30 Days of SPECTRE #006: Moneypenny

Day 6 of 30 Days of SPECTRE!

It’s time to talk about another newly resurrected classic Bond character in today’s episode of James Bond Radio.

Moneypenny has always been a staple in the Bond series from Dr. No all the way through to Die Another Day. After her return in Skyfall, this time we get to see Naomi Harris’ Moneypenny settled in to the more traditional desk bound position as made popular by Lois Maxwell.

Let’s talk Moneypenny!

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24 Responses

  1. Ok boys… just got back from the first stateside viewing… This movie does NOT disappoint! I feel compelled to give it a quick review on one of the JBR posts – is there a thread for that or should I just jump into one of the 30 Days post threads?

    In the meantime, I took a quick snap of the chair I happen to get in the theater tonight. Went with the misses and one of my boys, and lo and behold….

    Take care
    L

    1. Lovely stuff Langford! Glad you enjoyed… by all means fire it over to our Facebook page for all to see! 🙂

  2. Joining the stateside viewing here (o we’ll have a lot more coming in from the Thursday night crowds like us :), I can finally and proudly say “‘Spoil’ me, James~

    MP I really like how she was in the ‘background’, but yet at the same time in the foreground! Harris is even more comfortable and finding her step deeper into the role, a healthy growth imo.

    Of course the speculation of this episode would be (for me anyway), who’s on the other side of that bed? (Sorry, Rog’s eyebrows have to be raised again ~~)

    1. A very good question Ken! A couple of people thought it might have been Denbigh but that could have proven rather awkward!

      Maybe we’ll find out more in Bond 25? 😉

  3. Another great episode, lads! By all mean let the natural flow control it. You definitely don’t have to restrain yourselves if you ask me. 45minutes? 50minutes? All fine by me, when it is obviously fueled by enthusiasm.

    On Moneypenny as a field agent … Wasn’t Lois Maxwell’s Moneypenny also a field agent? Moneypenny is a Second Officer (Rank Lieutenant) in the Royal Navy, only 2 ranks below Bond’s ‘Commander’. I doubt she got that far from driving a desk.

    Also, I seem to recall her being active on screen, I believe in Diamonds are Forever, where she takes out on of the antagonists to allow Bond to take his place. Of course, Moneypenny is the very definition of discreet, so we never get to see her dispose of the antagonist, but surely it has to be her.

    It’s the scene with my favourite Bond/Moneypenny dialogue:

    Bond: Anything you want me to bring you from Holland, Moneypenny?Moneypenny: A diamond…in a ring.
    Bond: Would you settle for a tulip?
    Moneypenny: (Longingly, as Bond drives away) Yes!

    Lois Maxwell, what a gal! 🙂

    1. Great scene between Bond and Moneypenny in Diamonds that one! Another cracker is her and Bond in M1 in YOLT where she tells Bond: “I… love… you.” and asks him to repeat it… brilliant scene that one!

      1. Oh – I forgot all about that. Yes, the dynamics between Connery and Maxwell was something else.
        I actually think Naomi Harris and Daniel Craig has the same thing going. It’s not really something you can put your finger on. They just play really well off of each other.

  4. Hey guys. Went to an advanced screening of Spectre on Wednesday. Loved it! It ticked all the right boxes for me. Quite a few people showed up in tuxedos, but I went in my JBR shirt – I still maintain I was the best dressed there. 🙂

    Been catching up with the episodes now and I think I have an explanation about the M tape. Now that we know Silva was also a Spectre agent, I think we can assume that Silva’s plan to kill M was not only for revenge, but also a Spectre plot to disrupt MI6, force a merger with MI5 to create the surveillance program, and remove someone who can expose Spectre.

    At the end of QoS, M says to the effect that Quantum has infiltrated parts of the government and MI6 will need to watch and expose the agents. In retaliation, Spectre organizes Silva’s plot – disguised as a simple revenge killing – to kill M to keep her from revealing the organization. This would also have the added effect of destroying MI6’s reputation, forcing the merger between MI6 and MI5, and clear the way for the surveillance plot.

    Because M has been digging into Quantum, she found a few more leads on Spectre. Perhaps she suspected Silva was also an agent? Perhaps she suspected Franz Oberhauser was still alive? She may have suspected these things, we do not know, but she did have a lead on Sciara, and made the video during the events of Skyfall (before the attack on the committee meeting in Whitehall) in case Silva’s plan was successful. Give Bond a chance at uncovering Spectre: kill Sciara, go to the funeral, and see if Bond can follow the breadcrumbs to Spectre.

    1. Hey Jeff, amazing to hear you were rocking the JBR Tee… double thumbs up mate!!

      A really intriguing take on the whole M, Silva, SPECTRE process. It definitely all makes sense regarding taking out M to prevent her from exposing whatever she may know/discover. I guess the only thing is why she didn’t mention it to Bond on their journey to Scotland… why wait until she was dead?

      It certainly sounds like one of the most plausible explanations though… nice one!! 🙂

      1. Thanks. I guess that it also works that M doesn’t know Silva is a Spectre agent. That would explain why she doesn’t mention it to Bond – she doesn’t think they’re related.

        That does kind of bring up one of my minor nitpicks about the film. I felt the “Spectre was behind it all” plot point to be a bit rushed; like there was some missing scene or some missing dialogue to explain how Spectre was involved in Quantum and all of Bond’s previous missions. That could have helped to explain how Q got all that information from the ring or the M tape.

