Monday, December 22, 2008

BONDzology's Top 10 Bond Cars

I'm still waiting to get my first Aston Martin (probably a DBS at this point as seen in "Casino Royale"), but I did manage to acquire a Jaguar XKR (turbocharged XK8) similar to the green car seen chasing James Bond's Aston Martin in the movie "Die Another Day"...please note that Ford Motors had a long time association with the Bond movies, even eventually acquiring the Aston Martin and Jaguar companies. Anyway, here is a list of what I consider to be the top ten Bond cars from the 22 movies that have been released so far:

10. Ford Mustang (Thunderball, 1965)

The mid-year introduction (1964 and 1/2 model year) of the first Ford Mustang made a splash when Miss Volpe, Spectre's hired assassin, picked up James on her way to their the end of the 120mph hair-raising ride she quips to Bond after he complains about her driving "Some men don't like to be driven"...Bond smugly replies, "No. Some men don't like to be taken for a ride". Ha. (Actually it was first seen in Goldfinger being driven by Miss Masterson and wrecked when James ripped the side of the car with the spinning wheel spindles).

9. Aston Martin DBS (Casino Royale, 2006)

This car has a defibrillator in the dash and medical kit along with a place to keep guns...aside from that it was beautiful and fast. It now holds the record for the most flips in a car crash sequence in a movie, which is seven. I want one...I want one...Santa?

8. Aston Martin Vanquish (Die Another Day, 2002)

When Aston Martin returned to the Bond series after the brief BMW interlude (?) it was the latest model, the 2002 Vantage. It came with familiar gadgets like an ejector seat, rocket launchers, machine guns and ice-spike tires, as well as a cloaking device that made the car invisible.

7. BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997)

The BMW 750iL may have seemed more sedate than the sports cars Bond had driven previously, but it was no less spectacular during a chase around a parking garage in Tomorrow Never Dies. While this car featured a sexy female talking onbaord computer, it also had rocket launchers, re-inflating tires, wire cutters, and a driving remote control which allowed 007 to drive from the comfort of the back seat. They went through nine of these cars in order to shoot the garage sequence.

6. Ford Mustang Mach-1 (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)

007 gets to acrobatically drive an American muscle car for a change in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. Sean Connery took a massive Ford Mustang Mach-1 on a wild car chase with the cops in hot pursuit around the "The Strip" in Las Vegas. Bond flips the Mustang up onto two wheels to squeeze it through a narrow alleyway, but the film’s editors made a big boo-boo. A continuity error has the car entering the alleyway on one set of wheels, but emerging on the other side driving on the opposite pair...oops!

5. Toyota 2000GT (You Only Live Twice, 1967)

For filming in You Only Live Twice, Toyota supposedly cut the roof off of the high-performance sports car, the 1967 2000 GT. Apparently the roof had to be removed because Sean Connery couldn’t fit inside the coupé; Aki drove the car. The gadgets included a TV, a cordless telephone and a voice-controlled stereo system.

4. Bentley Mark IV (From Russia With Love, 1963)

In the Ian Fleming novels, the Bentley Mark IV was James Bond's car of choice. Actually, Bentley never produced a car under this name. What is seen instead in From Russia With Love for instance is a Derby Bentley convertible briefly used for the purpose of bedding Miss Sylvia Trench. In Goldfinger, a Rolls was driven by Oddjob, Auric's driver, which was made of gold.

3. BMW Z8 (The World is Not Enough, 1999)

The BMW Z8 was driven by Pierce Brosnan and the retro-design paid homage to the famous BMW 507 roadster from 1956 (actually, in 1963, the first Bond girl Ursula Andress received a BMW 507 roadster as a gift from its first owner, Elvis Presley). Bond's version was fitted with surface-to-air missiles, a remote control device and six cup holders as "R" jokingly pointed out. In reality, the Z8 model was still in prototype form when the film was being shot, so the car seen onscreen is in fact a Shelby Cobra plastic kit car with specially-built BMW Z8 replica body panels. When the model came out for sale to the public (I test drove one) it had an undersized engine that did not make it very speedy in its first model year. By the second production year it had a beefed up engine that fit the sporty look of the car.

2. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

“Wet Nellie” is the second on the list; the sleek white Lotus Esprit with the ability to transform into a submarine at the flick of a switch. It is armed with surface-to-air missiles, depth charges, underwater sight screens and torpedoes. The Lotus Esprit was used again for the next film, For Your Eyes Only, but its self-destruction mechanism was triggered by bad guys when they attempted to get into it. Later, it was replaced by a red Lotus Esprit Turbo, but Lotus’s involvement in the Bond films ended after that. FYI: Someone last year actually developed and now markets a car that has the ability to convert into a submarine while driving!

1. Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, 1964)

Ah...the ejector seat helped to make this gadget-laden car the most famous of the Bond vehicles and made it a movie icon as well. Sean Connery drove it in Goldfinger. Aside from the ejector seat, it has machine guns, an oil slick deployer, bullet-proof glass, rotating license plates and an early version of a GPS tracking device in the dashboard, remember? Connery originally opposed the use of these gadgets believing they would detract from the James Bond character's driving ability...but fortunately he did not win out on that one. The DB5 re-appeared in other Bond films, including Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Casino Royale. The Aston Martin DB7 was driven by George Lazenby in the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Scenes featuring the car were cut from the final version of The World is Not Enough).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bond Girl Celine Cawley Found Murdered In Home

Former Bond girl, Irish actress Celine Cawley, (age 46), was found murdered following a robbery at her home. She appeared in the 1985 James Bond movie A View To A Kill with Roger Moore as Agent 007 (see photo - Celine in blue dress on Roger Moore's right, source: AP). According to the Daily Mail British Newspaper, on Monday December 15, 2008, Cawley was found beaten to death in her in Howth, County Dublin, Ireland home. Reportedly, she disturbed an intruder at her home who then turned on her. She was discovered by her husband, Eamonn Lillis (age 51), who allegedly saw a masked intruder fleeing the scene as he returned home from walking the dogs. Tests are being conducted on a brick that detectives believe was used to beat the actress to death. Cawley is survived by her husband and her only child. Celine was the owner of the largest media production company in Ireland, named Toytown Films <----click for her website (black & white photo of Celine Cawley, source: Joseph Anderson of J P. Ireland Photoline; color photo source: AP)

UPDATE: 21DEC2008 - Husband charged with murder of Celine Cawley (As reported by ELAINE EDWARDS of "The husband of Dublin woman Celine Cawley, who was found dead at her home last week, has been charged with her murder. Eamon Lillis (50) was arrested in Howth and detained by gardai in Clontarf yesterday as part of their inquiry into the death of Ms Cawley (46) at her home on Monday. She was found on the patio of the house at Windgate Road. It is believed she had been beaten on the head with a brick. Mr Lillis will remain in custody and will appear before Dublin District Court tomorrow". In addition forensic detectives found two major pieces of evidence: (1) that Cawley had managed to grab a clump of hair from her attacker and (2) she probably has her murderer's DNA under her fingernails from scraping his face. It's expected results of DNA tests will be available early this week. (photo of Eamonn Lillis, source: Joseph Anderson of JP. Ireland Photoline)

UPDATE: 22DEC2008 - Celine Cawley's husband, Eamon Lillis, appeared at Dublin District Court at about 10:30am this morning and was formally charged with her murder (sketch of Lillis as he appeared in court today, source: Joseph Anderson of JP. Ireland Photoline). Mr Lillis was initially charged and taken into custody yesterday morning by Sargent Gary Kelly at 7:15 am (at Clontarf Garda Station). Celine was found to be in a coma on the patio of her home on Windgate Road in Howth this past Monday and was taken to Beaumont Hospital where she died shortly there after. Mr Lillis when charged with the murder was heard to reply: "Nothing to say". Judge John Coughlan (known as "The Jailing Judge" for consistently refusing bail and imprisoning defendants awaiting trial) instructed that Mr Lillis appear in Cloverhill District Court tomorrow at 10:30am and remain in custody until then. His lawyer is Dara Robinson who specializes in mental health law in Ireland (his color picture is below/source:Garrett Sheehan & Partners); he is currently a partner in the law practice, Garrett Sheehan and Partners, in Dublin and more information about him can be found at the following link: Here is another link to the latest report (as of this morning) on Irish TV (RTE):,null,230

- The second remand hearing was held today to decide whether Mr Lillis will be kept in jail over Christmas.
Wife Celine Cawley's funeral took place today at noon at the Church of the Assumption in Howth, County Dublin, Ireland. According to RTE News, it was reported that Mr Lillis sat quietly during his brief court hearing at Cloverhill District Court today. Detective Sargent Gary Kelly requested Mr Lillis continue to be held in custody for two more weeks. Mr Lillis' lawyer, Dara Robinson, stated his client was consenting to the continuation of custody. The Judge, Conall Gibbons, ordered him to appear at Cloverhill District Court on January 6th, 2009. Below are pictures of Eamonn Lillis in court on the 22nd.(photos source: John Anderson). Here is a link from RTE TV in Ireland reporting on the funeral for Celine Cawley today:,null,230

UPDATE 30DEC2008: - Celine Cawley's husband (Eamonn Lillis) released on bail. The husband of murdered businesswoman Celine Cawley has been granted bail. Eamonn Lillis appeared in court this morning, where bail was set at 150 thousand euro. Under the bail conditions, the 51 year old must stay in the family home in Howth and sign on daily with the Gardai. Ms.Cawley was found in a comatose state on the back patio of her home on the 15th of December and died in the hospital later that morning. Mr. Lillis was charged with the murder on the 21st of December.

