Warning: This post features slightly higher sexual content than usual. If you are easily offended, please skip over this one.
What is it about spy stories (and the world of James Bond) that make also make them perfect fodder for erotic lampoons? Is the the character names like Pussy Galore, Lovey Kravzit or Aureole Canasta? Or is it the womanising ways of a dashing secret agent?
Real life spy Mata Hari sets the blue print for sleeping with the enemy. Similarly, in films, one of the first spy films to be promoted as ‘sexy’ was the 1933 version of Mata Hari starring Greta Garbo. At the time, it was considered so steamy, that it was cut by the censors. I am still trying to work out what they saw?
The real shenanigans starts with Hitchcock. He starts off rather sedately. In The 39 Steps, our hero and heroine are handcuffed together. Even as they take a hotel room together, posing as man and wife, nothing happens apart from subtle innuendo. By the time we reach North By Northwest, things have changed. Eve Kendall, deliberately seduces Roger Thornhill on a train. Why, because she is working for bad guys, and what better way to keep and eye on him, and know what he is up to, than cosying up to him in bed. The scene doesn’t come off as sleazy as it sounds, as Thornhill is played by Cary Grant, and Kendall is played by Eva Marie Saint (looks count for something). And if the point is labored enough, the closing scene in the movie, as the lovers are re-united is a train rushing into a tunnel.
By sixties the swinging had really started. Into Bondage (pardon the pun). Although it hardly seems it now, the Bond films were pushing the boundaries of what could be shown sexually on the screen at the time. Strangely, they’d barely get a Parental Guidance rating today. Bond has three sexual conquests in his first adventure Dr. No. He slumps to two in From Russia With Love, but is back up to three in Goldfinger. By 1971, in Diamonds Are Forever, he has one, Tiffany Case – Plenty O’Toole doesn’t count as she was thrown out a window before Bond could complete his conquest. Why do I bore you with these numbers. Because in 1987, at the height of the media frenzy over the A.I.D.S. epidemic (the problem is worse now, but gets nowhere near the media attention it did in the mid to late 80’s) the Bond franchise introduced us to ‘Safe Sex Bond’. Or at least monogamous Bond. It was highly publicised how Bond in The Living Daylights was changing with the times. And in those uncertain times, it would be irresponsible for Bond to take multiple sexual partners throughout his mission. But of course, it was all media hype. Bond still had two sexual partners throughout the film. One in the pre-credit sequence, and one during the mission. Okay, less than Dr. No but one up on Diamonds Are Forever and still without a condom in sight.
But back to the sixties. Who else was there? Derek Flint had seven girls in his first movie, Our Man Flint. They were a little live-in, love-in family. In the next film, In Like Flint it is subtly suggested that he has cut back. Strange, given the title! Only four girls.
The four Matt Helm films were a festival of flesh. After all, drunken old Deano needed something to leer at. As Helm’s cover was as a photographer, the series was graced with some of the most attractive girls of the spy genre, all for Deano’s snapshots and/or lusty intentions. They even had their own Playboy Bunny rip-off called ‘The Slaygirls’ for Matt to photograph and dream about in some corny musical montages. Despite the amount of flesh that surrounded Matt Helm, his conquests were rarely fulfilled until the closing scenes.
In the 1960s there were many sleazy spy books, like the Clyde Allison’s 0008 series, and The Lady From L.U.S.T. The Baroness and The Man From O.R.G.Y. and many others too numerous to mention. By the 1970s, film censorship around the world began to ease up, and what had once been solely the domain of adult books was now available to be portrayed on the cinema screen.
Now as much as I like spy films, there are certain films that I will not be reviewing due to their explicit sexual content. But, because they borrow so heavily from the established and familiar tropes of Bond (and other) spy films, I thought that a very brief overview was in order.
It would appear that around the world, for every James Bond, there are ten raunchy Jane Bonds, and for every Agent 007, there are equally ten raunchy Agent 69s. Here’s a few of them.
Not to be confused with the Cantonese caper, masked crusader, crime films films from Hong Kong the Jane Bond films, put simply, are pornographic parodies of the James Bond series. There have been so many over the years, made in various countries over the world, that I would suggest that the are impossible to catalogue, but titles amongst the multitude include Jane Bond (1975) AKA: The Girl From AUNTIE which featured Joan Devlon as the titular Jane; A License to Thrill (1985) with Heather Wayne as Jane and characters such as Pussyfinger and Dr. Yes. Then there is Jane Bond Meets Thunderballs (1985) starring Stacey Donovan. Amber Lynn starred in two flicks as Secret Agent 0069, Jane Bond Meets Octopussy (1986) and Jane Bond Meets the Man with the Golden Rod (1987). From Germany there was 00Sex, es ist niemals zu spät! (1998) – AKA: A Female James Bond in Action and 00Sex im Auge des Orkans (1999) – AKA: 00Sex 2: Eye of the Hurricane which both featured Kelly Trump as Jane Bond.
Moving on from Jane Bond, there is the similarly titled Jane Bomb (2004) from Sweden, which stars an actress called Linda Lust in the role of Jane Bomb, and features character names such as Ivana Blofeldt, Miss Moneypussy, Silverfinger, Agent 0069, and Blowjob. Enough said, really.
Due to the fact that Mata Hari was an exotic dancer has made her a prime candidate to be sexualised in films. The most famous was Sylvia Kristel’s turn as Mata Hari in the 1985 film, but at the hardcore end of the spectrum, there is Code Name Mata-Hari – The Fountain of Youth (2006) and Code Name Mata-Hari 2 – Sex is not Enough (2006) featuring Katy Caro as character named Greta (a nod to Greta Garbo), codenamed Mata Hari.
Next we have Agent 69, as featured in Agent 69 Jensen i Skorpionens tegn (1977) – AKA: Agent 69 in the Sign of Scorpio, followed by Agent 69 Jensen i Skyttens tegn (1978) – AKA: Agent 69 Jensen in the Sign of Sagittarius – which featured Ole Søltoft as the bumbling Agent 69.
It’s getting rather sleazy. But really, I am pointing out the extreme’s of one of the genre’s conventions. SEX and SPIES have always had a connection. Sex is always rearing it’s ugly little head somewhere, but as you can see, the amount and the way that it is portrayed vary from era to era, and film to film. Even in the children’s films like Spy Kids 2: Island Of Dreams, and Agent Cody Banks there is a clumsy childlike attraction between the boys and the girls (though not taken to mattress levels). So from kids films to hard-core porn, spy films certainly have a very healthy love life.