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


Lana Wood - The Craps Girl

Lana Wood, James Bond girl with Classic Cleavage

Lana Wood
Lana Wood makes her big entrance in "Diamonds Are Forever."

Lana Wood never really got her due in Hollywood. She started out as just Natalie Wood's kid sister, and that's pretty much where she's wound up. She had plenty to offer of her own, of course. Plenty!

Lana Wood
Lana makes an impression at the craps table.

The story goes that Lana Wood got the role of Plenty O'Toole in "Diamonds are Forever" (1971) because of the publicity from posing naked for Playboy. She got the Playboy gig because Hugh Hefner saw her on "Peyton Place" and admired her thespian skills. Good thing the man was a soap opera fan! Lana Wood starred in the April 1971 edition, which were peak days for the magazine. Now how did I know that Hef was going to figure into this somehow?

Lana Wood with Sean Connery in white tuxedo "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
Plenty is James Bond's good luck charm.

Supposedly, when Lana Wood got to Vegas to film her scenes, her room wasn't ready. Sean Connery found out (what a coincidence!) and invited Lana Wood up to his room (how gallant!). He is an excellent golfer, it certainly would have been an ideal opportunity to show Lana Wood his swing. One wonders if she ever did make it to her room that night. I wonder how much that little spy affair cost the suave Sean Connery in tips: to the doorman, to the concierge, to the maid service....

Lana Wood

They gave Lana Wood's part away to Jill St. John, but crafted a new role just for her. Wasn't that sweet? It involved a lot of leaning over the craps table, I hope she didn't hurt her back. I'm sure an awful lot of thought went into what dress Lana Wood would wear as Plenty O'Toole. The one they chose really emphasized her personality.

Lana Wood autographed photo "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
Lana obviously is proud of the role, as her signature shows.

Lana Wood had a lot of issues through the years. She hasn't come right out and said so, but one  may surmise that she thinks that RJ - Robert Wagner - had more to do with her sister's (Natalie Wood) death than he later let on. Lana Wood managed to convince the police to re-open the case thirty years later. That's the power of a huge pair of resumes, hers and Natalie's.

Lana Wood looking thoughtful "DIamonds are Forever" 1971

Lana Wood had a scare in 2012, when she went into anaphylactic shock after eating some cereal. Fortunately, she is all better now.

Lana Wood leaning back on stairway "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
Lana Wood is a very relaxed lady, that's the way to enjoy life.

Her character in "Diamonds are Forever" was not supposed to have that kind of happy ending. Lana Wood was slated to be killed off, and was only saved when the director decided to cut out the offending scenes.

Lana Wood behind the scenes "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
I'm sure this was not the most pleasant night of Lana's life.

It must have been awfully cold standing around wet on that set. They really did have her jump in the pool - but it was from a ladder, not a balcony.

Sean Connery and Lana Wood "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
Off-screen, Sean Connery and Lana Wood were great friends.

Thus, the scene of her being carried to the window and tossed out like a sack of potatoes was simply movie magic.

Lana Wood in towel "DIamonds are Forever" 1971
"I think I'll do a little snooping around."

In the scenes that were cut, her character is fleshed out a bit more. She returns to the hotel room after the mobsters leave, but someone else is with Bond. She is quite jealous (as shown at dinner) and does a bit of snooping. She's quite an inquisitive girl, as Sean Connery as Bond likely would phrase it.

Lana snooping around "DIamonds are Forever" 1971

She finds what she is looking for - an address, no doubt put there by the prop guy in the earlier picture - and is off and running. Well, she's only wearing a towel, so maybe a stop at her room to put some clothes on might be in order.

Lana Wood

There are many pictures of Sean and Lana filming their scenes. Obviously, there was a lot of interest by the crew. Other pictures show that, yes indeedy, she was quite topless, and you can tell that Sean is fighting like a madman to keep his eyes up and his mind on business.

Sean Conner Lana Wood seduction "DIamonds are Forever" 1971

This is the earlier, famous scene, where Sean Connery masterfully unzips her dress and it magically disappears.

Lana Wood elegantly attired "DIamonds are Forever" 1971

Lana was a good sport about the whole thing. One imagines that she was a lot of fun behind the scenes, with that casual '70s attitude that could find the humor in just about anything.

Lana Wood by the pool

Lana Wood is a fierce lady, hanging out with a cheetah. You don't want to cross this vixen!

Lana Wood

Lana Wood will always be remembered fondly by true James Bond fans, long live Lana Wood!

Lana Wood