Oddjob's killer bowler at Beaulieu

9:00am Wednesday 23rd January 2008

IT must be the deadliest item of headwear that has ever appeared in the movies.

Oddjob, one of the villains in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, uses his steel-rimmed bowler as a lethal weapon.

Bond is given a graphic demonstration of the hat's killing capacity when Oddjob hurls it at a statue and decapitates the stone figure.

The bowler later ends up embedded in steel bars during a fight between Bond and Oddjob at Fort Knox.

The Korean henchman tries to retrieve it and dies in a shower of sparks after 007 uses a severed power cable to electrify the bars.

Now an exact replica of the hat has gone on show at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

The museum has a permanent Bond exhibition and is celebrating the centenary of the birth of his creator, Ian Fleming, who died in 1964.

Oddjob's bowler was unveiled in the presence of Doug Redenius, vice-president of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

He said: "I think Ian would be thrilled with the Bond movies. Each one has an element of Fleming, whether it be the title, a character from the books or another Fleming-related reference."

Fleming's inspiration was the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a spy and sabotage organisation that operated during the Second World War.

SOE had several training centres across the UK, including one at Beaulieu. The Secret Army exhibition at the museum includes an exploding rat - one of the 007-style devices used by agents.

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