The Catwoman: Batman's Sexiest Adversary and Femme Fatale

Deadliest of the Species

 

Batman had a large rogue’s gallery of villains since his debut in 1939 that continually returned to menace him.  The Joker, the Riddler, Ra’s al Ghul and the Penguin were among the most famous and dangerous.  One villain in particular stood out from the others, however:  Selina Kyle, also known as the Catwoman.  Catwoman was as cunning and malevolent as any of Batman’s enemies, but she was also a beautiful, alluring woman with a soft spot in her heart for the Caped Crusader.

The Catwoman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for DC Comics and was said to be inspired by both 1930’s actress Jean Harlow and Ruth Steel, Kane’s second cousin by marriage.  She first appeared in Batman comics #1 in 1940 as the Cat.  This femme fatale was originally created both to provide a romantic interest for Batman and to appeal to female readers. 

 

Catwoman in Batman and Detective Comics.  The origin and details of Catwoman’s career in comics are convoluted, as might be expected with a character encompassing 70 years of comics’ history.  Her first appearance depicted her as a burglar and jewel thief without superhuman powers.  She turned to crime after a blow to the head gave her amnesia and altered her personality.  It was later suggested her amnesia was a ruse to allow for an escape from her life of crime.  The Catwoman did reform for several years, actually aiding Batman in several criminal cases before eventually resuming her criminal career.  Post-Silver age appearances cast Catwoman as a prostitute, and various details are provided to account for her athletic prowess and talents as a burglar.       

Catwoman in her own comic.  The Catwoman was granted a title of her own following the success of Batman Returns in 1992, and her storyline became more detailed and complicated.  She was an international thief, government operative and bounty hunter who adopted a teenaged runaway and turned her into a sidekick of sorts.  In subsequent issues, her mind was wiped clean by the magical heroine Zatanna and she temporarily reformed.  Years later she gave birth to a daughter and it was implied the child’s father might be Batman.  No matter the era or interpretation of her character, Catwoman’s longing for Batman remained a recurring theme. 

 

Catwoman in the 60's

Julie Newmar from the Batman television series
Julie Newmar from the Batman television series
Newmar had a natural grace and beauty
Newmar had a natural grace and beauty
Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the Batman movie
Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the Batman movie
The former beauty queen was a worthy successor to Julie Newmar
The former beauty queen was a worthy successor to Julie Newmar
Eartha Kitt played Batman in 1968
Eartha Kitt played Batman in 1968
Kitt's rich voice made Catwoman seem truly evil
Kitt's rich voice made Catwoman seem truly evil

Catwoman on the big (and small) screen



Catwoman in television and movies. The Catwoman appeared as a regular villainess in the Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, as well as the 1966 full-length motion picture based upon the series. Three women portrayed Catwoman for these productions. A fourth played Catwoman in the pilot episode of the television series Bird of Prey, while three other actresses claimed the role in Hollywood films.

Julie Newmar (Batman television series 1966 and 1967). In the 1960’s Batman television show, Catwoman appeared nine times. For six episodes she was portrayed by Julie Newmar. The beautiful Ms. Newmar was a statuesque dancer and choreographer who brought not only a lithe grace to the role, but a subtle sense of humor appropriate for the series. She had an on-screen chemistry with Adam West that suggested a genuine attraction between Batman and his deadly female adversary.

Lee Meriwether (Batman 1966). A movie based on the television series premiered in October 1966, with Lee Meriwether cast as Catwoman. (Julie Newmar was scheduled to appear in this movie but was unavailable.) Meriweather was a former beauty queen and added a unique charm to her role, forsaking Newmar’s overt sexuality for a slightly more vulnerable portrayal. Meriwether’s beauty and acting abilities made her a fitting successor to Newmar’s Catwoman.

Eartha Kitt (Batman television series 1967 and 1968). Eartha Kitt donned the cat suit on three occasions during the third season of Batman while Ms. Newmar was filming Mackenna’s Gold. What Kitt lacked in Batman-style charm or comedic instincts, she more than made up for with her fiendish depiction of Catwoman. Eartha Kitt’s voice was rich and sinister, and her presence radiated evil cunning.

Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns 1992). Twenty five years after the Batman television series, Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed Catwoman in the feature film Batman Returns. This was the first indication that Catwoman possessed super-powers (she had nine lives). Michelle Pfeiffer was gorgeous in the oddly-stitched cat suit, but she seemed miscast in the role, projecting far too little sexuality, physical presence or menace.

Maggie Baird (Birds of Prey 2002). Maggie Baird played Catwoman in flashbacks depicting her death in the pilot episode of Birds of Prey. This television series featured Selina Kyle’s daughter Helena as the Huntress.

Halle Berry (Catwoman 2004). The Catwoman feature film was only loosely based on the DC Comics character and the movie was a failure, despite Halle Berry’s extreme beauty. In this movie Catwoman is a heroine with cat-like abilities granted her by the Egyptian cat-goddess Bastet. Her revealing costume couldn’t compensate for an insipid plot involving the sale of dangerous cosmetics.

Anne Hathaway (Catwoman 2012). Anne Hathaway most recently portrayed the Catwoman in the third installment of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, "The Dark Knight Rises". Hathaway performed exceptionally well in the role, aided by a quality script that emphasized the complexity of the character. Neither truly good or evil, Hathaway found the middle ground that allowed the audience to like her, despite her sometimes treacherous actions.


Catwoman--the later years

Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns
Pfeiffer was beautiful but miscast
Pfeiffer was beautiful but miscast
Halle Berry stars in Catwoman
Halle Berry stars in Catwoman
The silly plot and overly-revealing costume ruined Bery's chances to shine as Catwoman
The silly plot and overly-revealing costume ruined Bery's chances to shine as Catwoman
Maggie Baird from Birds of Prey
Maggie Baird from Birds of Prey
Anne Hathaway from The Dark Knight Rises
Anne Hathaway from The Dark Knight Rises

Rating the actresses portraying Catwoman


With so many fine performers having played the role, the inevitable question of which actress offered the best portrayal of Catwoman must be raised. There is no objective standard for rating their respective performances, so I will offer instead my personal opinion. My rankings, from best to worst, follow.

1. Julie Newmar. Of the seven actresses to portray the Catwoman, Newmar’s performance was the most outstanding. She exhibited a feline grace that seemed unforced, and (with the exception of Halle Berry) her beauty rivaled that of the other actresses to play the role. The droll wit she added to the character elevated her performance to the top of the list.

