At Washington's James Bond exhibit, villains are forever

Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:57pm EST
 

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fans of fictional super spy James Bond rely on the durable film franchise for must-have elements, such as jaw-dropping stunts, great clothes, sultry women - and villains who are drop-dead evil.

An exhibition that opened on Friday makes clear that the nasty types that 007 has battled for five decades have changed but one constant remains. The only true match for the world's greatest secret agent are characters that moviegoers love to hate.

"Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains" at the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, is dedicated to the most memorable bad guys and gals in the 23-film series.

From the eponymous "Dr. No" in 1962 to the just-released "Skyfall," the exhibit shows links between fact and fiction and how villains have kept pace with an evolving world.

"Bond seems the same, but the villains have all changed. They have changed to reflect the changing times," Anna Slafer, the museum's director of exhibitions, told a news conference.

In "Dr. No," the villain schemes against the U.S. space program. Probing the nuclear fears of the 1970s, tycoon Karl Stromberg plots genocide in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977).

The information age turns up with Max Zorin, who lusts to corner the microchip market in "A View to a Kill" (1985). In "Skyfall" cyberterrorist Silva tries to hack British intelligence computers.

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A bullet necklace that stores diamonds, from the James Bond 2002 film "Die Another Day" is pictured in this undated photograph released on November 16, 2012. The highly polished dental grade surgical steel alloy teeth are one of the artefacts featured in the exhibition "Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains," that opened at the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington on Friday. Reuters/1962-2012 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation/Handout