Goldfinger (1964)

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edited July 2012 in Reviews Posts: 19,724
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  • St_GeorgeSt_George Shuttling Drax's lovelies to the space doughnut - happy 40th, MR!
    Posts: 1,699
    <font size=4>Goldfinger</font>


    by @St_George

    Directed by: Guy Hamilton; Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli; Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn – adapted from the novel by Ian Fleming (1959); Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Cec Linder, Martin Benson, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell and Margaret Nolan; Certificate: PG; Country: UK/USA; Running time: 110 minutes; Colour; Released: September 17 1964; Worldwide box-office: $124.9m (inflation adjusted: $912.3m ~ 2/24*)

    * denotes worldwide box-office ranking out of all 24 Bond films (inflation adjusted), according to 007james.com


    Plot ~ 8/10

    Fleming purists will tell you it was with Goldfinger that the fantasy began to out-muscle the conceivable in the films – and yet, ironically its plot is very close to that of Fleming’s novel. Fearing tycoon Auric Goldfinger is smuggling copious amounts of gold out of the UK, the Bank of England enlists MI6′s services. Bond, having botched his first Miami-based observation of his target (by seducing his mistress, resulting in her death via full-body-painting), meets him again for a sparring game of golf and then tails him to a Swiss base where, by being captured and transported to the rogue’s stud farm in Kentucky, he learns the depths of his villainy: Operation Grand Slam. Teaming up with Chinese communists, Goldfinger plans to detonate a nuclear device inside America’s gold reserve Fort Knox, contaminating its contents for the best part of a century, thereby crippling the West’s finances, establishing China as the predominant economic power (er, hello 2012!) and making his own gold astronomically valuable. Barmy but brilliant.


    Bond ~ 10/10

    The irresistibility of Connery’s Bond in Goldfinger is not down to his sex-appeal and screen magnetism; although, as ever, they both play an important part. Instead, I’d argue it’s down to something his take on the role had yet to demonstrate: his terrific capacity for light comedy. With this flick’s heightened fantasy and higher number of comic predicaments, he glides through it all as smoothly as the vodka Martini goes down that he quaffs from a golden glass on Goldfinger’s jet. Enjoying his wittiest one-liners so far, yet seemingly accepting all the gadgets the script supplies him, the actor appears to relax, delivering a 007 whom, despite his serious moments (Jill and Tilly’s deaths, for instance), blithely cruises through his mission, sure everything will turn out fine in the end. For right or wrong, Connery wouldn’t be this good in the role again.


    Girls ~ 7/10

    For me, the irony of Pussy Galore is that in spite of her unquestionably iconic moniker, she may be the least memorable of the Bond Girls this movie. The most memorable is surely Shirley Eaton’s Jill Masterson. The sight of her covered in gold paint, which unrealistically has killed her, is utterly unforgettable, of course, but so too is Bond’s first glimpse of her, lying face down on a sun-lounger, dressed only in black underwear. And yet, like her avenging sister Tilly (played by lovely Tania Mallet), Jill is hardly a well rounded character. Both really exist to become this flick’s ‘sacrificial lambs’. Pussy Galore herself, although Honor Blackman inhabits her with judo-kicking conceivability, is also underwritten; a hard-hearted if sexy lesbian pilot whom 007 turns very easily. There’s also Nadja Regin (who appeared in Russia) as the opening sequence bathing girl and Margaret Nolan as Dink (the ‘golden girl’ in the titles), whom suffers Bond’s ‘man talk’ gag.


    Villains ~ 9/10

    Despite featuring a gang of embarassingly cartoonish American gangsters in the stud farm gamesroom scene, Goldfinger scores big when it comes to villains thanks to its two heavy hitters: basically they’re both cast-iron classics. Who can forget Auric Goldfinger? In Fleming’s novel he’s an ugly bear of a redheaded man; in the film, his exterior as a charming, likeable rogue belies the ruthlessly evil, madcap megalomaniac he really is – and the terrific Gert Fröbe (with a fine vocal dubbing performance by Michael Collins) captures the character brilliantly. And who can forget Oddjob? Russia's Red Grant is, yes, surely a better all-round character, but former weightlifter and wrestler Harold Sakata’s silent-but-deadly, square-shaped heavy with his bizarre accoutrement (a steel-rimmed bowler hat) would become, like so many things in this film, a terrific template for so many of the henchmen that followed him in the series.


    Action ~ 7/10

    Perhaps oddly for such a fondly recalled Bond film, Goldfinger is far from the most action-packed. One of its most eternally popular sequences is certainly all about action, though: the car chase around Goldfinger’s Swiss factory buildings involving Bond’s gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5. Although stop-and-start and thus not as fast-paced as it might be, it’s one of the highlights of the film, no question (in a movie of many highlights), allowing 007 to show all his ingenuity, all of the car’s horsepower and all of its toys as he attempts to out-run, out-fox and generally try to escape from his opponent’s minions. The only other real action sequences are the opening fight (with the goon’s classic electrocuted-in-the-bath demise) and Bond’s showdown with Oddjob inside Fort Knox while US troops raid the outside, which to be fair is mostly played for laughs to demonstrate how indestructible the grinning villain is until our hero uses his nous to defeat him.


    Humour ~ 10/10

    Being it’s maybe the wittiest of all Bond films, Goldfinger is easily one of the funniest – humour is the order of the day pretty much throughout. As mentioned, 007 gets to deliver some of his most delicious lines of the series (when Oddjob doesn’t open a door for Pussy: “Manners, Oddjob, I thought you always took your hat off to a lady”; on Goldfinger’s horse: “Certainly better bred than the owner”; on his car’s ability to track targets: “Ingenious, and useful too – allow a man to stop off for a quick one en route”). It’s also replete with some of the series’ best visual gags, what with the little old lady who stops baking to operate the Swiss factory’s gate only to turn out to be a machine gun-toting first line of defence and, of course, the nuclear bomb’s timer in the finale stopping exactly on ’007′. The oh-so appealing facet of the Bond films laughing at themselves, which would run throughout the rest of the series, properly began here.


    Music ~ 10/10

    Goldfinger's score may not be cinematic Bond music at very best, but it’s damn close. And the reason why is because if in Russia John Barry’s ‘Bond sound’ was in its genesis, in Goldfinger it properly matures. Accompanying the on-screen action with smooth saxophones, blaring brass, soaring strings and shimmering harps, it’s a masterclass in a more-is-more score enhancing a more-is-more movie (listen to the ebullient Oddjob’s Pressing Engagement by clicking on the above image). And that, of course, isn’t even to mention the (fittingly) gold disc-attaining title song written by Barry, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and performed unforgettably by Shirley Bassey. It was the hit that made Bassey’s career and the tune that made the Bond title song; every subsequent one would be an event – and most live in its shadow.


    Locations ~ 5/10

    This flick’s a little let down by its locations. Dr No has Jamaica; Russia has Istanbul; what does Goldfinger have? Er, Switzerland in spring/ summer and Kentucky. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Switzerland (mostly the Alpine Furka Pass) as a Bond film locale; it’s pretty, even picturesque thanks to Ted Moore’s excellent cinematography. However, it’s hardly exotic, thus rather bland. And Kentucky? well, sure, it’s the state in which Fort Knox resides so Bond has to dip into it at some point, but there must be more exciting places 007 could have visited in mid-’60s America? Like Miami, say. Wait, he goes there after the title sequence, doesn’t he? Er no, it’s back-projection-o-rama – none of the cast actually did. Ho-hum.


    Gadgets ~ 10/10

    That age-old tradition of Bond setting off on a mission after seeing Q like a freebie-toting presenter of The Gadget Show starts here, folks. Yes, the head of Q-Section becomes a real character for the first time in Goldfinger and he and Bond get off to the best (or worst) possible start; the latter irritably putting up with the former’s workman-like pride in the seemingly ridiculous alterations he’s made to his new motor, the oh-so iconic Aston Martin DB5, and irritating the former as he ‘jokes about his work’. But those alterations prove far from ridiculous when he gets out into the field. Not only are the DB5′s revolving number plates, tyre-slashers, oil slicks, rear bulletproof shield, machine guns mounted from behind the front indicators and, yes, that ejector seat all invaluable, collectively they ensure the DB5 is easily the coolest of all the gadgets in the Bond canon. 007 also has a couple of tracking homers; one that’s magnetic, so it’s attachable to opponents’ vehicles, and a dinky one that fits in the sliding heel of his shoe.


    Style ~ 10/10

    Frankly, any Bond film that contains the moment Sean Connery, dressed in that white dinner jacket with that red carnation, checks his watch seconds before he nonchalantly endures the explosion he’s created would have to score highly in the style stakes, but Goldfinger's style doesn’t peak with this pre-titles moment, it arguably kicks-off with it. Of all the series’ movies, this one probably gets the wizard combination of look and sound as right as can be. Barry’s music perfectly underscores the cool, sophisticated, sleek treats on-screen, including Ken Adam’s outlandishly wonderful interiors (Fort Knox is utterly to die for, as is the baddie’s room in which a pre-tuxedoed Bond sets the explosives in the pre-title sequence) and the film’s practically perfect costume choices (yes, really, even Connery’s pale blue towelling robe in Miami).


    Adjuster: -1

    Surely the most iconic of all Bond films, Goldfinger is an absolute, bona fide classic of the series – and properly set the formula that every subsequent one has variously adhered to and divulged from. But it’s not perfect. For me, although boasting an excellent setting, the Fort Knox finale oddly disappoints; it’s just not as thrilling as it might be. Perhaps if Goldfinger could have surrendered its otherwise marvellous self-mockery here (and upped the action ante elsewhere), it’d be the series’ true 24-carat entry.


    <font size=4>Overall: 85/100</font>


    Best bit: The triple combo that is the climax of the car chase, followed by the laser-table sequence, seguing into Bond meeting Pussy

    Best line: “My name is Pussy Galore”/ “I must be dreaming”



    Get the full treatment of my 'Bondathon' reviews here
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,372
    Goldfinger

    Both Dr. No and From Russia With Love were tremendously successful, but with Goldfinger the Bond movies went stratospheric in terms of their box-office achievements, making James Bond, 007, a leading pop-culture icon of the sixties, thus ensuring his legendary status.

    Tragically the man who started it all, Ian Fleming would not live to see Bond become a phenomenon.

