Is there a Scaramanga Character Inconsistency in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)?

DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
edited July 2016 in Bond Movies Posts: 16,097
This is something I noticed only earlier on this year after twenty years of watching The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) first on video cassette and then later on DVD and and most recently on Blu-Ray this year.

You see something bothered me about the characterisation of the main villain Francisco Scaramanga in this film. To me at least the film's script by Tom Mankiewicz and later Richard Maibaum seems a bit confused and muddled in places almost like it can't quite decide in itself what sort of film it wants to be. Of course the same could be said (only even more so) about the Mankiewicz/Maibaum script for Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

The thing that bothered me was what I can only now see as the character inconsistency in Scaramanga in the scene where he and Bond meet for the first time at the kickboxing stadium. Scaramanga has already assassinated his wayward mistress Andrea Anders for betraying him with Bond and for stealing his crucial MaGuffin the Solex Agitator. Then comes what I call the character inconsistency. Scaramanga half smiles at Bond once he has revealed his identity to him and goes on to say the following:

"Personally I've got nothing against you, Mr Bond, so let us hope that our paths never cross again. Please don't try to follow me."

Firstly, I know director Guy Hamilton encouraged his actors to take it "softly, softly" but I find how Nick Nick disappears before Bond offers him the peanuts to be very half-hearted Bond villainy and that little tidbit feeds into what I'm about to write next.

Now the inconsistency here is that we know that later on Scaramanga is expecting Bond to come to his private island at some point (e.g. "No, he won't be leaving", he says to the Chinese radar team) and of course he waxes lyrical about the clash of two titans, each with a 50-50 chance. Scaramanga even talks about a gentlemanly mano-a-mano duel to the death and how the killing of 007 would go down as one of the greatest duels/killings in all history. Now that is all very well but given what he says in that quote above doesn't his little speech seem very inconsistent with what went before. His speech in the kickboxing stadium is also inconsistent with the fact that he happily shoots the fingers off the mannequin (Why does he even have this?!) that he has of James Bond suggesting he would be his fantasy or ultimate kill. We can of course discount the golden bullet with '007' on it sent to M with Scaramanga's fingerprints on it as that was falsely sent by his mistress Andrea Anders but again even that suggests to the viewer than Scaramanga is out to assassinate Bond, later ratcheting up the tension in the Gibson assassination quite nicely.

Perhaps I have misunderstood something here so I'll leave it there and see what other members here think.

Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    My take on the scenes is, At the kick boxing, I don't think Scaramanga knows Bond is after him.
    As I don't think he knows about Bond being sent for ? Only that Andrea has stolen the solex, for
    Her new lover ?
    When Bond is flying to the island, Scaramanga by then knows Bond is after him, and this will
    Be his chance to fulfill his dream of killing 007, the best shot in Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited July 2016 Posts: 16,097
    My take on the scenes is, At the kick boxing, I don't think Scaramanga knows Bond is after him.
    As I don't think he knows about Bond being sent for ? Only that Andrea has stolen the solex, for
    Her new lover ?
    When Bond is flying to the island, Scaramanga by then knows Bond is after him, and this will
    Be his chance to fulfill his dream of killing 007, the best shot in Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    Thank you, @Thunderpussy. I never thought about it that way but that take on it certainly has merit.

    I'd be interested in hearing any other possible explanations from members too.
  • RC7RC7
    edited July 2016 Posts: 10,512
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    My take on the scenes is, At the kick boxing, I don't think Scaramanga knows Bond is after him.
    As I don't think he knows about Bond being sent for ? Only that Andrea has stolen the solex, for
    Her new lover ?
    When Bond is flying to the island, Scaramanga by then knows Bond is after him, and this will
    Be his chance to fulfill his dream of killing 007, the best shot in Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    Thank you, @Thunderpussy. I never thought about it that way but that take on it certainly has merit.

    I'd be interested in hearing any other possible explanations from members too.

    Scaramanga knows about Bond way before this as he's in cahoots with Hai Fat (and present) when Bond attempts to impersonate him.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    RC7 wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    My take on the scenes is, At the kick boxing, I don't think Scaramanga knows Bond is after him.
    As I don't think he knows about Bond being sent for ? Only that Andrea has stolen the solex, for
    Her new lover ?
    When Bond is flying to the island, Scaramanga by then knows Bond is after him, and this will
    Be his chance to fulfill his dream of killing 007, the best shot in Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    Thank you, @Thunderpussy. I never thought about it that way but that take on it certainly has merit.

    I'd be interested in hearing any other possible explanations from members too.

    Scaramanga knows about Bond way before this as he's in cahoots with Hai Fat (and present) when Bond attempts to impersonate him.

    Well that's true certainly. The waters are muddied.
  • ChriscoopChriscoop North Yorkshire
    Posts: 281
    For me what puts scarramanga at odds is the early scene when he shoots bonds mannequins fingers off and the fact he has that mannequin at all, without those two facets, his politeness with bond at the kickboxing and eventual dual make more sense.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited November 8 Posts: 16,097
    Chriscoop wrote: »
    For me what puts scarramanga at odds is the early scene when he shoots bonds mannequins fingers off and the fact he has that mannequin at all, without those two facets, his politeness with bond at the kickboxing and eventual dual make more sense.

    Yes, even having the mannequin at all suggests he is obsessed with Bond long before Bond knows much about him or that there is a threat against him. Scaramanga's performance at the kickboxing match doesn't exactly tally with this pre-existing obsession with killing James Bond. That was precisely why I was moved to make this thread.
  • ChriscoopChriscoop North Yorkshire
    Posts: 281
    I've always though the existence of the mannequin only serves to make the final battle work, other than that it puts the kickboxing at odds with the story
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    Chriscoop wrote: »
    I've always though the existence of the mannequin only serves to make the final battle work, other than that it puts the kickboxing at odds with the story

    Yes, that's true as well. I find the screenplay confused, but I'm just as happy to be proved wrong on this. Even with this, it's still not as bad as Diamonds Are Forever where the plot and Blofeld's plan keeps changing as it goes along!
  • ChriscoopChriscoop North Yorkshire
    Posts: 281
    I take daf with a large pinch of camp salt :)
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited November 8 Posts: 16,097
    Chriscoop wrote: »
    I take daf with a large pinch of camp salt :)

    Yes, as any sensible person should. I still like it, mind. It's just that it's near the bottom of my Bond film rankings. Only DAD is lower in fact.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I don't rate it too highly myself, although it can be fun when you're in the right mood.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    I don't rate it too highly myself, although it can be fun when you're in the right mood.

    Indeed it can. The humour is quite dark in places too.
  • Posts: 13,983
    I find TMWTGG to have a very inconsistent script, in tone and in plot. A darn shame, as they over-complicate things and it ends up being confused and confusing. Christopher Lee is amazing in it, but the script is a letdown the proportion the way some of the worst entries of Hammer used to be. I guess he must have been used to lift his character from such mess.
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