In Goldfinger, Oddjob throws his hat and cuts off a statue's head early in the flim. However, later on he throws his hat at a fleeing girl and it hits her in the neck, she falls down dead. How exactly is she dying, since her head is still attached and no other evidence?


1 Answer 1


The 1964 script auctioned by Bonhams in 2014 does not state her method of death:
1964 Script excerpt

    Bowler hitting TILLY's neck. She crashes to the ground, lies still.

    Gun empty now. CAMERA PANS WITH HIM as he runs to TILLY, HOLDS as he reaches her. He kneels down beside her, turns her over. She is dead.....

The most likely case is indeed decapitation, albeit without detachment of the head. Namely, a sharp blow to the spine can sever the spine and cause death while leaving the neck intact, an Atlanto-occipital dislocation.

Atlanto-occipital dislocation, orthopedic decapitation, or internal decapitation describes ligamentous separation of the spinal column from the skull base. It is possible for a human to survive such an injury; however, only 30% of cases do not result in immediate death. It should not be confused with atlanto-axial dislocation which describes ligamentous separation between the first and second cervical vertebra.


The injury is a result of disruption of the stabilizing ligaments between the occiput, or posterior skull base, and the C1 vertebral body, otherwise known as the atlas. The diagnosis is usually suspected by history and physical exam, but confirmed by imaging, typically by CT due to its faster speed in the acute trauma setting, although MRI can also help with assessment in equivocal cases. The treatment is initial stabilization with a cervical spine collar, and then surgical intervention in cases in which reversal of paralysis is possible. The most common mechanism of injury is high-speed motor vehicle accidents. The injury is more likely in children due to the large size of their heads relative to their bodies, and more horizontal orientation of the occipital condyles. It represents <1% of all cervical spine injuries.


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