UNDATED (CNN) -- The new James Bond movie Skyfall receives a royal world premiere in London Tuesday in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. The movie franchise based on Ian Fleming's novels is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A key element of each movie is the Bond girl. Here's a look at the evolution of the icon from glamour-puss to girl power.
James Bond may have saved mankind from global destruction on several occasions, but he's been less than kind to the women he's met along the way.
Bond statisticians will tell you that in the 22 films preceding Skyfall, 007 killed 352 people and took 52 lovers. It's not giving much away to say that he manages to increase both totals in his latest adventure. Daniel Craig says, "The movies are supposed to be sexy and having kind of that sexual tension in the movies along with the danger is kind of it's important."
Daniel Craig's Bond is a very different creature to some of 007's earlier incarnations. Eunice Gayson became the first notch on Bond's bedpost following a little putting practice in Dr. No. But it was a case of being seen and not heard for the first Bond girl, as Eunice's voice was overdubbed in post-production.
Half a century later Eunice Gayson recalls a more modest dress sense had been required of an actress before the Bond movies began. She says, "We had to wear what they call a 'modesty rose' in our bosom because we weren't allowed to show any cleavage. That was just before Bond, and I mean, Bond changed all that. And when I saw Andress in Dr. No I thought 'I want to do that' because she was beautiful and she didn't mind getting dirty and half-drowning, the Bond woman always goes out and does something and she retains her allure."
Britt Eckland, who starred in The Man with the Golden Gun, says, "Obviously when I did it in the early 70s we were very politically incorrect and beautiful actresses in that era always played sex kittens. Whether they were intellectual sex kittens or dumb sex kittens, they were always sex kittens."
Shirley Eaton was cast as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger but suffered one of the most dramatic departures in the history of the Bond girl. She says, "You can't replace us, but they've been replaced with a different kind of woman, and each are equal, you know, each are valid, each are lovely, it's just an era, that time of the earlier Bond women was a different time to now."
Fiona Fullerton's bubbly Russian double agent Pola Ivanova was easily outsmarted by 007 in A View to A Kill. She says, "There has been a subtle change and they're making the women's roles suitably stronger."
Maryam D'Abo was cast as Czech cellist Kara Milovy who didn't always play second fiddle to Bond in The Living Daylights. She says, "Women today are much more, you know, they're there matching Bond, no question, I mean I think from the moment Michelle Yeoh came on the screen she was, no, if anything better than Bond, you know, physically and all of that."
Goldeneye engendered a new regime of gender-equality in the office with Miss Moneypenny firing the first warning shot across Bond's bows saying, "You know this sort of behavior could qualify as sexual harassment."
And with Dame Judy Dench assuming the role of Bond's boss M, 007 had finally encountered a woman he could not put under his thumb. Daniel Craig says, "Thankfully attitudes toward women have changed since then and the chauvinism that was around then that was just endemic has kind of, I mean we have a way to go."
Naomie Harris, who stars in the new Skyfall, says, "Well I don't even know if the Bond girl term is even relevant anymore because they're much more multi-layered, they're more equal to Bond."
Dame Dench says, "Everyone has grown up a bit, they've become women now; Bond women now. But of course there will always be extremely beautiful women who may or may not come to a sticky end."
And it seems fitting to leave the final word to the most respected voice in Bond's female fraternity. In the film Tomorrow Never Dies, one man says to M, "With all due respect M, sometimes I don't think you've got the balls for this job." She replies, "Perhaps, but the advantage is I don't have to think with them all the time."