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Pussy Galore: women and music in 'Goldfinger'

Haworth, Catherine (2015) Pussy Galore: women and music in 'Goldfinger'. In: For his eyes only? The women of James Bond. Wallflower Press, New York, USA, pp. 160-170. ISBN 9780231176149

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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.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Catherine Haworth
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 16:18
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2018 14:01


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