2. Anne Hathaway. Hathaway combined beauty, grace and cunning to make her portrayal of Catwoman second only to Newmar's. She gave the role substance and depth, which had never been accomplished previously. The moral ambiguity she demonstrated in "the Dark Knight Rises" could have made Catwoman difficult to like, but Hathaway added charm and vulnerability to the role and made it possible to sympathize with and even like Ms. Selena Kyle.

3. Eartha Kitt. The only woman to make the Catwoman seem truly evil, Kitt’s melodious voice added a sinister quality to her performance. Kitt had the requisite beauty and grace to make a believable Catwoman, and she made the character her own in the third season of Batman.

4. Lee Meriwether. Meriwether gave a credible performance in the 1966 Batman movie, but offered nothing new to the character. Her Catwoman seemed simply a watered-down version of Julie Newmar’s. The strength of her performance rested in her scenes as Miss Kitka, the Russian reporter for the Moscow Bugle.

5. Halle Berry. This gorgeous and talented actress might have done more with better material, but Berry’s performance was doomed by a poor script and a foolish (if sexy) costume. Her efforts to appear cat-like were lost in an abundance of cleavage.

6. Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer seemed miscast in the role of Catwoman. She seemed frail onscreen and lacked presence—her reserved performance as Selina Kyle was equally drab. Batman could never fall for this villainess.

7. Maggie Baird. Her limited appearance in Birds of Prey doomed her to the lowest ranking in my personal poll.


Until someone new comes along with exceptional talent, grace and panache, Julie Newmar will always be Catwoman to me. If I was Batman and this gorgeous woman proposed marriage to me, I would have accepted without hesitation—even if she did suggest killing Robin to get him out of the house.


Cast your vote!

Which actress best portrayed the Catwoman in television and film?

  • Julie Newmar
  • Lee Meriwether
  • Eartha Kitt
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Halle Berry
  • Maggie Baird
See results without voting

Poll results



Note: I can't add Anne Hathaway to this poll without losing the votes that have already been cast. If you felt Ms. Hathaway's portrayal of the Catwoman was the best you've seen, leave me a comment and I will periodically update votes here. Thanks for understanding.



Comments 55 comments

samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

No matter who played the part Catwoman was always good on the eyes. Eartha Kitt was my favorite of all.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

Wow.......... childhood returns! The television series will always be my favorite, it's probably the only time my brother and I were the same room that he was to busy watching the show to punch me in the arm :-D I was thankful for that show, and come to think about it I surely owe Julie Newmar a thank you for being so distracting! Have a great day!

Kaie


John B Badd profile image

John B Badd 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Great hub on one of my favorite villainesses. I love the style and grace of Catwoman in the books but I do not think anyone has truly taken the gold on film yet. I am still waiting for the Jack Nicholson/Heath Ledger of the diva world to step forward and knock me back with the role.

I have to admit I was one of the only fans of the Holly Berry Catwoman movie. But beautiful women are often my kryptonite so I could be biased.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

The beauty of all of these fine actresses overpowers the role as a female bat. It was an interesting addition to the forever popular series of Batman. I enjoyed them all, but my two favorites by far in beauty is Halley Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer,I would be purrrrrrring like a Tom in heat for these two beauties. hah


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Great depiction and pictures of the beautiful Catwomen, Mike. Thanks for your earnest and probably most pleasant research.

My favorites? Julie and Halle.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

samboiam, thanks for reading. I liked Eartha Kitt also. Her performance in the role was quite unique. Thanks for reading, and I hope you remembered to vote!

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Kaie, thanks for reading. Funny story--Batman had your brother to mesmerized to be rambunctious. I'm sure on some levels that was a relief. I loved Batman as a kid, and I still think it is a great, underated show.

Thanks for reading, and hope your Sunday is a good one.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

John, you're right about the Catwoman in films--no one has done it right just yet. Michelle Pfeiffer is very beautiful, but I never thought she had a handle on the character, and she seemed too petite to be menacing. Halle Berry is a gorgeous woman, but the story seemed ridiculous beyond words, and even an Academy Award winning actress couldn't do anything with it. It was an enjoyable movie in its own way, however.

Thanks for your comments.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Saddlerider, thanks for reading. On the beauty scale, I agree that Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry are the most physically gorgeous. I still love Julie Newmar most as Catwoman, however. Wonder who will be next??

Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

drbj, thanks for stopping by. Actually, this one was written almost off the top of my head--I have always been a comics fan, and I knew all about Catwoman from my old Batman comics and seeing the movies. I gotta admit, though--I was more apt to write a hub about Catwoman than, say--the Penguin.

Have a great Sunday, and thanks again for stopping by.

Mike


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Interesting read. She's come a long way - since the 60s. I'm embarassed to say that I've never watched any of them. The last one that was on Telly was Halle Berry but I watched just a few minutes of it.

From your review, I wouldn't mind watching Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Thanks and Best Wishes.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Elena! Thanks for reading. A lot of people have never seen any of this stuff--the kid that's still inside me still loves comic book stuff, I guess. I think anyone would appreciate the job Julie Newmar did as Catwoman. There was an underlying humor to her take on the character that was magnificent. When I was eight, I watched Batman for the action, of course, but watching reruns when I was older showed me the subtle humor in her portrayal. And, of course, Eartha Kitt seemed truly evil.

Thanks again for stopping by. Enjoy your Sunday.

Mike


newdiabolic316 profile image

newdiabolic316 6 years ago from Wichita, KS

Good read Mike. My youth prevents me from remembering the older incarnations of catwoman in much detail. Michelle Pfeiffer was infinitely better than Halle Berry I thought. I'd heard/read a rumor that Megan Fox was either interested in or had been cast in a part to play Catwoman.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

An interesting hub, Mike. I remember watching Batman and Robin on t.v., but I don't remember the movies. I do recall Eartha Kitt's sexy voice. Do you remember her singing "I Want to Be Evil"? I loved it!


bingskee profile image

bingskee 6 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

funny but i loved it seeing michelle pfeiffer doing catwoman role. i thought of her as the perfect fit for the role.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Newdiabolic, how you doing? It's a shame you couldn't have seen the old Batman TV series and watched the three women who played Catwoman--I thought they were all better than both Michelle Pfeiffer or Halle Berry. Megan Fox would be an interesting choice for Catwoman. I'd like to see someone definitive in the role, like Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger were for the Joker--I'm not sure who that would be, though. (I also wonder who would do a good job as the Riddler...?)