    Fleming, a hard living type of man, who already had a heart attack, at the age of 53, did not heed his doctors advice, and so, playing golf in terrible weather, he suffered a pulmonary embolism.

    Fleming survived this, but his body had enough. When sent to recover in a quiet coastal town, Fleming's mother died; thus he decided to live life, not “shy away from it”. Despite being gravely ill, Fleming pressed on with his life, but it was too much for his body to handle; whilst dining with an old friend he collapsed for the final time.

    Fleming once said - “I shall not waste my days, in trying to prolong them.” In James Bond, Fleming would accomplish the deed of immorality, creating one of the most loved fictional characters of all time.

    Ian Fleming died on the 12th of August, 1964. Curiously this was the date, that a future 007 moved to London from Ireland. His name; Pierce Brosnan. The first film that he saw; Goldfinger.

    Goldfinger is the gold standard of Bond films. It is an ideal blend of both the literary and cinematic 007's, fusing them together to create a 64 carat piece of film history.

    Goldfinger has it all; Sean Connery as 007, an iconic cast, John Barry's indelible music, Ken Adam's visually impressive sets, and also, the Aston Martin DB5, with refinements, of course, and finally a whole slew of gadgets.

    Moreover Goldfinger is dripping with iconic scene, such as, Shirley Eaton's “Golden Girl”; near castration with a laser; the golf game; Q's workshop; the pre-titles sequence; Pussy Galore; chase in the DB5 and the climax in Fort Knox.

    Thus Goldfinger is a near perfect film, nay film period. However there are some minor details that prevent it from being the best Bond of them all. Some of the details are technical, but the other one is artistic.

    The back-projection gives the impression that the film is overly cheap; at three times the budget of Dr. No, it isn’t. Also the dialogue in the “Hood's Convention” is uniformly woeful and badly acted.

    Still, this was was a major artistic turning point in Bond lore; Goldfinger had a new director, Guy Hamilton, and a new screenwriter, Paul Dehn. Together they presented a more stylised film and violence. Hamilton influence at the helm makes the film less callous, less brutal, more stylised, more overt.

    If Terence Young had directed Goldfinger, as in three of the first four films, then surely, it would have been more brutal, more callous. Young understood the Bond role, he would have made it dangerous and not so stylised. After all, you're meant to question Bond's motives and actions; i.e. in From Russia With Love, Bond slaps Tatiana after the death of Kerim. One feels pity for Tatiana, and Bond, but one understood Bond's motives. As Fleming said Bond should not be particularly likeable, he is, after all, an assassin; it is his duty to get the job done, no matter what the cost to other people, or himself, both spiritually and physically.

    One is glad to 007 for doing the job, but it raises some moral scruples. It's a violent world and 007 is a product of that world. It's a poisoned chalice for Bond, he reluctantly accepts his chosen profession, as no-one would do it, no-one should have to do it, and because he's bloody good at it, but he's destroying his soul. And that is the beauty of Fleming's novels, the moral ambiguity that Bond finds himself in.

    Then again, would Young's Goldfinger had been as successful as Hamilton's Goldfinger? It is a tricky one for the film-makers to juggle, and one they have achieved, more and less, with aplomb for nearly fifty years.

    Thus Goldfinger utilizes the character of James Bond and the situations that he finds himself, in a different, almost imperceptible way. It's a subtle shift, and that is the difference between the cinematic and literary 007's, but the spirit of Fleming's writing remains, even if the context has been altered.

    This means, alas, that Goldfinger cannot be placed amongst the higher echelon's of Bond's films, which it deserved to be.

    Still, Guy Hamilton provided the interpretation that Bond would be know for; cool, lethal and always ready with a quip. In fact, Hamilton's Goldfinger would be so successful, and his take on the Bond persona in particular, that it would be used as a template for many of the up-coming Bond adventures. Hamilton, then, would focus on Bond's sophistication and wryness, and less on the coldness and brutality.

    Perhaps Hamilton took his cue from Ian Fleming's source novel, which is his most laid-back and expansive.

    To adapt the novel into a screenplay, the producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to Richard Maibaum, who translated the first two Bond films. He was joined by Paul Dehn, a film critic, turned film screenwriter. Together they made Bond more palpable and less objective, by glossing over the aspects of Bond's less than savoury job.

    Goldfinger has just the right proportions of escapism, coolness, sexiness, danger, tension, romance and espionage. In short, Goldfinger is one of the most perfectly balanced films in the canon.

    Moreover the screenwriters actually improved upon Fleming's novel, by tightening up the films climax, and removing the plot-hole; as Bond says in the film, it would be impossible to raid Fort Knox, the sheer logistics of it makes it so. Instead the screenwriters ingeniously have Auric Goldfinger try to irradiate America's gold supply, thus increasing the value of his own gold.

    In the book, Bond gets captured early on. That's fine in a book, but on film it does not work, as well. We're used to seeing Bond being proactive, decisive, but in Goldfinger, in the mid-to late act anyway, we're pilfered of that.

    Goldfinger is the first film to put an emphasis on hardware, after the film-makers noticed audiences enthusiasm over the Attaché case in From Russia With Love. Besides Fleming himself added gadgetry to his novel, so the film-makers were embellishing.

    Fleming loved cars, and Goldfinger is the most auto-centric novel off his. In the original novel, Bond drives an Aston Martin DB III, with all the necessary additions. In the film, the producer's chose the latest Aston Martin, the DB5, complete with extra gadgetry, of course. With such ingenuity, is it any wonder that the DB5 became the most famous car in the world?

    Fortunately, however, the hardware does not overwhelm the people, or the story, unlike later efforts, which shows the skill of the director and the screenwriter, to balance out the different aspects to the story.

    Goldfinger is a near perfectly cast film; with the exception of the aforementioned gangsters. Fleming created some of his finest characters in his novel.

    Gert Frobe and Harold Sakata are the living embodiments as Fleming's most colourful villains, as Goldfinger and Oddjob, respectively. The latter, clad in his man servants garb, complete with bowler hat, is utterly preposterous, due to his size and muscle, but is a deadly foe. In the words of Ian Fleming;
    “This was not a man of flesh and blood. This was a living club, perhaps the most dangerous animal on the face of the earth.”

    The former is one of Mr Bond's most worthy and memorable antagonists. Frobe plays the role of Auric Goldfinger just right; charismatic, intelligent, extrovert, evil and quite, quite mad.

    One of the most unforgettable moments in any movie, is Shirley Eaton as Goldfinger's paid companion, Jill Masterson; she is the famous “Golden Girl”. Despite appearing for less than five minutes, Jill's death leaves an indelible image. The seduction scene between her and Bond, is one of the most believable in the series, not least because of Eaton's and Connery's sexual chemistry.

    With a name as risqué as Pussy Galore, it needed a good actress to pull it off. Fortunately Honor Blackman more than suffices. Tough and resourceful, Blackman is ideally suited to play alongside Connery's 007.

    Taken prisoner, Bond's only hope is to convince Pussy; he does that by telling her that the poison gas she's about to unleash over the troops guarding Fort Knox is deadly.

    Bernard Lee reprises his role as M, who, is displeased with Bond for causing a stir by “borrowing” Goldfinger's girlfriend in Miami. Bond, on the other hand, is guilt ridden over Jill's death.

    Thus their briefing is beautifuly, understatedly tense; M admonishes Bond, and 007 is angry at M, for not telling him what he was in Miami for. However Bond, and Bond knows that, his anger is miss-directed; Bond is feeling guilty. Connery and Lee both play this superbly, in a well written scene.

    Guy Hamilton also influenced the role of Q, the beloved gadget master, played by Desmond Llewelyn. Q is sat down in his workstation. When 007 enters, so Llewelyn stood up. Hamilton thought otherwise; Q would never stand up, as 007 never treated Q's gadgets with any respect. Thus was born the Q/Bond dynamic; Q the cranky teacher, and Bond the irreverent, naughty schoolboy.

    As said naughty schoolboy, Sean Connery is in magnificent form as 007. Every line, every movement is perfect. In Goldfinger, Connery is really a pleasure to watch.

    With Goldfinger Ken Adam and John Barry really hit their strides. Adam used the higher budget to create some sumptuous sets, including the Rumpus Room, the laser cutting room and, not forgetting his masterpiece, Fort Knox, where Adam let his considerable imagination run wild, creating a veritable “Cathedral of Gold”.

    On the music front Barry produced one of his finest soundtracks; it just screams “Bond”, with it's twangy guitar and big, brassy sound; simply breathtaking. For the main title theme, Barry delivered one of the greatest theme song's of all time; Goldfinger, sung with great gusto by Shirley Bassey.

    When Goldfinger was released, it broke box-office records. Furthermore Goldfinger spawned a host of imitators, and they hoped on board the “Bond-wagon”.

    Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, and it's easy to see why; superlative performances by the key actors; Barry's soundtrack; Adam's innovative sets; John Stears amazing special effects, all resulting in the most iconic, definitive Bond film.
  • GOLDFINGER (1964)

    CHARACTERS: Sean Connery gives another great peformance as Bond one of his best actually. I think in his first three films he gave his best peformances, but after that I think he just started to get a bit tired of the role. I don't think he looked quite as fit as he did in FRWL and Connery's hair piece is just a complete distraction from the film. Apart from that I Connery is perfect as Bond and I still think he's the best Bond ever. The woman are pretty nice in this film. While some might say Honor Blackman is a bit too old to be playing a Bond girl. But she still looks great and provides us with probably one of the most memorable Bond girls ever. Shirley Eaton however I always thought was a bit of an overrated Bond girl. She's not really that good looking and I think she's only really famous because of her Golden girl scene, and of course so they could send her on tour promoting the film, I thought he're sister in the film Tilly Masterson was much more interesting and attractive. Goldfinger is a great villan. Gert Frobe gives a great peformance as the corrupt gold smuggler and his henchman Oddjob provides for an entertaining and memorable villan. So thats it basically :) They're all great. 8.5/10

    PLOT: The plot is very good and perhaps more importantly, easy to follow. Some might say Goldfinger's plan to kill the entire army of Fort Knox security troops with nerve gas in order to infiltrate America's largest gold depository and place and nuclear atom bomb in order to make his gold more valuable is a bit silly and unrealistic. But I think it's actually one of the more down to earth kind of plots and I'm more than willing to except that its all possible. Infact I think it would probably be one of the few that would be most likaly to succeed, mainly because most of the evil plans are about as realistic as unicorn slugs. 9.5/10

    BOND BLUEPRINT: The Bond Blueprint isn't exatly followed perfectly. But I don't think there's a Bond film that does. The action is amazing. Write from the beginning explosion at the Mexican drug dealers den right to the plane crash at the end, Goldfinger is probably the most action packed film of the lot. The music score by John Barry is at its best as usual, however I'm not really the biggest fan of the Shirley Bassey title song but its still great. The gadgets are of course the most important part and Goldfinger really owns this triat. Bonds legendary Aston Martin DB5 is the highlight and mark of the film. Infact its really the highlight of James Bond and it makes sense for them to bring it back in TB, GE, TND and SF. The only thing that is really a let down is the locations in the film. Each of the Connery films would try to stay roughly in one location for the film. So each would be recognisable from each location. DN had Jamaica, FRWL had Turkey, TB took place in The Bahamas or more specifically on the island of Nassau, Then there was YOLT which took place in and around Japan. Then finally for DAF we had Las Vegas. GF is really the low point for the Connery films. Here, we start the film in Miami which is all fine. But then we head off to Switzerland and from there to Kentucky. This maybe the location of Fort Knox which Fleming mentioned in the novel. But surely there where more exotic places they could film. Perhaps even the US mint in San Francisco.

