It has been a long time since I posted anything related to my James Bond Retrospective, but now I am ready to return.
Before I go into my Best and Worst Bond Film, I thought I'd stop to cover a category sometimes overlooked. I've done the Best Bond Girls.
Let me rephrase that. I've made a list of the Ten Best and Worst Bond Girls.
I have compiled a ranking of the Ten Best Bond Villains, along with the Worst Bond Villains.
Same for The Ten Best and Worst Bond Henchmen.
I also have the Ten Best and Ten Worst Bond Songs.
However, when I was going over the Bond Girls while working on my retrospective, I found that there really were two types of Bond Girls: The Primary and the Secondary Bond Girls.
The main difference is that the Primary Bond Girl is the one that 007 ends up with before the closing credits, while the Secondary Bond Girl usually (but not always) does not live to 'die another day'. She is somewhat disposable, serving the British Secret Agent with, to quote Octopussy's All Time High, 'a sweet distraction for an hour or two'.
However, it is time to give them their due. Sadly, I counted only 16 Secondary Bond Girls, so I can't make a Ten Best and Worst List. However, I would like to take this opportunity to rank the Top Five Best and Worst Secondary Bond Girls. Let's start with our Top Five.
Lupe Lamora (License to Kill)
One of the few Secondary Bond Girls to live to the closing credits, Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto) appeared to be a victim of Franz Sanchez. Side note, Lamora sounds very close to "L'Amour" (The Love), does it not? However, she was brave enough to face her fear and work with 007 to bring him down. She was also a very kind person, beautiful, and appeared to have genuine feelings for James Bond. As such, she could easily have been the Primary Bond Girl if not for another equally great Bond Girl in Carey Lowell's Pam Bouvier. License to Kill suggests Lupe ends up as the First Lady. Overall, not bad.
Aki (You Only Live Twice)
Sylvia Trench (Dr. No and
From Russia With Love)
Sylvia Trench gets high marks as one of the few Bond Girls (Primary or Secondary) who managed a return appearance (and as far as we know, one who lived to tell the tale). When the James Bond franchise was starting up, it was figured that Eunice Gayson's character would be recurring, the woman who waited while 007 played with a bevy of beauties. She disappeared without explanation after From Russia With Love, but in many ways she was something of a mirror image to Bond. She was beautiful, glamorous, and sophisticated. She also earns a high place because she was the one that allowed the secret agent man to utter one of the great lines in film history. She introduced herself as, "Trench. Sylvia Trench." Any guesses as to how 007 responded when asked for HIS name?
Jill Masterson (Goldfinger)
She was probably on screen for less than ten minutes. Yet Shirley Eaton's Jill Masterson has become iconic. In that brief time she became the model of the beautiful and doomed Bond Girl. She was lovely and seductive and vivacious, but when she was murdered it was both tragic and unforgettable, an iconic image from a brilliant film. Even those who have never seen either Goldfinger or any Bond film recognize the beautiful woman covered all in gold. Shocking yet iconic, the image of Jill Masterson in beautiful but deadly repose is an image no one will ever forget...
However, not every Secondary Bond Girl has earned such legendary status. Some are so bad one is almost cheering for them to end up dead. Some are not horrible, but are on screen so briefly one wonders why they showed up at all. Now, let us turn to the Bottom Five Secondary Bond Girls.
Miranda Frost (Die Another Day)
Miss Brandt (You Only Live Twice)
Corinne Dufour (Moonraker)
Moonraker is remarkably divisive, and by divisive I mean I have found only one other person who genuinely liked it. That was my friend/fellow film enthusiast Fidel Gomez, Jr. (who may or may not be dead). It is not the best Bond film, but I found just enough to enjoy it. One thing I didn't enjoy was Corinne Clery as Corinne Dufour, Drax's loyal secretary. She represents the worst in any Bond Girl: once she is 'pumped' for information, she is dispensed with. That in itself is pretty bad, but what makes it even worse is that she is so remarkably dumb in the movie. She doesn't appear to understand much of what is going on and just drags the film with her dead performance (no pun intended). If that isn't enough to condemn her, she gets bumped off in the most unceremonious way any Bond Girl gets bumped off...she literally goes to the dogs.
Countess Lisl (For Your Eyes Only)
Strawberry Fields (Quantum of Solace)
Fifth and finally, we have this...
...what I have dubbed the Oilfinger moment. It is just wrong to copy an iconic Bond film moment and try to make it better. You can't top Jill Masterson's death, and attempting to copy it only makes it appear to be almost a parody of that legendary image. When Jill Masterson died covered in gold, it was shocking, sad, but oddly beautiful. When "Miss Fields" died covered (and we are told, forced-fed oil), it was crass, ugly, and downright vicious.
An ugly moment in an ugly film.
Well, there it is: My Top and Bottom Five Secondary Bond Girls.
Next...at long last, the Ten Best and Worst Bond Films.
James Bond (Lists) Will Return...