Well, thanks for weighing in, I appreciate your stopping by. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mysterlady, thanks for reading. Your take is oppostie of most folks, who remember the movies but not the TV show. Eartha Kitt's voice was amazing, wasn't it? I remember her singing "I Want to be Evil." With a voice like that, it was easy to believe, also. She was definitely the most evil Catwoman of all, and one of the best.

Thanks again for your comments.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Bingskee, thanks for stopping by. My opinion of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman was, of course, only my opinion--I'm sure there are lots of folks who would join you in saying Pfeiffer did a fine job. I thought she was the wrong lady for the role, but it is just my opinion.

Well, thanks for stopping by and casting your vote. I appreciate it.

Mike


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Well, I knew it was only a matter of time. I'd seen the signs for years and what I'd feared and dreaded has finally arrived. Vis-à-vis your comments about Michelle Pfeiffer, it's clear you've lost it. Totally. Completely. Utterly. With-out-a-doubtedly. First of all, I never thought I would see the name "Michelle Pfeiffer" and the words "projecting far too little sexuality" in the same paragraph!???! (Points for idiosyncratic perspective.) Second, to your comment that her "reserved performance as Selina Kyle was equally drab"--that is decidedly an unfair criticism, as Selina Kyle's drabness (in as much as anyone who looks like Michelle Pfeiffer could be drab) was exactly the point. She was absolutely supposed to be drab, to be "meaningless" as her character puts it. I would go as far to say that the fact this preternaturally beautiful woman came off as drab to you was a great testament to her talents as an actress. So how could you knock her for achieving exactly what she was trying to achieve? Third, it's very true that Michelle was petite and by virtue of her physicality (as represented by the potential for sheer brute force) could hardly have represented much of a threat to The Batman--but what actress COULD have projected such threat?--especially a Batman as portrayed in the films (the TV series was another matter as THAT Batman--for all his charm--projected no masculine power at all). HER threat, primarily, was the threat to undermine his resolve with her cunning and very-MUCH-in-evidence sexuality (case in hilarious point: the time Batman had just decked her and she says something to the effect: "How could you?! I'm a woman!" to which Batman, as would any heterosexual male, immediately melts and moves forward to help her--only to receive a kick to the face for his troubles). But Michelle had something else going for her other than her beauty and invisible-only-to-you sexiness--acting ability in spades. How she has managed to never snare an Oscar is a mystery (well, not entirely, as she does have a penchant for choosing roles beneath her abilities). No one in you list, save Barry, is remotely in her category. Her line readings here are so droll, so mesmerizingly unique that for me, she stole every scene she was in, even when paired with the king of unique, Christopher Walken. She has the most interesting role in the film--the (sometimes) conflicted budding psychopath, as opposed to the out-in-out psychopaths played by Walken and DeVito, and the underdeveloped (personality wise) Batman--and this talented actress, IMHO, makes the most of it. Excepting Heath Ledger's astounding performance as The Joker (why are the names of Batman's villains always preceded by the article "the"?), Pfeiffer's Catwoman is my favorite villain of any super-hero film to date. I thought she would be a real possibility for a supporting Oscar win--but I've thought that several times over the years about Ms. Pfeffier (most especially for her scary performance in "White Oleander")--but so far, no hardware.

Obviously, everyones perspective is uniquely there own, so just because you evidence psychosis in your appraisal of this particular Catwoman, this doesn't mean you are psychotic generally, of course ;-). (I'm sure you are relieved to know it.)

As to the rest of your comments, they seem pretty much on point, though I was never really a big fan of the TV show--watching it only occasionally. I enjoyed reading them--even the apoplectic paragraphs about Pfeiffer's Catwoman. Cheers!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Tom! How's it going? Uh....wow! I hadn't realized I tread on such thin ice with you regarding Michelle Pfeiffer. Holy Moley! Pfeiffer's Catwoman is your favorite villain in ANY super-hero film? Really?

I think Michelle Pfeiffer is a great actress and very beautiful. We do not disagree there. I just don't think she made a good Catwoman. As far as her role as the drab Selina Kyle and the deadly Catwoman--Uma Thurman was given the same material for her portrayal of Poison Ivy and did better with both the drab and the dangerous (admittedly in a more camp, silly way). Pfeiffer projected no aura of menace whatsoever. She did seem crazy in a funny kind of way, evinced by the "How could you? I'm a woman!" comment, but that hardly made her sexy or dangerous. In the sense that Michelle Pfeiffer is sexy, okay, Catwoman was too, but that didn't mean she successfully portrayed the Catwoman.

I think it was Pfeiffer herself you were so completely appreciative of--not her role as Catwoman. Trust me, I understand--but it isn't the same thing. Her droll performance seemed more like underacting than nailing the part. Even if I'm wrong and she gave the most electrifying performance in the history of motion pictures, she just wasn't Catwoman. Beautiful, absolutely. Crazy? Okay. Menacing? Nope. Dangerous. Sorry. Sexy? As Michelle Pfeiffer--but not as Catwoman. I'm not even saying I disliked her performance--I just thought she was miscast (kinda like the inept Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl in movie #4).

BTW, I'm very much relieved at your assessment that my preference for someone else in the Catwoman role is not indicative of psychosis.

Last question to you: what are you doing up at 3:00 AM commenting on my Catwoman article????? Get some sleep, man! (Maybe you were on a late shift or something....)

Take care, and it's nice to see you back and reading my articles again.

Mike


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

T.V. came late to S.A. so I did not know the other girls. Was actually surprised to learn she has been filmed before.

But the Barry/Pfeiffer thing between me and my twin sons, 19yrs, sounds like this:

Mom, Cat woman was Hally Berry, you see (pointing with a finger to a photo of her in a magazine).. this girl.

No,no,no- I would respond. You have it all wrong. It was that sexy blond, Michelle Pfeiffer. I will go and buy a DVD and show her to you.

They look at each other, shaking heads. The older one's lip curled in a snarl, whilst talking to his brother, totally dismissing me from their world. " Let's go. She doesn't know what she's talking about. She just wants an argument.

End of discussion.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Equealla, thanks for reading and for your comments. Your twin sons sound tough to convince. Perhaps you could tell them that since Catwoman has nine lives, maybe Pfeiffer, Berry and seven other women are all Catwoman. But, that would probably be seen as just starting an argument, wouldn't it?

Thanks again for your comments, they gave me a chuckle.

Mike


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Interesting, Mike. To be honest, I was never a fan of Batman. I like the Adam West incarnation and the feature-length Batman cartoons; the movies are too dark and self-important for my tastes.

