Miss Moneypenny: Wikis

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Miss Moneypenny
Character from the James Bond franchise
Miss Moneypenny by Lois Maxwell.jpg
Affiliation MI6
M
Portrayed by Various

Jane Moneypenny, better known as Miss Moneypenny, is a fictional character in the James Bond novels and films. She is secretary to M, who is Bond's boss and head of the British Secret Service. Although she has a small part in the films, it is always highlighted by the underscored romantic tension between her and Bond (something that is virtually nonexistent in Ian Fleming's novels, though somewhat more apparent in the Bond novels of John Gardner and Raymond Benson). On that note, she is not considered to be a Bond girl, having never had anything more than a professional relationship with Bond. According to the movie You Only Live Twice, she holds the rank of Second Officer in the Women's Royal Naval Service.

Contents

Inspirational basis of the character

In Ian Fleming's first draft of Casino Royale, Moneypenny's name was originally "Miss 'Petty' Pettaval", which was taken from Kathleen Pettigrew, the personal assistant to MI6 director Stewart Menzies. Fleming changed it to be less obvious. Another possible inspiration for the character of Miss Moneypenny is Vera Atkins. As the principal assistant to Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, head of F Section of the Special Operations Executive, Atkins recruited, trained and managed over 400 British secret agents who parachuted into France. Furthermore, Buckmaster is said to have been the model for the character M. Another possible, and perhaps more probable, inspiration for the character of Miss Moneypenny is Miss Margaret Priestley, who played a vital role in the administration and running of 30 Commando Assault Unit (a.k.a. Ian Fleming's "Red Indians"),[1] but she shunned recognition for the important part she played, both as Fleming's inspiration and to the contribution 30AU made to the war.

The BBC has used the term "Fleming's Miss Moneypenny" when referring to Jean Frampton, who typed out the manuscripts for Fleming's works and made plot suggestions to him, even though the two never physically met.[2] Letters between the pair sold for £14,340 at a 2008 auction.[2]

Other theories regarding Moneypenny are that she was based on Joan Bright Astley, whom Fleming dated during World War II, and who was noted for giving a warm and friendly reception to senior officers who visited her office to view confidential papers.[3]

Character summary

Miss Moneypenny is the confidential clerk and private secretary to M, the head of M.I.6. She holds the rank of Lieutenant RN, which is a prerequisite rank for this position. She is cleared for Top-Secret, Eyes-Only and Cabinet-Level intelligence reports, the latter of which she is often required to prepare, and in some cases present.

M's personal assistant is utterly dedicated to her work, which means she has little time for a social life. A close confidante of her boss, she also enjoys a flirtatious, mocking relationship with 007, whom she understands perfectly.

Role of the character

In both the Bond novels and films based upon them, Moneypenny is smitten with Bond. For example, in the novel Thunderball, Fleming wrote that she "often dreamed hopelessly about Bond." However, she never explicitly vocalizes these feelings.

Miss Moneypenny's role in Fleming's novels is even smaller than her role in the films. In the novels, Bond also has his own secretary, Loelia Ponsonby and later Mary Goodnight, both of whose lines and relationships were often transferred to Miss Moneypenny for the films. As a rule, Moneypenny generally never directly participates in Bond's missions, although there have been a few exceptions in both film and literature (most notably in the film Diamonds Are Forever, in which she disguises herself as a customs agent to help send Bond on his mission). In the film Octopussy, Moneypenny has an assistant named Penelope Smallbone, who appears to be equally smitten with Bond, despite a "thorough briefing" on the subject by Moneypenny. Apparently intended as either a foil or a replacement for Moneypenny, Smallbone appeared only that once.

In most of the Bond films, there is a scene, usually Bond's arrival at M's office, in which Bond and Moneypenny exchange witty and flirtatious conversation, including Moneypenny making quips to Bond such as "Flattery will get you nowhere, but don't stop trying." In the earlier films, these exchanges are more sexually explicit, with Bond often kissing or caressing Moneypenny sensually. There was even a moment in Die Another Day when she puts on Q's virtual reality glasses and sees Bond walking casually into her room and tossing his hat on the hook. He tells her how much he loves her and knocks everything off her desk and the two start to kiss. Q later wakes her up from the daydream.

