Monday, December 31, 2012

James Bond in a White Tuxedo or White Dinner Jacket

James Bond 007: White Tuxedo Jacket

Roger Moore
Roger Moore knew how to wear a tuxedo.

No review of the James Bond spy movies is complete without looking at James Bond film scenes that have the title character resplendent in a white tuxedo dinner jacket. Here, you may get a few insights into what the use of the white jacket has meant for the James Bond character, and how the people producing the film series (or mocking it) use it very subtly to create the James Bond image.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore protecting his Bond girls.

So many scenes are filmed at casinos and balls in the James Bond films that there have been untold chances for James Bond actors Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan to don the trademark white tuxedo dinner jacket and order the martini shaken and not stirred.

James Bond
The red flower in Daniel Craig's lapel appears to be an homage to Sean Connery's similar attire.

Sometimes James Bond wears the full white tuxedo, but more often than not, just the white tuxedo dinner jacket. When sitting at a roulette table, a white tuxedo jacket or full-on white tuxedo, it's all the same for James Bond.

James Bond
Shaken, not stirred. Another subtle return to the classic James Bond.

Herewith, pictures of all of our favorite portrayers of James Bond 007 wearing a white tuxedo dinner jacket.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery getting ready for the party - with his red flower.

That James Bond wears a white tuxedo jacket and wears it well was not exactly a secret in the '60s. The people producing the 1967 James Bond spoof "Casino Royale" made a very subtle (and usually unnoticed) reference to this by having the villain, Le Chiffre (played by Orson Welles), wear the white jacket instead of Bond.

James Bond
Orson Welles gets to wear the white jacket in "Casino Royale," flouting convention. Welles also ostentiously is smoking - smoking at that time was associated with the James Bond character (in fact, Sean Connery's very first appearance in "Doctor No" featured him smoking). So, as a spoof should, "Casino Royale" is proving the white-jacket tradition by consciously violating it.

I think Sean Connery pulled this look off best. He had a swarthy look that the white jacket accentuated. Roger Moore cut quite a dashing figure as well, in a more elegant and refined way. Daniel Craig looks a bit washed-out in white, but still presents a fine, muscular figure.

James Bond

You may notice a couple of Bonds missing from this page. The white-jacket imagery went out of fashion in the '80s and '90s for some reason known only to the people at EON. At least, I could not find any images of them in the white jacket. So, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan unfortunately cannot enhance our gallery. It is widely believed that the producers felt that the James Bond series had lost its way when they turned to the Daniel Craig version to reinstate it. They succeeded - and they used little tricks by returning to the white-tuxedo-jacket look to do it.

James Bond

Resuming the white-jacket tradition with Daniel Craig's character in the 2000s was a very subtle way that the producers established him as a classic Bond. Hollywood can be extremely subtle when it wants to be, so subtle that nobody notices, at least consciously. However, deep down, without even realizing it, putting Craig's Bond in a white jacket made him part of the team.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore looking very dapper, as usual.

Sean Connery as James Bond

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery giving the look.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery lighting his cigaret as he plans his next move.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery checking at his watch: "Your time's almost up, thug."

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery with a red flower in his lapel, nice touch.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery getting out of his wetsuit in "Diamonds are Forever."

George Lazenby as James Bond
George Lazenby as James Bond with Diana Rigg.

Sean Connery as James Bond in white tuxedo
Sean Connery close-up in his white tuxedo

James Bond


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Diana Rigg - Leather Girl Becomes James Bond's Wife

Diana Rigg at Her Best as Emma Peel in "The Avengers" and James Bond's Wife in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"

Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg.

Diana Rigg is still going strong as an actress as this is being written, but she remains best known for her role as the Bond girl who became James Bond's wife (albeit quite briefly) in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). "OHMSS" (as it is known) was quite a good film, despite it being considered somewhat of a "black sheep" among among James Bond films among fans. Praise for OHMSS usually notes the bravura performance by Diana Rigg.

Diana Rigg Emma Peel
Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

She played Tray Di Vicenzo, a lovelorn mafia princess. Rigg created the entire James Bond series' most heartfelt and serious female character. There were many pretty Bond girls before and after, but Diana Rigg crafted a character of substance. That role of James Bond's wife, though, wasn't why she was best known to American audiences during that period.