Just looking at the pictures, Julie Newmar would win my vote. That's a kitty I'd like to stroke. MEE-OW! I agree that Pfeiffer was kinda dull as Catwoman--but then, I found those unbelievably dreary Batman movies difficult to sustain my interest in any way.

Also nice of the Halle Barry incarnation to give us so much kitty cleavage. I feel to be true to the character, though, she should have had four sets of feline funbags. hehehe


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Arthur, thanks for weighing in. I always found the Adam West Batman to be the most entertaining. The movies were good in their own way, but those were different beasts altogether and it is hard to compare them. Julie Newmar was a terrific Catwoman--she was beautiful and smart and sexy and witty. She also had a grace to her that Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry in the movies couldn't hope to match.

Halle Berry with four sets, huh??? Try as I may, I haven't come up with a suitable response to that comment, so I will leave it at that. I will confess--it is an odd mental image. Thanks again for your comments. They are always appreciated.

Mike


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Well, I certainly can agree with your assessment of Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl . . . but then that whole film was ludicrously cast (even Schwartzennegger--who SHOULD have been terrific as Mr. Freeze wasn't, so I suspect the director can take much of the blame). And I thought Silverstone was terrific in a few other roles, most notably in "Clueless"--but she wasn't much of a Batgirl. And George Clooney as The Batman (to divert a bit from the Batwoman discussion)? The guy has come a long way since that film and he now stands as one of my favorite present day actors--as well as filmmakers. But “Batman and Robin” came out before he'd really nailed his craft as an actor down--but the role just wasn't suited to him anyway (except for the age factor, he'd do better today). He was awful as Batman. And Robin?--cheeesz! I'm not so sure Robin even translates to the big screen (though I'm sure they could have found someone better to play the part than Chris O'Donnell). It worked in the comics, and it worked on TV, but he's just too, well, hokey (and hokey was much of the point of the TV series). Batman Forever was one of the worst "super"-hero movies I've yet seen. On that, as well as Silverstone's performance, I suspect we agree completely.

But back to Catwoman--I suspect this is one of those instances where our perspectives just lie (lay?) on different planes. And no matter how hard I try, no matter how much passion and reason I bring to the table with my arguments, you will persist in being wrong! ;-) Oh, well. We're all wrong occasionally. But let me point out something, you knock Pfeiffer for not being "dangerous" enough, or "menacing" enough. Well, I've got to tell you, if I were being threatened by Julie Newmar, or Lee Meriwether--at least, back in the long-ago days I was in shape--I would find their threats pretty laughable. I'm talking about fearing for my physical wellbeing--it goes without saying I would fear for my chastity. Really now, are you telling me that if Julie Newmar had come up to me when I was thirty, that I should have feared for my safety? And if you can make that claim, could you do it with a straight face? And I assure you that neither Meriwether nor Kitt would incite much in the way of fear in my person. And if this is true—and speaking for myself, it definitely is—than your whole argument about Michelle not being up to the task because she wasn't menacing enough goes out the window, right along with the supposed “scariness” of Newmar, Meriwether and Kitt.

That argument laid aside (you're welcome to try and scape it from the ground if you've a mind to), I think one reason we see Pfeiffer's performance so differently is that I sat down to watch it without any built in expectations. Put a capable actress into the role, and as long as she handled it seriously, but with humor as well, she would have convinced me she was Catwoman—at least for the length of the film. Pfeiffer did more than that, IMO, she made the part her own with her idiosyncratic touches and her considerable acting gifts (I loved her when she walks back into her apartment and says, “Honey, I'm home! . . . Oh, wait. That's right, I'm not married.” It was hilarious, but a lesser actress would have made those lines pathetic). For you, who had been brought up watching the TV series, the part of Catwoman was already well established in your mind. For you, Michelle's original touches were an affront to this vision already there in your memories. The only way she could have made the part hers was by being the Catwoman you were expecting, that you had grown up loving. She didn't do that—didn't even try to do that. She spread out a great big blank canvas, starting completely from scratch, and etched a masterwork—or so it seemed to me--but what to you seemed like a strange counterfeit. Having only watched the TV series intermittently, I didn't develop those expectations. I liked the series, but for me, the laughs didn't come in sufficient numbers to make it must viewing. I'm not putting it down—I liked it, and I think I understand why you liked it as much as you did—it just didn't have as MUCH appeal for me.

Okay, having won that argument [ ;-) ], you made a comment about liking the series better than the films. In the context of your comments, I wasn't sure if you were referring to the first go-round of the Batman films, or to all of them, including the Christopher Nolan films. If you were including them all, then I must conclude that nostalgia has corrupted your judgment. Understandable. It's corrupted mine as well. I hold the TV series I watched as a kid in higher regard than they probably deserve (“I Spy” is my all-time favorite . . . but is it REALLY the best series of all time?--not likely). But even those series I admired so much cannot hold a candle to my favorite films. Perhaps one reason for this is that TV never held quite the preeminent position in my growing-up that it did for many in my generation and the generations after me. For me, the best thing about the television was the world of movies—“old” movies—that it opened up to me. Back when I was 9 thru 14, there was NOTHING on TV after the 10 o'clock news, except “The Late Show” and old movies (my parents dominated the selections during the evening). So I watched movies, and even in my youth I could see how superior they were to the TV offerings—at least in the vast majority of cases. Since those days, TV has become both better and worse—but film still generally remains a superior medium. Thus, the Nolan versions of the film are I think objectively superior to the series, as well as being better than the earlier films—with more complex characters and intriguing plots, with believable dialogue, stellar special effects, incredible production values/design, and actors capable of delivering the goods—all capped off by being nurtured by a director with a coherent and compelling vision. But I doubt you would disagree. But then again, it's hard to argue with nostalgia. Eh? Cheerio!


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Incidentally, what's your view of Bob Kane?--speaking of idiosyncratic. It's clear the guy had some trouble with anatomy--but he was completely consistent in this distortion to the extent you could call it "style." I would, in fact, call it that, and loved his work on The Batman--much more than anyone else who tried his hand at it (though I haven't opened a Batman mag in at least 20 years, so couldn't comment on recent developments).


