Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto
It is Leiter’s love life that takes centre stage at the beginning of Licence to Kill, not Bond’s. He gets married. Bond barely even gets a look-in with Leiter’s secretary. However, he is soon teamed up with feisty CIA pilot Pam Bouvier, played by Carey Lowell, who is more of an antagonist than a help. In Isthmus City they share a suite, not a bed. Nevertheless, she gets fiercely jealous when Bond beds Lupe Lamora, played by Talisa Soto, the mistress of the villain Franz Sanchez. This is not the first time she has been unfaithful, but when Sanchez caught her last lover, he had his heart cut out, then punished her with his whip.
Bouvier uses her beauty to distract the opposition, repeatedly rescuing Bond. Somehow Bond overlooks Loti, a Hong Kong narcotics agent played by Diana Lee-Hsu, a former Playboy playmate. At the end Bond picks Bouvier over Lupe, who turns her attentions to the president of Isthmus.
Famke Janssen and Izabella Scorupco
In Goldeneye, the new female M calls Bond a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur”. Although she does not retract this, Bond is, once again, up against intelligent, resourceful, independent women. However, he starts out with Caroline, played by Serena Gordon, a nervous assessor who is giving Bond an MI6 field evaluation when he becomes involved in a car chase with Xenia Onatopp, played by Famke Janssen. Xenia is later seen having kinky sex with a Canadian admiral, who she strangles with her thighs before stealing his identity papers. She dresses exotically and enjoys cigars, which she smokes in a suggestive manner.
Bond’s heroine is Goldeneye programmer Natalya Simonova, played by Swedish singer and actress Izabella Scorupco. Though a dowdy apparatchik at the beginning, she blossoms as the picture progresses. There is little opportunity for them to become romantically involved until the very end when Natalya commandeers a helicopter to rescue Bond and they end up in a field – only to be interrupted by Jack Wade and a platoon of Marines.
Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh
Bond doubly antagonizes Elliot Carver, the villain of Tomorrow Never Dies, by stealing his GPS encoder and his wife Paris, played by Teri Hatcher, who had been a former lover. Carver has her killed. Bond then teams up with Chinese Secret Service agent Wai Lin, played by Michelle Yeoh. She seems to be immune to Bond’s seductive charms. When they take a shower together, they are fully clothed. But Bond is plainly taken with her. When he captures Gupta, he tries to exchange him for Wai Lin. Finally, when the fighting is over and Carver’s stealth ship has sunk, the two of them have a romantic scene on a raft while the Royal Navy hunts for them.
Serena Scott Thomas, Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards
At the beginning of The World Is Not Enough, Bond finds himself unfit for duty again. However, his status is soon changed after a mutual examination with MI6’s medical officer Dr Molly Warmflash, played by Serena Scott Thomas. Bond is sent to look after Elektra King, played by Sophie Marceau. She rejects him at first. He finally beds her, but she is in love with the terrorist Renard. Bond teams up with the ballsy nuclear-weapons decommissioner Dr Christmas Jones, played by Denise Richards. They end up making love in Istanbul and her unusual surname leads to Bond’s line: “I thought Christmas only came once a year.”
Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike
Die Another Day gives us another of those Bond girl moments – akin to Honey Rider emerging from the waves in her bikini or Tilly Masterton lying naked on Bond’s bed, painted gold. This time Halle Berry as Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson emerges from the sea in an orange bikini – earning her the ranking of FHM magazine’s number one sexiest Bond girl. That night they make love, demonstrating that Bond has lost none of his old flair. There was a worry on that score earlier in the picture when Bond rejected the massage girl Peaceful Fountains of Desire, played by Rachel Grant, because she was a Chinese agent. Earlier in his career, Bond would have made love to her first and asked questions later.
It transpires that Jinx is with the NSA – America’s National Security Agency. She is more than a match for Bond until she has to be rescued from the melting ice palace. In a poll Jinx has been rated the fourth tough woman on screen of all time.
