I Once Kissed…

The Oldie - - CONTENTS - Roger Moore

One bit­terly cold Jan­uary day at Pinewood Stu­dios, I crawled into bed with Roger Moore. We spent three days to­gether, locked in a very un­ro­man­tic em­brace, be­fore I was sent away to cower in a cup­board. This was the iconic ‘magic watch’ scene – the open­ing of Live and Let Die – and I was Roger’s first Bond Girl.

In 1973, when the film was re­leased, my char­ac­ter didn’t even have a name – only ‘Beau­ti­ful Girl’ on the cred­its. ‘Miss Caruso’ ap­peared by magic on the DVD, fi­nally giv­ing my for­merly in­sub­stan­tial char­ac­ter a frag­ile iden­tity of her own.

Roger and I got on fa­mously. He had sug­gested me for the part af­ter we’d worked to­gether with Tony Cur­tis in the spoof de­tec­tive se­ries The Per­suaders. There was no in­ti­macy in bed with him, de­spite our phys­i­cal en­tan­gle­ment. He sported light blue boxer shorts and my 23-year-old pert pos­te­rior was shrouded in a moun­tain­ous pile of frilly knick­ers. In bed I looked ready for the skat­ing rink!

In 1973, James Bond was still con­sid­ered fam­ily view­ing; so there was no hump­ing or feigned or­gasms with the sound man’s mi­cro­phone hov­er­ing above your throat. Roger’s wife, Louisa, was float­ing, spec­tre-like, around our bed for the du­ra­tion of the scene; so there was never any pos­si­bil­ity of hanky panky down be­low.

There was a lot of fid­dling around go­ing on un­der my dress, but it wasn’t with Roger. The ‘magic watch’ re­quired a bit of help – a thin wire, threaded through my dress’s zip, was pulled down­wards as Roger ran his mag­netic watch down my back. The dress, made of a coarse, dense ma­te­rial, kept buck­ling, as our spe­cial ef­fects wizard, Derek Med­dings, his chainsmok­ing as­sis­tant, Ian, and the ever-present wardrobe mistress all pulled and tugged be­neath my legs. Many takes later, we had all be­come in­ti­mate friends.

I grew to de­test this bright blue, pneu­matic dress, in which I looked more like the Miche­lin Man than a sexy Ital­ian spy. It was a great re­lief for all con­cerned when it fi­nally fell to the floor as in­tended in the script. Roger kept the at­mos­phere light through­out the te­dium of film­ing, and his en­ergy, jokes and en­thu­si­asm never flagged. He never dis­ap­peared, star-like, off-set.

Blink and I’ve gone in my tiny scene, and I don’t flat­ter my­self that its cult sta­tus is be­cause of my stag­ger­ing act­ing abil­ity or faux-ital­ian falsetto voice. Rather, it’s Roger’s magic watch (and his own sheer mag­netism) that are re­spon­si­ble. Roger called our hum­ble scene one of his favourites, a com­pli­ment I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate. The feel­ing is mu­tual, and the years have not dimmed the mem­ory of one of the most en­joy­able, if per­haps briefest, jobs I ever did.

Made­line Smith

Hear Made­line Smith’s pod­cast on the Oldie App See page 7

Mag­netic at­trac­tion: Smith and Moore in Live and Let Die (1973)

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