In the 1967 version of Casino Royale, James Bond is forced to come out of retirement to help save the world. In doing so, he first develops a plan to confuse his enemies by creating multiple Bonds. In the film, women are a constant theme. At first it seems that they are all weak, especially when it came to James. Eventually, James begins showing the power of the women by using them as weapons against the other men. At one point, MI-6 was training a decoy Bond to be able to overcome the seduction of beautiful women, one of which introduced herself as the agency’s newest secret weapon. After the first situations the real Bond is put into involving women, we find out that even the females appearing to act naive and vulnerable were actually plotting against him from the start.
The climax of the women power struggle in the film comes at a time of distress for one of the decoys. After winning a high stakes baccarat game, he is knocked unconscious and wakes in a room. While sitting in a chair with no seat cushion, the magician he had just defeated appears through the window. After about 5 minutes of psychedelic torture, the man begins having hallucinations that a gang of Scottish bagpipes players are beating him. Arising from the smoky fog is his female partner with a machine gun. After mowing down his enemies in his hallucination, the audience is brought back to reality to show that good has conquered evil.
In another twist of events, the real James Bond has now entered the situation at the gambling den to find his kidnapped counter parts. After finding out that his nephew is behind it all, we are brought into the mind of the psychopath. After learning that his true motivations were based on his height and feeling of incompetency, one female agent sees another opportunity of heroism. After fooling Jimmy Bond, James’ nephew, she tricks him into eating his own secret weapon. This action will eventually lead to the ending of the film, turning the evil Jimmy Bond into a walking time bomb. After 300 massive hiccups and a lot of 1967 special effects smoke clouds, Jimmy erupts and brings down the house.
Besides the main female agents, and their acts of actual heroism, you also see glimpses of female power through the eyes of the villain himself. He sees tall powerful men like his uncle having beautiful women around them all the time. After year of jealousy, you can see that he believes that these women only add to his power. After developing an army of machine gun welding women, along with doubles of all the female agents, it becomes obvious that this man believes that attractive women often have more power than some men.
One of the main themes in the movies describes and embellishes the seductive power women hold over men. When James Bond went looking for one of his decoys, he sent Money Penny to convince him. Using her devilishly good looks along with her wit, she was able to convince this man to commit to something, even though he had no idea what he was really about to do. Over all this film may be viewed as sexist on the outside, but offers many ideas of female power, especially for the time period it was produced in. Although the 2006 remake offers a well-rounded, modern day projection of how the casino mission would have happened today, the original version still offers a great enactment of how genders were viewed then, as well as projections of the future.
By: Nicholas Odom