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Good grief, Tom, I must have really struck a nerve by asserting Michelle Pfeiffer was miscast as Catwoman. I still think she was, regardless of your opinion of her. Had it been Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy you were defending, I would suspect she doused you with some of that powder that made Batman and Robin fall in love with her…

I would touch upon a few points you made here before signing off for the night. First of all, in a comment totally unrelated to Catwoman, I agree completely with your assessment of George Clooney as Batman. I thought he looked like Bruce Wayne should look, but he never seemed to take himself or his role seriously, evinced by the smirk he carried throughout the picture. (He even had a grin on his face when telling Dick that Alfred was dying!) Had he played the role at a different point in his career, he might have been perfect. Chris O’Donnell—I agree with you there, also. Perhaps Robin doesn’t translate to the big screen well. I did like Arnold in a way (“Tonight’s forecast—there’s a freeeeeze coming!”), but concede that one-liners aren’t always enough. I enjoyed the Batman movies and I certainly like the newest incarnation, although I struggle with the “Clint Eastwood-voice-like-gravel” style of speaking Batman is forced to utter. I would be okay with it if Batman talked like a normal guy. Other than that, the newest version of Batman is amazing, and I would agree completely with your assessment. And, no—when I mentioned a preference for the television series, I didn’t mean to compare it with the latest Batman offerings.

Anyway…. Would I feel menaced by any of the women who played Catwoman? Perhaps not, but if I’m comparing Newmar to Pfeiffer, I would certainly be more wary of Julie Newmar. She was about four inches taller than Pfeiffer and appeared stronger and more athletic; if I had to fight one of them, I would probably take my chances with Michelle Pfeiffer. I know that isn’t exactly what you meant, but I found Michelle Pfeiffer to be about as imposing as Alicia Silverstone was as Batgirl. For whatever its worth, Halle Berry and Eartha Kitt could probably whip Pfeiffer in a fair fight, as well. Lee Meriwether? Nah, I’ll give that one to you. Meriwether was to Julie Newmar what Roger Moore was to Sean Connery as James Bond.

I would suggest, however, that you are not entirely incorrect in suggesting that my appreciation for both Julie Newmar and the Batman television show could be influenced by the times. I was eight when the show premiered, and perhaps Julie Newmar did seem menacing to me then. I didn’t really catch the camp nature of the show until it took over the series entirely, crowding out most of what an eight year-old comics lover would tune in to see.

But, what does that mean? Did I come to this movie with preconceived notions about what Catwoman should be like? Perhaps, but preconceived notions based on the television series didn’t prevent me from appreciating Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger as the Joker, Jim Carey as the Riddler, or even Arnold as Mr. Freeze. I liked Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin on television a great deal as the Joker and Riddler, respectively. That didn’t compel me to suggest Nicholson, Ledger and the rest were miscast. I still can’t help but wonder if you are defending Michelle Pfeiffer the actress more than Ms. Pfeiffer as Catwoman, particularly when you mentioned her as Oscar material. Trust me, though—I would never assert that Julie Newmar was a better actress.

It almost sounds as if you would defend Michelle Pfeiffer even if she were given the plum role of “Weezie” on a film version of the Jeffersons. Your comments bordered on gushing at times, and my suspicion that you would likely defend Ms. Pfeiffer in any part she played bears repeating. Her talent or beauty is not being challenged on any level, but your admiration doesn’t inherently make her right for the part. I would watch Valerie Bertinelli in virtually anything because I’m crazy about her, but she wouldn’t be right for Catwoman, either.

As I am a product of my television upbringing, might you similarly possess a bias toward the big screen? As you suggest, it is easier to do it right in the movies because the talent is better and the budgets are bigger, but does that mean the movies are inherently better? How many movie versions of classic television shows flopped on the big screen because they were just plain awful? Was the film version of Bewitched or My Favorite Martian better than the TV show?

Well, it’s past Mike’s bedtime, so I will leave the discussion at that for now. Perhaps when we’re done here we can next discuss whether Katie Holmes or Maggie Gyllenhaal made a better Rachel Dawes in the Batman movies.

I’ll post this and answer your Bob Kane question separately. Hope you’re doing well these days, by the way. I’ll tell my folks you said “hi.”


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Tom. Bob Kane? He was a great comic book artist for his era. His style was clean and easy to follow, and you're correct--his flaws in drafting or anatomy were consistent enough to be labeled a "style." At the time, I liked Bob Kane better than Carmine Infantino, his successor on Batman and Detective Comics. For whatever it was worth, at the time I preferred Infantino to Neal Adams when Adams started doing Batman. From an adult perspective, Adams was one of the greatest comics artists ever, and Infantino certainly made his mark as an artist, as well. Kane, not so much. But for a kid looking for clear, easy to follow pictures, Bob Kane was perfect and he was always one of my favorites.

Take care.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

I have learned a lot from this and you covered it all from the start of "Catwoman" the woman cat, Thanks Mike, awesome of course, Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks, Maita. I appreciate your stopping by and reading. Catwoman is actually a very popular Halloween costume, so I know she has many fans.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Mike


cupid51 profile image

cupid51 6 years ago from INDIA

I enjoyed very much reading this fantastic hub on famous characters from movie and television shows. Personally I also like to write this type of review hub! Your presentation as well as the pictures are fabulous!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Cupid, thanks for reading and for your kind words. I'm very glad you enjoy reading this type of hub. I have always liked looking back at older movies and television shows. Thanks again for your gracious comments.

Mike


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Julie was awesome! Fun hub!


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Mike: I'm not going to keep this short and sweet as I see by the other writers it has been covered well.

As I said to you on your Twitter webpage, Julie Newmar wins hands down in my book. Another wonderful hub with great photos and lots of details. Loved it Mike.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Habee, thanks for reading. Julie Newmar was my favorite Catwoman, also. Thanks again, I always appreciate your stopping by.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Susan! Thanks for stopping by. I agree that Julie Newmar was by far the best Catwoman. As you can see by the comments left by my buddy Tom, however, some will disagree. Julie Newmar was still the best in my book.

BTW--I really like your avatar. The baby is so adorable. Thanks again.

Mike


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Not bad. Julie was always the definitive television Catwoman for me. As for the movies, I thought Michelle was wonderful and have been disappointed she was the Catwoman only the once. As for Hale Berry, my opinion of her romp as Catwoman may differ from your own. There wasn't one costume for her but a half dozen. The costumes got better as the movie progressed. The script could have done with tightening but it isn't as bad as some make it out to be.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Rod, thanks for your comments. I would refer you to Tom Muther's comments above for an impassioned defense of Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of Catwoman. As for Halle Berry, I think she did what she could with the material she was given, but it was pretty weak. The costumes? I knew there were several and I don't remember them all, but the ones I recall were memorable mostly for their display of cleavage. I don't think Halle did a bad job.

Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate them a great deal.

