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Her Word Was Her Bond: Johanna Harwood, Bond’s First Woman Screenwriter

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

Abstract

Johanna Harwood was the first, and until Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hiring on No Time to Die, the only woman screenwriter to work on the Bond films. Harwood was there at the beginning, gaining credits for her work on Dr No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963), but her chequered experiences of trying to gain leverage within the film industry as a writer, having to contend with institutionalised as well as individualised sexism, prompted her eventual decision to leave Bond, her former employer Harry Saltzman, and the film industry behind. Her story not only provides valuable insights into the genesis of Bond on screen, it also shows the importance of incorporating production studies into discussions of gender and James Bond films, thinking about off-screen as well as on-screen female representation. Beyond Bond, it also illuminates some of the obstacles faced by women trying to build a career in the film industry in the 1960s (not that their problems are limited to that decade) and how film production labour done by women frequently goes uncredited or is discredited, despite its often formative importance.

Keywords

Citation

Williams, M. (2020), "Her Word Was Her Bond: Johanna Harwood, Bond’s First Woman Screenwriter", Gerrard, S. (Ed.) From Blofeld to Moneypenny: Gender in James Bond (Emerald Studies in Popular Culture and Gender), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 117-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-165-520201012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Melanie Williams