Bright Lights Film Journal

“Supporting” Babes of Bond – Part One

Critics are mixed and audience feedback wildly disparate over Quantum of Solace, but while you are formulating your opinion or, like me, waiting for the initial crowds to disperse before taking in the second Daniel Craig entry, why not give a ‘flix to the Bonds of the illustrious past? Better yet why not look at their hot babes? And better yet, the supporting babes–the ones who usually die, or oft times they turn out to be evil henchmen, seductress-spies and/or the super villain of the film themselves!

The first such babe appears in Dr. No. Zena Marshall plays a sinister-spy secretary, Miss Taro. A buxom, sumptuous babe in the early Playboy tradition, Ms. Marshall oozes libidinal treachery as Taro, but she’s an amateur in the spy game and James is a professional. After surviving the ambush set for him en route to a booty call at her hilltop chalet, Bond “takes what’s coming to him” as a survivor’s fee–letting her think she’s stalling him for her second round of assassins to arrive. He’s aware of her plan though, and after the post-coitus haze has cleared, he hands her over to the authorities and calmly waits in her darkened bedroom for the next cockblocking killer.

Sexual chessboard spy games would become taboo with the dawn of “political correctness” Bond, where sex must be harnessed to confessions of love with moistened eyes, but seen today, this sort of grudge-f*cking is fresh and totally tantalizing. Why shouldn’t male spies be active in the web of counter-seduction, rather than moping around passively like Claude Rains in Notorious or John Gilbert in Mata Hari? That stuff is for chumps! Sean Connery’s Bond knows full well that the best intel is won between the sheets, and he’s just the man to go after it, letting his target think she’s playing him for a sucker all the while. Call it sexism all you like, but I would argue, in hindsight, Bond shows Miss Taro real equality; she’s treated like a spy among spies, and not some precious third wave princess who must be showered in jewels and pampered royally just to get it on already.