Mike


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

OMG, killing Robin to get him out of the house, lol, this made my laugh almost until my belly split. :)

Anyway for me the best Catwoman was Michelle Pfeiffer but I must admit I have a soft spot for her, and while Halle Berry is very beautiful her film was actually bad.

Great article Mike, detailed and well done, rated up, beautiful, stumbled and shared with my followers.

Well done my friend. :)


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hypnodude, thanks for stopping by. I liked Michelle Pfeiffer but apparently offended my old friend Tom Muther by suggesting she was miscast in the role.

I still smile when remembering Julie Newmar as Catwoman suggesting she and Batman marry. "What about Robin?" Batman asked. Catwoman thought about it a moment, shrugged her shoulders and replied, "We'll kill him!"

Thanks again for stopping by, I always appreciate it.

Mike


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Actually, I had written a full-fledged response to your counter-argument to my counter-argument a short time after yours appeared, only to inadvertently delete them (this site has a weird quirk in that when you open another screen and then comeback to what you were writing, everything is highlighted as if one were about to copy it. Well, if you hit a key, everything is gone. After an hour's work, seeing it all go down the drain was too much, so I gave up the task—but I'm back, with a streamlined version). To be brief (or at least, briefER), first of all I don't think your argument about Newmar being more threatening than Pfeiffer holds up. Even if it's true, what does that mean? I could say a grasshopper is more threatening than a butterfly, and a case could be made to support that argument, but the grasshopper remains utterly UNthreatening, at least to humans. Okay, Newmar is a little taller, a little heavier, but she still remains devoid of threat. And if she is not threatening, it just doesn't make sense to insist she's a better Catwoman because Pfeiffer isn't threatening enough. Part of what is required here is a suspension of disbelief. We know that neither Pfeiffer nor Newmar nor any other actress could pose a credible threat to the Batman in the films (at least, not on the basis of brawn), but we go along and pretend that they have abilities that make them worthy adversaries. We see Pfeiffer, or her stunt double, doing multiple back-flips and other athletic moves and we nod and go along (at least, most of us do). For reasons uniquely your own, you weren't able to successfully do that with Pfeiffer's portrayal, but were able to do it with Newmar (even though I don't think she was ever given the benefit of having stunt doubles doing complicated gymnastic moves). Perhaps part of the reason for this was that the TV Batman was hardly an imposing physical specimen so Newmar didn't come off as being so obviously over matched. Also, I still think my argument about your preconceived notions of what Catwoman should be like still holds some water.

Which is my second point. I think you effectively countered my arguments in this regard, but nonetheless, I think they still may be valid. It may be true that your experience with the TV Joker in your formative years didn't prevent you from enjoying Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger, but then, it is only too obvious that Caesar Romero could hardly hold a candle to your feelings for Newmar—not to mention that it seems very clear that The Catwoman was far and away your favorite villain in the series. Thus, the nostalgic hold Newmar/Catwoman had on your psyche undoubtedly would have colored your appreciation of anyone in that role to a degree far exceeding what it would have for the other panoply of villains. I don't wish to overstate here. I'm suggesting this as part of the reason we see the performance of Pfeiffer so differently. Obviously, in a million years we would never be able to completely account for the reasons each of us appreciate one thing but not another. So many things influence us, things that often have long since been forgotten but whose traces still linger.

And finally, as to your suggestion that my unbridled passion for Michelle Pfeiffer has crippled my ability to objectively judge her performance . . . good try but might I suggest that this is so much balderdash :-). Consider: A particular favorite of mine is Jean Harlow. For me, she is the sexiest actress to ever grace the screen, and one of it's most talented. Michelle Pfeiffer does not hold a candle to Harlow in terms of my appreciation. In other venues I have waxed poetic about both Harlow's appearance and her comedic gifts. A large poster of her adorns one of my walls. There is no actress I hold in higher esteem. Thus, according to your theory, I should be incapable of rationally evaluating her performances and would ascribe nothing but superlatives to every one. In the films, "Red Dust," "Dinner at Eight," "Libeled Lady," "Wife vs. Secretary," and many others you would be correct, but consider the film Public Enemy, the film that launched James Cagney's legendary career. She absolutely stunk. And I mean PEE-U! The director and screenwriter must take some of the blame, but she was SO awful I would count it as one of the worst performances in mainstream Hollywood history. Now, if I'm able to say that about an actress I adore to a degree which far outstrips my admiration for Michelle Pfeiffer, why would my appreciation for Pfeiffer prevent me from being able to quantify her performance? And with that, I rest my case.

Yes, believe it or not, my original response was considerably longer.

Cheers! And DO say hello to your Mom and Dad.


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Oh! Just a side note. I don't mean to impugn Julie Newmar. She was, after all, a doll, and projected an appealing personality onscreen.

Cheerio!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Tom, welcome back. I wondered what happened to you and found it hard to believe you would simply drop this conversation. I will try to be brief in my response as well, but we will see what happens.

Your first rebuttal: When comparing the ability of Newmar and Pfeiffer to appear menacing, you sum up your points and your references to mine by asking “even if it’s true, what does it mean?” If it is true, it means Newmar was better in the role of Catwoman….right? I do feel my arguments about who is MORE menacing are valid. If an eight year old boy and a twelve year old boy are trying to look tough, the twelve year old is apt to be more successful, even if neither are particularly menacing to an adult. If I must pick one of the two to act tough, I’ll go with the twelve year old. The twelve year old is better suited than the eight year old and becomes an obvious if still unlikely choice. I believe Newmar is “tougher” than Pfeiffer. Maybe she isn’t tough, but she’s tougher. When you suggest she looked tough because Adam West did not, well—you are absolutely correct in that regard. Adam West was hardly the guy to strike fear in the hearts of criminals, but this isn’t really about him.

Your second rebuttal: Well, we’ve known each other a long time, but you are making some assumptions about me. You somehow assume that I preferred Julie Newmar’s Catwoman to Cesar Romero’s Joker or any other villain from the television series, but I never said that. As a child I believe Frank Gorshin’s Riddler was my favorite of Batman’s catalog of TV villains. Since the focus of this article was Catwoman, comparing her to the Joker or Riddler would be extraneous. If my article debated who the best Joker might have been and I chose Jack Nicholson, would you say I was biased against Cesar Romero because my favorite TV villain was the Catwoman? I must respond with your own words and ask: even if it’s true, what does it mean? It is convoluted logic to assert that I must have liked Julie Newmar better than Cesar Romero; therefore, I am incapable of seeing Michelle Pfeiffer in a proper perspective. If you’re asserting that I liked Julie Newmar and her portrayal of Catwoman so very much more than any other Batman villain, I have to say you’re making an invalid assumption.

