Thursday, May 28, 2015

Live and Let Die (1973) | Women

The missing Italian agent from Bond's first scene is a nothing character. We're told her name is Caruso, but the credits list her as "Beautiful Girl," so that's how much she matters to the movie. Madeline Smith is funny in the role though.

Rosie Carver is infuriating. She's a horrible agent and it's even more unbelievable that she's a double. I can only think of two possible reasons that Felix has assigned her to Bond. The first doesn't say very nice things about Felix, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just never read her file and doesn't realize how incompetent she is. Bond is a creep though, so I don't mind saying bad things about him. He actually says at one point that Rosie is "a lousy agent, but the compensations speak for themselves."

I have no idea why Kananga uses her though. When she leads Bond towards a trap, Kananga muses that she's "been more efficient than I anticipated." So he doesn't respect her either and honestly, what's to respect? She's ridiculous. I don't know which bothers me more: her ineptitude or that Bond's so dehumanizing with her.

And then there's Solitaire. It's tough not to like Jane Seymour and she does add layers to the character. But despite that there's no denying that Solitaire is written as flimsily as the other two women in the movie. Fleming's Solitaire had big problems too, especially in the last half of the book, but she's an infinitely stronger character than this version. Book Solitaire actively seeks out Bond as an escape from Mr. Big while Movie Solitaire has almost no will of her own. She seems content to stay with the villain until Bond tricks her into sex, making her no longer valuable to Kananga. Once that's done, she's distraught and it looks like there may actually be consequences to Bond's lie, if only that he's hurt her. But no, her misgivings only last about five minutes before she decides that she's totally into Bond and sex. I have no problem with her deciding she likes sex; I just don't like how it lets Bond off the hook for what he did.

None of these women crack the Top Ten.

My Favorite Bond Women

1. Tracy Bond (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
2. Paula Caplan (Thunderball)
3. Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love)
4. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
5. Domino Derval (Thunderball)
6. Honey Rider (Dr. No)
7. Sylvia Trench (Dr. No and From Russia With Love)
8. Aki (You Only Live Twice)
9. Pussy Galore (Goldfinger)
10. Tilly Masterson (Goldfinger)

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