Later he meets Gustav Graves’s publicist, fencing partner and MI6 agent, Miranda Frost, played by Rosamund Pike, who is frosty with Bond at first. She says: “I know all about you, 007: sex for dinner and death for breakfast.” She melts after they have to pretend to be lovers. They make love, then Frost is exposed as a traitor. She has been working for Graves all along. She is the one who betrayed him to the North Koreans and she only slept with Bond so she could tamper with his gun. There is a jealous confrontation between Jinx and Miranda. After Bond has rescued Jinx from the ice palace, she has a fight to the death with Miranda with swords on Graves’s private plane. Miranda, who is a gold-medal-winning Olympic fencer, taunts Jinx with the words: “I can read your every move.”
“Read this, bitch,” says Jinx, before stabbing her with a dagger concealed behind a copy of The Art of War. Then together Jinx and Bond escape from the disintegrating plane.
Finally Moneypenny, played by Samantha Bond since Goldeneye, gets lucky when Bond flings her on the desk and begins to make love to her. It is, sadly, all an illusion.
The film ends with Jinx and Bond together in a remote cabin.
“See, it’s a perfect fit,” we hear Bond say.
“Leave it in,” says Jinx.
“It’s got to come out sooner or later,” says Bond.
“No, leave it in, please,” says Jinx. “Just a few minutes more.”
Then we see that Bond is trying the blood diamonds for size in Jinx’s navel.
When Bond says that they have to hand the diamonds in. Jinx says: “Still the good guys, huh?”
“I’m still not sure how good you are,” says Bond.
“I’m so good,” purrs Jinx.
“Especially when you’re bad,” says Bond.
The new darker Bond played by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale has little time for womanizing. However, he is attracted to treasury agent Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, who wears a necklace showing an “Algerian love knot”. Though she rejects him at first, she warms when they have to pretend to be a married couple. She saves his life when a wire from his defibrillator becomes detached. By the end of the picture they have fallen in love and are about to live happily ever after when Bond discovers that she has betrayed him. Although she contrives her own death in the sinking Venetian house and has been blackmailed into her betrayal, Bond concludes sulkily: “The bitch is dead.”
Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton
Nevertheless, in Quantum of Solace he is still cut up about Vesper. On the flight from Italy to Bolivia, Bond gets drunk – a first – and, in a conversation with Mathis, broods on Vesper and his sense of betrayal. Clearly he is nursing a broken heart. However, he has already met the altogether sassier Camille Montes, played by Olga Kurylenko, who was formerly the mistress of the villain Dominic Greene. At first, in a case of mistaken identity, she tries to kill Bond, then, against her will, is rescued by him from the grasp of General Medrano. It is later revealed that she is only trying to get close to him because she wants to kill him. When she was a child, Medrano had murdered her father and, in her presence, raped her mother and sister, then strangled them.
Arriving in La Paz, Bond is met by Strawberry Fields, played by Gemma Arterton, an MI6 agent sent from the British Embassy to send him home. She arranges for him to stay overnight in a run-down hotel, posing as a teacher on a sabbatical. Bond says “I’d rather sleep in a morgue”, then whips her off to a swish hotel where he seduces her. In a scene reminiscent of Jill Masterton’s death in Goldfinger, Strawberry Fields is found dead in his bed, her naked body covered in oil.
Bond hooks up again with Camille Montes. They kill Medrano and Greene. Then Bond puts her on the train home unmolested – making Camille that rare thing, a Bond girl he does not seduce. Bond finally expiates his grief over Vesper by catching up with her former boyfriend – who was not kidnapped at all but colluded in her blackmail – and handing him over to the authorities for questioning. We know he is finally over Vesper when he drops her necklace in the snow. Plainly, he is now free to pursue fresh Bond girls.
Chapter 9 – The Villains
The other memorable element of the James Bond formula is the diabolical villains and their extraordinary plans for world domination or their fiendish schemes to make money. While Bond and Leiter stand up for staunch Anglo-American ideals, the villains are almost always beastly foreigners – even though several have become naturalized Brits or Americans.
In Casino Royale, Le Chiffre not only needs to make money, he is a member of SMERSH, which is committed to the Communist takeover of the world. His origins are unknown. According to his Secret Service file, he was first encountered as an inmate of Dachau displaced persons camp in the American Zone of Germany in June 1945. He was apparently suffering from amnesia and paralysis of the vocal cords, both thought to be feigned. After therapy, he could talk again but continued to claim total loss of memory. He was issued papers as a stateless person, adopting the name “Le Chiffre” – “The Numeral” in French – as he was “only a number on a passport”. He also used the aliases “The Number”, “Herr Nummer”, “Herr Ziffer”, etc., all translations or variations of Le Chiffre.
