With six Bond films under my belt – Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – I thought it was time to take a look at some of the supporting casting that make the series so enjoyable, namely the Bond girls, the baddies and the British Secret Service.
“Oh the things I do for England”
Bond (Sean Connery) uttered this fantastic line just before he made love to SPECTRE agent Helga Brandt in You Only Live Twice. I’m not sure which line I prefer regarding his ‘unwilling’ sexual endeavours with villainesses, that one or this one from Thunderball, which he says after making love to another SPECTRE agent, Fiona Volpe: “My dear girl, don’t flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country. You don’t think it gave me any pleasure, do you?”
Sometimes, however, his sights are fixed on women of the less evil variety. These beauties include Domino Derval (Claudine Auger, Thunderball), Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi, You Only Live Twice).
My perfect Bond girl from those featured in the first six films would have the looks and body of Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress, Dr No) with the personality of Aki and the intelligence of Tracy Di Vicenzo.
“Like your friend you’ve been a little too clever, and now you are caught!”
Spoken by SPECTRE agent Largo in Thunderball, Bond does have the odd close shave now and again. One of the closest was at the hands of Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger where he was strapped to a table and had a giant laser edging its way closer to his privates. Well, that was until some quick thinking and carefully chosen words managed to secure his release.
So far my favourite villain is a tie between Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe, Goldfinger) and Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya, From Russia With Love). Goldfinger is this larger-than-life character who has this extraordinary and devious scheme to break into Fort Knox, detonate a dirty nuclear weapon inside and contaminate the United States gold reserve thereby increasing the value of his gold holdings – madness!
A gold obsessive with a rotund belly and too much tweed, Goldfinger could be quite camp and comical were in not for the fact that he has an incredibly strong henchman, Oddjob, who uses a steel-rimmed bowler hat as his weapon of choice plus his own personal army of Korean soldiers.
Klebb, on the other hand, is a very cold character who follows her orders to the letter. She uses a poison-tipped dagger concealed within her shoe – a gadget that I’m sure Q would have been very impressed by! – to attack Bond during the closing scenes of From Russia With Love.
This lethal shoe would inspire quite a legacy, much like the white bikini worn by Andress in Dr No and Oddjob’s bowler hat.
“Try to be a little less than your frivolous self, 007”
Good old Q, by the time it came to Bond’s fourth outing in Thunderball he really did have him sussed. Q, the British Secret Service’s quartermaster, is the mastermind behind Bond’s fabulous gadgets. Desmond Llewelyn held the role of Q from From Russia With Love until his death in 1999. In Dr No, Peter Burton appeared as Major Boothroyd, the person who gives Bond his pistol and handgun – Llewelyn’s Q is actually the same Major Boothroyd, though he is only referred to as ‘Major Boothroyd’ once during the Bond series.
As well as his firearms, during the first six films Bond is given a host of fantastic equipment by Q, including Little Nellie (You Only Live Twice), a tiny air supply that provides 4 minutes worth of air in emergencies (Thunderball) and a homing beacon that is fitted in his shoe (Goldfinger).
Joining Q at the British Secret Service is M, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, and Miss Moneypenny, M’s secretary. So far M has only been portrayed by Bernard Lee, and Moneypenny by Lois Maxwell. Not much is known about M as he doesn’t have much screen time. He does, however, on more than once occassion say: “What would I do without you, Moneypenny?”
Moneypenny, on the other hand, has a very flirtatious relationship with Bond, though one that is never consummated. Though she may seem fairly lovesick, she understands Bond very well and is highly dedicated to her job anyway.