Diana Rigg
Gambling in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

Before "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," Diana Rigg starred for 51 episodes in the cult British 1960s television series "The Avengers" (1965–67). She played the playful secret agent Mrs Emma Peel, perfect foil and sparring partner for Patrick Macnee's John Steed.

Diana Rigg

Diana Rigg replaced Elizabeth Shepherd at very short notice when Shepherd was dropped from the role after filming two episodes. Claiming that she only auditioned for the role of Emma Peel on a whim, without ever having seen the show, Diana Rigg filled the role nicely.

Diana Rigg in sheer dress promo for The Avengers
Promo shot for "The Avengers."

Although Diana Rigg became very popular because of "The Avengers," she grew to dislike the show both creatively and personally. The episodes became sillier and less realistic during her tenure, featuring cats that killed their owners and time travel and disembodied brains kept alive in boxes and similar jokey nonsense.

Diana Rigg Emma Peel
Diana Rigg somewhat flat-footed in a typical leather-girl pose from "The Avengers."

Diana Rigg also did not like the way that she was treated by the Associated British Corporation (ABC), producers of the show, which tried to be too cheap with her.

Diana Rigg
Diana had a lot of fun as the  "Queen of  Sin."

After filming a dozen episodes, she was shocked (she claims) to discover that she was being paid less than some of the show's staff. For her second season she held out for a raise from £150 a week to £450. Even with the extra money, after that season she had had enough (she claims).

Diana Rigg
Diana with sword at the ready in "The Avengers."

Few on the set liked Diana for some reason, as she later acknowledged. This is curious in light of her later attitude about George Lazenby in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," a relationship which apparently was fraught with dislike, at least on Rigg's part. Perhaps two divas on any particular set is one too many? Patrick Macnee later said that Diana Rigg had told him that she considered him (Macnee) and her driver to be her only friends on "The Avengers." Clearly, Diana was picky about her friends.

Diana Rigg black catsuit in "The Avengers"
Diana Rigg in her catsuit from "The Avengers."

"The leather catsuit I wore in "The Avengers" (1961) was a total nightmare; it took a good 45 minutes to get unzipped to go to the loo. It was like struggling in and out of a wet-suit. Once I got into the jersey catsuits, they were very easy to wear but you had to watch for baggy knees; there is nothing worse. I got a lot of very odd fan mail while I was in that show, but my mum used to enjoy replying to it. Some of the men who wrote to me must have been a bit startled because she would offer really motherly advice. I would get a letter from a teenage boy, say, who was overexcited and my mother would write back saying: 'My daughter is far too old for you and what you really need is a good run around the block.'"

Diana Rigg on horseback in OHMSS 1969
As Tracy di Vicenzo in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

On the big screen, Diana Rigg became a Bond girl in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), playing Tracy Bond, James Bond's only wife. Diana Rigg said she took the role with the hope that she would become well known in America, which did happen, but did not lead to overwhelming success there.

Diana Rigg Emma Peel
Emma Peel could show steely resolve when the situation demanded it.

Throughout the filming of OHMSS, there were rumours that the experience was not a happy one, owing to her personality clash with James Bond actor George Lazenby.The tabloids made the most of it, and to this day, rumors of what actually happened swirl about the pair.

Diana Rigg In On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
Diana showing how to steal a scene from James Bond.

The rumors may have arisen from a reporter witnessing Diana Rigg jokingly saying "I'm having garlic for lunch George, I hope you are!" before a love scene between the two. Diana Rigg gave an angry interview in 2011, posted and quoted verbatim below, in which she basically confirmed the worst of the rumors while claiming in damning fashion that she actually was denying them.

Diana Rigg Emma Peel
Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

Her anger may also partly stem from a set rumor that she was dating George Lazenby at the time, but caught him in flagrante delicto, as they say, with a girl working with the crew. You may draw your own conclusions from watching the delightfully nasty interview below:
"[George Lazenby] was really difficult, it's not for nothing that they didn't offer him any sequels. I mean, he was just difficult because, I think, he needed help - not only acting, he was really quite good, wasn't he, and attractive and sexy and all those things, but just difficult off stage. He kind of thought he was a film star immediately and started throwing his weight around, and then, of course, it was, you know, accused me of eating garlic before love scenes. It was so petty and ridiculous. Of course, I didn't.... I mean, I think I had some chicken liver paté for lunch which had garlic in it. Silly me, I should have thought of, but I didn't, and I could have easily sprayed or whatever. Poor old George, I don't know what he's doing now, but he definitely was the architect of his own demise as a film star." 

