Lady James Bond (1980)

There is very little written about this film. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised nobody wants this to grace their filmography. You may be delighted with the prospect of another Silk Smitha starring film, or perhaps just glad I watched it so you don’t have to. Check out this song!

That really is amazing. The hideous styling distracts from the lewd choreo which distracts from the hideous styling. It’s ingenious.

(You know, Chiru would have rocked that outfit. Just saying.) And while everyone is distracted, cat stroking villain Supreme’s Henchman 1 launches a kidnapping attempt!

The Professor has a folder of Important Research that is always in The Briefcase. It feels like everyone in the film is after The Briefcase at some stage. Luckily the government assigns Lady James Bond (Silk Smitha) to protect him. His daughter Indu’s boyfriend Kapil (Kapil Dev but not that Kapil Dev) is blackmailed into stealing The Briefcase. Apparently this is very bad for the country. Kapil lives in the equivalent of a lighthouse with a very long spiral staircase up to his lounge room, quite challenging for poor Indu trying to make a dramatic entrance and confront her deceitful fella. He admits to the theft, she pulls a gun, they struggle and she is both shot and falls out of a window. Lady J drops by to suss out the situation but Kapil sends her away.

And then – a blackface song.

Sadly for Lady J the baddies see right through her disguise and sadly for us we have to witness this at all. A rooftop fight shows off her latest horrible outfit complete with neoprene leg warmers AND arm warmers. She is chased, beaten, then maced. And the baddies run off. These people have no idea she still has half a movie to go and they are not yet safe. She is criticised by her commanding officer for being hopeless, either at her job or at disguises, I don’t know which. Either could be valid.

Undeterred by her lousy luck with disguises, 001 Lady James Bond pretends to be a food vendor and ends up drinking with Henchman 2. Finally an explanation for the ubiquitous black socks in skimpily clad dance numbers – it’s where she hides her pills! They spike each other’s drinks and this causes another terrible song. Lady James Bond recovers first, takes a hit of her special smelling salts and ransacks the house, finding The Briefcase. H2 seems to keep a hockey playing gang on retainer, or maybe they were just opportunistic thugs who play hockey in between assaulting women. Anyway, she has another epic fight on her hands as she runs the kilometres and kilometres to get from his house to the end of the driveway.

Lots of things happen but there doesn’t seem to be much to connect them all. There is a skanky item girl waiting for Nagendra in the lighthouse but just as the horror of that starts to settle, policemen are being garrotted and the director is under attack. Lucky for him Lady J doesn’t hold a grudge. I think she might resuscitate her boss by electrocuting herself on a desk lamp and passing the current through her hand to his body. That’s commitment. But the baddies are still after The Briefcase, which now has a new file in it. And Lady J has so much more high kicking and back flipping to do.

She rescues Nagendra from the gang, only to then be captured by “tribals”. Of course they strip off her snazzy purple jumpsuit and kit her out wearing the skin of a teddy bear, just for the sake of another skanky dance number. And then they tie her to a tree and leave her. There’s a theme with not finishing things off. People just leave Lady J and expect her not to come after them.

She wanders through the wilderness, again, and suddenly someone releases the hounds. She is taken to Supreme’s secret hideaway, more like a high school adventure camp or low budget theme park. Lady James Bond blows everything up, Suthivelu turns out to be both smart and useful, almost everybody else dies, and the baddies are taken away. But I still have no idea what they were up to.

So many men in this film “accidentally” kill the woman they say they love. And cry their teeny selfish hearts out about it. I’m not confident anyone in the film knows how to confirm people are actually dead either as they seem very reluctant to consider trying any form of treatment. But what goes around comes around, so…

Silk Smitha is actually pretty good. Despite the near constant gyno-cam and detour into sleaze at any and every opportunity, she is fun as the top secret agent. She is pleasant and professional with her charges, but can switch to a cold eyed rage when she is taking on the evil doers. She wears some hideous clothes, but as a skanky item specialist that wouldn’t have worried her. And the fancy agent gadgets were a triumph of imagination over budget and science. She uses her transmitter detecting boots to find a secret phone in a tree and uses another spy gadget aka a shirt button to disguise her voice. I think Silk carried on the legacy of ladies like Jyotilaxmi very well indeed. And all her snake dance appearances may have held her in good stead with Lady J’s trademark rolling away from trouble move.

My other favourite thing about the film was the prevalence of photo mural walls. Every house had at least one.

The excellent 4DK has written a much more thoughtful analysis of Lady James Bond.

Since this is, at least in English, almost undocumented I haven’t put names to many of the faces in the film. Feel free to leave a comment if you would like someone’s film legacy blighted by including their appearance in this.

It’s a film that goes beyond So Bad It’s Good and dives into Almost Endearingly Awful. I can mostly overlook the sleaze of the times and appreciate Silk doing her thing and Lady James Bond triumphing over the men, despite the men, without the men. Maybe 1 star for effort, 2 ½ stars for WTFery and entertainment. If you’d like to share your thoughts, just speak into the flowers!

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5 thoughts on “Lady James Bond (1980)

  1. Hilarious! Remember watching this move years ago on television on a boring rainy day.

    The snapshots you put up reveal much about what this lady had to go through than shown in that skewed Dirty Picture.

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    • It’s very much a “watch it when there’s nothing else” kind of movie 🙂

      Silk had an interesting career – not just the skanky item numbers but her leading roles. It’s impressive she could headline a film, regardless of quality, in such male dominated Hero driven industries. But yeah, I think she had to put up with things no star actor would have tolerated.

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    • Ha 😀 It wasn’t such a chore to watch. But once seen, can never be unseen! I agree Silk had talent beyond what was ever required in most of her work. So I thought I’d include one of her lead roles in amongst all the item references on the blog. Plus, Lady James Bond is just such a good title 😉

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  2. If some actress gets ‘Padmasri ‘ award for enacting Silk’s life.
    What would be ever eternal Silk should be awared. 😉

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