Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cavegirl: Martine Beswick

Having lunch with HMS today who commented that there hadn't been any updates on CiFB for some time. This is not due to lack of material but lack of time.

Anyway, as a useful transition from our coverage of One Million Years BC to the next film, Hammer's Prehistoric Women I have decided to look at the next cavegirl Martine Beswick.

Martine was born in Jamaica to English parents in, shockingly, 1941. After studying acting in England she became a Miss Jamaica in the 50s. She became a model and was spotted by a talent scout and was, at one time, up for the role in Dr No which was ultimately won by Ursula Andress.

She still appeared in the film as the dancing girl in the credits sequence.

She was then cast in the second Bond film, From Russia with Love as one of the catfighting gypsy girls taking on another former beauty queen, Aliza Gur who had been a Miss Israel.

Although the film was set in Turkey and much of the film was made on location in Istanbul the scenes in the Turkish gypsy camp were actually shot at night in the freezing grounds of Pinewood Studios for the sake of the terminally ill co-star Pedro Armendariz so he could get all his sequences filmed early on.

Martine would have the rare accolade of appearing in another Bond Film, Thunderball, as a local contact of Bond who gets killed off early on and thereby became the first woman to appear in three Bond films.

It was the following year, 1966, that she was cast in a much larger part, in One Million Years BC when her catfighting skills were used again to great effect.

As a result she got the starring role in our next cavegirl film Prehistoric Women (also known as Slave Girls) and a number of other Hammer films.

She then moved to the US and did mainly TV work in just about every series of the 70s and the odd Italian feature which usually involved her not having to wear too many clothes.

Although she did star in Oliver Stone's directoral debut, Seizure, she ended up making films such as the Happy Hooker goes to Hollywood and Critters 4 whilst still looking striking into her forties.

But its for her role in One Million Years BC and Prehistoric Women (which she admitted was "probably the silliest film ever made") for which she is remembered here.

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