Bond forcing himself on Pussy Galore

IcePakIcePak Perth, Western AustraliaPosts: 150MI6 Agent

How do people feel about Bond forcing himself on Pussy towards the end of Goldfinger?

Maybe it's my modern sensibilities, but after rewatching it last night and really enjoying it up to this point, it really soured my experience with the film.

Yes, it was a different era with different expectations.

Yes, it's supposed to show that Bond is so charming that he can turn on any woman, heterosexual or not.

Even then, it still feels wrong to me. Had it been set up more prominently that the pair were more flirtatious with each other or that Pussy was warming to Bond's charms over the course of the film, then it might have come across as more acceptable to me that Pussy was finally giving in to Bond 's charms.

What makes it worse is that after this, we get no real character resolution arc in regards to Pussy's choice.

Don't get me wrong - I understand that Bond is desperate at this stage in the story, that he needs to alert MI6 and the CIA about what Goldfinger is planning. I understand that Pussy is his only real way out of this situation. But that he forces her to have sex with him and this is what turns her to the side of "good" makes me like this version of the character less.

How do others feel about this aspect of the film?

1. CR 2. OHMSS 3. SF 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. GE 7. FRwL
8. TMwtGG 9. FYEO 10. OP 11. TND 12. LtK 13. GF 14. DN
15. AVtak 16. SP 17. TWiNE 18. MR 19. LaLD 20. YOLT 21. TB
22. QoS 23. DAD 24. DaF

Comments

  • Asp9mmAsp9mm Over the Hills and Far Away.Posts: 6,845MI6 Agent
    edited October 10

    I don’t have a problem with it. She’s a gangster prepared to kill hundreds and she’s holding him prisoner. Which is obviously a bit worse.

    And he doesn’t force her to have sex with him, she reciprocates. He only forces a kiss. Big deal.

    ..................Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,734Chief of Staff

    IIRC, the amount of people who would die if Goldfinger's plan goes ahead unhindered, with the willing participation of Miss Galore, is 60,000. Bond quite correctly sees his role as to prevent this from happening. His attempt to alert the authorities via Mr Solo has failed.

    How can Bond prevent the deaths of 60,000 people? He is unarmed and, pardon the pun, solo in the enemy's HQ. His options appear to be very few.

  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,286MI6 Agent

    They also come across very much as equals - Pussy throws Bond in the hay with an expert ju-jitsu throw, so it's not like Bond is forcing himself on a weak victim. Bond's sex appeal is part of his arsenal as much as his charm. I don't have any problem with it either.

    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent

    IcePak said:

    What makes it worse is that after this, we get no real character resolution arc in regards to Pussy's choice.

    I found this interesting last time I watched: the film fades out on the clinch in the barn, just as Pussy gives in, then immediately fades in on the planes spraying over Fort Knox. Those are Pussy's planes, so we're going from a shot of Pussy herself in a spot of bother, to Pussy doing her job as expected the next morning, and so far's we know her planes are still spraying toxic gas. It's not til Felix arrives after all the fighting is done, do we get the exposition to tell us why everybody didn't die from the gas. What went on with Pussy in between the clinch and the planes spraying is left entirely to our imaginations

    I like the fact Pussy's change of sides is implied after the fact, not explicitly shown. Its the crucial act to saving the world, and there's about twenty minutes where we don't know she's done that. I would have assumed she was still a baddy in first viewing, and just took her change of sides for granted every viewing after that, but the fact she changes sides is actually a cinematic sleight of hand.


    As for what went on in Pussy's mind between scenes to make her change sides, I've got a theory: she's not the lesbian gang boss from Fleming's book (there's no onscreen evidence of this). She's really Cathy Gale from the Avengers on her own undercover mission to infiltrate Goldfinger's organisation, when Bond shows up unexpected and starts interfering with a job she already has under control.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 18,323MI6 Agent

    I think the reasons mentioned above in support of Bond are valid, but the execution of the scene makes me uncomfortable.

