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Has the Representation of Women in Bond Films Changed? How?

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Has the representation of Women in Bond films changed,

And if so in what ways?


Ever since Ian Flemings spy novels were created into the James Bond films in 1962, they have been hugely popular and are still blockbuster films today. Dr.No was the first released and there have been 21 subsequent films following, with the world eagerly awaiting the release of Bond number 22; 'Quantum of Solace' which is due to be out in later 2008. Some of Ian Flemings own life experiences have been mirrored in the Bond we know and love today. The first 007 film was set in Jamaica, where Fleming married and eventually retired to. Fleming was known for his collectiveness and often seen with a big drink or cigar. Not to mention the women that followed...

Along with the ever present 007, the 'Bond Girls' have come to be a very key element of the Bond films. From the white bikini of the very first Bond girl, Ursula Andres as Honey Ryder, in Dr.No, to the feistiness and endearing Jinx (played by Halle Berry) in Die Another Day, this essay is going to analyse Bond girls through time and how they might have adapted to suit surroundings in the modern day and, of course adapted to suit Mr.Bond. The three films being analysed are Dr.No (the very 1st Bond film starring Sean Connery) where we see Miss.Taro as the devious secretary and Honey Ryder as the innocent shell collector, Die Another Day (with Pierce Brosnan this time acting as Bond) with the overpowering and very forward Jinx, and Casino Royale (the most recent Bond film with Daniel Craig as 007) where, in a reverse of past situations, it is Bond that holds all sex appeal.

Scene 1 - Dr.No, Miss Taro

With Dr.No being the first ever recorded James Bond film, the girls in this would really be the prototype and we see two very different sides to the ever-famous 'Bond girls'. The first girl we see in this is Miss Taro (played by Zena Marshall) who is one of Dr.No's secretaries. We first see her listening through a keyhole into one of Bond's meetings and, when he catches her, she pretends to be looking through some paperwork. This shows us Bond immediately has doubts about and mistrusts her. Nevertheless, being James Bond, he arranges to meet her at her house, knowing full well she may try to trick him. Of course, he drives up to her house and is followed by two cars and shot at numerous times. After he escapes these attempts to murder him, Bond carries on driving to Miss. Taro's house where they arranged to meet. Although she was expecting him there, she is very surprised to see him at her doorstep, so much so that she has just got out of the shower and wearing nothing but a towel! She then rings, who we assume to be her boss, saying Bond is there and something must have gone wrong. Miss. Taro then says 'I'll keep him busy' which implies she is going to have sex with him. After they have slept together, Bond already has someone there to take her away from the house and, whilst she is in the car, she spits in his face which again shows a nasty side to her.

Being a Bond film however, it was not all by chance of course. Although it appears Miss. Taro is wearing nothing but a towel, it looks more like an evening gown and she is also wearing high heels. Having apparently just got out of the shower, her hair is bone dry and her make-up is all done up. The red lipstick and nail varnish are a connotation of sex as red symbolises it. Her towel is white which is supposed to show purity and innocence whereas her intentions are nothing of the sort.

In this scene, the dialogue between the two is very forward and flirtatious. Miss. Taro seems rather threatened by him where Bond seems to love the power he has over her at that time; he could choose to either kill her, or sleep with her. Being Bond, he obviously chooses the latter! When he first appears at the door she is looking very surprised as she thought he would have been killed on the journey. He casually remarks 'You did invite me?' as if it's a question they both know the answer to and he's also showing her he knows what she tried to do to him. She then says 'I'll just go and put some clothes on' but as she turns to leave, he takes a towel from round her neck and says 'Don't go to any trouble' where he uses innuendo implying it'll be easier for him when they have sex. With the towel around her neck, he kisses her, being very dominant while she's a little scared. She then goes into the bedroom talking on the phone to her boss and he walks in with the towel firmly gripped in both hands looking very threatening. This is telling the reader that he's caught in two minds whether to strangle her or sleep with her. In the end he calls for back-up and has her taken away; after they've made love of course.

At the start of the scene, there is a close up of Miss. Taro looking surprised, but very glamorous with her makeup on. It then goes into a panning shot as he walks I and she tries to walk into her bedroom. When they kiss, it is a close up, but you can only really see Bond because he is being very dominant and leaning forward with his hands tightly round her. After they are kissing on the bed, theres a tilt shot, where it focuses on the fan which is a euphemism for them making love.

Overall, she is one of the more bad Bond girls and seems to live on the edge by working for the other side. Behind that though, there is the purity of the white towel and the, almost helplessness when it comes to them making love where he is certainly more dominant.

Scene 2 - Dr.No, Honey Ryder

Honey Ryder, again from the first Bond Dr.No, is really the epitomy of a Bond girl. Blond, big chested, rather reliant on Bond and there for the audience to admire. The famous scene everyone remembers her from is that of her walking through the sea in that white bikini and laying her shells on the beach. As this was 1962, it was deemed as a very controversial scene seeing as the audiences of that time were not used to seeing women with such little clothing on.

In this scene, Bond has sailed across to Dr.No's island where he is not supposed to be. He has slept in the bushes overnight and was awoken to the sound of Honey Ryder, played by Ursula Andres, singing to herself whilst laying her shells out on the beach. 007 joins in with the singing and, at the sound of his voice, she is startled and produces a knife demanding "who is that?". Bond casually walks over towards her but she is very cautious of him and makes that known by threatening him with the knife. After explaining



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