        1. Some good points there Mr Silence!

          Ooh… imagine that, if Mr Hinx was actually called Mr. Silence!!!!

          It would have suited his character well and sounds pretty rad too! 🙂

    2. Jeff, I think you’re on to something here.

      I’ve been thinking about posting the following before, but not sure if it was the right place to do it, but I was checking the lyrics of the Daniel Craig theme songs the other day, and it struck me, that they’re not focused on Bond, but much rather voiced from M’s perspective, and then, when I thought a bit more about it, it seemed to me, that already from Casino Royale, these four movies have been about M, and that Bond is just a tool … a “blunt instrument” in her battle against what turned out to be Spectre.

      I think M knew all along, that this was bigger than Le Chiffre, Mr. White, Dominic Green, Quantum, Silva. She has been seeing this as SPECTRE all the time.

      Go back to the lyrics of “You Know My Name”, and read them as it being M introducing a new agent to the role of Bond, they make a lot more sense than reading them as Bond introducing himself.

      Then read the lyrics of “Another Way to Die”. That could well be read from M’s perspective as well. And Skyfall, while not that obvious, it could definitely be about the MBond relation, and it _can_ be read from M’s perspective, especially, since M is the only protagonist that fit’s the “This is the end” opening line. And “you can never have my heart” fits well in the general “Love never works in Bond movies” thing.

      That thought, in turn, could lead into “Writings on the Wall”, where we finally hear from Mr. Bond, the orphan, rogue man, desperately in need of the “love” he no longer can get from M, who had taken the place of his parents. Bond trapped in the dilemma between giving it all up, to allow himself to love again, and staying in the fight and finishing the job, M started. In the end deciding that “For you (M), I have to risk it all. Cause the writing’s on the wall”, the “writing on the wall” being a biblical reference, meaning the end has been foretold, and unless you act to change it, it will happen.

      So Bond stays in the fight, which is also why Swann says her goodbyes, giving up on the thought of being in love with Bond.

  5. Still catching up on the podcasts. Man…

    I wish I liked this movie as much as you guys do. Actually, I wish I liked this movie. I don’t; I hated it. Saw it a second time just to be sure. There is stuff in it that I simply cannot buy.

    Maybe the podcasts can turn me around on it, though. As far as I can tell, I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Bryant,

      There are others out there who share your dislike for the film. I guess it’s not to everyone’s taste and how boring would it be if everyone liked and disliked the same films!

      Hopefully a few more viewings might sway you though as we really do find it an enjoyable ride! 🙂

      1. Well, at worst, there were still individual parts I loved. The whole opening, Hinx, the Sam Smith Song. It isn’t all bad news.

        1. Hi Bryant, that’s how I felt after Skyfall (flying in the face of the whole world seeming to love that film). I took solace in the individual moments I enjoyed from Skyfall and of course the whole back catalogue to dip into at will. And of course now JBR!

  6. Again, like Fiennes and Ben Whishaw, great new Moneypenny. It feels to me like we’re heading to a brother/sister relationship (a la Roger and Lois) and so -for me – not flirting to come but perhaps a bit of sibling love/needle. Maybe in the Mendes-helmed back story, we’ll find that Moneypenny’s an orphan too?

    I think there’s going to have to be a very careful balance struck in the upcoming films as to how involved in the plot the MI6 team become. On one hand, you’ve got these great actors so you want to make good use of them but (for me) you want to get back to Bond being a solitary figure dealing with things on his own.

    I don’t know if anyone else caught these but in the week of the UK opening of Spectre, the BBC showed two new Bond documentaries. One of these (called ‘Looking For Mr. Bond’) was a compilation of rarely-seen BBC interviews with various Bond people over the years. One that I hadn’t seen before was from 1994 with Lois Maxwell in which she seemed genuinely pissed off that Judi Dench had been cast as M instead of her. I’m sure we all love the Roger-era MI6 gang but I think we all know that Lois as M would not have worked at all.

  7. Moneypenny is too virtuous to have company! Then again, I wasn’t that thrilled that she went to the opera with a gentleman in Goldeneye either.

  8. If you see all the Moneypenny scenes together (there’s such a video in youtube) you will find a hidden joke that I’d never noticed before. In the Terence Young directed FRWL we see Bond opening the door to the office, throwing his hat into the rack while saying “an now for my next miracle” only to discoverr that M was there all along and getting a dirty look from the latter. If we skip Goldfinger (directed by Guy Hamilton) and go on to Young’s Thunderball we get the same camera angle of Connery entering the office and about to throw his hat into the rack as well, only to pause and desist in doing so, realizing for sure that M may very well be behind the door again.

  9. according to my research like the legendary Grace Jones,
    miss Naomie Harris has a ancestral connection with Jamaica,

  10. Alright, I know I’m a bit late to the party on this podcast but I just have to say, as a somewhat enamored fan of the new Miss Moneypenny, I thought it was almost criminal that you guys overlooked how fetching she was in those silk pajamas. That woman could shave me with a straight razor any day.

  11. I have nothing of particular value to add to the discussion of Moneypenny as far as story and character are concerned. My thoughts are a little more primal:

    Naomi Harris, yum.

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