Your final rebuttal: You are putting yourself in my shoes now and telling me I’m making an assumption about your own admiration for Michelle Pfeiffer. In comparing Pfeiffer to Jean Harlow, you ask me to believe that your admiration for Harlow does not diminish your ability to see her truthfully—as an actress just as capable of making a bad movie as a good one. Okay, I will give you that. You are unwilling to grant me the same clarity of perspective, however. I am hardly saying Julie Newmar was a favorite actress of mine, or that she is more talented and beautiful than Michelle Pfeiffer. In fact, Pfeiffer is far and away the superior actress and one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. I just believe Newmar was the better Catwoman, and I feel I can make this assertion with the same clarity you ascribe yourself. It isn’t about how I perceived Adam West or Cesar Romero as a child, or anyone else—just Julie Newmar versus Michelle Pfeiffer.

Well, Tom, I am enjoying the discussion and hope you will feel free to continue it as you wish. Like your final comment, I hope you realize I mean no disrespect to Michelle Pfeiffer--or to Halle Berry, Eartha Kitt or Lee Meriwether, for that matter. I also respect your opinions, even if I don't share them this time.

Discussing Catwoman with you certainly doesn’t carry the same acrimony found on my Wilt Chamberlain/Michael Jordan page—not that I thought it would. I would invite you to visit my article comparing Ginger with Mary Ann, Star Trek with Star Wars, the Partridge Family with the Brady Bunch, etc. I would be interested in knowing what your thoughts are, so you should take the poll. Who knows, we might disagree on absolutely everything! Perhaps someday soon we can continue this discussion over a pizza or something (or we can keep going here, if you prefer). I will certainly tell my folks you said hello, and I hope all is well for you.

(I didn’t keep my response short, either—did I?)

Take care.

Mike


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

LOL! I think our discussion here is approaching a point of diminishing returns. Perhaps a little “acrimony” is what is needed. Okay, I'll give it a shot. Mike, you miserable boneheaded slut! There. In some circles the argument would now be considered won by yours truly.

To your rebuttals of my most recent rebuttals of your rebuttals of my rebuttals—No. 1: Twice as threatening as non-threatening is still non-threatening. And even if it were valid to say Newmar's superior size made her a better Catwoman PHYSICALLY, Michelle Pfeiffer had the ability to project a harder edge (see “White Oleander” where she was the kind of woman that if you were her boyfriend? and she turned her wrath on you?--you'd want to change your name and move to Tierra del Fuego) than did Newmar who came across as unfailingly sweet [though I'll say that part of her appeal as The Catwoman WAS the underlying sweetness which played nicely against her villainy—thus, when she says of Robin, “We'll kill him,” it makes the line all the more hilarious—wait a minute! Who's side am I on here? ;-) But may I point out that this “strength” in the TV series may not have worked as well on the big screen, as the earlier films, though not without humor, had a much darker tone entirely devoid of camp]. For me, the harder edge/psychosis coupled with the interposed scenes with the gymnast/stunt double made her actually the more threatening of the two.

As to my “assumption” that I “somehow assume[d] that [you] preferred Julie Newmar’s Catwoman to Cesar Romero’s Joker or any other villain from the television series”--I suggest that it wasn't much of a stretch. You say you “never said that,” but you DID write: “One villain in particular stood out from the others, however:  Selina Kyle, also known as the Catwoman.  Catwoman was as cunning and malevolent as any of Batman’s enemies, but she was also a beautiful, alluring woman with a soft spot in her heart for the Caped Crusader.” When I read the words “stood out from the others” I did indeed make the assumption that she was your favorite—but your words do imply this. Whether this is an accurate reflection of your feelings is another question, but based on your words I believe most people would have come to this conclusion. And if she had been your favorite as your words imply, than my argument about your preconceived notions of the character being harder to overcome make perfect sense.

Which isn't to say that these “notions” would be imPOSSible to overcome. I'm just offering thoughts on why our views of this performance (Pfeiffer's) are SO diametrically opposed. Which leads to your final rebuttal of my rebuttal of . . . etc. You make a very good point. It does seem on its face that I am suggesting your opinions of the Newmar/Pfeiffer dichotomy lack objective perspective when compared to mine. And it's true--I am in fact making that claim. Not because your intellect is “inferior” in anyway to mine (obviously), nor that your objectivity is, in general, in any way compromised vis-à-vis my own. In this case, however, your esteem for the Newmar Catwoman was established when you were still a child. For most of us, our feelings for favorite places, things, people, books, TV shows, what have you, that develop in our formative years often—not always to be sure--retain an aura of affection and nostalgia immutable to the ravages of later experience, logic, or evolving tastes. This is what I suggest MAY be at work here. My esteem for Pfeiffer and Harlow developed when childhood was but a distant memory (indeed, much of the charm of Jean Harlow in particular would have very much been beyond the ken of a child). I do not view them through the haze of nostalgia and thus may be better able to assess their strengths/weaknesses with dispassion.

On the other hand, perhaps I just happened to like Pfeiffer's performance, and you did not. Is that possible?

Well, perhaps I will get around to looking into your Star Wars/Star Trek comparison, being a big fan of both. As to the others you mention—Ginger/Mary Ann, Brady Bunch/Partridge Family, I having absolutely nothing invested in those programs and watched them very rarely, so I wouldn't have anything useful to offer.

Cheerio!

PS. I note I goofed in one of my earlier entries above (I mean, beside the innumerable typos, dropped words, malapropisms, etc.) when I mentioned “Batman Forever” (decent if not inspired) as being one of the worst superhero films of all time when I was clearly referencing “Batman and Robin.”


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Ah! And I forgot to add one further thing to my argument that your bias toward Newmar's Catwoman prevented you from appreciating Pfeiffer's performance--your words, to wit: "Until someone new comes along with exceptional talent, grace and panache, Julie Newmar will always be Catwoman to me." Hmm. Sounds like there is an awful lot of preconceived notion to overcome there, eh? LOL.

