When I decided to write about the James Bond film franchise, I wanted to talk about the Bond women. When Bond women are referenced, it’s often because of their beauty, and what outfits they wore that were memorable. I wanted to go more in-depth than that. From Dr. No’s film adaptation in 1962, women’s rights both in the UK and the US have evolved. In this series of posts, I’m going to discuss the actresses who played these iconic roles.
The first Bond woman introduced in Dr. No was Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson) Besides being an actress, Eunice was also a singer and a dancer. (1). When Eunice arrived on set, she had to calm down a nervous Connery who kept messing up his lines during the casino sequence. (1). It’s easy to think Connery had it all, but initially, he was nervous to act out this role. Eunice was the only Bond girl to be featured in two movies. She also will appear in From Russia With Love. Her role ended when Goldfinger director, Guy Hamilton wanted new women for Bond to entangle with (1).
The next two women in Dr. No were portrayed as villains. There was Miss Taro (played by Zena Marshall) and Annabel Chung (played by Marguerite LeWars). Miss Taro was a double agent working for Dr. No and she was supposed to lure Bond to her house, so an assassin could kill him. Zena Marshall was born in Kenya but moved to Leicestershire where she studied acting. (2) Annabel Chung was a photographer hired by Dr. No to follow Bond around and take pictures of him. Marguerite was Miss Jamaica and was approached by film director, Terence Young to ask her to be in this movie (3). She originally auditioned for Miss Taro but was afraid her parents wouldn’t allow her to take the role because of how sexual the part was. Young offered her the role of Annabel as a way to be in the movie. (3). Post Bond, Marguerite is a writer for a column in Trinidad and has written two books (3).
Finally, there’s Ursula Andress who played Honey Rider. Honey Rider walking up on the beach in a white bikini is one of the most iconic film sequences in the Bond franchise. Ursula Andress is Swiss and can speak four different languages (4). When Ursula originally read her lines, her voice was dubbed by another actress because Young didn’t like her accent (4). It’s depressing re-watching Dr. No and knowing Ursula is only there to look pretty considering her voice belonged to another actress. In recent years, Andress has been a spokesperson for Osteoporosis as she too is suffering from the disease (4).
After doing all of this research on the women who appeared in Dr. No, I found it was tough to find information about the actresses. When women are written about, it’s often detailing their marriages, children, and their acting career. When writing this post, I was hoping to gather more information about interesting aspects of their lives, not who they are married to. Marriage and children are of course a facet of a woman’s life however, women are so much more beyond their marriage and children.
Since Dr. No and From Russia With Love were released only a year apart from each other, I’m going to highlight women’s rights in the From Russia With Love Bond women post. My hope with putting this post together was to highlight these women beyond their roles within the Bond film franchise. This is my last Dr. No related post, so next week I will move on to Connery’s second outing, From Russia with Love.