Another alumni of The Avengers, Pussy Galore, played by martial arts specialist Honor Blackman took audiences by surprise in Goldfinger. The name might give evidence to the Millennials that they are right, however they do not know the woman behind the name. An ace pilot with her own air craft company she is a villainous for much of the film. Then after understanding the horror of poison gas being used on an innocent population she becomes a true heroine on her own. Bond does not easily win her over and she is not intimidated by the film’s villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe).
Two of the most interesting women who were villains in the early Bond films added a flavor that is well remembered today and this writer has the pleasure of knowing both. In Thunderball Finoa Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi) was a deadly woman who let Bond think he had seduced her and then laughed in his face about his “so called reputation” with women. Bond barely gets away from her alive. After the film was made Luciana and Sean Connery became very goodfriends and she told this writer he was very conscious of the strong image women should have in film.
In The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the many Bond films that did not follow the books they were named for, Roger Moore was in his third Bond film. In this film the villainous Naomi (Caroline Munro) is expert in many fields and as a helicopter pilot nearly kills bond as he tries to escape in his Lotus Esprit submarine car. Before Naomi unleashes fire power she gives Bond a wink, something Caroline inserted outside of the script. Caroline was and remains so popular with fans that she is a favorite at James Bond conventions and in helping promote the 007 franchise.
The Millennial critics for now have concentrated on the early Bond films and those are the ones dealt with here. It should be mentioned that the late Ian Fleming who originated the Bond books saw his hero as rather ordinary and not as romanic as the film version. In the books there are women who either leave bond for another man or who are just not interested.
Of course both authors of books and screen writers can never be sure what audiences may see in their stories. Theologian C.S. Lewis opined that there are times when God will put hidden messages that only a reader or film audience member will pick up. That is the theme theologian Ann S. Boyd covered in her book The Devil With James Bond. The author was planning her thesis for a Masters and saw the film Goldfinger. There were elements that attracted her like the redemption of Miss Galore that led her to reading the books. In James Bond she saw a modern St. George who had to fight the evil dragons like Hugo Drax in Moonraker. The name Drax itself is connected with a dragon, serpent or Satan.
In that same book there is a scene that reflects other happenings in the life of this secret agent. Bond is concerned that he is the only one suspicious of Hugo Drax who has been setting himself up as a popular hero. Especially with the UK’s establishment. He is pondering this as he walks a London street and as he nears a corner is stunned to see a flaming message in the sky, “Hell is here. Hell is here.” He discovers after a few steps that part of the sign had been blocked from view and actually reads “Summer Schell is here.” Nonetheless it influences his thinking.
One has to wonder who the Millennials will attack next.