Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Women of Casino Royale Deserved Better Careers

Joanna Pettet

Dahlia Lavi

Ursula Andress

Jacquiline Bisset

Debbie Kerr

Anna Quayle

Each of these women are beautiful, and each deserved better careers than they received.  Of all of the Debbie Kerr (Deborah sounds so stodgy) faired the best, but she could never break out of the mold of playing cold, proper, and overly annunciating women until Casino Royale rolled around and she got the chance of a lifetime to ham it up - and she did splendidly!
Jacqueline Bisset enjoyed a calm career - nothing too over the top (until Paul Bartell's Scenes From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills), as did Ursula Andress after a promising start.  Perhaps Ursula's fate was hampered by her overly protective and egotistical husband John Derrick, who threw Julie Newmar over for Andress - only to defenestrate Ursula for Bo Derrick.  And look what good that did him.  Dead you know. Pity.
Anna Quayle got a fun turn in this movie, but an even better turn as the kraut Queen who hated children in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  And I was so rooting for her in that film, too!

Dalhia Lavi scored Casino Royale's best line though.  The Isreali actress (with the FAB hair of the movie) introduced herself by saying "I'm the new secret weapon, and I've just been perfected."  Who could argue with that?  Lavi's cvareer was limited to a few movies and a couple albums.  She remains popular in Israel, but she should have been a "star".
But the biggest loss was Joanna Pettet.  She could sing.  She could dance, she could do drama and she could do comedy.  And for a while she was doing Alex Cord, the suave leading man of the late 1960s.  Joanna kept busy, but her career drifted off and she's virtually unknown in today's world of cinema.  SHE DID get the cherry role in this film though - that of Mata Bond - the love child of Mata Hari and James Bond (suspend disbelief, suspend disbelief).  Pettet ended up with more screen time in this three hour frolic than did any one else, PLUS she got to go up against Anna Quayle as the evil Frau of "International Mothers Help, East Berlin" (a spy training school for Shcmeersh).  But by 1972 she was starring in movies of the week like "Weekend Nun" with others whose prime had passed (Ann Southern, for one).   The video below is the only one that I could find for her on YouTube.  Someone from a language for which I do not have the font misidentifed what the white stuff spewing into the faces of others is.  (Shame on them!)

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