Ralph Fiennes, while recently chatting about his part in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” let it slip that’s he’s set to play M, replacing Dame Judi Dench as the head of British Secret Service, in the upcoming Daniel Craig Bond film. Shooting is set to begin in October, in time for the 2015 release of “Bond 24” (a working title, we hope).
Why should this announcement from Ralph get us all worked up? Well, in addition to the fact that he seems an excellent choice to succeed Dame J., confirmation of a new Bond movie means... new Bond Girls!
Whether these ladies start out on Bond’s side or against him, they all succumb to his charms eventually (except the really bad ones who just use him for rough sex and then still try to kill him – you just can’t trust some women.)
No doubt about it: over the course of 23 films, some Bond Girls stand out more than others. They make us pay closer attention. We’re here to identify them. It’s rough work.
Now it’s time to find out who deserves to be in the select club (one we’d like to visit) of Bond’s Best Girls. Part one: The ‘60s and ‘70s.
Ursula Andress – Honey RYder
For my money, Ms. Andress is the Alpha and the Omega of Bond Girls. Playing Honey Ryder, Andress cemented her place in Bond lore the moment she stepped out of the ocean in 1962’s “Dr. No” in that off-white bikini. She who wields Black Widow Spiders for revenge is not only stunning, but watchful, stubborn and independent - in other words, very much her own girl. The first (and still the best), Ursula Andress is our premiere inductee. Viva Honey!
Honor Blackman – Pussy Galore
If Honor Blackman appeared before you, saying her name was “Pussy Galore,” you might also wonder aloud if you’re in heaven. Goldfinger’s personal aviatrix is a deadly vixen, a crackerjack shot, and an expert in Judo, a skill she uses to best the secret agent himself – until he bests her back. Though her claim to being “immune” to Bond is proven wrong, you can’t really blame her – she’s likely tired of those (hinted-at) same sex adventures with her buxom team of co-pilots, and we know there’s nothing going on with that fat German guy with a gold fetish. Now here’s an impossibly sexy and strong Scottish rogue who rarely takes “no” for an answer. In the end, Galore says “yes” and helps Bond foil Goldfinger’s evil plot. (Trivia note: Blackman was actually five years older than Sean, but you’d never guess it.) Click here to Stream "Goldfinger" NOW!
Shirley Eaton – Jill Masterson
As Goldfinger’s arm candy and part-time cardsharp, Jill Masterson does her job well, but seems ready to resign awfully quickly as soon as James shows up unexpectedly in her suite. Though the luscious Eaton’s role in “Goldfinger” was annoyingly small as she quickly ends up dead on Bond’s duvet, let’s just say she made one hell of an exit. No one who’s seen “Goldfinger” will ever forget the moment she appears wearing nothing but that gold paint. Jill was clearly worth her weight in it.
Luciana Paluzzi – Fiona Volpe
Though the waterlogged “Thunderball” (1965) doesn’t hold up that well over time, Luciana Paluzzi’s performance as Fiona Volpe certainly does. If you’re in doubt, watch the SPECTER assassin at work – she’s one of the deadliest femme fatales Bond faces. Though he out-maneuvers her in the end, Fiona (played by voluptuous Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi) is a Bond villain who’s also very much a Bond Girl, and with a capital “G." Behind the scenes tidbit: Paluzzi first auditioned for the part of Domino, Bond’s considerably milder though still enticing love interest, eventually played by Claudine Auger. Luckily, the producers spotted her darker side, and she went on to play the lethal Fiona, vaulting herself and her ample assets into Bond Girl lore.
Diana Rigg – Tracy Di Vicenzo
If you’re going to have Bond break all the rules and marry for love, his intended has got to be something special. The producers found that something in Diana Rigg, who plays Tracy Di Vicenzo in the middling “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969). Another consideration: they had a brand new Bond to deal with in George Lazenby, a former male model with a- shall we say- limited acting range. To counterbalance George’s somewhat wooden performance, they wanted an accomplished actress, and Rigg had already made a big hit in TV’s “The Avengers”. She’s Bond’s match in most every way, and initially spurns his advances. However, Bond’s perseverance eventually wears her down, and soon they’re at the altar. Of course, Bond was never meant to be hitched for long (bad box office, you know), so his marriage to Tracy ends in a hail of bullets. But up to that point, Diana Rigg’s Tracy transcended the Bond Girl formula and became something truly unique in the Bond ethos: a stable, loving influence.
So, now that we’ve named our five favorite Bond Girls of the ‘60s and ‘70s, who did we unjustly snub? (Sorry, folks- none of Roger Moore’s earlier companions made it.) Who would you replace? Hop over on Facebook and let us know!