Saturday, 3 June 2017

Molly Peters 1942-2017

Like many people in Britain in the sixties and seventies, the only time my family went to the cinema in a year was when the annual (as they then were) James Bond film was released.  I remember a few others that actually got me to the cinema.  I remember going to Carry on Cowboy (1965), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), One Million Years BC (1966), Thunderbird 6 (1968) (I missed Thunderbirds are Go (1966), which we were due to go to but I was dangerously ill in hospital - as my sister says: 'when you were small you were always basically just on the brink of death' - to which there is some truth), The Jungle Book (1967), The Battle of Britain (1969) and Waterloo (1970).  Most of these films, as you can imagine, I was mainly taken too by my father but the Bond films were family outings.  Given the amount of implied sex and violence this is rather odd, in retrospect, and now I find it strange, when going to see a Bond at the cinema to see parents with children who are really too young to attend.  

Thunderball (1966) was, the last James Bond film I didn't see at the cinema.  You Only Live Twice (1967) was the first one, as I mentioned in my post on the Bond films of Roger Moore, recently.  My mother and father went to see Thunderball and I remember my mother telling me it was the best one so far (discuss).   So I never saw Molly Peters, who died this week, playing therapist Patricia Fearing on the big screen in Thunderball, although I would, no doubt, have been as immune to her charms as I was to Raquel Welch's in One Million Years BC.  

I had to wait a long time to see Thunderball as ITV didn't acquire the British TV rights (for £850,000) of the first six Bond films until 1974 and these were then first shown between 1975 and 1977.  By 1976, however, I was well aware of Miss Peters' charms when I first saw the (pan and scan) film on TV.

In fact, there was rather too much of Miss Peters' charms on display for the British Board of Film Censors who objected to no less than 32 items in Thunderball and indicated that if it wasn't cut it would be given an 'X' certificate,  The scene where Peters gets her naked back massaged by Connery using a mink glove was cut from the British theatrical release, although it was restored for the later video and DVD release.

What did remain, however, was the scene where, after rescuing Bond from a sabotaged back stretching machine, Bond pushes Peters' character into the Turkish bath (despite her saying 'no' -sorry, feminists) and strips her clothes off.  Miss Peters' naked back  is clearly visible through the steamed up window.  However mild it seems today, it was the first nude love scene in a Bond film. which was Peters' claim to cinematic immortality.

This pbotograph, which appeared in Playboy that year, suggests that Peters really was completely naked in the scene or, at least, was for this publicity still.

With director Peter Young on the set of Thunderball

Peters was a model when she appeared as an extra in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965) and was spotted by the film's director, Terence Young, who would go on to direct Thunderball the following year.  He encouraged her to try out for the part of Patricia Fearing.

Being an experienced photographic model, the Bond producers were delighted to get Peters to pose for publicity stills wearing (just about) her shorts and blouse outfit from her first appearance in the health farm sequence.

I don't know if they make chest expanders any more but they seemed popular things in small ads in magazines and newspapers in the sixties.  Miss Peters seems to enjoy a good stretch, anyway.

The mink massage glove featured in a number of the press stills but the scene of Peters massaging Connery's back with it was cut from the film.

The glove appeared again in a couple of rather more revealing shots which were done for a Bond Girl special in November 1965's Playboy, which also featured an interview with Sean Connery.  Playboy had, for many years, a strong association with the Bond producers and this was the first of many pictorials of Bond girls which tied in to new Bond films.  It was the top photograph of these which appeared in the magazine.

Peters was a brunette and only dyed her hair blonde for the role in Thunderball, so any shots of her with blonde hair date after this.  Men's magazines were keen to exploit the Bond girl connection, needless to say.  Here she is in June 1967's Fiesta and on the cover of American magazine Modern Man for May 1966.

Although she was only 22 when Thunderball was made her career never took off and she only appeared in three more films, in 1966 and 1968, and a had a couple of TV appearances in 1967.

She later revealed that she had had a dispute with her manager who would not release her from her contract but wouldn't work actively on her behalf either.  By the time her contract expired she had been forgotten.  She later got married and lived in Suffolk where she had a son (who pre-deceased her) but suffered a mild stroke in 2011.

A farmers daughter from Walsham-le-Willows in Suffolk, Peters left home for London as a teenager and worked as a nanny and as a shop assistant.  Some of her friends suggested that her 37-24-37 figure would get her a job as a glamour model.

She soon picked up work in this field and her first appearance was in one of glamour photographer Harrison Marks' (indeed, he is credited with inventing the term 'glamour photography') magazines in late 1962, when she would have been twenty.

She also posed for photographer Russell Gay, who was the man behind Fiesta and Knave magazines.  She appeared under a number of different  names, including Carla Houseman, Wanda Wainwright and Joey Milbank.   She made a number of short nudist films for Harrison Marks too.

It was usually a requirement for nude models at the time to shave their pubic hair, as its appearance in magazines would have brought charges of obscenity in the early sixties. The rather anatomically frank presentation of her nether regions here would also have got the publishers into trouble so a little retouching would have been necessary on this one.

