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Miss Taro (Zena Marshall)

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Miss Taro is a character and henchman appearing in Dr. No. She was the secretary to Pleydell Smith (the Chief Secretary of the colonial government in Jamaica) and an informant working for the villain, Dr. Julius No. While she provides an important, but small role in the novel, in the film her role in the story was expanded significantly. She was portrayed by Zena Marshall.

Film biography

Miss Taro works as a secretary for Pleydell Smith, the British Chief Secretary for colonial affairs in Jamaica. It is in this office where she first meets James Bond. As she enters Mr. Smith's office, wearing a white dress, Bond eyes her up and down. We soon see her peering through the keyhole and eavesdropping on 007’s conversation with her boss. Bond walks through the door and catches her in the awkward position and he obviously knows she was spying on him. When confronted, she claims she was searching for the files on Dr. No. Bond asks the beautiful Miss Taro if she would like to tour the island with him later that afternoon, but she merely gives him a “maybe” as an answer.      

Back in his hotel, Bond is asked to return a call from her, whereupon she invites him into her house in the countryside. While talking to Bond on the phone, we see Miss Taro stretching out on her bed in skimpy underclothing: clearly, she is getting ready to seduce 007 in order to lure him into a trap.     

On his way to Miss Taro’s home, Bond escapes an assassination attempt by The Three Blind Mice, who are professional assassins working for Dr. No.      

The villainess, who never expected him to arrive, is wearing nothing but a towel when she opens the door and tries to hide her surprise by letting Bond inside. 007 immediately makes a move on her when the phone rings in the room next door. Miss Taro gets orders to keep him busy until an assassin arrives to finish him off. Finally, she gives in to Bond’s seduction and has sex with him. Later in the evening, James Bond insists they call a cab to get dinner at a restaurant. Ignoring Miss Taro’s repeated request to stay in,      

Bond makes a phone call. We can assume that at this point, he has clearly figured out that the beautiful lady he has just slept with is not to be trusted. Nevertheless, Bond makes love to Miss Taro one more time.     

In the following scene, they descend from Taro’s porch. The evil Miss Taro is wearing a satin blue Chinese dress. As the car pulls up front, Bond opens the door for the villainess, who unsuspectingly boards the cab. She gasps in surprise as she sees a uniformed man seemingly waiting for her inside. By a gentle push against her derriere, Bond shoves the villainess into what turns out to be a police car. As she falls over the rear bench, the door closes behind her and the trap closes on Miss Taro. Seen through the open window, she gawks at Bond with her eyes and mouth wide open. We cannot be sure what upsets the villainess most at this moment: the fact that she failed her mission, the fact that Bond took sexual advantage of her before busting her, or his mocking remark, “Be careful of her nail polish!”, before dispatching her to prison.  

Behind the scenes

Zena Marshall described her role as "this attractive little siren, and at the same time I was the spy, a bad woman", who Young asked to play "not as Chinese, but a Mid-Atlantic woman who men dream about but is not real"

Marshall took three days to shoot her landmark bedroom scene with Connery and that she found it very difficult to spit in his face when handed over to the police.

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