UPDATE 06JAN2009: - Bail Extended For Eamonn Lillis (Husband of Celine Cawley).
Charged with his wife's murder late last year, EAMON LILLIS, husband of Celine Cawley, appeared briefly at Cloverhill District Court today (06JAN2009) where he was given another 3 months to be out on bail. The prosecuting and defending attorneys agreed to a March 1oth, 2009 as the date the case against Lillis goes to trial. Lillis (aged 51) has been given release on his own bond from Cloverhill prison due to meeting the High Court terms of bail which required raising funds of a 150,000 euros for bond and independent surety of 50,000 euros. A newspaper, The Dubliner, put up 75,000 euros of the bond and his friend Gerard Kennedy put up the surety of 50,000 euros. His next court appearance will be at Bridewell District Court in March. Mr. Lillis is required to live at the family home at Rowan Hill, Windgate, Howth and check-in on a daily basis some time between 9am and 9pm with the Howth Garda station. His passport has been surrendered; he is barred from obtaining a new one. Under the terms of his bail, Mr Lillis must reside at the family home, Rowan Hill, Windgate, Howth, and sign on daily at Howth Garda station between 9am and 9pm.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BONDzology's Top Ten Bond Girls

<--Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder

10. Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki (You Only Live Twice, 1967)

Kissy is the first girl who Bond marries, albeit as a cover, in You Only Live Twice. A Japanese Ama girl who makes her living diving for shells, she also works for the secret service and assists 007 in his search for SPECTRE's hidden rocket launching base.

By 1967, Mie Hama (born 20NOV1943 in Tokyo, Japan) had appeared in over 65 films. Both she and Akiko Wakabayashi were chosen to appear as Bond girls in You Only Live Twice, however, the pair switched roles before filming began and Hama played Kissy Suzuki (whose name is never actually mentioned in the film) - the first girl Bond married. Hama learned English during the production, hoping to secure a chance to appear in more international films.

When Mie Hama became ill during shooting, director Lewis Gilbert faced a dilemma: he desperately needed her for a sequence in which she dives into the water while posing as pearl diver, however, Hama was suffering from stomach cramps and was too unwell to swim. An unorthodox solution was arrived at: Sean Connery's wife, actress Diane Cilento, donned a black wig and bikini and doubled for Hama in the long shot of the sequence. This marks the only time to date a Bond actor and his wife have appeared in a 007 film.

9. Lois Maxwell, Caroline Bliss and Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny

If there is one constant woman in Bond’s life it is M's secretary Miss Moneypenny. Over the years she has been played by different actresses, who each brought their own style to the role. Moneypenny’s affection for James is unwavering in the face of his philandering, murderous, mercenary cool. Plus she can hold her own in a battle of wits.

8. Halle Berry as Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson (Die Another Day, 2002)

Die Another Day drew decidedly average reviews, but Halle Berry rejuvenated interest in Bond girls when she pulled herself from the ocean in an orange bikini and knife belt, in an overt homage to Honey Ryder.

Jinx proves an excellent partner for Bond, lending her numerous skills to the mission at hand. The film’s climactic fight sequence sees Jinx brawling alongside Bond. We are left to wonder, could 007 have saved the day this time round without his Bond girl?

7. Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova ‘Triple X’ and Caroline Munro as Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

Barbara Bach (wife of Beatle Ringo Starr) is Playing with the audience’s preconceptions of gender as we are introduced to Russia’s top spy in an intimate bedroom scene. As the scene unfolds it emerges that Triple X is the woman of the equation, not the man.

As deadly as she is beautiful, Roger Moore’s Bond is unable to resist the Russian spy. “When this mission is over I will kill you,” declares Amasova early in the film. Inevitably, he seduces her, but Triple X remains primarily Bond’s accomplice rather than merely his conquest.

Caroline Munro, a beautiful brunette (real name Caroline Mu; born 16JAN1950 in Windsor, Berkshire, England ) played the part of Stromberg's beautiful assistant, Naomi; she is not only an excellent hostess, but also a helicopter pilot with a deadly aim. After allowing 007 and XXX to leave Stromberg's Atlantis headquarters, she tries to gun them down in their Lotus Esprit. Munro has been a most welcome decoration in such adventures as Casino Royale (1967), Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), At the Earth's Core (1976) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Not surprisingly, Munro has become a cult favorite.

6. Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore (Goldfinger, 1964)

Blackman was brilliantly cast as the Bond girl with the most memorable and overtly sexual name in the harem of 007. Bond's attempts to foil Goldfinger's plot are all in vain until he meets and seduces Pussy Galore.