    OVERALL: Goldfinger is by far the best Bond film. It has everything you could possibly want in a Bond film: Action, Adventure, Woman, Gadgets, Exotic Locals and Amazing villans. Overall I think very highly of Goldfinger and truly think it is the best Bond of all time. 100/100






  • edited January 2013 Posts: 533

    "GOLDFINGER" (1964) Review"

    Ever since its release in 1964, the movie, "GOLDFINGER" has been regarded as one of the best Bond movies ever. In fact, it is considered by many Bond fans as the franchise's definitive film, considering that it more or less created what is known as "the Bond formula". The 1959 Fleming novel that it is based up, is also highly regarded by some fans, while others believe that the movie is an improvement on the literary version. While I agree that the movie, "GOLDFINGER" is an improvement over the novel, I have a low opinion of both versions. However, I'm here to comment on the movie and not the novel.

    As I have stated before, "GOLDFINGER" is without a doubt my least favorite Bond movie of all time. Not only did Bond seem to act like an oversexed adolescent, culminating in that ridiculous scene between him and Pussy Galore in Goldfinger's barn, the movie is hampered by a weak Felix Leiter, portrayed by Canadian actor Cec Linder (who seemed more like a sidekick than an ally) and major plot holes that included:

    1) Goldfinger's reason for keeping Bond alive - why the man didn't think to find out what exactly Bond knew about "Operation Grand Slam", I don't know.

    2) The method Bond uses for convincing Ms. Galore to betray Goldfinger - it's bad enough that Bond had to assert his masculinity over the cool and professional Ms. Galore, the writers have us believe that he used sex to convince her to betray Goldfinger. Why? Why not have Bond convince her that Golfinger was simply a fruitcake? I guess the writers wanted an excuse for Bond to use the "magic penis". The entire barn scene left me feeling disgusted and less impressed by Pussy Galore.

    3) Goldfinger's murder of the Mafia bosses - This was so ridiculous and unecessary. Many Bond fans have claimed that the reason Goldfinger told the Mafia bosses about his plans for Fort Knox before murdering them, was because he wanted bask in the enjoyment of letting someone know about his plans. If that was the case, why not have Goldfinger tell Bond before attempting to kill the agent or leave him for dead? What makes this scenario even more ridiculous is that when Mr. Solo decided that he wants nothing of the Fort Knox plan, Goldfinger sent him on his way with a gold bar . . . before Oddjob kills the man and crushes him inside a car. Why not simply leave Solo with the other gangsters and kill them all? Without having to reveal his Fort Knox plan?

    Are there any positive aspects about "GOLDFINGER"? Why . . . yes. Thankfully, the movie's cast included Gert Frobe as Auric Goldfinger. Although my opinion of Goldfinger's intelligence has diminished over the years, I remain impressed by Frobe's commanding performance. And there is the talented and classy Honor Blackman (who was already famous in the U.K. in the TV series, "THE AVENGERS"), playing the tough and intelligent Pussy Galore. I enjoyed Ms. Blackman's performance so much that it seemed a shame that her character was ruined in that Galore/Bond wrestling match inside the barn. Shirley Easton made the most of her brief appearance as one of the doomed Masterson sisters, Jill. And let's face it, no one will ever forget the last image of her gold-painted body spread out upon the bed inside Bond's Miami hotel room.

    Last by not least, there is the movie's theme song, performed by the talented Shirley Bassey. After all, it is considered one of the best Bond theme songs ever. And that is an opinion I do share.

    Despite some of the movie's positive aspects, I have always harbored ambiguous feelings about "GOLDFINGER" for years. In the past, I tried to accept the prevalent view that it was probably one of the best Bond movies. But after watching it the last time . . . Well let me put it this way, whether or not it was responsible for creating the Bond formula, I now finally realize how much I truly dislike it.


    3/10
  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380

    DRush76 wrote:
    2) The method Bond uses for convincing Ms. Galore to betray Goldfinger - it's bad enough that Bond had to assert his masculinity over the cool and professional Ms. Galore, the writers have us believe that he used sex to convince her to betray Goldfinger. Why? Why not have Bond convince her that Golfinger was simply a fruitcake? I guess the writers wanted an excuse for Bond to use the "magic penis". The entire barn scene left me feeling disgusted and less impressed by Pussy Galore.


    What's going on here? I'm curious because I was looking for a review by someone called Lady Lavinia or something like that - an old KTBEU forum member - because I was looking for this bit of the review. Then I find this whole review here and on a few blogs called the Rush Journal and the Rush Blog.

    So are you the lady who originally wrote this review - an unforgettable review for those who were around at that time - or someone who plagiarized it?

  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    edited September 2013 Posts: 12,157
    That would be interesting if they are the same posters - I don't know much about DRush76.

    And my only comment on GF right this second, regarding the mentioned paragraph is, yes it is annoying to me; but Fleming wrote it like that. I don't blame the screenwriters really. Considering the era this film came out in. Doesn't mean I agree with the scene.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    edited January 2017 Posts: 28,231
    Goldfinger (1964): A Review in Two Parts

    I.
    ACTOR & CHARACTER ELEMENTS

    Bond and Actor Performance

    In this, his third go at a James Bond film, Sean Connery shows no signs of slowing down in his iconic portrayal. While Dr. No and From Russia with Love required Sean to play a Bond with an air of unease about him as he navigated a fearful Jamaica ruled by No’s myths of danger and dragons and the rough town of Istanbul colored by the complex and disconcerting shifts in relations between the Turks, Bulgars and Russians as he found himself in the middle of a SPECTRE plot, in Goldfinger we see Sean having the most fun I’d say he has for his entire tenure.

    I think this is largely down to the fact that there is so much downtime in this film where Bond can truly stretch himself from the confines of spy life and socialize, even when he’s virtually a prisoner on a Kentucky stud ranch (yeah, that happens). The film begins with 007 on a bit of vacation (or so he thinks), he socializes with Goldfinger in very public and relaxed locations throughout the feature and once we get to Kentucky, Bond is more sociable than ever. In many ways Goldfinger is a film about Bond reacting instead of acting because of this, which often doesn’t exactly work in its favor.

    But back to Sean. Dr. No and From Russia with Love are full of nice quiet moments where Sean’s subtle acting really got to shine, and in Goldfinger, these moments remain. Sean’s swagger is mighty, and he’s well off the leash as he seduces and charms his way through the movie with great charisma and sexiness. Sean is the master of these quiet moments where he needs no words to convey to an audience what he is doing, and his rebelliousness is exciting. I love how, when he is making his way to Goldfinger’s Miami hotel room after spotting the man’s cheating tactic, he charms the cleaner to get close to him so he can swiftly grab her key, lead her reluctantly to the door and unlock it. Then, once on the balcony, he charms Shirley Eaton's Jill in less than 10 seconds flat. When the woman requests for Bond to shift himself back so that she can see Auric’s reaction to losing the game, Sean only slightly moves his head out of the way so that his face is just centimeters from the side of Shirley’s as she looks into the binoculars; at this moment you can see him sneak a sniff of her hair as Bond's animal mating ritual begins and he becomes fully enchanted by her beauty. In this scene, as with many in the film, it's hard to distinguish where Bond begins and Sean ends as the actor unleashes his unrivaled presence.

    Goldfinger is nothing if not a collection of moments where Bond somehow finds a way to infiltrate and disrupt or annoy his company in amusing ways. In the pre-title sequence he stealthily rigs a plant to blow and stands waiting for the ticking of his watch to reach the moment of climax as the club’s foundations shake alongside the explosion, which he walks through in the aftermath like it was nothing more than a minor quake, dressed to the nines in a gorgeous dinner jacket. At dinner with the head of the Bank of England, he shows off his knowledge of the right drinks, to M’s immense puzzlement. When he meets with Q to get his gear, he acts oh so bored, but still attentive as the gadget man shows him his new toys. When he meets Tilly and openly crashes her vehicle, he sits rather adorably on the back of her car boot like a child, playing innocent with a big grin. On the flight to Kentucky, Bond inspects the plane’s restroom and blocks all the attempts to survey him like he does in the hotel scenes of Dr. No and From Russia with Love, a great callback to the previous Terence Young films. When Goldfinger thinks he’s got Bond locked away and out of mind in a cell, he breaks out, takes care of his guard and hears all of the villain's plan unnoticed. And then there’s the endlessly sharp barbs he sends Goldfinger’s way throughout, gradually eroding the villain’s ego as he goes in entertaining ways. He even talks back to M in this film, which is a big no-no. This is a Bond off the leash, with a mind of his own.

    All of this stands without even beginning to mention the massive sex appeal of Sean Connery in the picture. A fun fact about myself is that Sean Connery in Goldfinger has more than once in the past made me question everything I know of my heterosexuality. This is because Sean is his finest looking as Bond here; this is the film where he steals the crown of sexiest man from anyone else who claimed right to it previously or at any time thereafter. His attractiveness is all in that animal magnetism he helped to define. The way a few commas of his hairpiece fell in Flemingesque fashion over his forehead. The way he sneaks a peak at Lois Maxwell’s rear as she goes to her office desk. His swagger walking through a room, making female eyes light up and fires burn aflame in their hearts and lower regions for him as he smiles and displays dimples as deep as the ocean. The way he wore a suit like he was born in it. The way he went after his women like he was an animal in the wild, battling for their love with kinetic energy, unrestrained as he flared his nostrils.