In several films there have been moments in which Moneypenny becomes annoyed with Bond because of his misinterpretation or outwitting of her. For example, in You Only Live Twice, upon informing Bond that an important phrase in his upcoming mission is "I love you", she asks him to repeat it to her to ensure his remembering of the phrase; he tells her he will remember it. At the end of the film, when M asks Moneypenny to bring Bond to him (and remove him from the attentions of Bond Girl Kissy Suzuki), she replies, "It'll be a pleasure, sir."

More examples of Moneypenny's interactions with Bond: in From Russia with Love, after being dismissed from M's office while they listen to a live recording of Bond while on his mission, she eavesdrops from her office using her intercom, although she is interrupted on the device by M who says there is no doubt she is listening. In Goldeneye, she apparently goes to the opera with an anonymous gentleman, only to have the date interrupted by official business; Bond remarks that she looks "smashing" in her opera gown.

Although Moneypenny is supposed to be English, in the James Bond films in which Lois Maxwell, who was Canadian, portrayed the character, she spoke with a mild Canadian accent.

Since the character's first appearance in Casino Royale, neither Fleming nor any succeeding Bond novelist or screenwriter had ever seen fit to give Moneypenny a first name. In a few of the books and at least one film, Bond refers to her by the nickname "Penny" (a shortened version of her last name). The Moneypenny Diaries officially gives her a first name: Jane. It remains to be seen whether any future Bond film or novel will follow suit. Moneypenny has been rumoured to be reintroduced in Bond 23.

The Moneypenny Diaries

On October 10, 2005, John Murray published the first of three Ian Fleming Publications' sanctioned novels, written by Samantha Weinberg under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook, entitled The Moneypenny Diaries, a trilogy from the point of view of Miss Moneypenny.

Actresses

Moneypenny has been played by five different actresses in the Bond films - three in the EON film series, plus one each in the non-EON films. Though she does not appear in the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale (the first James Bond film in which she doesn't appear), a reference arises in a scene between Bond and Vesper Lynd. In the scene, Vesper appears for the first time introducing herself with "I'm the money" (referring to her role as a Treasury accountant), to which Bond replies, while looking her over, "Every penny of it." In the film, M's personal secretary is a male character named Villiers. The character is again absent from the sequel, Quantum of Solace.

Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny.
Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny.
Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny
Lois Maxwell
  1. Dr. No (1962)
  2. From Russia with Love (1963)
  3. Goldfinger (1964)
  4. Thunderball (1965)
  5. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
  7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  8. Live and Let Die (1973)
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  11. Moonraker (1979)
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  13. Octopussy (1983)
  14. A View to a Kill (1985)

Maxwell also portrays Moneypenny in the 1967 TV special Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond, which was produced by EON Productions.

Caroline Bliss
  1. The Living Daylights (1987)
  2. Licence to Kill (1989)
Samantha Bond
  1. GoldenEye (1995)
  2. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  3. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
  4. Die Another Day (2002)
Barbara Bouchet as Miss Moneypenny in the 1967 satire, Casino Royale.
Barbara Bouchet
  1. Casino Royale (1967) (non-Eon Bond film - Bouchet actually plays Moneypenny's daughter)
Pamela Salem
  1. Never Say Never Again (1983) (non-Eon Bond film)

Other appearances

  1. The likeness of Lois Maxwell's Miss Moneypenny was used in EA's James Bond Video Game From Russia with Love in 2005.
  2. The alt. rock band Placebo paid homage to the character with their 1997 b-side Miss Moneypenny.
  3. There is a reference to Miss Moneypenny in Trainspotting, when Sickboy and Mark are talking.

Notes

External links

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