Sunday, September 30, 2007

The First Miss Moneypenny

Sad news: Lois Maxwell - - the first actress to play M's secretary, Miss Moneypenny, in the James Bond films - - has died.

I'm not sure if this fits the homosexual stereotype, but I am a HUGE James Bond fan.

Ms. Maxwell played Moneypenny in the first Bond movie I ever saw, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, which I only sat down to watch after I became obsessed with Sheena Easton who sang the title song. (I was. Obsessed. Seriously. Long story)

Lois Maxwell was in 14 James Bond movies - - from DR. NO to the last Roger Moore Bond film, A VIEW TO A KILL.

And with a only a few variations here and there, she basically played the same scene over and over again in every Bond movie. But I never got tired of seeing Ms. Maxwell get the better of Bond in those scenes.

She was a perfect foil for Bond because she never became a "Bond Girl." She flirted with James, but she never slept with him. Throughout the film series, Bond toys and play with almost every woman he meets, but Moneypenny, especially as played by Ms. Maxwell, is one of a very few women with the ability to toy and play with him.

Which is no small feat when you consider that the Bond character is described in one of the Bond films (M, played by Dame Judi Dench in GOLDEN EYE) as "a sexist misogynist dinosaur."

Ms. Maxwell's ability to hold her own against and beside Bond shines through in her first scene from DR. NO...
Miss Moneypenny: James! Where have you been? I've been searching all over London for you. [Picks up phone.] 007 is here sir. [Slaps Bond's hand away from the papers on her desk.]

James Bond
: Moneypenny! What gives?

Miss Moneypenny
: Me, given an ounce of encouragement. You've never taken me to dinner looking like this. You've never taken me to dinner, period.

James Bond
: I would, you know. Only I would be court-martialed for tampering with government property.

Miss Moneypenny
: Flattery will get you nowhere... but don't stop trying.
Any woman who responds with "me" when she's asked, "What gives?" is my kind of woman!

And "Flattery will get you nowhere... but don't stop trying." Well done, Moneypenny. Well done.


Aaron said...

Perhaps that sort of ambiguous toying was what turned him into a "sexist misogynistic dinosaur." :-) She was smart not to have sex with him, though--he seemed to spread his seed further than Cyrus McCormick.

I like Samantha Bond's Moneypenny too, though she's not the same as Lois Maxwell.

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - I like Samantha Bond's Moneypenny, too. Especially, that dialogue with M where Moneypenny says, "Don't ask" and M says, "Don't tell." :)

cb said...

i love James Bond Films. And it was so cool how they used the same Miss Moneypenny for a zillion of the films-- even when they changed Bonds.

Stephen Rader said...

CB - I agree!!! Even when they changed M's, they kept Moneypenny! I think only Desmond Llewelyn as Q did more back-to-back Bond movies. And he wasn't even IN DR. NO.