The ‘femme fatale’ . A woman so dastardly that she will use her physical feminine charms to lure the hapless and unsuspecting male into a sticky yet sweet ‘honey trap’ – that is to say a highly precarious or dangerous situation; There’s no telling where a gentleman may find himself after being lethally enticed.
From being strapped to a table whilst a giant laser beam inches its way towards your manhood to being shot with poisoned darts through the mouth of a brightly painted, top hatted voodoo coconut head in the Caribbean, brace for fatal injuries and heartbreak to the most heinous degree.
The women in the Bond universe are too often characterised using two words: Bond Girl. She’s normally the sexually aware yet demure damsel in distress waiting to be swept off her feet by the cruel British spy, James Bond. Over time this woman has become more physical, empowered by her femininity rather than being a victim of it. This correlates with how society has come to understand and represent strong, not helpless, women in popular film.
However, for every gun toting Miss Moneypenny, Olga Kurylenko’s pouty South American tough-stress or the achingly beautiful yet venomous Vesper Lynd (the ball busting 21st century female equals to Daniel Craig and his overtly physical, macho violence), there are the black widows – female criminal masterminds in their own right or the pawns of an aloof and remote shadowy puppeteer. Being evil isn’t just a male disposition it seems.
And so it transpires that I’ve assembled a ghoulish identity parade, a veritable rogues gallery, of some of the most dangerous, most grotesquely evil women any of us may hope to never have the misfortune of mistakenly buying a drink for. To bring some order to proceedings I’ve split the candidates into four groups.
Group 1: Women who start off bad but turn good by the end
Bond’s ability to charm the opposite sex, no matter how bent out of shape she has become, or how much she is being bribed, is something oft repeated throughout the earlier films. The idea that Bond’s love can release the woman from the tendrilled clutches of immorality testifies to 007’s prowess in the bedroom.
These girls might not be overtly corrupt, just individuals under duress. A lover or a brother has been kidnapped, they’ve been spirited away into relative solitude or payed highly for their deviant services. Members of this group include: Pussy Galore, Solitaire, Tiffany Case, and Vesper Lynd.
Group 2: Women whose ugliness denotes how thoroughly malicious and malevolent they really are
“Rosa Klebb would be in her late forties, he assumed, placing her by the date of the Spanish War. She was short, about five foot four, and squat, and her dumpy arms and short neck, and the calves of the thick legs in the drab khaki stockings, were very strong for a woman. The devil knows, thought Kronsteen, what her breasts were like, but the bulge of uniform that rested on the table-top looked like a badly packed sandbag, and in general her figure, with its big pear-shaped hips, could only be likened to a cello.”
You can positively taste the disgust in which Ian Fleming describes the hideously toad faced Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love. However Fleming is a clever so and so. In this quote he’s using her grotesque ugliness is symbolic of her general evilness. By describing her as abominable in appearance she is metaphorically coded as being just that; an abominably distorted, evil woman in spirit, character and motive. Lets face it, breasts like a badly packed sandbag can only be bad news. Often, physical exaggeration or women with physically masculine qualities are used to draw attention to the fact that these characters are somehow malfunctioning in a transformation from feminine virtue to masculine depravity. Grace Jones’ tall stature, her lethal karate skills and her bare muscled body coupled with her short wedged hair in A View To A Kill is a prime example of this theory. Another notorious member of this group is OHMSS’ Irma Bunt who later appears in Fleming’s novel You Only Live Twice as Blofeld’s live-in girlfriend.
Group 3: The serpent-like side kicks
Girls that might have got in with the wrong crowd but, having provisionally succumbed to crime, start to get a perverse kick from being straight up ‘bad’. They’re normally alarmingly beautiful and seductive but instead of plumbing for the good guys they embrace the ‘sexual side-kick enforcer’ role. Bond can’t turn them…he tries but he fails. There is no reasoning, they just like doing evil things.
Fatima Blush in the non Eon Bond, Never Say Never Again, thoroughly embodies this role through-out her appearance as an unhinged femme fatal psycho-enforcer. She even tries to get Bond to commit to paper that she is indeed the best he has ever had before putting a bullet through him. Other’s include; Xenia Onatopp (kills with her strong thighs in the last throes of passionate copulation) big bosomed Spectre operative Fiona Volpe, the piranha gnawed Helga Brandt and the icy double agent Miranda Frost.
Group 4: The random help
Waifs and strays that are no more than blunt implements when it comes to causing Bond pain. Treacherous gymnasts, receptionists, helicopter pilots…the list is endless. Members of this group include Rosie Carver, Bambi & Thumber and Stromberg’s assistant, Naomi.
It seems that this criminal catalogue proves one thing; although many of the the archenemies of Bond come in a male guise, the girls are doing it for themselves in equal measure, truly capable of being just as vicious as Dr No, Blofeld or SMERSH itself.