    Sean simply exudes sex in this film, and every time he looks at a woman you can feel an erotic energy cascading off of him that is penetrating (bad choice of words?). Sean isn’t an actor, he’s a force of nature, a perfect amalgamation of clean, refined eloquence and dirty, untamed machismo. His libido is a wrecking ball and the women of Goldfinger are the walls he breaks down until they topple at his feet, fulfilling his every request. I defy any man to watch Sean Connery in Goldfinger without admitting up front that they would totally allow him to do anything he wanted to them. What a man. Erm, uh-back to the analysis!

    We’ve discussed Sean’s immaculate performance and his aroma of attraction, but what of Bond the character in Goldfinger? This is where things get more complex, because on the surface of its iconography and its foundation as a source of tradition for many of the films that would come after it, on a deeper level Goldfinger seems like a lesson in failure, with Bond as its student. This is largely because the film presents James Bond as an ineffectual force in the face of Auric Goldfinger, Oddjob and their resources.

    Due to this, Goldfinger feels like a film about female oppression and the destruction of female rebelliousness by more patriarchal forces represented by our villain and henchman, featuring the demise of women often through Bond’s direct influence. It is Bond that seduces Jill as a bonus of investigating Goldfinger, and he ignores M’s requests for his further study so that he can roll in the sheets with her (can’t say I blame him). This ends with Goldfinger making an example of Jill for Bond’s sake, showing 007 that he’s not a man to be messed with. As Tilly is preparing to make a killing shot on Goldfinger in Switzerland (which she fails at the first time), Bond tackles her and makes the barrel of her rifle set off the alarms of the compound. Then, as he tries to provide cover fire for her when they’re ambushed in the DB5, he tells her to run for it, directing her right into the path of Oddjob’s hat, which ends her life swiftly. Throughout the film you could play a drinking game collecting the endless number of times Bond is knocked out or captured, driving home the idea of just how much he may be in over his head by facing Goldfinger. In fact, Bond starts his mission in Miami thinking Auric is just some random rich prick, but over time, sparked by the cold and bizarre killing of Jill, 007 discovers the glistening severity of his power. The film works best as a message to Bond of what happens when he underestimates his enemies, which you'd think he’d have learned while being in the middle of a SPECTRE plot for the entirety of the last film.

    But more on the ineffectual and powerless Bond of Goldfinger and the oppression of the women therein later.

    Bond Girl/s and Performance

    Pussy Galore- In a film full of oppressed women who end up getting crunched to a splatter under the heels of powerful men, there’s one that rises above it all and dishes out all she can take.

    Honor Blackman in Goldfinger represents one of the all-time baddest chicks in cinematic history. Before Fiona Volpe came around, Pussy looked Bond in the eyes while he was in charm mode and told him she wasn’t interested (she’d have kicked Fiona’s ass too). She’s a strong and independent opportunist that can handle guns and fight any man who faces her, on top of being an A-class pilot. The fact that she’s a woman is beside the point, barely even worth mentioning, in fact. Pussy is a woman who plays the same game as the boys, and plays it well. She won’t stand for the kind of abuse or trickery that befalls Jill or Tilly, and is strong enough to handle herself in brushes with danger.

    Pussy's motivations are clear-she’s a woman trying to make it in a world paved and ruled by men, and is doing quite well without them. This could be why her entire squad of pilots are women, and why she doesn’t allow any man to come on to her. Through the reaction of men to her, her gender is often used against her to make light of her abilities beyond being an object of sexual objectification, and she’d be dominated wholly if it wasn’t for her strength of character.

    In a true sign of the times, Bond at first thinks the pilots Pussy commands are “chaps,” and when he presses her about what her other obligations are to Goldfinger, she acts outraged, saying she is just a “damn good pilot,” nothing more. Pussy doesn’t want to be solely defined by her womanhood and put into a box, arguing quite rightfully that such a thing shouldn’t enter into the conversation, demanding that she not be viewed as an object of sex for men to play with and leave behind when they’ve had their fill.

    These aspects of her character all make Pussy quite a mystery, but a glorious one at that. Up until the end of the film she keeps us guessing as to who she will follow the orders of, Bond or Goldfinger, but she doesn’t disappoint. Most notably, her sexuality is uncertain, as you could interpret her aversion to Bond and Goldfinger’s touches as a sign of her lesbianism and lack of attraction to their gender or as a defiance of male attempts to make her less than what she is, a strong human being and only a woman besides. I prefer this latter interpretation as it helps me process the later barn scene better, where it’s far easier for me to take Bond and her having a bit of foreplay before they consummate their initial attraction as opposed to Bond forcing himself on a lesbian who wants nothing to do with him.

    With this interpretation in consideration, I think Pussy becomes a much stronger character. In a film of powerful men, she is a woman who shows she can be just as capable as the boys with their toys. She has collected a band of female pilots and trained them with a strong and nurturing tutelage to be the best because she knows what it’s like to live in a man’s world, and her support for her fellow women, the maternal relationship she carries for them and her belief in their abilities as capable and talented workers gives them a visible sense of empowerment that she is the prime source of. This is because Pussy represents the best kind of feminine empowerment, the kind that doesn’t condemn the men, but that instead shows them they are on an equal playing field, reminding them to never forget it. Pussy’s strength of character is visible even in the face of our favorite spy. While Auric falls and falters to Bond’s attempts at touching his buttons, Pussy looks Bond dead in the eyes and tells him to back off, gun in hand. When Bond beats everyone in his way to listening in on Goldfinger’s plan, it’s Pussy who catches him by surprise and brings him back in. And it’s ultimately her who saves the day at the end when Bond thinks he’s going to certain death inside Fort Knox, helplessly strapped to a dirty bomb.

    This image of Pussy as a character fits well with the image of Honor Blackman, a woman who could hold her own with the boys in real life, growing up a tomboy, and who could genuinely fight convincingly, even writing a book of her own on martial arts. Even before she entered Bond history, Honor was a woman who did her own stunts on The Avengers and fought in sequences of action that demanded her to fall hard on cement floors, which wasn’t easy on her body over time. Everything she was demanded to do in Goldfinger, then, was cake in comparison, but she wasn’t the type to complain regardless. Everything about Honor’s performance here is finely tuned, and she never feels the fool of a man; she faces machismo head on and doesn’t falter in the face of it, even when it is being exuded by Bond himself. Even when she wrestles in the barn with Bond and ultimately has sex with him, we can be assured that she’s doing it because she wants it, and not because he is making her do it. The way Honor moves, how she handles herself in a fight, how she holds a gun all feels credible, too. Her voice, so gloriously sultry and in command, wraps a very pretty package. She’s the kind of woman you’d still fall for just as hard when she was reprimanding you as when she was being cordial. There’s a turn-on in her ability to command herself and let her presence do the talking, a purer image of a real woman than most I’ve ever seen before. When I see Honor on screen, my face carries that same look of awe and arousal as Bond’s does when he awakens on the plane and Pussy’s beautiful face is the first thing he sees out of the tranquilizer’s fog.

    With this all in consideration, then, such a strong and commanding force as Pussy's couldn’t have been given to a greater actress to play, as the character wasn’t far removed in spirit from the glorious and gorgeous actress that brought her to life. Honor gives, unsurprisingly, great honor to Pussy, and lends credibility to how strong a character she is by being such an independent woman of her own off screen. We believe Pussy when she says she can knock Bond off his feet. We don’t doubt her when she says she could shoot him in seconds flat if he gave her more lip. And we believe her when she says she’s a damn good pilot that has trained the best group of female-yes, female-pilots in the world. We believe all this because inherently, we believe Honor, in every word she mouths and movement she brings into action.

    Pussy Galore is a Bond girl that quite simply defies the title, and it almost makes you feel bad to deride her with the gender-laced term. Pussy is a capable, athletic, smart, cunning, resourceful, professional and inspiring person. The fact that she just so happens to be a woman is pretty low on the list of all the amazing things she is and what she stands for. With all this under consideration, Pussy is by far one of my favorite Bond gals, and she’s a great blueprint for what it means to be an empowered woman in any time period, beyond her alluring role even here.

    In retrospect, she should have been called Greatness Galore.

    Bond Henchman and Performance

    Oddjob- Oddjob, the henchman to begin them all. Somehow, after all these years and no matter how many times I watch Goldfinger and become immune to some of its surprises through such a deep memorization of it, the man in the bowler hat always unsettles me.

    The film builds up Oddjob gradually as a force of nature, nothing more than a silhouette on the wall of Bond’s hotel room at the start, over time becoming a fully formed symbol of evil and oppression (particularly of women). Barry even gives him his own minor theme, an unsettling jingling that signals his return to the screen for every bit of chaos and murder he unleashes. The music becomes something to fear the return of, because along with it will come Oddjob and the death of more innocents that the tune acts as a piercing prelude to.

    There’s a sadism tinged in everything Oddjob does. He doesn’t just follow Goldfinger’s orders because he’s the boss. He enjoys it. Oddjob clearly marvels ecstatically in seeing pain and destruction that he himself reaps, smiling chillingly after each depraved act he commits. One of my favorite little moments comes when Bond crashes the DB5 into the wall of Auric’s factory to avoid a head-on collision. In the aftermath of the crash, with Bond’s vehicle trapped under collapsing rubble, Oddjob looks off to a point where he is being reflected in a far away glass, and smiles as he takes the scene in. He seems happy to be amongst the rubble and destruction, like it’s his greatest hobby to bring about chaos and misfortune.

    Where Oddjob’s feelings and actions toward women are concerned, he becomes even more devilish. The film shows us many examples of his joyful oppression and crude silencing of women, which fast characterizes him as a brutal patriarchal force that cuts down enterprising, independent women.

    The first act we attribute to Oddjob is his painting of Jill. He has taken something beautiful and vandalized its image, tainting it fatally. Gold, with its shimmer commonly denoting value and worth, begins to feel deadly, evil and horrific to view when it’s in the hands of Oddjob. By killing Jill he makes something as beautiful and glitteringly glorious as gold crude in idea, and uses it to deface and destroy something equally beautiful in the form of the innocent Ms. Masterson.

