Her article, entitled ‘You Only Age Once’, appeared in the UK’s ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper (April 6) and opened: ‘When she emerged from the sea in Dr. No, wearing a white bikini and carrying a conch shell, Ursula Andress defined the Bond girl. She was beautiful, brave and cursed with a sexually suggestive name: Honey Rider’.
Weinberg argues that, in 50 years of the Bond films, the formula has not changed. She notes that Ian Fleming, the creator of 007, had an uneasy relationship with women, but his female characters were rarely weak. This has also been reflected in the James Bond movies. In some of the films, the character and back-story of the Bond girls gets lost in the casting director’s enthusiasm for tanned flesh and a toned figure, but, according to Weinberg, ‘there’s usually a female with a bit of grit, wit and intelligence’, such as a fellow agent or a murderous femme fatale.
Weinberg claims that only one Bond girl ever managed to secure Bond’s affections in a meaningful way – Tracy (Diana Rigg) in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (but has Weinberg forgotten Vesper in Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, one wonders?). Weinberg also argues that there was another more constant female presence in Bond’s life: Miss Moneypenny, M’s loyal secretary. Moneypenny was always there at M’s door, ready for a few brief lines of flirtation with 007 on his way in or out: ‘In neither the books nor the films was their flirtation consumated, which sets Moneypenny apart from the ranks of the Bond girls’.
Weinberg’s short essay was published shortly before news emerged of another Bond woman being added to the Eon series canon: in a late casting decision made by Sam Mendes at Pinewood, it has been confirmed that Greek actress Tonia Sotiropoulou will have a brief role in the Turkish sequences in ‘Skyfall’.
Note: Samantha Weinberg (whose real name is Samantha Fletcher) was the author of ‘The Moneypenny Diaries’, which consisted of three books and two short stories, written under the name of Kate Westbrook. These were commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate and published in 2005-2008.