The seduction itself is frankly violent with Bond and Galore trading blows as well as kisses before succumbing to one another's brutal advances. While audiences at the time may have been familiar with this particular brand of tough cinematic loving, the scene today looks something of a period piece.

Even though Galore helps Bond and the CIA foil Goldfinger’s plot, she doesn’t leave her evil lover. Ever the independent spirit, or subjugated by the various males in her life? The debate lives on.

5. Diana Rigg as Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969)

The only girl ever to marry Bond is a fascinating, multifaceted character from a film that tends to polarise the Bond community. George Lazenby’s sole outing as Bond has been both lauded and pilloried, with its darker than usual take on the British secret agent.

Diana Rigg described her character Tracy as “a bit of a mixed up lady”, who seems to be suffering from the ill-effects of a privileged upbringing. “I gave her too much, it brought her nothing” her father says.

Suicidal at the very beginning of the film she is rescued by Bond, both literally, when he saves her life, and figuratively as she ultimately falls for him.

Tracy is beautiful, smart, wealthy, cold and wilful. A good choice of wife for Bond? Undoubtedly so.

4. Famke Janssen as Xenia Zaragevna Onatopp (GoldenEye, 1995)

After a six-year absence due to legal wrangles, Bond burst back onto the screen in the mid-Nineties with Pierce Brosnan at the helm in the stunningly successful GoldenEye. The world weary, knowing X-generation needed a new kind of hero, and Brosnan fit the bill perfectly. The film had its tongue so firmly in cheek, it is surprising there was any room left for Austin Powers’ Bond parody at all.

Into this spirit of self-mockery Onatopp was perfect as the femme fatale who orgasmed as she crushed the life out of her victims with her powerful thighs. Onatopp’s encounter with Bond in a steam room is both absurd and hilarious, and Famke Janssen’s Russian accent is as preposterous as the character she plays. Wonderful.

3. Claudine Auger as Domino Derval (Thunderball, 1965)

From small roles in French television and cinema, Claudine (born 26APR1941 in Paris, France) was flung into big-screen stardom with James Bond's 1965 outing, "Thunderball" - but it took several twists of fate to land the part.

Faye Dunaway was first offered the role, but she declined so that she pursue a role in 1967's "The Happening". Raquel Welch was then signed, but was released as a favour by producer Cubby Broccoli so she could appear in the 1966 production "Fantastic Voyage".

Julie Christie seemed like a perfect choice until she arrived for a meeting disheveled and uncomfortable. As the start of filming approached, director Terence Young and the producers launched a worldwide talent hunt. A French film writer suggested they test Auger. She wowed the producers with a near perfect audition.

In the original draft James Bond's latest leading lady called for an Italian character named Dominetta Palazzi. The role of Domino was rewritten to accommodate the young French actress. After securing the role, Auger took regular lessons with Au Pair, London in order to brush up her English. While her English skills were above expectations on set, she was ultimately dubbed as her voice was so low. She also helped design the risqué bathing suits she wears in the film. For many of the underwater scenes, Auger was doubled by Evelyn Boren, the wife of underwater cameraman Lamar Boren. Domino was a hit among cinemagoers at the time, and hailed as the most well rounded character in a Bond girl yet.

2. Eva Green as Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale, 2006)

Eva Green brought a delicacy and humanity to the role of Vesper Lynd as the franchise ‘rebooted’ itself with the 2006 production of Casino Royale.

Green reportedly fought hard to keep her clothes on throughout the film, particularly in a scene where she and Bond huddle together in a shower. Pressure had apparently been applied for Green to appear in the scene in her underwear, but she resisted, and the scene is one of the most tender moments in any Bond film.

“I got very angry when people kept asking me, 'What's it feel like to be a Bond girl?' As if I was soup,” confessed Eva Green, highlighting the peculiarly mixed experience being a Bond girl is for many actresses.

Lynd’s death at the end of the film seems a tragic loss. As the first significant relationship Bond has with a woman, the loss of Lynd could be seen to define his relationship with his job, himself and, crucially, every other woman – or indeed girl – he ever meets.

1. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder (Dr. No, 1962)

In the same year Stanley Kubrick released his controversial take on the classic Lolita, Dr. No came to cinema screens offering an alternative feminine ideal to Marilyn Monroe’s alluring innocence that had so dominated the Fifties.

The birth control pill had recently been released in the UK, and the sexual revolution was in full swing. Set against this backdrop Honey Ryder emerges from the ocean in a white bikini, clutching two shells. She draws her knife on Bond as he emerges from the shadows, with all the swaggering grace Sean Connery brought to the role.

“I promise I won’t steal your shells,” says Bond. “I promise you won’t either,” says Ryder, without blinking.

Self-taught from her father’s encyclopaedias, the marine biologist tells Bond she has killed before. She is a force to be reckoned with, and gorgeous to boot.