I'm back from a one-week holiday in Montréal (the picture below is of the Musée des beaux-arts during a Chagall exhibit). Happy to be back at work on my upcoming book although less thrilled to be analysing more tedious Bond films. The latest was The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, US$185.4 million at the worldwide box office) starring Roger Moore. True to the mind-numbing Bond formula it contains sexual innuendo (e.g. when M says Miss Moneypenny about his employee, Bond, who is away on a mission: "Well tell him to pull out immediately!" followed by a shot of Bond lying naked on top of a woman), tons of praise for Bond (e.g. a woman who has just had sex with him sighs, "Oh, James, I cannot find the words.") and women portrayed as men's property and existing solely for men's entertainment. This portrayal of women, as men's possessions, is systematic in Bond films and I'm used to it but that doesn't make it any less demoralizing--especially when you consider the reach and influence of this franchise.
Here are two examples among the bucketful for this type of portrayal of women (just in The Spy Who Loved Me): a man claps his hands to dismiss the scantily clad women lying around his room then claps again to make another appear. He says to Bond, "Can I persuade you to accept a bed for the night?" Bond is on the verge to declining his offer but when he sees the nearly naked woman who is approaching to kneel by him and hand him a flower he replies, "When one is in Egypt one should delve deeply into its treasures." Later, when Bond arrives at the home of another man, a woman says to him, "Mr. Fekkesh asked me to entertain you while you are waiting." Within minutes she touches his tie and says, "If there's anything you'd like, anything at all..." to which Bond replies, "Well, I had lunch, but I seem to have missed dessert." Then he takes her by the arm and kisses her.
All of these seduction scenes closely resemble the preposterous beginnings of old pornographic films. They are nothing more than the slightly less trashy version of scenarios in which, for example, the pizza delivery man is greeted at the door by a woman in lingerie who is dying to get it on with him. Take away the Aston Martins, Rolex watches and tuxedos and what are you left with? (A clearer vision of what these movies are: pornography.)
© 2017 Alline Cormier