Fiona Volpe is the secondary antagonist from the 1965 film "Thunderball". Fiona is portrayed as the beautiful Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi.
Fiona is a deadly SPECTRE operative assassin with long red hair. At the beginning of the movie, she becomes the mistress of NATO pilot Maj. Francois Derval (Paul Stassino), in order to steal a Vulcan bomber and its precious cargo of two atomic bombs. SPECTRE plans to use the bombs for a blackmail operation.
The first image of Fiona Volpe is of her beautiful long red hair as she rolls around in bed passionately kissing Major Derval. The phone rings and Fiona answers it.
Fiona: Major Derval's social secretary.
Voice: I would like to speak to Mr. Angelo.
Fiona: What's that?
Voice: Mr. Angelo.
Fiona: I'm sorry. You got the wrong number.
Fiona is wearing a blue nightie and as she rolls around the bed, her large breasts nearly escape from her outfit. Major Derval starts to take her nightie off when the phone rings again. It's his ride,
Derval: My car's here. Duty calls. The story of my life.
Derval has to leave his little tête-à-tête with Fiona before he can get any further.
Derval: You'll be here when I come back?
Fiona gives him a knowing smile.
Derval attempts to play hard to get.
Derval: But I may not be in the mood then.
Fiona: Do you want to bet!
Fiona knows that she is hot stuff and she knows that men can't resist her. She has Derval wrapped around her little finger. She apparently seduced the major, or better yet, enticed Derval to seduce her after being hired as his social secretary. Fiona is a vamp and able to control Derval for a long period of time while SPECTRE's plan was taking shape.
As Derval departs for his mission, he is met at the door by his exact double. Derval is shocked for a moment and then is killed instantly when his double sprays toxic gas in his face.
The double is Angelo Palazzi (also played by Paul Stassino) who has been surgically altered look-a-like, Major Derval. Fiona has also helped to train Angelo to act and speak like her late lover.
Fiona pays Angelo $100,000 for the mission, but Angelo demands more of the cut. Count Lippe at this point starts to draw his gun, but Volpe realizing that too much has been put into this plan to kill Angelo now reluctantly agrees to the demands to avoid further complications.
Thunderball is the first movie in which we get a partial glimpse of Erns Stavro Blofeld (Anthony Dawson) however his face is obscured by a screen as he chairs a meeting with his chief agents while holding a white cat in his lap. (Blofeld's voice is provided by Eric Pohlmann). At this meeting is Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) who Blofeld calls Number 2.
Blofeld is a ruthless leader and kills one of the agents who he believes has cheated him.
Meanwhile, James Bond is at a health clinic recovering from his wounds. While at the clinic he seduces the beautiful attendant Patricia (Molly Peters) who was introduced to Bond by Count Lippe. Lippe may have had a crush on Patricia.
Lippe: She's the only joy in this dreary place.
Bond also notices that Lippe has a tattoo marking him as part of a criminal gang.
Lippe notices that Bond has noticed and later tries to kill Bond.
Bond retaliates by scalding Lippe in a steamer box.
Lippe is really at the health clinic to look after Angelo Palazzi as he has his plastic surgeries to turn him into Major Derval's double. Lippe sees that Bond is snooping around in between sessions bedding Patricia and decides to kill him.
As Bond leaves the health clinic in his Austin Martin (specially fitted by Q-Branch in the last movie - Goldfinger) Lippe follows in his car. Lippe begins shooting at Bond, who flips open the car's control panel and begins to look for the proper countermeasure.
Suddenly a lone rider on a motorcycle zooms up behind Lippe riding a specially modifide 1965 BSA Lightning and fires two rockets blowing up his car.
The biker pulls over to the side of the road and pushes the motorcycle into a pond then the biker takes of their helmet revealing the beautiful long red hair of Fiona Volpe. She has saved Bond's life.
