Pussy Galore: women and music in Goldfinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Like other aspects of the James Bond films’ well-established narrative formula and glossy packaging, music is used to provide both continuity and innovation within the series, combining accessible orchestral scoring with original standalone pop songs featuring well-known vocalists, and making a significant contribution to the marketing and economic success of the franchise. Behind this signature sound was British composer John Barry, who assisted Monty Norman in scoring Dr. No and went on to provide incidental music and title songs for a further eleven Bond films. Barry’s Bond scores combine a 1960s-inflected mixture of big band brass and sweeping, romantic string lines with classic song writing skills that continue to provide a template for contemporary artists and composers working on the series. This chapter focuses upon the engagement of music with the Bond film’s problematic and complex politics of gender and identity, exploring the often contradictory representations of femininity found both within the narrative and in its title sequences with particular reference to 1964's 'Goldfinger'. It discusses the overall dominance of 'Bond's' music within the film, but also argues that the characterisation of Jill and Tilly Masterson and Pussy Galore makes significant use of music - and its unexpected absence - to create spaces for alternative and/or queer understandings of femininity within the film, and opportunities for female defiance of Bond's (often problematically forceful) all-conquering vision of heterosexual masculinity. A key element within this analysis is discussion of the film's title sequence and the role of Shirley Bassey's 'Goldfinger' track as a dual signifier of both misogynist dominance and charismatic female resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFor His Eyes Only
Subtitle of host publicationThe Women of James Bond
EditorsLisa Funnell
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherColumbia University
Pages157-166
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780231850926
ISBN (Print)9780231176156, 9780231176149
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

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    Haworth, C. (2015). Pussy Galore: women and music in Goldfinger. In L. Funnell (Ed.), For His Eyes Only: The Women of James Bond (pp. 157-166). [Chapter 16] New York, USA: Columbia University.