It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
I emailed Evanier and said some of his questions on Goldfinger could be traced to the decisions made by the screenwriters in adapting Ian Fleming's novel. In the book, Jill's death occurs "offscreen," and Bond only learns of it after confronting Jill's sister Tilly, who gives the details, many of which differ from the film version. Her death is (slightly) more plausible in the book but less memorable. Here's the relevant passage from Fleming's Goldfinger (chapter 14):Evanier" said:I never quite figured out why the villain had that [painting Jill gold] done insofar as the storyline was concerned. I mean, her character, Jill Masterson, helped James Bond screw up Mr. Goldfinger's poker game…so Goldfinger sends Odd Job to perform an ugly deed. James and Jill are rolling around in bed in what appears to be his room. Odd Job somehow gets inside, knocks Bond out and then when our hero wakes up, there's Jill — dead and covered head-to-toe in gold paint.
Bond later says she died from "skin suffocation," from being painted. Isn't that like the hardest way imaginable to kill someone? I mean, it's not like she would hold still while Odd Job got out his tray and roller and gave her a couple of coats of semi-gloss. He did a neat job, too. There's no sign of any spills or drips of gold anywhere else in the room. And as you can see not in the movie but in some of the publicity stills, he was nice enough to leave her underwear on and paint it, too — and presumably under it. He did all this before Bond regained consciousness.
I'm going to guess Bond was wrong; that she didn't die from being painted. I'm thinking Odd Job did it the easy way: He killed her, then painted her. That sure would have saved a lot of time and helped get him outta there before Bond woke up. And he could really have left before then if he hadn't bothered to paint her at all.
Why do that? All I can think of is that it was Goldfinger's little way of signing his work, making sure Bond knew who'd done it. But Bond would have figured that out. Earlier that day, she turned on her boss, one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the world. Later on, she's murdered. If 007 couldn't put that one together, Mr. Goldfinger had nothing to fear from him.
But of course, Goldfinger was afraid that Bond would interfere with his plans to make zillions…so while the guy's unconscious, why not just kill him? Goldfinger had several opportunities to kill 007 in that film and didn't. For a guy who wasn't shy about killing anyone who stood between himself and what he wanted, ol' Auric sure went out of his way to not kill the one guy who seemed likely to foil his plans.
I love that movie but it's filled with things like that that bother me. They did such elaborate special effects and stuntwork in the assault on Fort Knox…why not take the five minutes in editing to have that countdown clock run in real time? It's counting down the seconds until the kaboom! and — I actually timed this — we see it at 215 and after one full minute of screen time, it's at 146. Then we have another 40 seconds of screen time and it's at 127.
Then there are a lot of cutaways to the ticking clock that don't coincide much with the action happening between them…but here's the bottom line. From the time it says 127 on the clock to the moment where it's stopped at [SPOILER ALERT] 007, there's two minutes and 47 seconds. The last twenty seconds alone last about a minute. For me, it just lessens the reality in a movie that was built on firm logic, believable feats, and a completely possible premise.
Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a cockroach in the kitchen that I have to go kill. I'm thinking that instead of getting out the spray or stepping on it, I'll paint it gold. That will be so much easier.
She whispered, almost to herself, "He killed my sister. You knew her — Jill Masterton."
Bond said fiercely, "What happened?"
"He has a woman once a month. Jill told me this when she first took the job. He hypnotizes them. Then he — he paints them gold."
"I don't know. Jill told me he's mad about gold. I suppose he sort of thinks he's — that he's possessing gold. You know — marrying it. He gets some Korean servant to paint them. The man has to leave their backbones unpainted. Jill couldn't explain that. I found out it's so they wouldn't die. If their bodies were completely covered with gold paint, the pores of the skin wouldn't be able to breathe. Then they'd die. Afterwards, they're washed down by the Korean with resin or something. Goldfinger gives them a thousand dollars and sends them away."
Bond saw the dreadful Oddjob with his pot of gold paint, Goldfinger's eyes gloating over the glistening statue, the fierce possession. "What happened to Jill?"
"She cabled me to come. She was in an emergency ward in a hospital in Miami. Goldfinger had thrown her out. She was dying. The doctors didn't know what was the matter. She told me what happened to her — what he had done to her. She died the same night." The girl's voice was dry, matter of fact. "When I got back to England I went to Train, the skin specialist. He told me this business about the pores of the skin. It had happened to some cabaret girl who had to pose as a silver statue. He showed me the details of the case and the autopsy. Then I knew what had happened to Jill. Goldfinger had had her painted her all over. He had murdered her. It must have been out of revenge for — for going with you." There was a pause. The girl said dully, "She told me about you. She — she liked you. She told me if I ever met you, I was to give you this ring."
Bond closed his eyes tight, fighting with a wave of mental nausea. More death! More blood on his hands.
It probably would, but I think the image of a dead woman completely covered in gold is alluring enough to defeat any question of plausibility. What do you think?Evanier" said:
Okay, so let me see if I have this right: Goldfinger gets women to his place, hypnotizes them and when they're in a trance, Oddjob paints them gold…and I guess it's implied Mr. Goldfinger rapes them at some point. They wake up and Oddjob takes the paint off them and they get a thousand bucks and he kicks them out. They don't die because Oddjob doesn't paint their spines. But as punishment for being with Bond, Jill Masterson got her spine painted and then…
Well, I'm not sure. She wound up in an emergency ward. Was she still painted gold? I guess not because the doctors didn't know what the matter was. So the idea here is that Oddjob had taken the paint off but she was still dying from having had it on, is that it? But she was also coherent enough to send a cable to her sister to travel to see her…and she was alive when the sister got there, which was the same night because she died the same night she was painted. And she told the sister what Goldfinger had done to her but I guess she didn't tell the doctors who were trying to save her life. And then she died and…oh, this whole idea of killing women by painting them gold is getting to sound really impractical. It might be easier to just deep-fry a turkey…
^ Back to Top
The MI6 Community is unofficial and in no way associated or linked with EON Productions, MGM, Sony Pictures, Activision or Ian Fleming Publications. Any views expressed on this website are of the individual members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Community owners. Any video or images displayed in topics on MI6 Community are embedded by users from third party sites and as such MI6 Community and its owners take no responsibility for this material.
James Bond News • James Bond Articles • James Bond Magazine