Largo's evil plan goes off without a hitch. SPECTRE now has two atomic bombs and are blackmailing the world. MI5 calls for a special meeting of all the Double-0s. Bond on a hunch seeing a picture of Major Derval and his sister Domino (Claudine Auger) volunteers to investigate the connection. Domino is Largo's mistress and on their first meeting Bond makes a pass at her. She rejects him.
Bond and Felix Leiter fly over Largo's mansion.
Down below we see Fiona dressed in a purple and gold outfit with a gold silk scarf in her hair tying it in a ponytail. She and Largo are shooting clay pigeons as they stand on the sea wall of the ocean side villa.
Fiona: You would like Bond dead.
Largo: I can think of no better arrangement.
Fiona: Because he tries to make love to your... woman
Largo: Because he is Bond and, as an enemy of SPECTRE, should be killed.
Fiona: If Bond had died last night as a result of your hastiness, his government would have known for certain the bombs are here. When the time is right, he will be killed.
Fiona lifts her shotgun to her shoulder and shouts pull “Pull!”
Another clay pigeon is released and she blasts it out of the air.
Fiona: I shall kill him.
James Bond (Sean Connery) after a failed spy mission where he tried to find out if Largo's ship had underwater hatches. Largo's men dropped hand grenades on him and he had to swim to shore.
Bond is in a bit of a spot having escaped Largo's men. On dry land he sees a car coming down the road. Its a light blue 1965 Ford Mustang and there is a woman driving. The car stops when Bond flags it down.
Bond: Can I have a lift?
The driver is Fiona Volpe who acts aloof her head wrapped in a blue scarf. (This is the first time the two meet. Bond didn't know of her existance before this. Fiona knew who Bond was as she is a member of SPECTRE and Bond had defeated a number of SPECTRE agents before this.)
Bond: Thank you. You just about saved my life. (that would be the second time she saved him)
Bond: My outboard capsized so I had to swim ashore.
Bond: How far do you go?
Fiona: You'd better fasten your safety belt.
Fiona steps on the accelerator in her little blue Mustang.
Back on land Bond meets Volpe as he is hitchhiking his way back to his hotel. Miss Volpe scares him with her extremely fast driving around hairpin turns.
Bond: Do you fly here often?
Fiona: Do I make you nervous?
Bond: No. It's just that I have no desire to be capsized twice in one night.
Fiona: At least you won't have to swim ashore.
It is here that Bond first notices her distinctive SPECTRE insignia ring.
They arrive at their hotel in Nassau, the Bahamas.
Fiona: Well, this is as far as I go.
Bond: Yes, me too. This is my hotel.
Fiona: What a coincidence!
Bond: Yes. So convenient.
Volpe tells Bond, "Some men just don't like to be driven". Bond responds, "No, some men just don't like to be taken for a ride."
Fiona arrives at Bond's hotel to find Bond's contact, the gorgeous Paula Caplan (Martine Beswick) dressed in a blue dinner gown. Fiona is wearing a red top and matching red scarf in her hair with a woven sun hat over the top.
Fiona tells Caplan that she has a dinner date with Bond. There is a knock on door in the connecting room, Caplan goes to open the door and Fiona's two henchmen Vargas and Janni burst in. They grab Paula and throw her on the bed.
Paula: Let me go! Let me go! No!
Fiona: Don't let her make so much noise. Use the chloroform.
Fiona is all business as she searches Bond's room finding pictures of the underwater hatches of Largo's ship. She ignores her men as the man handle Paula on the bed.
Bond later attempts to rescue his fellow agent and finds her strapped to a chair, having undergone torture and is now dead. The beautiful Caplan was forced to commit suicide by taking cyanide so she would not reveal anything.
[Martine Beswick is no stranger to this site. As many of you may know she was the beautiful Nupondi in the 1966 film, "One Million Years B.C." who had the sexy catfight with Raquel Welch. In 1967 she was the evil amazon Queen Kari in the 1967 movie "Prehistoric Women".]
