It's her devastating blend of pin-up and ton-up
ANYONE who calls Honor Blackman pretty deserves to be thrown over her shoulder.
But apart from her tough, tigerish beauty - and her black leather suits - how has she achieved this half-nelson on our usually torpid imaginations?
Miss Blackman, James Bond's next film girl-friend, has managed to disrupt English social life on a Saturday evening when, as Cathy Gale in The Avengers, she regularly makes strong bad men bite the dust with a nice line in judo.
IN fact, the post-Cathy definition of a friend is someone who's prepared to come to dinner on Saturday even if they know you haven't a TV set.
It's partly because, for television, she's so unusual. At 37 she has character, she has personality and she has beauty.
She can look soft and feminine in dreamy romantic dresses. But her face can harden in the time it takes to pull a gun, and the black leather gear would do credit to a ton-up boy.
When leather was still a Chelsea fad she would emerge dressed from head to toe in the stuff.
The gear was originally her fellow-Avenger Patrick Macnee's idea. She had to wear something which could take all the rough treatment she gets avenging, and suede wouldn't photograph.
Macnee's solution proved so successful that the clothes have been getting more and more way-out ever since.
But the cult of Cathy Gale cannot merely be explained by the fact that she happened to initiate and exploit a fashion for tough clothes for girls just at the right moment.
She also acts tough. And every time she bounces a large, strong man off the woodwork women's suppresses aggressions have a vicarious holiday all over the country.
"A large number of women like the anti-man aggressiveness - the girls with chips on their shoulders who want to do anything a man can do better," she explains.
"And I seem to appeal to men because I'm dominant and independent."
The men I know give a simpler explanation: She looks so good.
All in all, my heart bleeds for James Bond. He may have won through against Dr. No. He may be able to beat Smersh single-handed.
But even though the script lays down that he wins in the end, it can't save the fellow from being out-mythed and outclassed by Miss Blackman.
Bond at last will bite the dust.
From The Daily Mail, England, January 10th 1964.
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