Pussy Galore

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Pussy Galore
Character from the James Bond series
Pussy Galore by Honor Blackman.jpg
AffiliationAuric Goldfinger (film)
The Cement Mixers (novel)
Portrayed byHonor Blackman
RoleBond girl / Henchwoman
 
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This article is about the James Bond villainess. For the band, see Pussy Galore (band).
Pussy Galore
Character from the James Bond series
Pussy Galore by Honor Blackman.jpg
AffiliationAuric Goldfinger (film)
The Cement Mixers (novel)
Portrayed byHonor Blackman
RoleBond girl / Henchwoman

Pussy Galore is a fictional character in the Ian Fleming James Bond novel Goldfinger and the later film by the same name. In the film, she is played by Honor Blackman. As with many of Ian Fleming's creations, the name is a double entendrepussy being a slang term for cat or for vagina.

Blanche Blackwell, a Jamaican of Anglo-Jewish descent, is thought to have been the love of Fleming's later life and his model for Pussy Galore.[1]

Appearances[edit]

Novel[edit]

In the novel, Pussy Galore is the only woman in the United States known to be running an organised crime gang. Initially trapeze artists, her group of performing catwomen, "Pussy Galore and her Abrocats", is unsuccessful, and so the women train as cat burglars instead.

Her group evolves into an all-lesbian organisation, based in Harlem, known as the Cement Mixers. In the novel, she has black hair, pale skin, and (according to Bond) the only violet eyes that Bond has ever seen. She is in her thirties, her voice low and attractive. Pussy tells Bond that she became a lesbian after she was sexually abused by her uncle at the age of 12.

Auric Goldfinger enlists the help of Pussy and her Cement Mixers to carry out "Operation Grand Slam", a scheme to kill all the soldiers guarding Fort Knox by poisoning their water supply with a water-borne nerve agent (GB, also called sarin), and then to use a stolen nuclear weapon to blow open the U.S. Bullion Depository there and steal one billion dollars in gold bullion from it.[2] Goldfinger chooses the Cement Mixers because he needs a group of women to impersonate the nurses in fake emergency medical teams he plans to send into the poison-stricken Fort Knox.

In the film they are known as Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus a squadron of all women pilots who fly over Fort Knox releasing the Delta 9 nerve gas to kill all the Army personnel. (Bond convinced Pussy to switch the canisters so instead of releasing nerve gas they released a harmless aerosol with the troops pretending to be knocked out.)

After Bond and Felix Leiter foil "Grand Slam", Galore runs into Bond while impersonating a stewardess on Goldfinger's hijacked escape flight to the Soviet Union (which carries his remaining fortune in gold). Bond, having previously been drugged by a fake vaccination, has been kidnapped and transported onto the plane to join Goldfinger, who is determined to kill him at last.

However, Bond punctures one of the airplane's windows with a knife (causing Goldfinger's henchman Oddjob to be blown out and plunge to his death), then tackles Goldfinger, and, in the ensuing struggle, kills him. Bond then forces the crew of the airplane to reverse course. When the gold-heavy craft runs out of fuel, and the crew must ditch it in the ocean, Bond and Pussy are the only ones who manage to escape onto a life raft. It is hinted at the end of the novel that Pussy is sent to prison, as she says to Bond, "Will you write to me in Sing Sing?"

Her original band of Amazonian catwomen appear as characters in the film, but as small-aircraft pilots rather than trapeze artists.

Film[edit]

Concerned about censors, the film's producers considered changing her name to "Kitty Galore", but decided to keep the original name after the British newspapers began to refer to the actress who was preparing for the role, Honor Blackman, as "Pussy" after she was shown in a picture with Prince Phillipe, with the caption "Prince and Puss" in the lead-up to production. Blackman is the oldest actress so far to have played a Bond Girl. She and Diana Rigg are the only two Bond girls who have been older than the actor playing opposite them as Bond. During the filming of Goldfinger, Blackman was 39 years old; Sean Connery was only 34. During the filming of On Her Majesty's Secret Service Rigg, 31, played opposite the then 30-year-old George Lazenby.

Pussy is first seen when Bond wakes up in Goldfinger's private jet, having been knocked out with a tranquiliser gun by a Goldfinger henchman. He is lying on a couch when he regains consciousness, and since the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is her stunning blonde-framed visage leaning over him, the dialog runs as follows:

James Bond: Who are you?

Pussy Galore: My name is Pussy Galore.
James Bond: I must be dreaming.[3]

She then asserts that the nature of her employment for Goldfinger is that she's "a damn good pilot", clearly intending to suggest that there is no relationship of a more intimate nature between them, and tells Bond, "You can turn off the charm. I'm immune."[4] She is the leader of Pussy Galore's Flying Circus, a group of women aviators connected with Goldfinger's "Operation Grand Slam" (played in certain scenes by stuntmen in blonde wigs). In a later scene, Pussy uses judo to attack Bond after she catches him eavesdropping on Goldfinger's plan, and turns him over to Goldfinger.

However, Bond eventually sleeps with the previously "immune" Pussy Galore. She then secretly turns against Goldfinger; she alerts the Central Intelligence Agency to her employer's scheme, and they help her replace the deadly nerve gas that Goldfinger is planning have her aviators spray over Fort Knox with a different, harmless substance (the soldiers below appear to die, but are actually faking).

Having foiled Goldfinger's plan, Bond boards the President's private plane to travel to the White House. Goldfinger, now a fugitive millionaire, forces Pussy to participate in hijacking the plane in order to force the pilot to fly him to Cuba. However, Bond defeats Goldfinger, who is blown out the window at high altitude, thus suffering what, in the novel, had been Oddjob's fate. Bond then saves Pussy from the crashing plane: they both bail out (this is shown only on radar), land safely in an unidentified tropical region, and make love under their parachute.

During an interview for the documentary Bond Girls Are Forever, Honor Blackman commented that, when she was playing the role of Pussy, she knew her character had been written as a lesbian in the novel. She also said she had played the role as if she had been abused in the past.

Reception and cultural impact[edit]

Pussy ranked second in a poll of favourite Bond Girls by Entertainment Weekly in 2007, beaten only by Ursula Andress' character Honey Rider.[5] Yahoo! Movies had her name included in the 2012 list of the best Bond girl names, calling it "The most famous Bond Girl name, and also the rudest - US censors almost cut it from Goldfinger."

The 1997 parody film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery features a character named Alotta Fagina in an apparent reference to Galore (and perhaps also to the many other double-entendre named Bond girls, such as Octopussy and Holly Goodhead.)[6]

The Rolex GMT-Master reference 6542 is nicknamed "Pussy Galore" due to the fact the movie character wears this particular watch.[7]

Her name is also the inspiration for a character, Pussy LaGore, in the Carmageddon video game series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomson, Ian (6 June 2008). "Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming; For Your Eyes Only, by Ben Macintyre". The Independent. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Goldfinger, chapters 17 & 18
  3. ^ "Goldfinger (film) – Wikiquote". En.wikiquote.org. 12 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000345 /quotes
  5. ^ "Countdown! The 10 best Bond girls | James Bond | Movie Commentary | DVD | Entertainment Weekly". Ew.com. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Lindner 2009, p. 76.
  7. ^ GMT Master History, Rolex GMT-Master, GMT-Master, Rolex. "GMT Master History". GMT Master History. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]