  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,563MI6 Agent

    Her name should have been Pussy Notyours. I mean, if sexual mores would be a touchy issue, I would have stopped watching when she introduced herself with that name. In fact, the moment Dink’s bottom got slapped should have been the signal to change the channel.

    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,277MI6 Agent

    It was within the romantic celluloid conventions of the day - similar to Rhett Butler forcing himself on Scarlett O'Hara, the difference sort of being that she spent the movie being a piece of work alongside lily-livered men and he's a bit of a scoundrel so it evens out. The following scene shows her all happy and fulfilled, to make a point. It's similar in the controversial Thunderball Shrublands seduction scene - they make it clear Pat is happy with how it turned out. All the same, the scenes don't work for today really.

    Word by far imo is Bond's trickery of Solitaire in LALD, that really is off, not least because he doesn't quite generate the sense there's any sexual lust on his part or chemistry between them. It seems purely calculated.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,366MI6 Agent

    The problem isn't the barn scene but the line in the private jet where Pussy declared "I'm immune." She means immune to his charms, but what does that mean exactly? That she doesn't find him attractive? That she's dedicated to the job and only the job? That she's a lesbian, as Fleming intended? It gives the impression she won't succumb, so it's disappointing she does. The manner of it reflects her lone, but doesn't sit well on modern viewing. It would have helped if Peter Hunt hadn't been so swift to fade the moment Pussy begins to enjoy the kiss. Guy Hamilton's direction of his stars is also a bit off: some delight for the fight from Pussy might have suggested she knew what was coming - after all Goldfinger virtually shoved her at Bond, git her to change her outfit and appear as his escort for the benefit of CIA.

  • IcePakIcePak Perth, Western AustraliaPosts: 150MI6 Agent
    edited October 12


    At least with Pat in Thunderball the filmmakers create the insinuation that she was submitting to him just keep her job and there's a scene afterwards showing that she enjoyed it. So there was reason behind sleeping with him, even if it seems deplorable by today's standards. She was a woman doing what she needed to to survive, giving her a similar agency to Bond in that moment. Again, this would be classified as sexual harassment these days, but it makes a kind of sense.

    With Pussy, they remove that agency from the character to give the film a twist, making her passive in that moment. We don't see the effects of Bond having his way with her until a good 20 or so minutes later, and even then, Bond forces himself on her once more while she is trying to get them rescued. As ChrisNo1 points out, the filmmakers go out of their way to make Pussy an active character, having her tell Bond "I'm immune". But in the barn and even at the end, she has that agency taken from her despite the film striving to show how independent and active a character she is. This sends a message that no matter how independent a woman is, she needs to submit to a man's desires no matter what. Further, she's the lynchpin to thwarting Goldfinger's plan, but we don't get to see that. We only get a line of dialogue from a male character to convey what she has done to allow this to happen, further taking her agency away through a man speaking for her. It creates an interesting twist for the audience, sure, but robs her character of agency.

    And, yes, the way Bond tricks Solitaire is another despicable way the series shows its disrespect of women in the series. As is the way Bond shoves Goodnight into the closet in TMWTGG, and other characters too. It would make an interesting essay.

    1. CR 2. OHMSS 3. SF 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. GE 7. FRwL
    8. TMwtGG 9. FYEO 10. OP 11. TND 12. LtK 13. GF 14. DN
    15. AVtak 16. SP 17. TWiNE 18. MR 19. LaLD 20. YOLT 21. TB
    22. QoS 23. DAD 24. DaF
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 4,074MI6 Agent

    It appears that there are a few people on here who have not experienced the “hard to get” routine played by women for time immemorial. Both Pussy Galore and especially Pat Fearing in TB, fall into that category. As NP rightly comments above in #8, Bond’s seduction of Solitaire is cold blooded trickery of a naive young woman, both Pussy and Pat were far from naive, and it was also suggested that Pat was having it off with Count Lippe as well.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • IcePakIcePak Perth, Western AustraliaPosts: 150MI6 Agent

    CoolHandBond, while I can see Pat playing hard to get, I can't see that with Pussy. She's a lesbian after all, and in the beginning of the stable scene she actively stops Bond from trying to have his way with her because she's obviously not interested. While the film never actively states her sexual orientation, it's all there in her treatment of Bond up until Goldfinger asks her to entertain Bond, and even then it's implied this is only done so her stake in Operation Grandslam won't have any hicups.