Diana Rigg

"Quite why the feminists are up in arms about ["On Her Majesty's Secret Service"] I don't know, because the character that I played had a central role and was not just a piece of fluff." 

Autographed card by Diana Rigg from OHMSS 1969
A playfully signed promo card - dressed as Tracy Bond in OHMSS.

"I didn't like my Bond Girl outfits. The designer was a friend of the directors and I thought they were too boring and middle-aged for my character. The right costumes are essential for getting into a part; I've witnessed many costume parades with grumpy or even weeping actors because they've been put into the wrong thing."
Diana Rigg

"Society was so much more prudish in the 1960s. In one episode of "The Avengers" (1961), I played a belly dancer and I had to stick a jewel in my navel because the Americans wouldn't tolerate them. In those days, you didn't flash the boobs at all. What you did do to look glamorous was jack the boobs up and probably wear something quite low-cut."

Rigg with costars On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
Diana with George Lazenby and Gabriele Ferzetti ("Draco"). She is quite trim!

"In those days, trousers were appallingly cut for women so I used to go to a gentlemen's tailor to have them made. Nowadays you can look at some quite highly priced clothes and be astonished at how badly they are finished. But then, people don't look for that any more, it's only old bags like me that do. When I need to look smart, I go for Armani because he's just absolutely brilliant at tailoring. I always dress for myself, not men or other women. I'm well aware of them though - you get the sweep of the eye up and down and I think, 'You poor thing, are you so competitive that you have to measure yourself against everyone else?' It's so pathetic."

DIana Rigg The Queen of Sin
As "The Queen of the Damned."

Diana's obsession about clothes came naturally. "The Avengers" put Diana into all sorts of marvelous, kinky outfits that still look good after 40+ years. Remember, this was the a time when there were only 3 US networks and almost all new programming came from them.

Diana Rigg Emma Peel
Emma Peel always had a whimsical look when in a tough situation.

Most of the competing shows of that time were set in places like Shady Junction or were silly family comedies. A young lady prancing about in black leather, spikes and shiny boots was quite unusual - and quite enticing for some viewers.
Diana Rigg leather
Signed promo photo from "The Avengers."

Diana Rigg was the first major actor (along with co-star Keith Michell) to appear nude on stage in the 1970 London production of "Abelard and Héloïse," based on the tale of star-crossed Medieval lovers. For those who know the story, it is somewhat amusing that the statue with which she poses is neutered. The tale was later made into a 1988 film, "Stealing Heaven," starring Derek de Lint as Peter Abelard and Kim Thomson as  Héloïse. Diana Rigg was not in it.

Abelard and Heloise promo picture with Diana Rigg
Promo shot for "Abelard and Heloise."

Diana was quite the wild child, so calling George Lazenby out for being "difficult" and claiming that she was all about "gravitas" sort of skims over her own moments of frivolity around that time. Not that there's anything wrong with that, particularly in hindsight.

Diana Rigg

"You can't get a much better actress than Dame Maggie Smith or Dame Diana Rigg. They're the tops, aren't they?" - Patrick Macnee.

Diana Rigg looking relaxed outside
Looking relaxed on set

She is more properly known as Dame Diana Rigg, the female equivalent of the title "Sir" when knighted. In June 1994, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her long contributions to theater and film.

Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg perched on a couch

Below is the theatrical trailer for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." As the narrator says, Diana Rigg is "The different Bond woman. This one's got class and style." Below that, a short promotional film from Rigg second season on "The Avengers," showing her charm.

Diana Rigg


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Joyce Bartle: "For Your Eyes Only" Poster Girl

Joyce Bartle: The Way to Become Immortal is to Pose for a Sexy James Bond Film Poster

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"For Your Eyes Only."

The film poster of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) showed a shot of a woman standing with her legs spread, looking down at Bond, who is holding a crossbow. The poster was produced by Bill Gold, who previously had done the iconic "Dirty Harry" posters.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981

Believe it or not, one of the great controversies of the entire Bond series was: who was the girl holding the crossbow? You can actually read about the great mystery in an article from 1981 that you can access online in the People Magazine archives. The quotes below are from that article.

