“I must be dreaming”

HONOR BLACKMAN  Character(s): Pussy Galore  Film 'JAMES BOND: GOLDFINGER' (1964)  Directed By GUY HAMILTON  17 September 1964  SAF21145  Allstar/UNITED ARTISTS    (Goldfinger, UK 1964)    **WARNING** This Photograph is for editorial use only and is the copyright of UNITED ARTISTS  and/or the Photographer assigned by the Film or Production Company & can only be reproduced by publications in conjunction with the promotion of the above Film. A Mandatory Credit To UNITED ARTISTS is required. The Photographer should also be credited when known. No commercial use can be granted without written authority from the Film Company.

We’re very much looking forward to the publication in September of a new James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, penned by Anthony Horowitz.  Not least because Horowitz has a fine record in these ‘approved’ additions to established genres.  His Sherlock Holmes  books, House of Silk and Moriarty, were officially sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate and they are excellent.

Horowitz professes to be sticking closely to the spirit of Ian Fleming’s originals:  “My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.”  Lucy Fleming, the niece of Ian Fleming, said “it was almost as if Ian had written [Trigger Mortis] himself … It does feel like a Fleming book.”  This is good news.  The Fleming books are brilliant.

The news has raised some eyebrows because Trigger Mortis features Bond Girl Pussy Galore, played memorably in the film of Goldfinger, by Honor Blackman.  Back in the 70s, the choice of her name was very much in tune with Bond spirit – though it’s reported that the US film authority took some persuading to allow it even then.  In these more enlightened times (special prize here for blurting a choked “political correctness gone mad”) the whole franchise has been accused of mysogyny.

This does raise another interesting debate – should we judge historical behaviour and references by today’s criteria?  Do today’s standards of equality also apply to previous ages when gender roles were very different and the world was a different place?  And how will our current standards be judged by future observers?  It’s a dangerous principle to start to apply without some serious nuances.

I like to imagine that Sean Connery’s heavily accented voicing of “Poossey” was a subtle attempt to deflect attention from the offending word.  A kind of 70s equivalent of “Sorry my dear I don’t give a damn”.

The context is crucial.  After all, if you throw a punch in the ring, you get paid, but if you do the same thing in the street, you could go to jail.

Trigger Mortis


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