After George Lazenby’s one-off appearance as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Sean Connery agreed to reprise the role for a sixth time and a massive sum of money. This time it’s Charles Gray who plays archvillain Blofeld, whose White Cat of Evil plays a bigger than usual role as Bond tries to infiltrate an international diamond smuggling operation.
The action moves from South Africa to Amsterdam to Las Vegas, where it gets bogged down, and the final showdown on an oilrig is overextended. But compensations include Shirley Bassey belting out John Barry’s title song, Jill St John as sexy Tiffany Case (“That’s a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing,” 007 observes smarmily) and a pair of gay villains, Mr Kidd and Mr Wint, who are more interesting (and quite a lot more menacing) than Blofeld himself.
Blofeld’s White Cat of Evil made its debut in From Russia with Love. After its feline freak-out in You Only Live Twice and a brief but telling appearance in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the cat is now firmly established in the audience’s eyes as a cohort of the supervillain and – since both Blofeld and Bond are a little lacklustre in this episode of the franchise – steps up to be the star of the film. No longer content with cameo roles, the cat begins as it means to go on, vying with an assortment of naked girls for the viewer’s attention during Maurice Binder’s opening credits…
By this stage in his career, even dumb Bond is aware that where the White Cat goes, Blofeld follows, but our feline fiend is once again one step ahead of the game, arranging for several lookalikes to befuddle 007′s simple brain. Bond resorts to brute violence, kicking one of the white cats towards a couple of Blofelds in their Las Vegas hideout to see which of them it will choose, but only succeeds in shooting one of the villain’s doppelgängers. “Right idea, Mr Bond,” says the real Blofeld.
“But wrong pussy,” says Bond.
Also, wrong move, and awful judgment on the part of the film-makers, because kicking a defenceless cat is a low blow, and now we have lost all sympathy for the so-called hero of the film.
But we know who the real hero is, don’t we, cat-lovers.
- Cat of the Day 007 (catsonfilm.wordpress.com)
- A View to a Bond Baddie: Ernst Stavro Blofeld (them0vieblog.com)
- Better luck next time Blofeld! Five Bond plot myths busted (go.theregister.com)
- Top Six James Bond Villains and Henchmen (fsu.uloop.com)
- What can James Bond’s nemeses teach us? (economist.com)
- The 10 best James Bond cars in 50 years (roadloans.com)