    The second act we see Oddjob commit, visibly this time, is also quite telling, as he takes his hat and defaces a very sensual looking female figure at Goldfinger’s golf course. As he did with Jill, Oddjob takes ready pleasure in defacing, vandalizing and destroying a beautiful and sensual feminine image.

    When Tilly Masterson attempts to avenge her sister Jill in Switzerland and strives independently to kill Goldfinger, Oddjob is there to oppress her, sending out his deadly hat on a collision course with her head. This moment is especially crude and laced with sadism because Tilly meets the same fate as the statue at the golf club. Two women, one of stone, the other of flesh, artfully brought asunder.

    It becomes more than clear in Goldfinger that, while Bond celebrates women, Oddjob destroys and dismantles them. While Bond looks into the faces of women and feels an untamed, irrepressible sexual connection and thirst for their skin to touch his form, Oddjob looks at the same face, into the same eyes, and prepares his hat to knock those features clean off their neck. There’s an inherent, animalistic way to how Oddjob acts out against women, and not knowing why he’s driven to such action is what makes him most frightening, further so when you see how much he enjoys doing it.

    Everything about him, even down to his costume design, speaks mountains of the evil force the film designs him to be. I once read that in the late 19th century it was a commonly held belief and rumor that Satan was roaming the land dressed in a black suit with a black top hat. In the image of Oddjob and his black-tie, anachronistic get-up, like he’s a man out of time, I feel the same sense of wickedness and sadism emitting from him that Christians feel is best exemplified by Satan. The fact that Oddjob is a mute is just another sinister addition to the long list of characteristics that serve to make a devil of his character. The true terror and horrific essence of Oddjob is that he’s both figuratively and literally mute to the destruction and oppression he causes, as if he’s indifferent to it. Moreover, he has no words to explain his evils, and therefore can’t be reasoned with or questioned about why he does what he does. He’s like pure evil, acting unprovoked, and we’re without reason to explain the horror away. All these aspects of his character come together to make Oddjob a primal symbol of savage depravity laced with masculine power, a wicked tool of a patriarchy ruled by his boss, Auric Goldfinger, that stamps over women hard and fast.

    Oddjob’s capability is given credibility by the actor that brought him to life, Harold Sakata. The man’s weightlifting prowess and immense strength more than made up for his stature, and his abilities are quite visible as he commands the screen. A true professional, Sakata gave his all to the role. In a notable story, he was severely burned during his iconic death inside Fort Knox as the shot was being taken, but he refused to let go of the famous hat caught between the bars until Guy Hamilton said, “Cut!” Proving the enduring presence that Oddjob was, Sakata would play the character numerous times in various promotional materials throughout the rest of his life post-Goldfinger. Like the pop culture he impacted and was made a permanent resident of, Oddjob never left Sakata, and Sakata never left him.

    Bond Villain/s and Performance

    Auric Goldfinger- Goldfinger was always the outlier of the Connery era, the man unconnected with the villainous SPECTRE, and that is just one of the many reasons why he’s so fascinating. At the heart of everything Auric Goldfinger does is a craving for a specific shimmering element, an element he will do anything to acquire more of. Goldfinger’s love of gold goes beyond a simple obsession, however. It’s a lifestyle.

    Everything about Goldfinger screams ambition. He has endless amounts of gold and wealth, but he wants more, until every plane he has, ever gun he’s collected and all his women are covered in it (by jewelry, not paint, I hope). No price tag is too big, no amount of the element enough to sate his avarice and desire for opulence. Sure enough, while nobody’s banks are open on Sundays, by George, Auric Goldfinger’s bank will be! That’s another thing-what man would look at a map of Fort Knox, point to the building and call it his “bank” before he’d so much as gotten within 500 feet of it? Such is the overconfidence of this man. Whether it’s his personality, his greed, his cunning or his size, everything about Goldfinger is big, and he only wants it all bigger.

    The filmmakers did a brilliant job of gradually giving us the picture of the man we’d know to be Auric Goldfinger. At the beginning, much like Bond, we see him as nothing more than a rich and overly proud man with far too much money and time on his hands-and he’s a cheat, at that. He seems relatively harmless, as long as he’s allowed to skip past buffet lines at his favorite five-star restaurants and given access to the finest cars and women. When we see Jill’s cold, golden corpse, however, we begin to learn our lesson at underestimating the man. It’s here that Goldfinger becomes a more dangerous figure than we’d at first figured. We begin to question just what kind of man would have a beautiful woman like Jill painted gold and suffocated? Did he view Jill’s death as something to marvel at? Did Goldfinger in his own mind transform something as horrible as death into something beautiful through the shimmer and shine of the gold coating her body? Was the gilded Jill simply his trademark, a calling card or a warning, letting Bond know he was dealing with a man with the very element in his name? The mysteries behind the man and why he does what he does persist as the film unfolds.

    One of the biggest aspects of Goldfinger’s behavior, besides his obvious obsessions with all that shimmers, if how much he pisses on obligations, partnerships and tenets of gentlemanly kindness. Auric Goldfinger is a man out for himself, who goes so far as to request money from benefactors that he has no intention of allowing into his inner circle. He doesn’t even let those who give him money know what he’s doing with it, as we see in the Kentucky briefing scene. In the many social scenes we get between Bond and Goldfinger, his rule-breaking is even more clear. While playing golf with Bond, he is fast to rush to the tee box when it was Bond’s honor to drive down the fairway first. And in golf as in cards, Goldfinger is a cheat that can’t do anything properly without massive assistance from others. For a man who loves gold, nearly all of Goldfinger’s abilities and accomplishments are as phony as pyrite.

    His loyalties to his partners mean even less in value. He hosts a briefing at his estate only to kill all the men investing in his plans afterward, orders Mr. Solo crunched, turns on Mr. Ling by shooting him to death, traps Oddjob-yes, Oddjob-inside the Fort Knox fault to die, and has plans set to shoot Pussy to tie off the final loose end when his plan falls out of order.

    Of course, the reason Goldfinger is so famous today is because of his interactions with Bond, and that’s where his impact is greatest. The entire film sees Bond and Goldfinger punching each other's egos in a formal, hidden fashion, in true Bond style. Instead of staging their verbal battles in private settings, Bond and Goldfinger tussle in public, in recreational spaces, namely a resort/hotel, golf course and stud ranch. Bond taunts Goldfinger’s lack of character, and within seconds Goldfinger will slyly brag about Jill’s death to him, using it as an example to Bond that he’s not to be messed with. The film is a chess match and dick-measuring contest between this pair, and we’re a front row audience to it all. As the film progresses, their interactions are laced with more and more mad envy on Goldfinger’s side. Bond is stylish, seductive, lean and charming while Goldfinger is a disproportionate, oversized plum of a man. It’s already clear which of them has the best chance with the ladies.

    One of my favorite moments in the film that underscores Bond’s supremacy comes at the golf course. As Auric prepares to putt, Bond drops the gold bar on the green and disrupts his concentration, making him miss the hole as the sheen commands his senses. To get back at Bond, Auric interrupts Bond’s golf swing as he prepares to tee off at the next hole, but, unflappable as ever, 007 sends the ball straight down the fairway while an unprovoked Auric can only hit it far into the rough.

    While in Kentucky, Bond looks at Goldfinger’s horses and stares at the villain directly in the eyes, calling the animals, “better bred than the owner.” 007’s lack of respect for the man is clear, but he keeps his barbs formal and masks them behind his sophisticated appearance. He’s a guest and prisoner at Goldfinger’s ranch, but he’s not going to keep quiet.

    Later on, after Bond escapes his cell and overhears everything about the villain’s plan to attack Fort Knox, he overtly lets Goldfinger know that he knows, saying, “Operation Grand Slam. I did enjoy your briefing.” Auric’s anger and flustered nature in the sight of Bond’s supremacy and subterfuge is satisfying, and to save face the man quickly spits out, “So did I,” before walking off in embarrassment.

    All of this is brought together perfectly by Gert Fröbe in performance and Michael Collins in voice. The two performers make such a perfect team that it’s not hard to imagine that the voice of Collins was Fröbe’s own because it’s all so fitting of the man. The magic of Fröbe’s performance becomes even more of a miracle when you realize that his English was so rough he had to say his lines phonetically, using the sounds of the words to convey his dialogue. Because of this, his acting partners had to work around the sometimes confused words coming from his mouth, memorizing their lines in sequence so well that they could say them with the right emotion after Fröbe delivered his. In his appearance, Fröbe provided the perfect image of Fleming’s character, a big bloating mass of a man, as opulent in size as he is in gold, while Collins provided the perfect voice, so larger than life and bellowing in how its sound carried across a room. The two are the perfect team, and when the performance and voice are brought together we get a villain who is physically and verbally a force of evil, and a most greedy and creepy man.

    With all this in consideration, it’s easy to see why, all these decades later, Auric Goldfinger remains a fixture of our imagination, and why he’s still a vital part of cinematic pop culture.

    Supporting Cast Performances

    M- Out of Sean’s first three Bond films, I think Goldfinger represents Bernard Lee’s best performance because, like Sean, he got to have some real fun with it. Two of my all-time favorite M moments in the history of the franchise are in just this film alone.

    First, when Bond has the audacity to raise his voice an octave too high while requesting to be kept on the Goldfinger job, Lee’s M gives the agent a stern look like a father would a misbehaving child, and Bond is quick to add “sir” to the end of his request.

    Even more delicious is later on, when Bond displays his finesse at knowing the right drinks (or in this case, the wrong ones) while he and M are eating at the Bank of England. Before Bond said anything M seemed to have been enjoying his drink fine, not realizing it wasn't a respected blend. When Bond hands M the bottle he sniffs it and we see a hilarious look of puzzlement on his face as Bernard Lee provides some strong physical comedy to the film. It’s clear that when it comes to the right drinks, M is clueless and doesn’t “get” the subtle science.


    Moneypenny- By this point in the franchise we’d seen two separate Bond and Moneypenny interactions that set the standard for the flirtatious and playful scenes that would become one of the many staples of the films. There must have been a feeling that with a new director and a slightly lighter Bond adventure, the script on even these moments needed to be flipped a bit. This may be why Moneypenny is the one who gets to toss Bond’s hat on the rack this time around. This moment well compliments a Bond girl like Pussy, who spends the entire film showing up the men and taking charge. Perhaps Hamilton even thought it’d be weird and excessive to have Bond throwing a hat in a film where that would already be the shtick of one of the main villains (although I would pay good money to see a scene where Bond and Oddjob have a hat throwing contest, judged on by Moneypenny).

