Hammer Glamour was
published in 2009 by Titan Books and compiled by Marcus Hearn. The book
is a glossy tribute to many of the actresses who memorably featured in
Hammer films for the legendary blood drenched studio over the decades
and includes hundreds of stills and photographs. From Raquel Welch in
her furry cavegirl bikini in One Million Years B.C. to cover star
Madeline Smith vamping it up in Taste the Blood of Dracula to double
trouble with Mary and Madeleine Collinson in Twins of Evil and so on.
Hammer Glamour is 160 pages long and includes (in alphabetical order) a
profile of 50 Hammer actresses - who all get a photo montage and a
short biography. There are also some interviews too in the book which
are often very interesting and allow the reader to pick up some
thoughts about the rise and fall of the studio and life on the set from
people who were there.
The pictures are a mixture
of colour and b&w and there are some great images taken from the
shooting of the films. Interestingly, we learn in the book that Hammer
actresses were often photographed by 'glamour magazines' during
production on the set as publicity for the upcoming film and the studio
can certainly be credited with one or two famous discoveries.
Stars of Hammer Glamour include
Stephanie Beacham (Dracula A.D. 1972), Kate O'Mara (The Vampire Lovers,
The Horror of Frankenstein), Hazel Court (The Curse of Frankenstein,
The Man Who Could Cheat Death), Barbara Shelley (The Camp on Blood
Island, The Secret of Blood Island, Dracula Prince of Darkness,
Rasputin the Mad Monk, Quatermass and the Pit) and Martine Beswicke
(One Million Years B.C., Slave Girls, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde). The
studio was not far off the Bond series when it came to finding young
models and beautiful women to put in their films.
It's interesting to read
how some of these women drifted out of the film and television industry
and how some had enduring careers beyond it or even - as in the case of
Raquel Welch - became big stars because of their Hammer exposure.
Welch's bronzed cavegirl with sea shell accessories and fur lined
underwear immediately made her a sixties icon not far behind Ursula
Andress (yet another star of Hammer Glamour) as Honey Ryder and Jane
Fonda as Barbarella.
Actresses worth a mention in any
review of Hammer Glamour are the Norwegian pin-up Julie Ege, of
Creatures the World Forgot and the outrageously daft and enjoyable The
Legend Of the Seven Golden Vampires, and the Collinson twins from Twins
of Evil. The Collinson twins were petite glamour models from Malta and
are showcased here in all their early seventies identical fanged glory.
It appears though that Twins of Evil marked the beginning of the end of
their flirtation with fame as they didn't do any other pictures and
both eventually went off to be 'normal' people (so to speak) with
marriages and children instead of taking their clothes off for films
I think if you asked me who my
favourite ever Bond girl was I'd probably say Diana Rigg but picking a
favourite Hammer actress is even more difficult. I didn't know, for
example, that Nastassja Kinski had been in a Hammer film (To the Devil
a Daughter) and there are many other famous names here that I'd almost
forgotten had worked with the studio like Joanna Lumley, Stefanie
Powers and Diana Dors.
Certainly Madeline Smith,
of Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Vampire Lovers, Frankenstein and the
Monster From Hell (not to mention Live and Let Die and several
seventies Frankie Howerd specials) would be a strong contender for
favourite Hammer actress and has a superb section here. Another great
Hammer star was 'brunette bombshell' Caroline Munro, who featured in
Dracula A.D. 1972 and Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter. Munro has a
fantastic still poster shot here as an alluring vampire and seems, from
her biography and filmography, to be one of those people who could have
been a bigger star if they'd wanted to.
Like Madeline Smith, Munro was a
Bond girl (the cheeky helicopter pilot who winks at Roger Moore in The
Spy Who Loved Me) and did Frankie Howerd specials. Although Ingrid Pitt
is probably the actress most associated with Hammer, Madeline Smith and
Caroline Munro are the first names I tend to think of.
All of the actresses receive a
full page photograph and then three or four smaller ones to accompany
the bits and pieces of text. You get a list of the Hammer films they
appeared in too to go with the frequently wonderful stills and images.
Among the more eye-catching photographs (besides the Caroline Munro
full page image) include Yutte Stensgaard posing on red sheets and
Valerie Leon in a black bikini.
The book is well designed and
has an attractive layout and it's certainly fun to be reminded of just
how many actresses actually did a Hammer film at some point or other
and pick up a few factual details in the process. Who else is here that
I haven't mentioned yet? The list is long but you also get - amongst
many others - profiles and great stills of Catherine Schell, Judy
Geeson, Shirley Anne Field, Jenny Hanley, Victoria Vetri and Shirley
Eaton who - in addition to her stint at Hammer - famously met a gold
paint themed demise in Goldfinger with Sean Connery.
The cross-pollination between
Hammer and the Bond series is quite interesting as you flick through
the various actresses although perhaps unsurprising as both franchises
were British based and required a regular influx of young model type
women for their pictures. Hammer Glamour is a lot of fun overall. The
book is packed with stills and pictures, is well designed and includes
some nice interviews and profiles. This is certainly a book that any
Hammer fan would be happy to own.