Returning to his suite at the hotel, after the loss of his friend and fellow agent, Bond finds Fiona has snuck into his apartment and is taking a bath in his tub.
Fiona asks for a towel to cover herself. Bond is not amused by the game she is playing and he hands her only her high heels.
Fiona looks at the shoes before finally taking the towel out of her hair and doing her best to cover herself.
Bond tells Fiona he thought she might be a member of SPECTRE when she saw her ring. Her octopus ring is the same one that Largo was wearing and now sits on the bathroom countertop as her 34D bra and other clothes hang over the back of a chair that Bond is sitting on.
Fiona covering herself with a towel walks over to Bond and leans into him.
Fiona: Shouldn't you get out of those wet clothes? You'll catch your death of cold.
We next see Fiona and Bond lying on his bed. Fiona is biting Bond on his arm and shoulders, suggesting that maybe she is trying to reinvigorate her lover after their first round.
Bond: Now look. You know we're going to be too late.
Fiona: Too late for what? -
Bond: The Junkanoo. I promised my friends I'd meet them there. Perhaps you know them. The Largos.
Fiona: Questions, questions. All I get is questions. But the music is gonna go on all night anyhow. Enough to drive you wild. - Yeah? Do you like wild things, Mr. Bond, James Bond?
Bond: Wild? You should be locked up in a cage.
Bond is suddenly feeling his oats again. He kisses Fiona passonately and then begins to work his way down her body as the camera tilts up at Fiona's hands holding onto the brass bed frame.
Fiona: Mmmm....this bed feels like a cage, all these bars. Do you think I'll be safe?
The camera cuts suggestively into the opening of a horn being played by a man marching in the Junkanoo. There is a montage of shots of the parade to show the passage of time while Bond and Fiona again consummate their relationship.
Sometime later Bond and Fiona are getting dressed so they can return to the Junkanoo. Fiona is fixing her hair into a high bouffant.
Fiona: You made a shocking mess out of my hair, you sadistic brute.
Fiona is wearing a baby blue dinner gown with a plunging neckline. Fiona looks at herself in the mirror. The back of her dress is wide open.
Fiona: Will you zip me up, please?
Bond zips up her dress
Fiona: No wonder you can get dressed so quickly.
Bond: On the way we can have a little talk.
Bond helps Fiona with the finishing touches of her outfit by putting her blue feather boa over her shoulders. A nice touch showing that the two were intimate lovers just a short time before and although they don't quite trust each other are very comfortable with each other physically.
Bond: You may find it interesting.
Bond moves towards the door.
Bond: Come on.
Fiona: I'm coming. I'd hate to miss anything.
Bond opens the door only to find Fiona's henchmen, Vargas and Janni holding guns. He turns to see that Fiona has drawn a small Beretta from her hand bag and is pointing it at him.
Fiona: And now we can go somewhere for an interesting talk.
Bond asks Fiona, "You don't think it gave me any pleasure, do you?", referring to their lovemaking session a short time before.
Fiona says, "But of course, I forgot your ego Mr. Bond, James Bond, who only has to make love to a woman, then she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents and immediately returns to the side of right and virtue. But, not this one."
(In the previous movie, James Bond had seduced enemy agent Pussy Galore and after having rough sex with her she joined Bond as a loyal ally. In Thunderball, Fiona saved Bond's life a number of times before bedding him, but then stayed a loyal member of SPECTRE.)
The thugs take Bond by force into their car to take him to Largo. As they sit in a traffic jam caused by the Junkanoo Bond knocks a bottle of liquor from a drunk, spilling it all over the car. Then he quickly uses Fiona's cigarette lighter to light a flame. He uses this to escape the car and run through the Junkanoo. He is followed closely by Fiona and her henchmen.
They shoot Bond in the ankle, which leaves a blood trail. By following this trail they find him trying to blend into the crowd by dancing at the Kiss Kiss Club. Volpe approaches Bond and cuts into his dance.