    Outside of this minor twist on the hat-throwing formula, Lois Maxwell is her lovely self once again, never faltering. By this point she had eased into the role so completely that there’s no questioning her performance, and she never sings a false note. Her interactions in the scene with Sean are authentic feeling and playful as ever. When she says “angel cake,” I could melt.


    Q- One of the most iconic scenes in cinema history, and the one that set the template for every Bond film thereafter, is of course the briefing scene in this film that debuts Q as we know him. After Goldfinger it was expected that at some point in every Bond film 007 would get new gadgets, Q would explain them, they would have a bit of banter and hilarity would ensue.

    Our dear Desmond had already appeared in From Russia with Love for a minor time, showcasing his finesse with gadgets, but it is in Goldfinger that he becomes an essential part of the Bond mythos forever after.

    The repartee between Sean and Desmond in this scene is magic, and it’s part of the reason why their dynamic felt most special. It’s great fun to see Q run Bond through the controls of the DB5 and spot the childish way 007 responds, acting a little bored at one moment and immature the next.

    I laugh heartily every time Q explains the function of the red button to Bond, and how Desmond makes a swooshing noise to simulate the launching of the ejector seat. Like the audience of the time, Bond can’t believe that’s what the button really does.

    Desmond’s stern delivery of the line, “I never joke about my work, 007” crystallized Q as the cunning, no-nonsense gadget man with an earnest face forever, igniting the imaginations of moviegoers everywhere in the process.


    Felix Leiter- While he’s a far cry in appearance from the handsome, suave and lean Jack Lord, Cec Linder does a great job as Felix Leiter in this film. It was virtually impossible for any actor playing this character to reinvent the wheel or add a Shakespearean level of drama and impact to the screen through the role, especially in the 60s, but the man does what he's asked of with aplomb.

    It’s not hard to believe that Felix and Bond are friends because Linder and Connery’s chemistry is so nice and their interactions so cordial. Felix is very supportive of Bond throughout the film, allowing him to do his thing as only he can after witnessing his capabilities in Jamaica, an adventure which Bond references here.

    A favorite moment of mine comes when Felix spots Bond walking with the gorgeously dressed Pussy and says to his colleague, “That’s my James,” all with a wide grin. It reminds me of something I would say of my best friend (also named James) if he was found in a similar situation.


    Jill Masterson- When the history of Bond is analyzed, something that will always come up is the haunting and bizarre, but somehow beautiful image of a gold-painted Jill Masterson lying dead on a bed.

    For the little time she’s in the film, Shirley Eaton makes a hell of an impression. The first glimpse we get of her in that black bikini is enchanting, and later, when she and Bond are in the hotel room we get a close up shot of Eaton looking directly into the camera with a sensual look on her face. It is hard not to fall in love.


    Tilly Masterson- Tania Mallet makes a slightly more substantial appearance here than Shirley Eaton, and in the time that we have her she proves interesting. It’s fitting that Mallet originally auditioned to be Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love, because she fits the image of that character in her simple beauty and in how the character of Tilly is much like Tatiana, an innocent caught in the middle of a dangerous caper. There’s also shades of Honey Ryder to the character, as she’s quick to avenge her sister’s death with murder on the mind, though she’s a bad shot.

    How Tilly is introduced is quite brilliant. Bond pulls up on an hill and the barrel of a gun is slowly introduced to us as a shot is fired. We don’t know at this moment whether Tilly is trying to kill Bond on Goldfinger’s orders, or if she’s a free agent with a bad trigger finger. This adds some nice suspense to the film as Bond gives chase after her in the DB5.

    When Bond makes her car crash, we are fully introduced to her. I enjoy how she completely tunes out Bond’s flirtations and simply wants him to allow her to get on with her business. Her fatal failure later at the Swiss factory, and how her death matches Oddjob’s beheading of the statue at the golf course is chilling as she becomes another beautiful woman brought down by the hellish hat-thrower.


    DB5- There was no way I was going to close out my discussion of supporting characters in Goldfinger without mentioning the DB5. Just as with Batman and his batmobile, Bond and his DB5 become one, each an extension of the other.

    The construction of the shiny gray body and its sleek and classic beauty is like a Bond girl in car form that Bond has the keys to. It is through the DB5 that the nature of gadgets in Bond films was born, first and foremost, for better or worse. There’s a great sense of character to the DB5 as we see it cruising around the green hills of Switzerland, its engine revving to life. The dangerous resources it packs as customized gadgets provide an added thrill to the car that is immaculate all on its own. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to sit in theaters in 1964 and see it debut for the first time. Even to this day, there’s never been a better car, and there never will be. Like Bond himself, the DB5 has timeless appeal.[/quote]
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    edited January 2017 Posts: 28,231
    II.
    BONDIAN ELEMENTS

    Gun barrel sequence-
    Goldfinger’s gun barrel sequence lets you know right off the bat that it’s really happy to be a Bond film. The theme blasts to great effect as the wonderful guitar takes over to finish it off as Simmons turns and shoots. The fade into the pre-title sequence has a hint of the big brass orchestra to it, and it’s less unsettling than the From Russia with Love fade that leads into Grant on the hunt. This time around the fade is quiet and stealthy enough to provide a great introduction to Bond rising from the water to begin his mission, helping the atmosphere to feel suitably quiet as 007 attempts to remain undiscovered.

    Pre-title sequence-
    For the first time in the early Bond series we get a pre-title sequence without any connection to what the main plot will be. We see Bond rise from an expanse of water disguised as a floating duck (only Sean could get away with this), where he then ropes over a wall and rigs a heroin manufacturing site to blow. The sequence itself is rather short for containing such a busy chain of events, but it is classic nonetheless.

    The reason it is so iconic is the shot we see of Sean as he appears in the bar in that gorgeous white dinner jacket, counting down the ticks on his watch until the big boom. In true Bondian fashion, as the place rattles in the aftermath of the explosion and the patrons rush to get out of there, Bond makes his way down the stairs as if nothing is happening.

    In a fun bit of Bond trivia, the dancer that 007 meets for a quick shag in the back of the bar is the same woman that plays Kerim’s lover in From Russia with Love. I like to think that following Krilencu’s attempt on Kerim’s life with the limpet mine the woman left Turkey in hysteric paranoia, fearing the dangerous climate, and chose to relocate to Latin America to start her life anew. After the Istanbul job Bond took it upon himself to track the woman and took the mission we see here from M so that he could use the opportunity to catch up with her and inform her of Kerim’s passing. This theory doesn't exactly hold much water the moment Bond uses the woman as a makeshift shield against the oncoming attacker he spots in her iris. That's our James!

    The sequence wraps up with the now iconic, “Shocking…positively shocking” line delivery after Bond defeats Capungo and gives him a hot bath. Look at that, I can do dark humor too.

    Locations-
    While I don’t find Goldfinger’s location shooting to be quite as immersive as that of Dr. No and From Russia with Love, there are great moments to be had.

    I think the pre-title sequence has a great sense of atmosphere to it as Bond walks through the smoke and heat of the Latin American dive, and the shots of Switzerland rank as some of the greatest use of locations in a Bond film, so much so that it’s shocking (positively shocking) that EON haven’t gone back to it more frequently in the series. The views of lush greens and icy mountains towering in the back of the shots are breathtaking, transporting us right into the DB5's passenger seat. It's also endlessly clever how the hills are used to both make Bond seem minuscule in his surroundings and to mask the person trying to get a shot on high with a rifle. The entire collection of daylight shots in Switzerland are just immaculate, and it’s a shame that we didn’t get a chance to pause and feel its culture like we do with Jamaica and From Russia with Love. I’m willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt here, however, because Goldfinger was the first Bond film to stage its action in more than one main location, whereas the first two films got to really grow comfortable in their respective areas as the story unfolded.

    I’ve never been enamored with the American location shooting (or what’s doubling for America), but I think that’s simply down to how lacking in the exotic it feels. The sequences around Goldfinger’s ranch and the faux Fort Knox are all right, but nothing to scream about.

    A last notable mention would be the Stoke Park golf course at Buckinghamshire that offers a nice stage for Bond and Goldfinger’s first face-to-face confrontation, a sequence that Sean himself says sparked his love for the game of golf forever thereafter.

    Gadgets-
    The big gadgets in this film include a rather sensible tracking device and the daddy of them all, a weapon-laden DB5. The tracker gives Bond a nice chance to play detective in the film, getting one over on Goldfinger in a move that allows him to track his operations to Switzerland.

    The gadgets of the DB5 help to make the vehicle and Bond feel like partners in a symbiotic relationship, where both need the other to get the job done. The oil slick, turret guns, bulletproof body and smokescreen offer some big screen fun as the chase around Goldfinger’s facility kicks off. The DB5 just feels right as Bond’s vehicle of choice here, like no other machine could fill the position half as well. The car’s classic appeal and finely constructed exterior match their driver well, with Sean looking dashing as he takes it for a spin.

    Action-
    The biggest action sequences of Goldfinger are the DB5 chase around Goldfinger’s factory and the later shootout in and around Faux Knox (this has a nice ring to it, no?).

    It’s great to have a car chase in an early Bond that is made up largely of real stunt driving and shooting as opposed to back projections like in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. There’s a great rhythm to the shots as Bond tries out all of Q’s toys on his pursuers. One of the best moments of the series comes when Bond pushes the red button, launches his passenger from the vehicle and tears out of there.

    I find the Faux Knox shootout to be far less stimulating, however, and I think that’s more down to the small stage it is set around than anything else. We don’t get the action taking place across a sizable set that feels atmospheric, it’s just good old Pinewood with a very sterile, ordinary look. I think the sequence is easily beat by the wonderfully constructed gypsy shootout in From Russia with Love, and could have desperately used some shots of Felix getting the chance to fight his way through the set to get to Bond, displaying his own cunning and prowess. If ever there was a time to show the CIA as actually useful in a Bond film, this was it!

