountain pen and gold cufflink as the gun’s trigger.
Other than profit, Scaramanga’s principal desire to test his skills against Agent 007 James Bond. He shows a great deal of admiration for Bond as he regards Bond as his only worthy rival.
Scaramanga concocts a scheme to acquire a solar energy device to lure Bond to his private island so that the two of them can engage in one final, decisive duel. The duel would show Bond and his six-bullet Walther PPK pistol versus Scaramanga and his golden gun.
In the film GoldenEye ( 1995), Alec Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean) was the first “MI6 gone rogue” villain. Formerly known as MI6 Agent “006”, Alec seemingly enjoyed working missions with his best friend, James Bond. During a mission in a Soviet chemical weapons facility, Trevelyan is apparently executed by the base’s commander, Colonel Ourumov. In the aftermath, Bond feels responsible for Trevelyan’s death.
Years later, Bond’s pursuit of a stolen helicopter and investigation of an explosion leads him to St Petersburg, where he learns that “Janus“, the head of the crime syndicate responsible for the theft, is a Lienz Cossack. Later, when he finally meets Janus, Bond is shocked to discover that Janus is Alec Trevelyan back from the dead. Trevelyan reveals that he staged his own execution but his face is scarred from the explosion at the weapons factory, a direct result of Bond changing the sequence detonation timers.
Trevelyan’s motive for his betrayal is a personal as his parents were Lienz Cossacks attempted to defect to the British at the end of World War II. The British instead sent them back to the USSR to be executed. Though Trevelyan’s parents survived, his father, ashamed to have lived, killed his wife and then himself. Trevelyan was only six years old at the time,and began planning his revenge against the British government for his family’s demise.
Many Bond villains are characterized by an unusual physical deformity and their use of strange and unique henchmen who do their dirty work. Many of the henchmen use special weapons and are physically different from the average person:
- Oddjob, Goldfinger’s enforcer, carries a bowler hat with a razor-sharp blade in the rim.
- Xenia Onatopp is known to crush victims to death with her thighs during sex.
- Jaws,was a giant assassin with steel teeth who would bite victims on the coratid artery and was seemlngly unkillable.
Many of Bond’s villains and henchmen have meet their deaths at the hands of Bond who often uses the villain’s environment or equipment to kill his opponent. Very few villains actually survive to the end of Bond’s adventures. Examples of this include:
- Mr. Big force-fed a pellet of compressed gas, causing him to inflate and explode.
- Hugo Drax was ejected into outer space from his own space station.
- Alec Trevelyan being speared by part of the communications dish he hijacked.
- Elliot Carver impaled by his own sea-drill.
We just discussed the people who have brought confrontation into the life of James Bond. Next time, we will go over the select group of men that have played 007, starting with the first one, Sean Connery.
James Bond Will Return in: SIR SEAN THE SUAVE AND SADISTIC BOND!