They begin slow-dancing and she tries to convince him to come quietly. As they dance, one of the henchmen begins to take aim with his long barrel Colt revolver on Bond. However, Bond notices through the eyes of Fiona. He realizes that the thug is going to shoot him as the drum solo climaxes to hide the noise. When the drum solo peaks Bond turns Fiona her around at just the right time. The bullet goes through the back of Fiona killing her instantly.
Fiona's thugs are shocked at the loss of their leader, whom one of them just accidentally killed. The goons quickly scatter.
Holding the now lifeless body of his former lover closely, Bond walks the late Fiona Volpe over to a table of club patrons, sits her in a chair, and asks, "Mind if my friend sits this one out? She's just dead."
This is the last we see of the lovely Fiona Volpe.
Trivia [edit | edit source]
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Madalena in the 1962 episode "Flowers of Evil" for the TV series "Thriller".
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Contessa Juliana Giott-Borgini in the 1964 movie ‘Muscle Beach Party’.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Angela in the 1965 episode "The Four-Steps Affair" for the TV series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."
- Fiona's character was the basis for Fatima Blush(Barbara Carrera) in the 1983 James Bond film, "Never Say Never Again", and for Robin (Spitz) Swallows (Gia Carides) in the 1999 film, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me."
- Fiona's death is similar to that of Felicca from the 1977 James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me", who was also shot in the back after a failed seduction.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Lisa in the 1968 film ‘A Black Veil For Lisa’.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Anna Carrasco in the 1969 film ‘The Forgotten Pistolero‘.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Natalie Mendoza in the 1969 film ‘99 Women’.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Toni Lombardo in the 1972 blaxpoitation film ‘Black Gunn’.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Lady Alexander in the 1972 film ‘Tragic Ceremony’.
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Rosa in the 1974 film ‘La Sbandata’
- Luciana Paluzzi appeared as Jole Scarpa in the 1975 film ‘The Sensuous Nurse’.
- In the original script, when Fiona and Largo are shooting skeets, Largo had a line "Don't ever forget that I made you what you are." Implying that Fiona was once recruited by Largo. Perhaps first as a mistress and then as he brought her into the business and taught her to play the game and seduce the men that Largo wanted to control. Fiona, when she broke with Largo, who perhaps moved on to other women, became more and more powerful within SPECTRE. She even earned her own SPECTRE ring (the meaning of which is unclear). Before she died Miss Volpe had her own crew, who obeyed her every command and who were trained to wait patiently outside hotel rooms for hours while she seduced and made love to adversaries and men who were being targeted by SPECTRE. She also was a trained assassin and Femme Fatale killing Lippe so he wouldn't hurt Bond. She was once Largo's girl but was moving up in SPECTRE on her own. Telling Largo not to kill Bond until she had her deadly last fling with him.
- Fiona Volpe does not appear in the Thunderball novel, published in 1961. In the shooting script and early press kits, she was called "Fiona Kelly" and was most like supposed to be Irish but when the beautiful and voluptuous Luciana Paluzzi was cast the character's name was changed to "Volpe" which is Italian for "Fox". While in English Luciana Paluzzi is the living image of a Fox the word Volpe has other meanings in Italian. Volpe = fox, bitch, deceive, fool, trick, mislead, cheat. (Which are also fitting for Fiona Volpe's character.)
- The scene where Fiona takes Bond for a ride very closely resembles a scene in the 1955 Hitchock movie To Catch a Theif, where Grace Kelly takes Cary Grant for a ride. Much of the style of the early Bond films were based on some of the great Alfred Hitchcock adventure films of the 1950s.
- Fiona's 1965 Ford Mustangs was one of the first of its kind. The Mustang was first released in 1965 and the prototype Mustang was first introduced to the world the year before in Goldfinger as the car that Tilly Masterson (Tania Mallet) is driving.