Looking, just looking : James Bond and the objectification and commodification of the human form
The recent cinematic success of Casino Royale (Wilson, Broccoli & Campbell, 2006), the twenty-first Bond film in the official EON Production series, provides an opportunity to examine the character of James Bond in relation to his role in the objectification and commodification of the human body in cinema. In fact, the James Bond films have long been considered synonymous with the sexualisation of the female form. From the first moment Ursula Andress walked out of the ocean wearing "that" white bikini in Dr No (Saltzman, Broccoli & Young, 1962), the series established the voyeuristic manner in which these women were to be 'seen'; not only by the character of James Bond but by the audience as well. Some theorists have argued against this position on the basis that it reduces the act of spectatorship to one of virtual stasis, involving 'a uniformity of viewer response and meaning production" (Austin, 2002, p. 12). Instead, they contend that readings are contingent on the individual with each a result of various "social and intertextual agencies within mass culture, seeking to structure reception beyond textual boundaries" (Klinger, 1989, p.4). Paradoxically however, these very same 'social and intertextual agencies" can also act to restrict the range of these perceptions.