Cheerio!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Tom,

As you suggested earlier this discussion is outgrowing its real value, but I will take a final crack at articulating my position. First of all, when I say the Catwoman stands out, that is present time. As I mentioned, as a kid the Catwoman was a “girl” and I actually preferred the Riddler as a nemesis for Batman. I was not particularly taken by her grace or beauty until viewing it from an adult perspective—the point of view from which this was written, several weeks ago. Perhaps I wasn’t precise with my use of past and present tenses, but I also never counted on being psychoanalyzed to this extent, simply for sharing my opinion. Which leads me to my second point: why the psychoanalysis, anyway? Why is it assumed that there must be a deep-rooted fixation stemming from my childhood for me to possibly prefer Julie Newmar to Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? Could it be that I saw no menace whatsoever in her cheerleader style back-flips, thinking it more a halftime stunt at Allen Field House than a threat to Batman (and, in fact, almost nonsensical in its lack of true purpose)? Perhaps there is an equal possibility that your preference for Pfeiffer stems from some childhood incident that shaped your psyche: who knows, maybe someone who looked like Pfeiffer threatened you as a child—hence, your insistance that Pfeiffer made a more threatening Catwoman.

Out of the eleven people that voted in my poll, 36% selected Newmar as the “best” Catwoman. In comparison, only 18% preferred Michelle Pfeiffer. Do the others share my need for psychoanalysis in your eyes, or could it be that Julie Newmar performed credibly enough at least for consideration as the best Catwoman? If so, you make far too much out of my final comments. In what way is saying "Until someone new comes along with exceptional talent, grace and panache, Julie Newmar will always be Catwoman to me" biased? If I were to paraphrase, I would say, “Julie Newmar is my favorite Catwoman until someone I like better comes along.” Sounds pretty open-minded to me, and it only means that Newmar was my favorite of the women who played Catwoman so far. Lots of folks will have favorites—it doesn’t suggest bias.

In the interest of bringing this to a conclusion, I will concede Michelle Pfeiffer’s talent and abilities. As you have acknowledged good qualities in Newmar’s performance as Catwoman, I will allow that Pfeiffer brought a quirky charm to the role, even while portraying her as a psychotic. Obviously, my belief that she was miscast didn’t prevent you and many others from enjoying her performance as Catwoman, and this is a tribute to the job she did. As you suggest, it is indeed possible that you like Michelle Pfeiffer best and I like Julie Newmar best, and that is all there is to be said (several thousand words later…..). Shall we call this debate a draw?

Okay, what should we talk about next????

Thanks for stopping by, Tom.

Mike

By the way, I visited my folks this evening and told them you said hello. They expressed hopes that you will drop in sometime, and also that you are doing well.


ThomasWMutherJr profile image

ThomasWMutherJr 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

Just to clarify, I wasn't using bias in a pejorative sense. I had used "preconceived notions" 2 or 3 times already and was just attempting to find a close synonym. I recognize that it often is used as a means to describe toxic prejudice, but I was definitely not using it in that sense. I have a bias FOR redheads, for example, but have absolutely no disdain for other hair colorations.

As for my "psychoanalyzing"--I do like to dig into the marrow of things, to try and understand why people are so different, even while conceding (as I did at least twice in the above) that the effort is ultimately doomed as the maze of human experience is too convoluted and complex to ever be able to reach causal bottom. Still, that doesn't mean the effort is necessarily wasted as there is much to be learned in the process—not least of which, in trying to understand others one can learn a great deal about oneself. In all of my “psychoanalysis” above, there was never any effort to ascribe anything pathological about your preference—but there is a reason for everything, even if we can never fully fathom it. In my futile effort to rummage about your cerebral attic (as well as my own to an extent), I learned a good deal from your responses, but still the reason why two intelligent males, reasonably well educated, brought up in the same culture, could view this performance so differently eludes me. “Fascinating” as our friend Mr. Spock would say.

In the end, my attempt at self-mockery at my analyses undoubtedly comes closest to an explanation: “[P]erhaps I just happened to like Pfeiffer's performance, and you did not. Is that possible?”

Cheerio!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Tom, thanks for coming back and wrapping up our chat. It is indeed interesting to note that, while the circumstances of our education, environment and upbringing are quite similar, we can end up on different sides of an issue. We are each unique, and nothing else will fully explain why we think and behave as we do. As you state, in the end perhaps it was just a matter of your liking Michelle Pfeiffer's performance better than I did. That is certainly possible and, ultimately, the only true answer there is. Agree or not, it is all good.

Thanks for the discussion, I had a good time debating the relative attributes of each actress. Maybe we can do it again sometime.

Mike


mts1098 profile image

mts1098 4 years ago from InsideTheManCave

I cannot wait to see Ann Hathaway in Dark Knight Rises...great job here...voted up


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mts1098, thanks for writing. I'm also looking forward to seeing Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I think she is a great choice for the role, and I am looking forward to it a lot. Thanks again for your comments.

Mike


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

It was great reading your Catwoman article and comparing notes. You've done a much more thorough job of analyzing their performances, which I found interesting. I'm wondering how you wrote about Hathaway that early on...I thought it was 'news' only a year ago? Voted up and interesting.

BTW-the info about the 'post-silver era' & prostitution caught my eye. I always wonder what happens to prostitutes when they get old...??? How do they retire, and DO they retire? :)


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Denise, thanks for stopping by. I will confess that I do not have a crystal ball--I edited this article after I saw the latest Batman movie to reflect how I felt about Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Catwoman. I wanted to ensure this article stayed up-to-date, hoping it would draw readers after the last movie premiered.

I was never a fan of what they did to Catwoman over the years in comics. I know that writers who use certain characters feel they have to add something to them to justify their appearance in a modern comic, but sometimes it is okay to just leave a comic character as he or she was. It isn't necessary to flesh out every detail of their lives. DC is particularly awful about this, taking minor characters like Hawk and Dove and the Creeper and adding elaborate background information to these heroes. I am okay with this to some extent, but eventually it needs to be realized that there's only so much you can do.

Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Mike


trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana

Poor Halle ... The movie was basically done with the same mentality that DC retcons it comic books. For what it was, it was decent. It just wasn't what we were expecting. But then, Catwoman in the comics in the last decade or so is a much more interesting character than she was originally conceived to be. So go figure.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 3 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

trusouldj, thanks for stopping by, and I apologize for taking months to respond. I agree, Halle Berry wasn't given much to work with, and she tried to make it worthwhile anyway. She is a fine actress and it was a shame she was basically given nothing more than the opportunity to show off her breasts to bring in moviegoers. I agree that Catwoman has become more interesting and complex over time, and it is a shame none of that translated to the screen. I thought Anne Hathaway was given the chance to show off a little bit of Catwoman's complexity in the latest film-- too bad Halle Berry couldn't have enjoyed some of that.

Mike

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