Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lois Maxwell, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

Or Miss Moneypenny, if you prefer. That’s how most of us would know her, as M’s extremely efficient secretary, forever flirting with 007, in that lighthearted way that so many use to mask the seriousness inside. Bond probably looked at her as a younger sister (or older sister perhaps; the Bonds kept getting younger as she stayed the same); a friend, a trifle, but nothing to be taken seriously.

Or did he? After all, the only woman who every really captured Bond’s heart was Diana Rigg. (By the way, if you get the chance be sure to catch the episode of The Avengers that features Lois Maxwell in a non-Bond role, playing opposite Diana Rigg’s predecessor, Honor Blackman – who played Pussy Galore in the Bond movie Goldfinger. Got all that?) Now, where was I? Oh yes, my point was that Moneypenny was smart, sensible, mature, and far more attractive than many women, including some of the cheap starlets with whom Bond invariably found himself involved. Not unlike Diana Rigg, in a sense. So perhaps there would have been time for Bond and Moneypenny after all; at least until the producers deemed Lois Maxwell to be too old for the ever-younger Bonds, and hired another of those starlets.

And was I the only one to be shocked to find that Lois Maxwell last played Moneypenny 22 years ago? She was 58 that last time she appeared in a Bond movie, and for a moment I thought the numbers didn’t add up; surely it couldn’t have been that long ago. But it was.

Thanks to the timelessness of film however, it was never “that long ago;” it will always be today. (After all, to recall a Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies,) And if it is true, as another Bond film insisted, that You Only Live Twice, then we should all be so lucky to be remembered doubly, as both Lois Maxwell and her portrayal of Miss Moneypenny will attest.

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