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Hammer Glamour by Marcus Hearn

1/01/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Hammer Glamour in the USA - or Buy Hammer Glamour in the UK

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pub: Titan Books. 92 page illustrated indexed hardback. Price: 24.99 (UK), $29.95 (US), $37.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-229-5.

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Hammer Films were known for two things: horror and girls. They also produced films based on TV sit-coms and even the odd comedy but principally horror and girls. The book 'Hammer Glamour' is a tribute to the ladies who appeared in their films. Many were trained actresses, some fell into the parts from modelling and sometimes cheesecake appeal. No doubt with low budgets, Hammer exploited every edge they could get. If you weren't scared of the threat then you also had something pretty to look at. It wasn't until the 70s films that this became more extreme and more than a little nudity because it appealed to certain types of audience, not to mention the producers if Ingrid Pitt's comments are anything to go by. Several times in biographies in this book, some of the ladies were persuaded to strip by being told that the scenes were not for British release. Not quite sure if this was because they were gullible or their Catholic upbringing but there you are.

Author Marcus Hearn has selected the top fifty ladies and an appendix for a few minor ones from the ranks of the Hammer films, providing each with biographical detail, quotes when available and photographs, with at least one full page size and some smaller ones. Not only is their history at Hammer covered but anything significant after as well. If you ever wondered what happened to so and so, then this book will clear up any mysteries you had about their careers. With all these films in the 60s-70s, that's also some forty years ago and most are now pensionable age if no longer with us. About the only one who isn't is Natassia Kinski and she isn't that far off from getting her bus pass. If anything, 'Hammer Glamour' is a celebration of our memories of these beautiful women both in their roles and real life.

If you were young, female and pretty and could act then in those days you had to get a Hammer film under your belt and on your CV. Some, like Raquel Welch, were drafted purely by foreign distributors that had their contract and in her case, firmly placed her on the map. If you're capable of cross-referencing inside your head, I found it rather interesting how some missed out in auditions but were picked up for others amongst the snippets of information.

Give me a name and I bet you'll find them here, all in alphabetical order starting with the haughty Ursula Andress to la Welch. In between, you have the likes of Stephanie Beacham, Martine Beswicke, Veronica Carlson, Hazel Court, Julie Ege, Valerie Leon, Joanna Lumley, Caroline Munroe, Kate O'Mara, Jacqueline Pearce, Ingrid Pitt, Madeline Smith and Yutte Stensgaard. I'm just picking out the names that no doubt had your hearts fluttering at the time.

Although I doubt this book will appeal to the youngsters out there, if you're of the Hammer generation then you will want this book. There is the odd bare breast and sometimes the lady has fangs and blood but nothing is in bad taste and I doubt if your wives will disapprove if you're married. Certainly, left on a coffee table, I can see this book being looked through by every male guest who will admire your taste. As a reference book on the ladies of Hammer Films, it is also a useful reference book. Happy memories. Read and enjoy.

GF Willmetts

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