    I'm not trying to condemn Bond's actions - at this point in the film it's his only option for success and, knowing who he is, of course he's going to try this route. What I take issue with is the way the filmmakers treat Pussy as a plot device from this moment forward, removing her agency, which she has clearly had up to this point, and turning her simply into an object Bond can have his way with to get out of a predicament despite spending time establishing her and her agency in earlier scenes.

    They do something similar with Tiffany Case in DAF, only instead of Bond having his way with her, they turn her into a bimbo. This trend demonstrates a lack of respect towards women on the part of the filmmakers. Yes, women were generally seen as objects during that era, but does that make it any more acceptable when the series had established strong, active characters like Honey Ryder in early installments?

    1. CR 2. OHMSS 3. SF 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. GE 7. FRwL
    8. TMwtGG 9. FYEO 10. OP 11. TND 12. LtK 13. GF 14. DN
    15. AVtak 16. SP 17. TWiNE 18. MR 19. LaLD 20. YOLT 21. TB
    22. QoS 23. DAD 24. DaF
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent
    edited October 12
    1. its only because we've read the book we assume Pussy is a lesbian. Usually when watching the films I assume whatever Fleming wrote is still true by default unless explicitly contradicted. But ever since I saw the Avengers episode The Gilded Cage (s3e07 November 9th 1963) I believe its even more likely she's Cathy Gale undercover, the plot twist actually makes more sense.
    2. the book handles Pussy's conversion much worse I think. Pussy is only introduced with a few chapters to go, and does not switch sides until the final plane ride, when she slips Bond a note saying "I'm with you. XXX. P.". After they crash and she flirts with Bond, he says "They told me you only liked women". To which she replies "I never met a man before ... I come from the South. You know the definition of a virgin down there? Well, it's a girl who can run faster than her brother. In my case I couldn't run as fast as my uncle. I was twelve. That's not so good, James. You ought to be able to guess that."
    3. @IcePak you make some good points about the representation of women in the films. "BondGirls" are typically tougher more adventurous characters than we might meet in real life, yet they are all pushovers for the hero in the end. In his book License to Thrill, James Chapman  argues there is a ritualistic "repositionining" of the female's role needed for Bond to save the world. He doesn't just sleep with a lady as part of the ritual each adventure, he takes a woman who already lives in a role not traditionally associated with women, at least in the films of the time, and repositions her in the most conventional role possible, underneath the man in his bed. Only then can he save the world. Mayday of course flips the situation.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 4,074MI6 Agent

    @IcePak she is flirting with him on the plane, ‘close shaves’ etc. and when they land, ‘little boys and little girls’. It’s all subtle, but definitely flirtatious, maybe you should watch again in closer detail. Pussy also smiles flirtatiously to Bond on several occasions while also putting on a hard to get act by saying she is immune to his charm, it’s a challenge that Bond would find hard to resist, whether he was saving the world or just after some recreational timeout with an attractive woman. In the barn when Pussy first flips Bond she could have walked away but didn’t and she was obviously enjoying the judo gameplay, she resisted all of a few seconds before succumbing to Bond’s charms and was clearly enjoying his attentions at the fade out. She was obviously enjoying some more bonking at the end of the film as well. And most important of all Bond was doing it to save thousands of lives as part of a mission!

    It really boils down to the sensitivity of the viewer, I cannot remember hearing anything untoward this scene before reading some threads here on AJB. In today’s woke world it’s doubtful we will ever see the true James Bond of the books ever again 🙁

    @caractacus potts I like your Cathy Gale suggestion, it doesnt work for me, but it’s an interesting take on the situation.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,277MI6 Agent

    The woman in my local library is flirtatious - I don't think if I grabbed and moved in I'd be invited back to get my book stamped.