In 1953, when the book was first published, he is thought to be about forty-five. Five foot eight inches tall, he weighs around eighteen stone or 252 pounds. He has a pale complexion and is clean-shaven. His hair is red-brown with a brush cut, while his eyes are very dark brown with the white showing prominently around the iris. He has a small, rather feminine mouth with expensive false teeth. He is thought to be of Mediterranean origin with some Polish or Prussian blood, though he has small ears with large lobes, which were believed to indicate some Jewish ancestry. Given that many Bond villains seem to be of East European extraction, one can’t help thinking that Fleming is betraying some of the anti-Semitism that affected people of his class at that time.
Le Chiffre’s hands are small, well-tended, hirsute. His feet are also small. He dresses well, usually in dark double-breasted suits. He chain-smokes strong French Caporal cigarettes, but uses a de-nicotinizing holder and, at intervals, uses a Benzedrine inhaler.
He is fluent in German and French, though with the hint of a Marseilles accent, rarely smiles and never laughs. An expert driver of fast cars, he is adept with small arms and in other forms of combat, carrying razor blades in his hatband, the heel of his left shoe and his cigarette case. He is an accomplished gambler with a good knowledge of accountancy and mathematics.
His file also mentions that he is “a formidable and dangerous agent of the USSR, controlled by Leningrad Section III through Paris”. He has a large sexual appetite and enjoys flagellation. Otherwise an admirable agent, his predilections are exploited by his mistresses, one of whom, a Eurasian, works for Station F. She reported that he was on the brink of a financial crisis, discreetly selling jewellery and a villa in Antibes.
Le Chiffre is always accompanied by two armed guards. One of them, a thin man named Basil who is thought to be German, takes pleasure in beating up Bond. The other, a mustachioed man with a southern French accent, threatens to shoot Bond in the spine with a gun disguised as a walking stick in the casino when Le Chiffre is losing.
Peter Lorre brought a sinister East European feel to the role in the 1954 TV adaptation; Orson Welles less so in the 1966 film version, where Le Chiffre was also trying to raise money by selling compromising pictures of world leaders. In 2006’s updated version, Le Chiffre is thought to be an Albanian who acts as banker to the world’s terrorists. He retains the Benzedrine inhaler, but also seems to be suffering from the condition haemolacria which causes him to weep blood. He has a girlfriend Valenka, but also has to compete with two rival villains, Steven Obanno and Mr White, who kills him.
In the book Live and Let Die, Bond comes up against Buonaparte Ignace Gallia, also known as Mr Big because of his height and bulk. He has no known vices except women, which he consumes in quantities. He doesn’t drink or smoke. However, he has a chronic heart disease which gives his skin a greyish tinge. He had been initiated into voodoo as a boy, then worked as a truck driver in Haiti before emigrating to the US. He worked as a hijacker in Legs Diamond’s gang. At the end of Prohibition, he bought a half-share in a Harlem nightclub and ran a string of black prostitutes. His partner was found at the bottom of the Harlem river in 1938. Called up in 1943, he was sent as an OSS agent to Marseilles, where he worked closely with a Soviet agent. Decorated by both the French and the Americans at the end of the war, he disappeared for five years, when he was thought to be in Moscow. Returning to Harlem in 1950, he bought three nightclubs and a chain of brothels, paying his lieutenants generously. He also started a voodoo temple and used the rumour that he was a zombie – even Baron Samedi himself –to control the African-American underworld. To Bond it is clear that he is a member of SMERSH. He has a number of henchmen including The Whisper, McThing, Sam Miami, The Flannel, Blabbermouth Foley, The Robber, Butch, The Lifer and Tee-Hee Johnson, who breaks Bond’s finger before Bond takes his revenge by kicking him down the stairs.
In the film, Mr Big also owns the Fillet of Soul chain of restaurants. He doublesas Dr Kananga, prime minister of the Caribbean island of San Monique, who is growing opium there as he plans to swamp the US with heroin. Baron Samedi appears as a separate character and, in the movie, Tee-Hee Johnson has lost his arm. He survives to the end of the film when Bond throws him out of the window of a speeding train.