Raw shot of the famous poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
Raw shot of a model holding the crossbow, apparently of Jane Sumner. You can tell that the legs are different by looking at the angle of the shoes.

The primary model for the shot was Joyce Bartle, and the photographer was Morgan Kane. That is the straightforward, "I'm on Jeopardy and I need to know this instant!" answer.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981

However, two other models, former Miss Florida Nancy Stafford and British model Jane Sumner, were involved in the project. In a hilarious turn of events, all three claimed to own the pair of legs used after the poster became universally praised as one of the best in the entire James Bond series. Side note: it is uncertain if this Nancy Stafford was the Nancy Stafford who appeared on "Matlock" and remains a top Hollywood actress. Actress Nancy Stafford is from Florida and was working for the Ford Model Agency at the time, so that fits. She also was 25 at the time, which was the age for the model given by the People article. There is no definitive proof that it is the same woman, though that seems likely.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Brian Bysouth worked up some concept art for the poster. The final version was strikingly close to his original concept.

United Artists initially claimed in the press kits that the model was Stafford, adding to the confusion. They were wrong. Perhaps they did it because Stafford had an ounce of name recognition from her beauty contest days and some appearances on soap operas. More likely, they simply were lazy, remembered that the photographer had hired Stafford, and then didn't pay any attention to what happened after that.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
The "For Your Eyes Only" poster remains powerful even decades later. It was used for a special screening in Italy in July 2016. Numerous locations were used by the film in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto, Italy, including the ski run.

After milking the attention for a while - and why not? - photographer Kane finally confessed that Stafford was only used for a "rough shoot." That was a shoot designed to figure out what had to be done to make the actual shoot perfect. Apparently, no part of Stafford found its way into the final product.

Japanese poster for "For Your Eyes Only."

Kane then went and hired Sumner for a "final" shoot. This went very well. However, the production team decided that the legs didn't look quite right, they were too big. The only portion of Sumner's shoot that was used was of her arm, hand and the crossbow, because they apparently didn't use that kind of fancy model crossbow in the Bartle shoot. That is called attention to detail - the choice of crossbow involved a lot of thought, too. Even though the legs were fine, they did another set of shoots to get a good view of the crossbow.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Danish ad sheets issued by United Artists. The Danish title translates as "Agent 007 - Strictly Confidential."

If you look at the different shots, it's difficult to see what they found wrong with either girl, I mean, what's wrong with Nancy Stafford's legs? And what was so important about having that ultra-fancy crossbow there? Did they really think that anyone even noticed the crossbow?
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Kane then set up a third photo shoot, with Joyce Bartle. Everything of the woman in the poster aside from the arm, hand and crossbow is Bartle.

Alternate version of film poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
They may look the same, but they made subtle changes.

So, Sumner is holding the crossbow, but everything else is 22-year-old New York model Joyce Bartle. “I know the contours of my legs,” Bartle says. “They didn’t retouch a thing.” Bartle added:
I’ve been looking at my legs since I was 4 years old, and I can tell they’re mine.
Sumner recognized her rings, so she knew it was her hand gripping the crossbow. She also suspects that the entire shot is of her, and that Bartle didn't make it in at all. However, photographer Kane is adamant: Bartle was the main model.

Foreign language poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
The ad was slightly altered for different countries, but the legs remained the same.

Kane backs Bartle to the hilt as the model. “I have the shoes and the bathing suit,” he says. “In fact, when Joyce put on that suit it came down too low so we asked her to put it on backwards. They’re Joyce’s legs.”

Home video package "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
They liked the girl's legs so much, they have used the pose in other versions, too.

Several newspapers censored the final result - well, actually, there were several final results - but the advertising campaign was ubiquitous.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" (2014) nicked the idea for foreign markets. 

It is fair to say that at least some viewers liked the posters more than they liked the film itself.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"Fifty Shades of Black" (2016) used the same idea.

That is perhaps the second-highest compliment that you can pay to a film poster.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
A poster for Jason Statham's "The Transporter" (2002). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

The highest compliment that you can, of course, is using the idea for your own film.

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
CBS-Fox ads for newfangled videocassettes in the early 1980s apparently featured the actual photograph of the legs, without any enhancement aside from the addition of the crossbow and, of course, James Bond.

Joyce wasn't actually in "For Your Eyes Only," but because of her appearance on the film poster, she got a lot more - ahem - international exposure than any of the girls actually appearing on screen.