One key scene in Goldfinger features Connery’s Bond apparently forcing himself on Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore in a haybarn. In a 1959 letter concerning the novel from which the film was adapted, Ian Fleming explains that this “laying on of hands” from “the right man” was all which was required to “cure” the lesbian character of “her psycho-pathological malady”.
No Time to Die is being touted as the Bond film with the most power parity between the male and female characters. Lashana Lynch – who plays one of two black female main characters – supposedly inherits the 007 designation from Bond, who has retired to Jamaica at the start of the film. Many expect Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s involvement in the scriptwriting process will advance the feminist credentials of a franchise whose appeal was forged in a previous era.
If memory serves reliably, Pussy was an accessory to at least a dozen murders, tranquilised Bond to kidnap him and was a co-conspirator in a terrorist plot to detonate an atomic bomb in Kentucky. If we are now expected to suspend the suspension of disbelief, we may ethically conclude she doesn’t deserve any sympathy. As for curing lesbians, the notion is no more silly than the idea that you can ‘cure’ masculinity by violating Ian Fleming.