The Golden Lady (1979)

Post-Moonraker, there seemed to be an interest in creating new Eurospy ripoff movies like The Nude Bomb; No. 1 of the Secret Service (I realize it came out in 1977) and its sequels Licensed to Love and Kill and Number One GunThe Golden Lady literally says in its ads that it’s a female James Bond; most curiously it was directed by horror and sex film fiend José Ramón Larraz from a script by Joshua Sinclair, who went from working in Calcutta with Mother Teresa to making Marlene Dietrich’s last movie Just a Gigolo, writing Keoma and making 1985’s Shaka Zulu.

Julia Hemingway (Ina Skriver using the name Christina World, already famous from her love scene with Koo Stark in The Awakening of Emily; she was also in episodes of Space: 1999 and The New Avengers)  has been hired by a millionaire named Charlie Whitlock (Patrick Newell, the Mother spymaster of The Avengers) to destroy his competition in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

The film also decides to up its Eurospy cast by having Q himself, Desmond Llewelyn, appear as a mentor to our heroine and, you knew it, give her a few gadgets.

Julia is helped by three agents who in every way are to remind us of Charlie’s Angels: the tech-savvy Lucy (June Chadwick, Lydia from V and Dolby mispronouncing Jeanine Pettibone in This Is Spinal Tap), military superwoman Dahlia (Suzanne Danielle, who shows up in The Wild Geese and Carry On Emmannuelle as Emmannuelle) and supermodel and nymphomaniac — it says so right on her file! — Carol (Anika Pave, who had a cameo in The Spy That Loved Me and was also in Confessions of a Window Cleaner). They’re joined by a pneumatic lady of the evening named Anita (Ava Cadell, who is in the Andy Sidaris films Do or DieHard HuntedFit to Kill and Return to Savage Beach as Ava, who goes from an evil hitwoman to a good agent of L.E.T.H.A.L. and a DJ/sex therapist who does her radio show from her hot tub; she is literally a woman made for Andy Sidaris films) who uses her orgasmic yelps and gyrations to flummox their enemies.

The girls come up against industrialists like Dietmar Schuster (comedian Dave King) and his bisexual henchman Wayne Bentley (Richard Oldfield, who shows up as one of the rebels in Empire Strikes Back) as well as Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle…I mean Yorgo Praxis (Edward De Souza, who is also in The Spy That Loved Me) and finally, Julia’s ex-lover Max Rowlands (Stephan Chase).

Also, Hot Gossip —  a British dance group who backed Sarah Brightman on her single “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper” and also sang “Making Love on a Phone” — appear. They were also on The Kenny Everett Video Show and even recorded a second album — Geisha Boys and Temple Girls — that was produced by Martyn Ware (Human League/Heaven 17) with one song, “I Burn for You,” written by Sting. Several of the members of this dance band went on to bigger things, like video queen Bunty Bailey (who is also in Spellcaster and Dolls), Bruno Tonioli of Dancing with the Stars, Perri Lister (who sang the French parts in Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” and part of the Blitz Kids with Boy George, Steve Strange, Spandau Ballet and Marilyn; she’s also the mother of Idol’s son Willem Wolf Broad) and the aforementioned Brightman.

Girl group Blonde on Blonde —  made up of Page 3 girls Nina Carter (who was married to Rick Wakeman for a while) and Jilly Johnson — also are in this and on the soundtrack. They were big in Japan and best known for their disco cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

Somehow, despite glitz, fashion, disco and spying, this movie makes me wonder how and why this movie’s producers — Sinclair, Keith Cavele (he produced Queen Kong), Paul Cowan (The Crying Game) and Jean Ubaud (who moved on to make The BurningTag: The Assassination Game and Terminal Choice after this) — picked Larraz to make an action movie, a genre he’d never attempted before nor will he try again. The Spanish Eurosex and horror standout would later say that Sinclair “couldn’t write a letter home to his mother let alone a script.”

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