They've shaken the world of James Bond for 40 years. We remember the image — exotic, sexy, dangerous — and of course we remember their names: Honey Rider, Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead.
They are Bond girls, and after years of playing second fiddle to the world's most famous secret agent, AMC's worthy new documentary Bond Girls Are Forever
brings them out of the super agent's shadow and into the spotlight.
Maryam d'Abo, who played Kara Milovy opposite Timothy Dalton's Bond in The Living Daylights, interviews a cache of Bond beauties from the very first, Ursula Andress, to the latest, Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike.
traces the evolution of the on-screen role — from mere eye candy to damsel in distress to the high-action, intelligent women of recent movies — as well as the off-screen perception of the Bond girl image.
Each of the women relates how the role has affected her career and life. Most found instant fame, some were honored to be chosen for the role, and a few found themselves struggling to regain their careers.
Luciana Paluzzi, who played villainess Fiona Volpe opposite Sean Connery in Thunderball, tells how prominent directors in her native Italy — including Federico Fellini — snubbed her after she appeared opposite 007. Years later, the role of Bond girl would become a springboard to success and fame for actresses.
The liveliest interviews in Bond Girls
are with Honor Blackman and Jill St. John. Blackman played the most memorable Bond girl, Pussy Galore in Connery's Goldfinger, and spawned one of the movie series' most memorable quotes.
Jill St. John, Tiffany Case in Roger Moore's Diamonds Are Forever, deflects criticism of the Bond girl image, saying the role is meant to be a fantasy rather than reality: "It's meant as entertainment."
Overall, Bond Girls
is an insightful look into the real women behind the comic-book-like fantasy girls they played on screen. Its biggest fault: the Faith Rivera rendition of "Nobody Does It Better," which doesn't live up to the Carly Simon original.
Bond Girls are Forever
premieres on AMC Nov. 6.