Miss Taro – The Femme Fatal Bond Girl in Dr. No
Miss Taro is one of the first Bond girls in the film’s franchise after appearing in the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962)
As she enters Mr. Smith’s office, wearing a tight, white dress, Bond is clearly impressed with her beauty as his eyes follow her up and down. As Bond leaves the meeting he catches her looking through the keyhole trying to eavesdrop on their conversation, but she claims she’s searching for the files on Dr. Julius No.
Bond asks Miss Taro if she would like to take a tour the island with him later, but she seems unbothered and gives him a “maybe” as an answer.
Back at his hotel, Bond phones Miss Taro and she invites him to her countryside residence. As they speak on the phone, we catch a glimpse of Miss Taro lounging on her bed in revealing white dressing gown and underwear, evidently preparing to entice 007 and ensnare him in a trap.
En route to Miss Taro’s house, Bond narrowly avoids an assassination attempt by the Three Blind Mice, a trio of professional hitmen employed by Dr. No.
The femme fatale, who never expected him to survive, is caught off guard when Bond arrives at her doorstep. Wearing nothing but a towel, she tries to play it cool and welcomes him inside. The cat-and-mouse game intensifies as Bond seduces Miss Taro.
Miss Taro takes a call and is told by Professor Dent to keep Bond busy until he arrives and kills him. Eventually, she succumbs to Bond’s advances and they end up in bed. Afterwards, Bond insists on calling a cab to dine at a restaurant, disregarding Miss Taro’s demanding they stay at hers.
Bond clearly knows what she’s up to, but still ends up making love to her again before they leave. They then get ready for what she thinks the taxi is coming to take them. She dresses in a blue satin Chinese dress, and as the car arrives, Bond courteously opens the door for Miss Taro, who steps into the cab.
To her astonishment, she finds a uniformed man waiting inside. With a subtle nudge, Bond ushers her into what’s revealed to be a police car. As she stumbles onto the rear seat and the door shuts behind her, Miss Taro is caught in her own trap.
Gazing through the open window, she stares at Bond in shock, her eyes and mouth wide open. It’s unclear what upsets her most at this moment: her failed mission, feeling used by Bond, or his taunting remark, “Be careful of her nail polish!”, as she’s sent off to face justice.
Miss Taro in Novels
Miss Taro is in Ian Fleming’s 1958 Dr. No novel, and the character differs in some aspects from her portrayal in the film adaptation. In the book, Miss Taro is a Chinese woman working in Jamaica as a secretary for Pleydell-Smith, who serves the British Secret Service as Principal Secretary at Government House in Kingston, Jamaica.
Her role in the novel involves spying on behalf of Dr. No and reporting back any information that may concern him or his island, Crab Key. Miss Taro goes through Bond’s file and alerts Dr. No that a British spy is coming to investigate. Bond discovers this when he finds his folder open on her desk. Additionally, she steals the files on Crab Key to deter anyone from looking into the matter further.
Unlike in the movie, Miss Taro’s storyline doesn’t extend beyond Bond’s meeting with Pleydell Smith in the novel. Her character is not as fleshed out, and she doesn’t have further interactions or a romantic subplot with James Bond as portrayed in the film.
Miss Taro Actress Zena Marshall
Zena Marshall is best remembered for her portrayal of Bond girl Miss Taro in Dr. No. She was born in Kenya in 1925, but spent her childhood in Leicestershire, England, and honed her acting skills at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Following her studies, she embarked on her acting career and her acting journey began with a small role in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). Her unique looks led to her being cast in several Asian roles, including the memorable Miss Taro. The movie’s immense success cemented the James Bond franchise’s place in film history and etched Marshall’s name as one of the original Bond girls.
Post-Bond, Marshall portrayed Countess Ponticelli in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) and made various TV appearances. Her last film role was in The Terrornauts in 1967.