Goldfinger ( United Artists 1964)

                     (This post is dedicated to Marina over at https://yipyipstudios.com/)

“Do you exshpect me to talk?” “No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.” Trust a German actor to have a superior command of the English language than a Scotsman. It goes without saying that Goldfinger is the quintessential 007 film. It’s been spoofed, referenced, praised, and paid homage countless times. Seriously, I’m pretty sure just about every television series that’s existed since the 1960s has made some reference to Goldfinger in some form. No matter what your opinion of the movie, no matter where your 007 tastes run, you absolutely have to respect the third James Bond adventure for what it was: the first 007 film with all of the familiar tropes that will continue through the series until the 2006 reboot.

Goldfinger marks the first time we see Bond visiting Q in his lab to receive gadgets, not just a briefcase with hidden compartments and a Walther. We’re talking real 007 gadgets. Case in point: Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, one of the most iconic movie vehicles in cinema. We have our first memorably over-the-top villain with fantastical plans that go above and beyond your average criminal. Plus we have the first official Bond movie theme. Dr No had Monty Norman & John Barry’s actual 007 theme music but I’m talking about a special song written purely for the opening sequence of the picture in question. Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger established a standard for all 007 movies that followed. Regardless of my opinion, this movie set the (no pun intended) gold standard for the franchise and helped it morph into what it is today. For that, Goldfinger should earn any Bond fan’s respect and if some young punk starts running off his mouth about it in a hateful way you have my permission to punch him in the mouth.

By now Connery has the role of Bond down flawlessly: he’s the tough, resourceful, suave womanizer we all have come to know and love. One of the most defining moments is in the pre-title scene where Bond is on a mission clad in a stealth commando suit, and when he is done, he quickly removes it to reveal a white tuxedo. This guy is smooth. Gert Frobe is really great as Goldfinger, clever, ruthless, charismatic, and megalomaniacal. His obsession with gold shows in even how he dresses. But not so much that it becomes too gimmicky. Purely on an entertainment front, Goldfinger delivers royally: the sets, casting and the high energy set-pieces all seep with quality. This in spite of the actual plot being one of the weakest in the whole franchise. As great a villain as Auric Goldfinger is, with Frobe simply joyous in the role, his motives are rather dull and hardly cause for some worldwide Bondian panic. But the film rises above it to the point it only really registers long after the end credits have rolled.

By that time we have been treated to Odd Job (Harold Sakata instantly becoming a Bond villain legend), the laser, the DB5 and its tricks, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore (sounding like a character from a Carry On film), the golf match, Shirley Eaton’s golden girl and the ticking time bomb finale played out during the chaotic scenes involving Ken Adam’s brilliantly designed version of Fort Knox. Phew! Bond staples also serve the production well: the title sequence is neatly strung together as scenes from the film play out over a writhing golden girl, who was model Margaret Nolan, and who briefly appears in the film.

The locations dazzle the eyes as we are whisked to Switzerland, Kentucky and Miami. Stock characters continue to make their marks, with M, Moneypenny and Q (setting in motion the wonderful serious v jocular axis of his “to be continued” relationship with Bond), starting to feel like old cinematic friends. Only let down is Cec Linder’s turn as Bond’s CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter. Gone is the swagger created by Jack Lord in Dr. No, and while Linder is no bad actor, he’s looks too old and world weary to fit in here. What a shame because he is integral to how the plot pans out. Goldfinger was the first of the four Bond motion pictures Guy Hamilton directed and with a budget of $3 million and the gross revenue being $124.9million it is safe to say that it was the crown jewel of his career and of the James Bond franchise. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Thank you for the shout-out! Excellent film review as always, you can never go wrong with Bond (especially Connery)! Looking forward to seeing more Bond reviews from you down the track. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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