Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is Anne Hathaway the hottest Catwoman of all time?

The short answer to this post's provocative title is "No." The slightly longer answer is, "Um. No." The slightly longer answer than that is, "It's too early to make a judgment like that. We've only seen a couple of photos of Ms. Hathaway (who is I admit an elegantly constructed young actress) in the role, in the currently-filming third Christopher Nolan-directed Batman film."

The hottest Catwoman of all time is actually a woman I dated back in 2001, named Kathleen Garza. One day after work I came home to find her in my bed, dressed in a tight black latex catwoman costume, purring softly. This was very hot. Unfortunately, Ms. Garza had a rather shall we say idiosyncratic sense of humor, and to complete the Catwoman effect she had poured a four pound bag of cat litter on the bed. Oh, how funny she thought that was. Anyway, it was still hot. Sadly, I have no photos or film of her in her catwoman suit, so you'll just have to take my word for it. She was the hottest Catwoman of all time.

But I have decided to take this opportunity to make a list of my own choices for the hottest Catwomans (yes that is the correct pluralization of that word) ever, of all time.

#2 Tori Black.

Ms. Black portrayed Catwoman in the hilarious "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody," which I rather cheekily included in my list of the 25 greatest comic book-based films of all time. It's funny, and it has lots of coitus in it. It's better than any of Tim Burton's Batman films, and better than almost any episode of the original Batman television show, which it parodies. Where Julie Newmar's portrayal of Catwoman was all tease (it really couldn't be anything more, given the restrictions on television content and the Batman's stuffy attitude toward copulating with criminals), Ms. Black completely fulfills the promise of the character: sexy, dominant, in control.

#3 Julie Newmar.

Ms. Newmar was the first to portray Catwoman on the original Batman television show, and she created the template that has only been surpassed twice: by Tori Black and Kathleen Garza. She managed to create a character that was dripping sexuality, humor, charm, and total corruption. The way her outfit hugged every curve of her body made for some very exciting television experiences when I was about seven years old. My friends wanted to be Batman, or Robin; I wanted to be one of Catwoman's henchmen. My much older self still finds much to appreciate in Ms. Newmar's portrayal.

#4 Halle Berry.

The 2004 Catwoman movie was one of the strangest things ever put on a movie screen. I think they were trying to create a "cult film," the type of thing that might screen at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays in big cities and college towns, specifically to a gay audience. That's what I think they were trying to do. One of the charms of this film is that it really don't make no sense -- it is heavy on style and artifice, but there is no substance. The other charm of the film, the main charm of the film, was seeing the ultrafox Halle Berry in a super hot torn leather and open toe shoe ensemble that makes about as much sense as a superhero/villain outfit as a leotard with underwear on the outside.

#5 Eartha Kitt.

Ms. Kitt's Catwoman could have, and probably should have, outdone Ms. Newmar, the woman she replaced in the Batman television show. Sadly, by the time she inhabited the role, the creators of the show had essentially given up (their popularity had dropped precipitously by the third season), and Ms. Kitt had little to do other than slink around and make puns and concoct criminal plots that would have made King Tut blush. But oh how she slinked! Her body was made for that outfit. And the puns had a much greater impact when delivered by that hypnotically smoky voice.

#6 Madelyn Marie.

Ms. Marie portrayed Catwoman in "BatF*cks," the other Batman porn parody that appeared around the same time as Ms. Black's effort. Full disclosure: I have not seen this film, but take a look at Ms. Marie in her Catwoman outfit. She's no Kathleen Garza, but she clearly brings some skill and gravitas to the role.

#7 Lee Meriwether.

The 1966 Batman film was supposed to serve as the pilot episode for the TV show, but they didn't get around to actually filming it until after the first season. By that time, Ms. Newmar had better things to do with her summer, so the role of Catwoman went to former Miss America Lee Meriwether. Ms. Meriwether is fine to look at, but she had none of Ms. Newmar's natural charm and sex appeal. She does her best Julie Newmar impression, but she's too "girl next door" to pull it off. Ms. Newmar's Catwoman looked like she would copulate with you, then smack you around, then throw you off the roof of a building to see if you "land on your feet." Ms. Meriwether's Catwoman looked like she might put a saucer of milk in front of you and ask you, politely, to please take a drink.

#8 Michelle Pfeiffer.

Michelle Pfeiffer is about as sexy as my mother. It didn't help that she was cast in a humorless, dour, pretentious and pointless film that goes nowhere, and takes forever to do it. Ms. Pfeiffer's Catwoman is totally charmless and inscrutable, going from drippy nothing to bitter pseudo feminist after -- being pushed out of a window? And you really can't blame the costume, because it was this particular Catwoman costume that served as the inspiration for the one that Kathleen Garza would wear to great effect just 11 years later.

So, again I ask, "Is Anne Hathaway the hottest Catwoman of all time?" I think the answer to that question is clear: "Until I come home from work one day to find her on my bed, waiting for me in a Catwoman suit the way Kathleen Garza did back in 2001, she is not."

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