    The last bit of action comes in the form of Bond’s fight with Oddjob, which also leaves me a bit flat. It’s nice to see Sean and Sakata tussle for a bit, as it’s a sequence that shows off the latter’s strength and toughness, but on the whole it’s rather dull. It’s set against a wipe open space, offering decreased tension, and the fight itself is also equally ordinary in choreography with very weak hits being exchanged by the actors. It doesn’t help that this film was preceded with From Russia with Love, whose action was more imaginative, tense and clever in every way. Obviously the production team didn't want to repeat the last movie, leading them to set the fight in a bigger landscape, but by doing so there's nothing truly interesting about it. Bond doesn't use his environment as much as he should, and for a fight that is teased between he and Oddjob all movie, it fails to hit the mark.

    Humor-
    While Goldfinger has more moments of levity than the previous two films in the series, it had yet to be overrun with camp and deemed parody.

    The moments of humor that worked in Terence Young’s first two films-including the black comedy and physical moments of humor-remain, to great effect. It’s entertaining to see Bernard Lee’s M utterly clueless trying to decipher what about his drink isn’t up to snuff as he and Bond dine at the Bank of England. Watching Sean react like an immature child as Q explains his new toys to him is equally entertaining.

    All the rest of the greatest comedy, in my eyes, comes in the subtle performances of the actors. The look of joy in Sean’s eyes when Jill confesses to him that she doesn’t sleep with Goldfinger, to which he replies, “I’m so glad.” The way Goldfinger looks like he’s going to explode when Bond keeps pricking his ego with sharp pins. The way Goldfinger makes such a gigantic showing of his plan to a bunch of gangsters that are more frightened by the moving floors and shifting walls than anything he’s saying. How Bond looks utterly bored in his cell following his first escape as a dozen of Goldfinger’s armed goons watch over him to ensure he doesn’t slip out again, like they’re his parents and he’s a misbehaving teenager.

    Plot plausibility/Villain’s scheme-
    Because the plausibility of Goldfinger and the scheme the villain is devising here are so heavily connected in this particular film, I’ve taken it upon myself to discuss them both in one category.

    As far as the plausibility of Goldfinger goes, it simply doesn’t hold up when logic is applied to it. Yes, I know this is a Bond film first and foremost, but just hear me out. First off, Jill Masterson would never die from skin suffocation after being painted gold, a myth that’s been well done in. Furthermore, Goldfinger’s entire scheme relies on the gold of Fort Knox becoming radiated to hike up the value of his stock, but in reality radioactive gold would become melted goop just days after it came into contact with something like the dirty bomb we find in the film. While one could argue that Goldfinger’s gold value would still rise even in the face of the destroyed gold, that is not his intention in the plot, so I must call it out. It’s also amusing to me that Goldfinger explains his massive plan to the gangsters he corrals together, only to end up killing them anyway without much reason. I can chalk it up to Auric being such an egotist that he needs to brag to his inferiors about his amazing idea, but it’s pretty clear that the only reason the sequence is there is so that Bond can listen in and uncover the Fort Knox plot, allowing the audience to know what kind of finale the film is building up to.

    All of this isn’t a big deal to me, however, as it’s a Bond film and we can accept this as escapist entertainment that doesn’t play with the same rules of reality that we inhabit, especially when it comes to its attention to science. Even Dr. No has the radiation bathing scene that is bonkers in its junk movie science, so I can forgive Goldfinger’s slips in logic and just go along for the ride.

    One aspect of Goldfinger that I do enjoy and find incredibly plausible is the way that Auric runs his business. He feels like a true mob type figure and crime kingpin in how he smuggles his desired cargo in ways that slip past customs. When it’s revealed how he uses his cars to stealthily transport and build up his gold stock six times a year in Switzerland (and no doubt worldwide), it’s a great reveal and makes the film carry a tinge of crime fiction to it that is exciting. With all this in consideration, then, it makes sense that Goldfinger is so heavily connected with gangsters based in several major cities of the United States who all invest in his operations, because so much of the tricks he uses to evade law enforcement attention are true to the history of crime operations and appear quite clever when executed onscreen.

    FILM ELEMENTS

    Direction-
    While Terence Young’s absence is felt heavily in Goldfinger, new director Guy Hamilton did his part to leave a mark on the series. While Goldfinger isn’t as artful or meticulously assembled as the previous films, Hamilton made additions to the Bond series on the set of this movie that would remain forever.

    It was Hamilton’s idea to make the pre-title sequence a bit of “nonsense” unrelated to the plot that would allow the audience to know what kind of feature they were in for by showing Sean Connery rising out of the water, rigging a plant to blow and removing his stealth gear to reveal an exquisite dinner jacket. Everything about the imagery is exciting and completely unique to Bond, by design. Hamilton was counting on these images being timeless and identifiable to the character and burgeoning series.

    When Desmond Llewelyn wanted to play Q as a character that had a respectful rapport with Bond, Hamilton was there to advise the actor that, since Bond had shown little respect to Q, the gadget man should be annoyed with how Bond runs through his labs and messes with his toys. This template and dynamic between Bond and Q remained for the entire run of Desmond’s time as the gadget man, and exists even now in Ben Whishaw's casting.

    Each Young Bond film has endless stories of crazy stuff the director had to do to get his shots, and Hamilton’s big moment in his Bond debut has to involve shooting the sequence where Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus were spraying their gas. It’s thanks only to Cubby Broccoli’s friendship with Lt. Colonel Charles Russhon that Hamilton and his crew were allowed to go within 100 miles of Fort Knox, but complications were still to come. On the orders of the depository, the crew were only allowed to have their pilots fly above 3,000 feet, but this didn’t give the team the ability to shoot many compelling shots if they were up that high and Fort Knox was out of sight. Hamilton called the situation “hopeless,” and against orders he had the pilots fly at 500 feet instead so that he could get truly cinematic shots on film. The result? In his own words, “...the military went absolutely ape.” A fun story, one for the campfire.

    Under Hamilton’s watch we also got to see the DB5 showcased on the big screen, saw Sean at his most alluring, watched Gert Fröbe play a larger than life villain, witnessed Bond bargaining for his life strapped to a laser table and saw some of the best Bond girls in pure sex appeal slink around the sets.

    Mission accomplished?

    Opening title design-
    To put it simply, this title design is just genius. Genius. The design strives to tell a story with images projected on the arousing curves of Margaret Nolan’s body, an idea used in From Russia with Love’s opening titles, but made more artful here.

    There’s an endless series of visuals that make this title design like no other in its brilliance. For starters, the titles are bookended by Goldfinger’s mug imposed on Nolan’s hands, where the man starts first as a stranger and ends as a now vilified figure of legend. As the sequence goes on we get amazing visual shots of Oddjob’s face imposed on Nolan’s, as if she's marked as his next victim. Then, the license plates below the front grill of the DB5 turn and turn while overlaid on top of the woman's lips, creating a bizarre but engrossing image. Later, a shot from the film’s golf scene is projected onto Nolan’s torso as we watch a ball being erotically putt from her straightened out arm into the hole that has been placed strategically where her breasts make their cleavage. The sequence finishes as explosions paint themselves along the back of Nolan while she succumbs and falls limp (possibly Goldfinger’s newest victim?). Her body, now planked horizontally, is followed by the camera from her head to her toes as flames project against it, a final haunting image as Bassey shrieks her last notes to end the titles.

    Immaculate.

    Script-
    While it’s clear that Goldfinger lacks the predatory Bond of Dr. No or the intrigue of the spy plot in From Russia with Love, its greater focus on fun doesn’t hurt it too badly, though there are warts to it.

    The plot itself makes Bond seem like the worst kind of ineffectual agent, as so many nasty things happen to him that make him seem rubbish at his job. He’s told by M to investigate Goldfinger, but he decides not to so he can sleep with Jill, who is killed out of anger by Oddjob after Bond gets knocked out. He makes Tilly and himself exposed at the Swiss plant and accidentally draws the girl into Oddjob’s line of fire. He’s captured, then escapes, then is captured again as the Aston hits the factory wall as he's put out cold. He eventually finds himself strapped to a table laser, somehow convinces Goldfinger to keep him alive, then is knocked out again. While in Kentucky, Bond escapes his cell but is captured not long after and put back in his cell again. He tries to put Felix on the scent of Goldfinger’s plot by planting the tracker and message on Mr. Solo, but the gangster ends up getting crushed and the attempt fails. He sleeps with Pussy to try and turn her to his side, but doesn’t know if his plan worked even on the day of the Fort Knox raid as the woman's allegiances are as much a mystery to him as they are us. Then, during the raid he is led to the dirty bomb and gets strapped to it, left to die. He can’t even shut the thing off himself, and needs to depend on another man to save him.

    It can’t be an accident that the script is constantly making a case for why Bond is ineffectual in the face of Goldfinger, perhaps to better display the villain’s power and resources in order to make the film more tension-filled, leaving you to question if Bond can pull it off. For me, however, it more often than not makes Bond feel far too incapable. The Bond of Dr. No and From Russia with Love wouldn’t have made these kinds of mistakes. It would actually be interesting to research if this was the intention of Maibaum and his team all along, because it feels so obvious, like it’s a full-on theme of the movie throughout.

    Bond has some good moments in the film, however, as minor as they are. He plays a game of golf and slyly wins to get a read on Auric’s character, tracking the villain’s car with the bug and getting Pussy on his side while also overhearing Goldfinger’s Fort Knox plan when under capture in Kentucky. Other than this, however, Bond is a man who things just happen to, a reactionary character instead of an action-oriented one. Because of this, the script doesn’t given Bond a lot of meat to play with, especially when he’s a glorified prisoner for half the film.

    Where the rest of the script is concerned, there’s a lot of luck and suspension of disbelief required as questions add up. When the Fort Knox raid is going on, has Pussy told the girls that they aren’t really killing the population of the area with lethal gas, or are they not fully informed? I hope the former, considering how happy the pilots all look in that sequence. Did Felix and the rest of the CIA contact the entire population within a 5-mile radius of Fort Knox to tell them to play dead? I ask this because we see random civilians “dead” at their wheels that are clearly not military personnel stationed in Fort Knox (and who are the only ones who would actually know about the plan to play dead). Furthermore, the barn scene largely seems to have no ready effect on the plot, because Bond goes to the Fort Knox raid not knowing if Pussy is on his side or not, evidenced later on by how surprised he acts once the bomb is defused and Felix tells him that Galore contacted him and Washington to inform them about Goldfinger’s scheme. With this in mind, then, Bond must’ve thought he actually witnessed the death of the soldiers early in the raid, yet we get no sense of danger from him throughout.