However, here is a fully thatched Peters in a series of shots that were taken between 1963 and 1964 but couldn't have appeared in the UK (Marks did produce material for the rather more relaxed Continent).

Nearly all men's magazines in Britain at this time (until Penthouse in 1965, anyway) were small digest sized black and white productions but Peters did have a few colour shoots done, some of which appeared across the Atlantic.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Legatus' Eurovision babes selection for 2017

Denmark: Anja Nissen

Ah, Eurovision.  It used to be one of the few places, on politically correct British TV you could get scantily clad dancing girls (usually backing acts from former Soviet countries) but now the show is so popular with gay men that the flesh flaunting females of yesteryear are now an endangered species, as producers realise that there are no votes in them.  This year I didn't have my little Eurovision party companion, as she is in Edinburgh, and as the Old Bat wanted to watch Britain's Got Talent I had to watch Eurovision afterwards,  But at at least you could fast forward through most of the songs and all of the bits featuring the awful Ukrainian presenters.  Ukraine produces some of the most beautiful women on the planet (see our header for evidence) but what did we get?  A trio of scuzzy looking men, in this most overtly gay friendly edition of the contest (although at least one of them was cringingly chatting up the attractive female jury presenters on air)/.  You wouldn't mind if you thought Ukraine really meant it but they are probably only doing it to annoy Putin, that being Ukraine's main purpose, at present.

This year, long dresses for the women seemed to be de riguer and Denmark's Anja Nissen filled hers perhaps the most effectively of any of the ladies.  She seems to have quite a thing for red dresses but her Eurovision one was rather less revealing than some of her previous efforts.

Nissen is Australian but both her parents are Danish.  The teenage Nissen won The Voice Australia in 2014 but her career hasn't exactly taken off since then.  If I liked busty blondes she would have been my favourite Eurovision babe.  But I don't so,  she wasn't.

Dutch sisters OG3NE (their name reflects their mother's blood group and their shared genetic material!) also won The Voice in 2014 but the Dutch version.   Two of them were certainly ensuring their lungs weren't too constricted  yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was the two of them who look like they have eaten all the Edam.

Rejoicing in the not very Dutch names of Lisa, Amy and Shelley they competed in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (who even knew there was such a thing?  Shudder!) ten years ago when they were pre-teens with lots of braces in their teeth.

Shelley and Amy (left and middle) are twins (I fondly remember the Dutch Van Breeschooten twins from Playboy in 1989) and older sister Lisa isn't.  Lisa certainly gave the most bust revealing performance of the night.  Bet Anja Nissen was annoyed when she saw their outfits! With a final position of 11th they smashed Anja's 20th for Denmark, too.

Polish entry Kasia Moś is an ex Las Vegas Pussycat Doll burlesque star.  She is older than the other girls here, at 30.  A proper musician, she studied cello and piano at the Frederic Chopin Music school and has a degree in contemporary and jazz music.

Perhaps misunderstanding the term jazz magazine, she posed for Playboy Poland.  She does look like she needs to go on the OG3NE Edam diet, though.  Sadly, severely hampered by an unfortunate dress, she finished a lowly 22nd out of 26 in the final.  Ruff.

Romanian yodeller (yes, really) Ilinca Băcilă wore a very entertaining frock which had a delightful life of its own.  Still only eighteen, she was in The Voice Romanis in 2014 as well as getting to the final of Romania's Got Talent. 

Romania. No! No! No!

Belarus.Yes! Yes! Yes!

Maybe her frock was why her co-singer was so overcome he gave her the most cringe-making and obviously unwelcome kiss afterwards (in contrast to the Belarus couple's convincing looking snog, after their performance). Romania came a creditable 7th and might have done better without the onstage assault.

Our final selection, from a poor year, is France's retro looking Alma (nothing to do with the battle just the first two letters of her first and second name, Alexandra Maquet), a 28 year old business graduate from Lyon.

 I really liked her sixties style look.  Yé-yé.  She came 12th. Lovely!  My favourite Eurovision babe this year.  Liked her song, too.

Britain's Lucie Jones is another TV song contest (and more recently a West End musical star) participant, coming 7th in 2009's X-Factor, being voted off in favour of Irish 'novelty' duo Jedward, embarrassingly.  She certainly gave it her all and did well in the professional jury vote (99 votes) but dismally (10 votes) in the public vote.  This is because, according to the Old Bat, the inhabitants of the third rate EU countries (i.e. most of them) wonder what is going to happen to their rubbish economies once the EU doesn't have bucket loads of our cash to dole out to them and they can't come here to earn money, by undercutting British workers, which they then don't spend here but send home to their UK benefit claiming families.  She may think that.  I couldn't possibly comment.

Lucie deserved better than her fifteenth place,  It's our best position since 2011 and in any other year she would have done better.  The very trim Lucie also works as a model, including for her own lingerie range.  Lovely shape!