    As for this being the Fleming Bond, well, there isn't a scene like that in the book. Pussy Galore makes her approach in the final pages - she initiates everything and talks about 'Tender Loving Care'. This is presumably something different to the 'TLC' recommended in care homes, with is a euphemism for 'make them comfortable, they won't be hear next week...'

    On the other hand, one could argue the book is less PC as Galore is lesbian in that and gets 'turned' by Bond, that said I don't know, folk are meant to be sexually fluid anyhow.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,269MI6 Agent

    It's not cool, I'm not hugely keen on it and I wouldn't want to see Bond doing it again, but it's in the film and it's an artefact of its time so I can live with it.

    Pussy is at least a baddie and Bond is on his mission at this point, as pointed out above, so he is at least doing it to try and save people (and amusingly it's actually his sole constructive action in defeating the evil scheme in the whole movie! 😁 ); but his actions in Thunderball in the spa with Pat do exceed this in terms of creepiness- that's certainly not something I'd like to see again.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,366MI6 Agent

    Patricia Fearing is a remaking of a character Bond learns about on the taxi ride to Shrublands in Flemibg's novel. The taxi driver is a young man who remarks that there is a local barmaid or a nurse who likes a ride. She keeps the old guys at the clinic frisky. Bond seems mildly amused and if my memory is correct he relates on his return to HQ about sharing a liaison in the back of her car.

    I'm paraphrasing to be economical. It isn't a very pleasant description if a woman, even for 1961.

    And God, I hope I'm right about this as I haven't checked it.

    Bond's seduction of Pat seems quite unnatural, to modern eyes. But she is attracted to him, they flirt quite openly, even when he's being over handsy she's not angry, simply admonishing him for being such a boyishly forward cuss.

    She doesn't encourage Bond, but she doesn't reject him either. She knows Bond isn't really going to report her and, as many posters point out, she actively enjoys his attentions later on.

    "It's that mink glove..."

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,734Chief of Staff

    Chris, Patricia Fearing is most definitely not the character the young man tells Bond about in the taxi. And he doesn't tell anyone about their union in her car.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent

    here's the passage @chrisno1 is thinking of

    Ian Fleming said...

    The young man glanced at Bond. Reassured and remembering Bond's worldly comments on Brighton, he said, “Well, you see we got a girl here in Washington. Racy bird. Sort of local tart, if you see what I mean. Waitress at a place called The Honey Bee Tea Shop--- or was, rather. She started most of us off, if you get my meaning. Quid a go and she knows a lot of French tricks. Regular sport. Well, this year the word got round up at the Scrubs and some of these old goats began patronizing Polly---Polly Grace, that's her name. Took her out in their Bentleys and gave her a roll in a deserted quarry up on the Downs. That's been her pitch for years. Trouble was they paid her five, ten quid and she soon got too good for the likes of us. Priced her out of our market, so to speak. Inflation, sort of. And a month ago she chucked up her job at The Honey Bee, and you know what?'' The young man's voice was loud with indignation. ”She bought herself a beat-up Austin Metropolitan for a couple of hundred quid and went mobile. Just like the London tarts in Curzon Street they talk about in the papers. Now she's off to Brighton, Lewes---anywhere she can find the sports, and in between whiles she goes to work in the quarry with these old goats from the Scrubs! Would you believe it!''


    Patricia Fearing is a different character, much as we see in the film but Bond doesn't have to blackmail her, instead she sneaks him brandy when he awakes from the spinestretching incident. But when they first meet, he does give her an uninvited kiss, which could lead to charges today.

    Ian Fleming also said...

