James Bond’s Testicles

Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen in Casino Royale

 

 

Have you ever noticed how James Bond is always getting his balls interfered with? The world’s most virile spy is bursting with so much testosterone that women want to get their hands on them and can’t help but fall into bed with him. Men, on the other hand, feel so threatened they want to crush him/them. Either that, or his heterosexual payload intimidates them so much that they come over all gay – again and again 007 is beset by the world’s elite effete, men with an exaggerated interest in long-haired cats and their own clothes, and who treat beautiful women with a casual disregard. Most notably there was the dual shape of Mr Wint and Mr Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever.

Ian Fleming loved a bit of flagellation – Commander Bond, god that’s so domineering – and the odd young chap, if his wife’s letters are to be believed. So maybe he was unburdening himself of something when he wrote all those scenes in which Bond’s family jewels are jangled. As for 007 – a book by Daniel Ferreras Savoye called The Signs of James Bond: Semiotic Explorations in the World of James Bond points out what should strike all of us as obvious, that the double-0 is nothing less than a representation of a gentleman’s cojones, while the 7 is the number nearest in shape to a gun. Tangentially, this also offers an explanation for all the doubling tropes in the titles (Living Twice, Another Day, Not Enough, Again).

Here is my own brief exploration of the occasions when the generative organs of Bond, James Bond (again the doubling) have taken a crucial role.

 

 

Dr No

No what? The first film and already the case is closed.

 

Goldfinger

Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), the laser inching closer to the undercarriage of 007 (Sean Connery) – Bond: Do you expect me to talk? Goldfinger: No Mr Bond, I expect you to die. The threat to 007’s testicles generates the most remembered line of the series. Its most famous villain is later spoofed by Mike Myers as Goldmember.

 

Thunderball

Again, no comment necessary.

 

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Bond (George Lazenby), disguised as the androgynously named Hillary Bray, remarks that his family coat of arms has four balls on it. Later, one of the young women who heard his claims looks up and giggles “it’s true” after Bond drops his kilt.

 

You Only Live Twice

In the book Fleming devises an exquisite interrogation technique when Blofeld puts Bond, disguised as a deaf mute, on a bottomless chair over an active geyser and tells him his testicles are about to be blown to heaven. Being a deaf mute, Bond will be forced to just happily sit there and take in the scenery, won’t he?

 

Live and Let Die

Bond (Roger Moore) is again tied to a chair, where he is to have his finger cut off before the henchman moves on to more “sensitive parts”.

 

Never Say Never Again

Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera) aims a gun at Bond’s (Sean Connery) crotch, asking him to guess where the bullet is going to hit.

 

Moonraker

Bond (Roger Moore) honours Jaws (Richard Kiel), the only henchman to turn up in two movies, by kneeing him in the groin, to a “clang” sound effect.

 

GoldenEye

The first meeting of Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and the new M, a woman (Judi Dench), draws the line from M: “If you think I don’t have the balls to send a man to die, you’re dead wrong.”

 

Casino Royale

Bond (Daniel Craig), naked, tied to a bottomless chair, is whipped with a knotted thick rope by Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who aims it directly at his testicles. The film’s title sequence is of silhouetted men. The game at the card table is poker, Texas Hold ‘Em.

 

Skyfall

Javier Bardem’s Silva places his hand very high on the leg of Bond (Daniel Craig), suggesting either interest or threat. Maybe a bit of both.

