Study Guide

Goldfinger Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman)

Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman)

What's New, Pussycat?

Bond girl names don't get more suggestive than this one. It almost makes the Austin Powers parody character Alotta Fagina sound like a Disney princess. But despite her crude-sounding name, Pussy Galore is a character more complex than the villain who gives the film its name.

Pussy is a pilot who owns more pantsuits than Hillary Clinton. An expert flyer, she has trained a band of gorgeous bombshells to fly in her "Flying Circus." All these women look like pin-ups, but they could fly circles around any male bomber. The girls clearly look up to Pussy and respect her as a leader.

So what is Pussy doing working for a sleazy guy like Goldfinger? Well, Pussy has big plans for her cut of the payday loot from Operation Grand Slam. Here's what she says to Goldfinger:

PUSSY: I've spotted a little island in the Bahamas. I'll hang up a sign, "no trespassing," and go back to nature.

Pussy wants to get away from mankind—specifically the man part. In the novel by Ian Fleming, Pussy is actually described as a lesbian. While the film never uses that word, it uses suggestive dialogue—and all those pantsuits—to suggest that Pussy prefers women over men. What could she possibly mean when she says she'll "debrief" her beautiful pilots, hmm?

In addition to the double-entendres, she also speaks bluntly about her aversion to the male sex. As she says to Bond:

PUSSY: You can turn off the charm. I'm immune.

The film uses classic tomboy tropes—like making Pussy "strictly the outdoor type"—to insinuate that Pussy prefers the company of her young Flying Circus members over anything Bond has to offer. No woman has ever turned Bond down, and in some way, that makes Pussy an even bigger opponent for Bond than Goldfinger is.

Guys or Dolls

Ian Fleming described Pussy as a woman who "only needed the right man to come along …to cure her psycho-pathological malady" (source). Uh oh. You read that right—the author of the James Bond novels believed that lesbians had a mental illness that could be "cured" by the right man's touch.

And that happens in the movie, too. Bond forces himself on Pussy in the barn, and what follows is like the opposite of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." Pussy kisses a boy and realizes that she likes it. Because the film never explicitly describes Pussy as a lesbian, you could assume that she has never had any sexual attraction to anyone, male or female, until Bond comes along. Or you can take it the way Fleming intended and roll your eyes until they fall out of your head.

Before you give the director the benefit of the doubt, consider this quote from Guy Hamilton: "Anybody who thinks that she's a dyke, terrific, because it's much more fun when Bond, shall we say, turns her around and makes her see the light of day" (source).

Welp.

Once you pick your eyes off the floor and step away from the Psycho Lesbian trope, you'll see one way Bond has made Pussy see the light. He convinces her to use her pilots against Goldfinger and help capture the villain instead. Her change of heart gives her character a redemptive arc.

Unlike any other character in the movie, Pussy is a dynamic one who is different at the end of the film from the way she was when she made her appearance. But since you know Bond will have a different girl before you can say "Thunderball," we have to wonder if Pussy was able to buy that island after all…

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