    She was used to this reaction of the men patients and rather touchy about it. She didn't smile. She said in a business-like voice, "Nearly ten per cent of osteopaths are women. Take off your clothes, please. Everything except your shorts.'' When Bond had amusedly obeyed she told him to stand in front of her. She walked round him, examining him with eyes in which there was nothing but professional interest. Without commenting on his scars she told him to lie face downward on the couch and, with strong, precise, and thoroughly practiced holds, went through the handling and joint-cracking of her profession. Bond soon realized that she was an extremely powerful girl. His muscled body, admittedly unresistant, seemed to be easy going for her. Bond felt a kind of resentment at the neutrality of this relationship between an attractive girl and a half-naked man. At the end of the treatment she told him to stand up and clasp his hands behind her neck. Her eyes, a few inches away from his, held nothing but professional concentration. She hauled strongly away from him, presumably with the object of freeing his vertebrae. This was too much for Bond. At the end of it, when she told him to release his hands, he did nothing of the sort. He tightened them, pulled her head sharply toward him, and kissed her full on the lips. She ducked quickly down through his arms and straightened herself, her cheeks red and her eyes shining with anger. Bond smiled at her, knowing that he had never missed a slap in the face, and a hard one at that, by so little. He said, "It's all very well, but I just had to do it. You shouldn't have a mouth like that if you're going to be an osteopath.''

     The anger in her eyes subsided a fraction. She said, "The last time that happened, the man had to leave by the next train.''

    Bond laughed. He made a threatening move toward her. "If I thought there was any hope of being kicked out of this damn place I'd kiss you again.''

     She said, “Don't be silly. Now pick up your things. You've got half an hour's traction.'' She smiled grimly. ”That ought to keep you quiet.''

     Bond said morosely, "Oh, all right. But only on condition you let me take you out on your next day off.''

     “We'll see about that. It depends how you behave at the next treatment.'' 


  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,438MI6 Agent

    ..then as noted above, Bond doesn't have to "blackmail" her. She sneaks him brandy after his accident, proactively beginning their affair. Connery's line about blackmail (I forget the exact wording) is not much different than FlemingBond's threat to kiss her again just so he can get expelled from this place: his peculiar sense of humour, and perhaps a macho overcompensation for the emasculation he seems to feel about being sent to this health farm.


    but worth considering again that the films differ from the books in many subtle ways. Pussy Galore is quite different in the film, and in this case I think an improvement from how Fleming wrote her (I don't like this suggestion that homosexuality is an effect of trauma that can be cured by a real man). But mostly in these early movies, the filmmakers took strong female characters from Fleming's books and made them weak. Folks mentioned Solitaire above as Bond's most objectionable seduction. But in the book, Solitaire takes the lead, phoning Bond at his hotel after their first meeting in Harlem, and then sneaks away from Mr Big to meet Bond at Grand Central Station. and when they kiss...

    Then she brought his lips against hers again and kissed him long and lasciviously, as if she was the man and he the woman.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,366MI6 Agent

    Thanks for clearing that up, guys. I haven't reread TB for some years and my recollection was quite obviously poor. You saved me some trouble. The Patricia seduction is remarkably similar to the movie. The sauna scene was obviously added in to spice up the confection for a 1965 audience.

    I agree also that the cinematic seduction of Solitaire is uncomfortable viewing. However, I do think it is worth remembering that Solitaire as a Voodoo High Priestess lived her life by the Tarot. When Bond turned over the Lover's Card at Mr Big's HQ she already understood the implication - that Bond was destined to be her lover. This doesn't ease my feelings about Bond's action, which is callous at best, even though she gives some pillow talk explaining it was forseen.

    It's uncomfortable mostly but not entirely because she is a virgin. Again forgive me if I am wrong, but in LALD the novel, wasn't Solitaire sleeping with Mr Big? Her decision to run off with OO7 is what turns Bond's train ride to Florida so very dark...

    Fleming seems to be suggesting that if the women instigate the sex or the relationship, Bond considers anything fair game. Imagine if Irma Bunt had flirted with Sir Hilary. Good grief...

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,734Chief of Staff
    edited October 14

    No, Solitaire isn't sleeping with Mr Big, though it's clear that this is his plan.

    Edit- This is the first occurrence of what will become a standard trope of Bond stories, ie the villain and Bond both being after the same woman (clue: she picks Bond) although this is more common in the films, possibly because there simply are more films than Fleming books.

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