Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 13:53 GMT
One girl is not enough
Bond girls have always been an essential ingredient of the Bond films
By BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas
Cinema history is chequered with defining moments, and Ursula Andress's goddess-like rise from the sea in Dr No must rank as one of the best.
Andress's brand of lusty, leggy bikini-clad beauty also set a precedent for a type of cinema actress who would forever be evoked by the simple term Bond Girl.
"I think my favourite Bond girl has to be Ursula Andress. She is the archetypal Bond girl," he says with relish.
"She set the standard by which all of the others would be judged. The girls that have come since have almost matched up to her."
Shirley Eaton's gold-painted form in the third film in the series, Goldfinger, arguably lived up to Andress's challenge.
"In the early films the girls were a lot heavier and more curvaceous - they are my favourites in fact.
"When you go into the 1970s they are a little skinnier. In the 1980s, the make-up is over the top and in the 1990s, anything goes," he enthuses.
Despite the fluctuations in their body shape, beautiful women have been as integral to all 19 Bond movies as gadgets and guns.
The majority have been unknowns in non-speaking parts - recruited mainly for their decorative qualities.
These women played major roles, either as a villainess or allay to Bond, and show how the character of the leading girls has evolved.
Among the early crop, the feisty attitude of Blackman's Pussy Galore or Lana Wood's Plenty O'Toole prove that Bond girls have always had a mind of their own.
But with big-hair, larger chests and a name full of double entendre it was always unlikely to be their performance that would leave an impression.
"The Bond film is a vehicle for James Bond. There was always the villain and there was the beautiful woman and the beautiful woman has always been just that. That's the format. You can't change it and I don't think it is a bad thing," she says.
Extrovert model and New Wave singer Grace Jones was a striking choice as the villainess May Day in a View To A Kill.
Denise Richards who plays 007's allay nuclear physicist Dr Christmas Jones, in The World Is Not Enough, agrees it was great to play a Bond girl who was both brainy and athletic.
"The female roles now have a lot more depth - it's more than just running around on Bond's arm. Christmas is strong, intelligent and sassy and there's an infectious one-upmanship and clever banter between her and James Bond."
The film's director Michael Apted has said he hopes the old-style Bond girls are gone for good.
But even if it hadn't, future generations of women would have been unlikely to turn down the offer of appearing alongside 007.
Denise Richards says she "would have done any Bond project to just to be part of the history".
While Britt Ekland concludes: "I am as proud today to say I was a Bond girl as I was then. Whether that is saying you were only running around in a bikini and didn't do much more, well fine.
"I did what was asked of me and made it something memorable and then I got on with my life."
Pictures courtesy of Eon/The James Bond International Fan Club and Archive