We don't breath through our skin, so why did that girl in _Goldfinger_ die? Fiction?

See subject. If we spent a night floating neck-deep in a lake, we wouldn’t die of pruniness.

Hollywood fiction, right?


Heatstroke, according to this SD column.

She really dies of “plot.”

The number one killer of people in fiction.

This reminds me of the other side of this coin–the (false) claim that skydiverscan hold their breath indefinitely because they breathe through their skin.

Death by heatstroke assumes particular ambient conditions. I’ll wager that in 70 degrees F with low humidity, a naked person whose entire skin were coated with paint would not overheat. True, you can’t sweat anymore, but…you’re naked, and it’s 70F. In addition, you actually lose a significant amount of heat via respiration, since your respiratory tract has to fully humidify all that air, resulting in some evaporative cooling just by the act of breathing.

It’s fair to say though that clogging all of your pores with paint certainly would diminish your capacity to safely handle higher ambient temps.

My late father-in-law, as a teenager, with some friends, did abduct and paint one cow as some sort of prank. And the cow did, sadly, die.

Mythbusters covered this one:


If the gold paint itself didn’t kill her (and I will accept the fanboy scientific consensus that it didn’t), I assume Oddjob or some other mook of Goldfinger’s broke her neck or suffocated her with a pillow.

Fleming wrote like a guy having a conversation in a bar – he picked up random bits of trivia, true and otherwise, and spoke authoritatively without checking on his topic. So you end up with all sorts of nonsense and almost-but-not-quite-right “facts” promulgated by the Bond books, such as that male elephants, when they go into heat, get a mucous buildup behind the ears that drives them inssane if it’s not scraped off*, or that Sumo wrestlers practice manipulating their testicles back into their body so they can avoid getting hit in them, or many of his odd little ideas about food and drink, …or that you can suffer skin suffocation" if you’re a gold-covered cabaret dancer. It’s another of Flemings entertaining but untrue bar rumors.
As far as the Mythbusters test, it’s always bothered me because it’s almost certainly not at all the way Fleming imagined it, or the way it was done for the movie. Jamie covered himself in liquid latex mixed with metal powder, but I’d bet dollars to goldnuts that when they filmed Goldfinger they covered her with more traditional greasepaint mixed withy metal, then dusted her with fresh metal filings as a last touch (also they way they did the Tin Man makeup for the 1939 Wizard of Oz. Buddy ebsen had to drop out of the role because he got a lungful of aluminum dust and almost asphyxiated.)
*Close, but no cigar. Elephants do suffer a discharge, but it’s from the cheeks, not behind the ears. And if elephants depended on humans to scrape it off lest they go mad, one wonders how elephants survive in the wild.

Was I the only one hoping that’d be Kari?

No, in the book the victim’s sister Tilly tells Bond that she (Tilly) was speaking with Jill (the victim) just before Jill died, in a hospital I think.

So she definitely died of the effects of Fatal Epidermal Gilding Plot Device Syndrome.

(It was Tilly whose neck ended up being broken by Oddjob. Those chicks never could stay out of trouble.)

That’s why, for my money, he should have just left the cast of Casino Royale dancing the Watusi (or the Mashed Potato, or the Frug, or whatever the hell it was) up in Heaven, and penned a few more Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang stories.

I believe he planned on writing more Chitty adventures, but dying before it was published made that difficult.

Then he should have started with old GEN II.

What color did they paint it? Maybe it died of embarrassment.
I guess I could see the paint making a mostly air-impervious surface, trapping a layer of air, causing the cow to overheat. Or maybe the cow was licking itself clean, and swallowed too much paint.

Maybe if Goldfinger used a lead based paint she’d die eventually.

In the movie, IIRC, she definitely suffocated. M said that an autopsy had been done, or some such.

Machine Elf:

Which might be a concern outdoors in Miami (the city in which the Goldfinger scene took place), but likely a hotel room (where her body was found) is air-conditioned.