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Babes and Bullets: The Representation of Gender in Bond Themes and Title Sequences

From Blofeld to Moneypenny: Gender in James Bond

ISBN: 978-1-83867-163-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-165-5

Publication date: 26 March 2020


From Dr No in 1962 to Spectre in 2015 the opening themes for James Bond movies have always played an important role in marketing, audience expectation and reception. Whether instrumental or sung, brassy or orchestral, upbeat or mellow, the music and/or lyrics, alongside innovative title sequences, function as key signifiers of gender representation in the ongoing series of spy adventures. Bond’s suave machismo, for example, is immediately set out in the opening titles for Dr No created by Maurice Binder. The iconic image of Bond viewed through a gun barrel as a shot rings out, is punctuated by Monty Norman’s theme music with its swinging brass and the tough, machine-gun like sound of electric guitar being played fiercely with a plectrum. Although this theme became synonymous with the character, there was a shift towards songs written specifically to tie-in with subsequent film titles although the lyrics rarely had anything to do with the narratives of the film. The title sequences themselves also became more provocative, invariably focussing on silhouetted, naked or semi-naked female bodies or their component parts alongside gun barrels and bullets, albeit in a highly stylised and artistic manner. This chapter, then, will consider how the theme music functions with the opening credits sequences in relation to the representation of women, race and the image of Bond himself and how the character has changed over time.



O’Brien, S. (2020), "Babes and Bullets: The Representation of Gender in Bond Themes and Title Sequences", Gerrard, S. (Ed.) From Blofeld to Moneypenny: Gender in James Bond (Emerald Studies in Popular Culture and Gender), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 103-115.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Shelley O’Brien