 

Got anything to add? Be my guest…

 

James Bond 22 Film Box Set – at Amazon

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2014

 

 

18 February 2013-02-18

 Out in the UK This Week

 

 

 

Skyfall (MGM, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD)

Towards the end of the 50th anniversary Bond the whole things starts feeling like a double page spread in a posh magazine – all whisky, heather and vintage vehicles. You feel it’s only a matter of time before Bryan Ferry is spotted draped languidly about something. Which is a slight pity because until then this has been one of the best Bonds of the lot, a dark, dirty and thrilling caper, in which much is made of 007’s dinosaur status – he loves ye olde cut-throat razor and ye olde spy gadget. “Were you expecting an exploding pen?” says the impossibly young new Q (Ben Whishaw) to Daniel Craig’s 007 at one point. “We don’t really go in for that any more.” It’s a film simultaneously acknowledging its past, retooling for the future and even, sharp intake of breath, pointing out that Mr Craig isn’t going to be wearing those Tom Ford suits for that much longer – he’s knocking on a bit. Meanwhile, Sam Mendes lifts lots of stylistic touches and set pieces from Hitchcock and Javier Bardem continues the venerable Bond tradition of the gay Bond villain (no?). Plot: see other Bonds for details.

Skyfall – at Amazon

 

Hit & Run (Momentum, cert 15, DVD/download)

Here’s a much maligned cross-country road caper in which writer/director/star Dax Shepard and co-star Kristen Bell are pursued by men who are trying to hurt them – for reasons which matter only enough to keep the film moving forwards. It’s the sort of thing where cars have more personality than women, where we’re told via broad grinning that a joke has just been told, everyone shouts, eyebrows are permanently at semi-hoist and a man can get whacked in the face by a golf club to no ill effect. Shepard has reinvented the Burt Reynolds movie, in other words. Apply shit-eating grin and enjoy.

 Hit and Run – at Amazon

 

 

Angèle & Tony (Saffron Hill, cert 15, DVD)

It’s called either Angèle & Tony or Angel and Tony and it’s worth searching out this warm yet minimalist, simple and believable French drama about a woman out of prison trying to make a human connection in a fishing community. This is that rare thing, a film that says what it’s got to say and then just ends, just like that. If only more films would, instead of flannelling on.

Angel and Tony – at Amazon

 

 

Tower Block (Lionsgate, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD)

It’s been called a hoodie horror but this clunkily written yet, thanks to good acting, effective film is actually more like Phone Booth crossed with the Poseidon Adventure. Sheridan Smith stars as one of a bunch of residents on the top floor of a council block being picked off by some nutter with a high velocity rifle. Who’s next? Who’s playing Shelley Winters?

Tower Block – at Amazon

 

 

Petit Nicolas (Soda, cert PG, Blu-ray/DVD)

There’s a lot of Tati-esque humour – ie modern life is rubbish – in this 1960s-set French comedy about young Nicolas and his gang of schoolboy friends – the fat one, the idiot, the rich one and so on. It’s a live action affair but its origins in a comic by Goscinny (of Asterix fame) are evident. So is the tendency towards the twee.

Petit Nicolas – at Amazon

 

 

The Substance (Soda, cert 15, DVD)

It’s 70 years since Albert Hoffmann first synthesised LSD from the black ergot fungus in his Swiss lab. This unsensational documentary is well researched – there’s an interview with Hoffman himself, still cogent and lucid at 100, in spite of or possibly because of all the acid he self-administered. It tells the story of Acid down the decades – the initial excitement as its therapeutic use as an anti-psychotic were discovered, the Cold War experiments into its use as a mind-control drug designed to create the perfect, totally controllable soldier or to freak out an enemy population, to the hippie years of “turn on, tune in, drop out”, to the Nixon administration’s panicked “war on drugs” and the banning of any further research (the rest of the world kow-towing) to now, when the people in white coats are once again examining its potential as a psychiatric wonder-drug.

The Substance – at Amazon

 

 

Love (High Fliers, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD)

There was a “have I got the right disc” thing going on at the start of this film. The box says sci-fi but my screen was showing a scene from the American Civil War. I stuck with it and all was eventually explained, and by the film’s end I’d heard alt-rock supergroup Angels & Airwaves’ entirely appropriate Pink Floyd-y soundtrack over a dreamy sci-fi tale of an astronaut losing his noddle out in space. It’s a bit like Duncan Jones’s Moon, though different enough to make it worth the journey.

Love – at Amazon

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2013