Sir Hugo Drax
There are similarities between Le Chiffre and Sir Hugo Drax, the villain in Moonraker. He was found among the survivors of an Anglo-American liaison post that had been blown up by the German Werewolves during the Ardennes Offensive of 1944. He had lost half his face and, like Le Chiffre, seemed to be suffering total amnesia. After scouring the War Office records of missing men, he adopted the identity of one Hugo Drax, an orphan who had worked in the Liverpool docks before the war and had no next of kin.
The newly renamed Drax then left the country for about three years after the war. When he resurfaced, he was dealing in Columbite, an ore vital in the production of jet engines. Trading in futures, he made himself extremely wealthy, then gave his entire holding of Columbite to Britain to make the Moonraker. This earned him a knighthood.
Physically Drax is repulsive. He is six foot tall with exceptionally broad shoulders and a large square head with a powerful nose and jaw. His face shows the ugly signs of reconstruction. His reddish hair is centre-parted to cover scars on his temples. Puckered skin covers half his face. His right eye is considerably larger than his left because the skin used to rebuild his eyelid has contracted and the eye will not close properly, leaving it painfully bloodshot. Plastic surgery also failed to match his right ear to his left, but they are partially obscured by sideburns that have grown down to his lobes. He also has hair on his cheekbones, and a large moustache covers his protruding teeth that only show when he makes one of his short, braying laughs. Bond dismisses him as a loud-mouthed boor and a snob.
Drax sweats incessantly, chain-smokes cork-tipped Virginia cigarettes and bites his nails. Like Le Chiffre he has hairy hands. His clothes are expensive. He favours double-breasted suits with turned-back cuffs and velvet smoking jackets. He wears silk shirts with modest cuff-links, possibly Cartier, and a plain gold watch.
Eventually Drax confesses to Bond that he is not English at all, but German – “a Kraut,” he says. His real name was Graf Hugo von der Drache. Thanks to his English mother, until he was twelve, he was educated in England, where he was bullied mercilessly for his foreign name and his “ogre’s teeth”.
“Then I could stand this filthy country no longer and I completed my education in Berlin and Leipzig,” he says.
At twenty he went to work in the family’s armaments factory, where he learnt about steel, aircraft and Columbite. When the war started, he joined the Nazi Party. By the time he was twenty-eight he was a lieutenant in a Panzer regiment. He enjoyed their easy victories over the British Army in France. Then he joined the Foreign Intelligence Service of the SS, where he took the opportunity to exact more revenge on Englishmen. During the Ardennes Offensive – also known as the Battle of the Bulge – he led a German commando unit in American uniforms through the lines. When the battle was lost, he stayed behind with the “Werewolves”. They came across an Anglo-American liaison post and sent two men with a jeep full of explosives to blow it up. Meanwhile Drax killed a despatch rider and rode off on his bike wearing a British uniform. He was shot up by a German plane and taken to a field hospital at the liaison post. Drax was there when the post was blown up.
During his recuperation he made his plans for further revenge on the English for what they had done to him and his country. The British authorities made it easy for him to adopt a new identity. When he got out of hospital, he murdered a Jewish moneylender and stole £15,000 from his safe, then fled to Tangier where he started trading in Columbite.
Once he had earned £20 million, he returned to establish himself in London. Then he went back to Germany to recruit “loyal” German technicians and his henchman Krebs, a specialist in torture who had also been with the Werewolves. Moving on to Moscow, he outlined his plans to blow up London. The Soviets gave him an atomic warhead, and Dr Walther, a top scientist from Peenemünde who masterminded the Moonraker project. The test payload of instruments supplied by the British was taken back to Stettin.
Bond considers Drax a remarkable case history – a combination of galloping paranoia, megalomaniac hatred and desire for revenge – and concludes that this must have something to do with his teeth. But thanks to the intervention of Special Branch and Bond, Drax is thwarted and, eventually, hoist with his own petard.
