Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

50 Years of Bond Girls

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

50 Years of Bond Girls

Article excerpt

In his 50-year career, James Bond has been up against some formidable men: Blofeld, Goldfinger, Dr. No.

He's also been up against some formidable women. And - more to the point - they've been up against him.

"These are exceptionally beautiful, sexy women," says Teaneck- born film critic Leonard Maltin.

Sex, as much as violence, is key to the Bond franchise. And the famous Bond Girls are one of the most paradoxical aspects of the whole series, set to continue with "Skyfall," coming Nov. 9.

What's interesting is that these women are usually strong - often intimidatingly so. Moreover, this seems to be a turn-on, not a turn- off, for Britain's friskiest secret agent.

"I think because James Bond is such a potent male fantasy archetype, you'd have to have a woman who would measure up to him," Maltin says.

From Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), the first Bond Babe in 1962's "Doctor No," who broke the ice by telling 007 (Sean Connery) that she'd put a black-widow spider in the bed of her last lover, to the Amazonian Bambi (Lola Larson) and Thumper (Trina Parks) in "Diamonds are Forever" (1971), to the superhumanly strong May Day (Grace Jones) in "A View to a Kill" (1985), Bond's attitude is pretty much the same: Bring it on.

"There's no question that they were set up as objects of desire for men," Maltin says. "Pretty formidable objects."

The tradition continues in "Skyfall," the 23rd Bond film, in which Daniel Craig's Bond will be tangling with Eve (Naomie Harris) and Severine (Berenice Marlohe).

The Bond Girls have become as much a part of the 50-year-old series as the guns, gadgets, action set pieces and alluring international scenery.

Not every Bond female is a Bond Girl, by the way: Loyal secretary Moneypenny, and Lotte Lenya in "From Russia With Love" (1963), are notable exceptions. Nor, to be a Bond Girl, is it necessary to be a Bond sexual conquest. Beating 007 in hand-to-hand combat, preferably with mixed martial arts moves and lots of somersaults and cartwheels, is an acceptable substitute. All that is necessary is a statuesque figure, a lot of attitude and, if possible, a naughty name that promises a good time: Pussy Galore, Xenia Onatopp, Plenty O'Toole. …

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