In the movie, Drax, played by French actor Michael Lonsdale, is not the “vulgarian” Bond sees him as in the book. He has forgone his mansion on the cliffs in Kent for a French château which he has had transported to California. He has also bought the Eiffel Tower, but could not get an export licence. He is now a cultivated man and is sometimes seen at the grand piano playing Chopin. However, he is ruthless with those he perceives as enemies, setting his Dobermans on helicopter pilot Corinne Dufour who he suspects has betrayed him to Bond. Like his counterpart in the book, he is a megalomaniac whose company, space-shuttle manufacturer Drax Industries, is a front for his messianic plan to kill everyone on earth and repopulate the world with perfect specimens he has hand-picked and kept safe in his space station. Bond, Goodhead and the US Marines put paid to that.
In the film, Drax also has two henchmen – Chang, the oriental assassin, and Jaws, the seven-foot-two strongman with steel teeth. It seems he also has steel testicles, which clank when Bond knees him in the groin. This does not prevent him falling in love with Dolly, or turning against Drax in the end. Like many Bond villains, Drax commands countless hordes of uniformed men willing to sacrifice their lives for their master or the cause.
Jaws also appears in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me where the villain is Karl Stromberg, played by Austrian actor Curd Jürgens. Like Drax, the webbed-fingered Stromberg is a well-businessman, the owner of a shipping line, who lives in a palace, though Stromberg’s can sink beneath the waves. He also has a messianic plan to wipe out all life on land and create a new civilization underwater. As well as Jaws and an army of followers in bright orange jumpsuits, he employs the wonderful Naomi who also tries to kill Bond and Amasova, pursuing his Lotus Esprit in her well-armed helicopter.
In the book, The Spy Who Loved Me, the villains are not nearly so grand. They are mere petty crooks, common-or-garden gangsters, though Sluggsy Morant makes a remarkable reappearance after he was thought to have drowned in a lake.
The Spang Brothers
In Diamonds Are Forever, the villains are the Spang brothers, who head the Spangled Mob. Jack Spang operates the London branch of the House of Diamonds in Hatton Garden, as Rufus B. Saye, and the diamond-smuggling operation as the mysterious ABC. He is killed at the end of the book when Bond shoots down his helicopter. The other brother is Seraffimo, head of the Las Vegas branch of the family, who runs the casino in the Tiara Hotel. He has a fixation about the old West. He also employs the two creepy killers Wint and Kidd. Bond shoots Seraffimo Spang and kills him. Wint and Kidd pursue Bond and Tiffany on board the Queen Elizabeth, where they kidnap Tiffany. Bond rescues her and kills them.
Jack Strap, who takes over Spangled Mob after the deaths of Jack and Seraffimo Spang, joins Goldfinger in his raid on Fort Knox in the book and film, while the last reference to the Spangled Mob comes in the book, The Man with the Golden Gun – Scaramanga had worked for them as a hit man.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt
Wint and Kidd reappear in the movie of Diamonds Are Forever, though the Spang brothers are absent. This time they are working for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whose surname is borrowed from Norfolk farmer Tom Blofeld, a contemporary of Fleming’s at Eton and father of the cricket commentator Henry Blofeld.
Blofeld is Bond’s arch-adversary. He appears in three of the books –Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice – and seven of the Bond films – From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Never Say Never Again and For Your Eyes Only, though he only makes an appearance there in the pre-title sequence.
Intriguingly, Blofeld shares a birthday with Ian Fleming. He was born on 28 May 1908 in Gdynia, Poland, of a Polish father and a Greek mother. After graduating in economics and political history from Warsaw University, he studied engineering and radionics at the Warsaw Technical Institute. At twenty-five he obtained a modest post in the central administration of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, using information gleaned from the telegrams passing through his hand to make money buying and selling stocks on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Anticipating the outbreak of World War II, Blofeld made copies of top secret telegrams and, pretending to be running a network of spies, sold them to Nazi Germany, then the Americans and Swedes. Before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, he destroyed all records of his existence and moved to Turkey, where he worked for the Turkish radio and set up an intelligence organization. During the war, he sold information to both sides. After the defeat of Rommel in North Africa, he decided to back the Allies and, at the end of he war, was awarded numerous medals by the Allied powers. Blofeld then moved temporarily to South America before founding SPECTRE, an organization of twenty other villains with its headquarters in Paris’s Boulevard Haussmann.