    If Dr. No is a film about Bond being the lone man striking back at a mythic force and From Russia with Love is about him navigating a convoluted series of frail agreements between the gangs of Istanbul in order to retrieve a crucial decoder, Goldfinger is about innocent women dying badly with a Bond that is constantly stumbling and often causing their deaths. Whereas Goldfinger has the Midas touch, everything Bond touches seems to wither and die. Is that too harsh?

    Cinematography-
    Cinematographer Ted Moore returns for the third time in the Bond series to add his magic touch where he can.

    I think Moore worked best when he got to really play with atmosphere in interesting locales that allowed him to experiment with the colors and shifts in light and shadow around him, perhaps best exemplified by his work on From Russia with Love. You could say this of any cinematographer, though, because when you have access to interesting locations and are allowed to play with the aforementioned visual elements, a really strong set of images can be composed that look good beyond how you frame your shots in the camera’s picture box.

    I think many factors contribute to why Goldfinger may not wow in the visual department compared to the previous two films. For one, so much of the movie is staged at Pinewood where there’s a lack of the kind of exciting location shooting that we got to see in almost all of Dr. No and From Russia with Love, where Moore and Young made the settings of those films feel like characters all their own. In Goldfinger we don’t get that outside of the fantastic Switzerland scenes, which are far and away Moore’s greatest captures here.

    It’s when Moore is confined to stages that I think his work rightfully sours, and we see this in some of the bad rear projection work used in the beginning of the film during the Miami scenes which are there due to the principal actors being unable to be on location to shoot with the production team. Because of this, the heavy use of projection makes the film feel very hollow and rightfully artificial. These kinds of rear projections can be forgiven in Dr. No and From Russia with Love, because at the time with the lower budgets they were smart solutions to complicated problems like car chases, but in Goldfinger these projections are used more often because actors couldn’t be on location to shoot, an issue that could have been fixed. The fakery of the Pinewood sets show badly here, especially when the film has been restored to 1080p quality.

    Though the heavy set shooting hampered Moore’s creativity while on Goldfinger, there’s a lot of fantastic stuff here worth applauding. We get to see the Moore of From Russia with Love return in the pre-title sequence where the man's photography replicates the atmosphere of Istanbul and the smoky, exotic surroundings of Latin America on a simple set, shooting the great image of Sean in his dinner jacket walking through it all.

    As previously stated, the Switzerland sections of the film are legendary, and match up to the best of Moore’s work before and after this film. He gives a great sense of scale to the action, making the cars and Bond feel minuscule amidst the surroundings, exemplified best by how he and Hamilton chose to shoot the scene during which Tilly tries to shoot Goldfinger and nearly hits Bond. The camera rests behind Mallet’s head, and the barrel of her rifle acts as a visual line that directs the viewer’s eye down to the next hill, with Bond eavesdropping along it. Bond’s head leads its own line down to the far hill below his position, where Goldfinger’s car is parked. The shot creates a great moment of cinematic magic, where the actors and their props in the scene direct the eyes of the viewers subconsciously across the frame to take in the action in a diagonal fashion. On top of all this, Moore explodes the color of the green Swiss hills and the icy blues of the far away mountains for added visual punch, and the way he shoots the narrow, winding roads of the pass Bond is traveling on makes you think he could steer off the path to his death at any minute; there’s a feeling of danger that keeps the beauty of Switzerland company throughout the sequences. In effect, it becomes the travelogue sequence of Goldfinger that tricks you into thinking you’re actually in Switzerland with Bond, and may be my favorite part of the film for this reason as it is the most beautiful, immersive and technically artful section on display.

    Where action is concerned, the shooting of the DB5 chase around Goldfinger’s facility is also masterfully done, a real improvement over Dr. No’s attempts at shooting a similar piece of action. While rear projection is still in use here to shoot Sean and Tania Mallet in the DB5 to give the illusion that they are really behind the wheel, much of the chase is done and shot for real, with many clever frames in between, including a great close-up of Goldfinger’s gunmen shooting into the camera as they give chase to Bond in a visual very reminiscent of a noir picture.

    There’s also a lot of great visuals that are strong in composition in Goldfinger that Moore and Hamilton brought alive. For one, I love that at the beginning of the movie Bond leaves Jill on the balcony by saying he wants to have dinner with her later, then the next shot we get is a set table that appears to be a dinner table, giving you the expectation that you will next see Bond and the girl eating at a fancy restaurant. Instead, the camera pans away from the table as a bed is revealed and up we continue to the feet of Jill and Bond as they roll around, finding that they skipped the meal to have a frolic in the sheets. It’s a fun little moment that visually plays with your expectations of what you think you’re seeing or are going to see next.

    Other honorable mentions go to the moment in the pre-title sequence where Bond sees Capungo coming from behind in the iris of his lover’s eye, and later on in the film when we get a close-up of Bond’s eyes appearing through the windows of Goldfinger’s Fort Knox model as the villain shares his plan with his benefactors. It’s also great how our first introduction to Pussy is through the camera’s blurred image as we as the audience simulate Bond’s wooziness while he wakes up from the tranquilizer dart that put him to sleep following his brush with the laser table.

    Music-
    Composer John Barry had already debuted as the main music man for From Russia with Love, but it’s with Goldfinger that he changed history forever and gave birth to what is now defined as the “Bond sound.”

    The score for Goldfinger is an endless eargasm of brassy, big orchestra sounds that are now synonymous with James Bond on the screen. Hearing the horns blasting with Barry’s orchestra working together like a finely oiled machine is something else, and the score almost produces an out-of-body experience for the listener.

    When he wasn't bringing action alive like no other Bond composer out there, Barry was also able to create terribly intense compositions that made you feel like Bond was going to face death around every corner. His choice to give Oddjob a theme made only of piercing chimes is genius to say the least, and every time you hear them ring you know what’s coming. Barry’s minor theme makes Oddjob feel like a proper horror villain, a monstrosity that can’t be killed. This in turn amps up how mysterious he feels as we are only introduced to his silhouette at the beginning of the film, and meet him in the flesh only when the chimes sound for a second time at the end of the golf sequence.

    And then there’s Shirley Bassey singing “Goldfinger.” It really doesn’t get more iconic, and it’s the song that started the Bond tradition of a vocal tune playing over the opening titles. Barry’s brassy gives life to the voice of Bassey (see what I did there?), and the instruments and vocals make a perfect team better seen in few places. The lyrics are immaculate, building up the legend of this dreaded Goldfinger monster before we ever get to meet him (again, genius), and the way Bassey gradually wails and shouts the words in a higher pitch over time amps up the impact of the song as she feels like another of Auric’s victims shrieking for aid and salvation.

    It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

    Editing-
    The cut-master himself Mr. Peter Hunt returns for a third go at editing a Bond film with Goldfinger.

    Because so much of Goldfinger is focused on character moments where there’s not a lot of action to cut, Hunt more than makes up for it when the movie kicks into gear.

    Hunt’s best work in the film is represented from the point where Bond and Tilly alert Goldfinger’s goons at the Swiss facility, all the way until Bond survives the laser table. The editor's classic method for speeding up the action and punching up the sound returns as shots of Sean driving madly flash against those of Goldfinger’s goons opening fire while tension is amped up. The best moment comes when Bond believes he’s about to have a head-on collision, which Hunt edits with a heavy and repetitious switch to the flashing lights of a car coming forth in the distance as Barry’s music does its work. The tension only ends when Bond steers himself into a side wall to evade certain death.

    One of Hunt’s greatest career edits comes next, when Bond is strapped to Goldfinger’s laser table. He makes nothing but a little light and some flames on a metal surface seem as tense as a shootout as he switches from shots of a petrified and sweating Sean to those of the glaring, burning hot laser as 007 bargains for his life. The fast cuts ramp up the tension alongside Barry’s score until a release is felt by Goldfinger’s order to kill the laser.

    Costume Design-
    In some ways, I can appreciate Goldfinger as a how-to style guide just as much as I can for it being a solid Bond film. Dr. No and From Russia with Love weren’t experimental in their costume design, instead putting Sean’s Bond through a small rotation of gray and grayer suits with white or light blue dress shirts in an effort to keep the ensembles timeless, always capped off with navy grenadine ties. It’s in Goldfinger that Bond’s fashion exploded, and we saw a fantastic variety of suits of all kinds and colors that changed the series forever and made this film alone a time capsule of timeless style.

    To put it simply, everything in this film is pitch perfect fashion, and somehow just this one film contains not only the greatest suit in Bond history, but the greatest suit in cinema, in addition to all of Sean’s greatest Bond suits from the entirety of his era. Each suit is perfectly fitted to him, and he wears them like a second skin. He can even pull off that hideous terrycloth blue playsuit; the only man who could, probably.

    When you think of all the great clothes Sean wears in this film, both formal and casual, it’s astounding. His formal wear, as seen in the form of his polo shirt and Slazenger jumper-with hat-from the golf scene, is pitch perfect causal style that gives Bond an extraordinary appeal. From the end of the golf game through to the entirety of the daylight scenes in Switzerland Sean is seen next in a brown tweed jacket with slightly mismatched pants that manages to be an ensemble that is somewhere between formal and casual, and wholly timeless. This look is one that Daniel Craig recalls in Spectre in the form of the ensemble Bond wears when he is taken to Blofeld’s Moroccan lair.

    And then there’s the fully formal suits that are better than anything in Bond before or since. First there’s the ivory dinner jacket Sean helped to make an iconic part of Bond in its series debut here, which he follows up not much later with a finely crafted tuxedo that is a perfect partner to the one he introduced himself to the world in while shooting the Dr. No casino opening. In his briefing with M, Bond wears a brown Houndstooth check suit that he looks downright princely in. While speaking with Q about his gadgets, Bond switches to a blue Herringbone flannel suit that resembles the classic dark suit, dark tie attire that is synonymous with spies. But, because it’s Sean Connery wearing it, a greater sense of distinction and sophistication is added to the look. This get-up closely resembles the dark brown Shadow Stripe suit Bond wears during the Fort Knox raid; even when facing certain death, Bond is dressed to the nines. After the Fort Knox raid is over and done with, Bond goes off to meet the president of the United States (or so he thinks) dressed in a fine charcoal flannel three-piece suit that is a top 5 suit for Connery’s era, easy, and that closes the film in style.

    And then there’s the granddaddy of them all. The suit without equal in the Bond franchise or in the entirety of cinema. The suit that made me start praying to Anthony Sinclair as if he were a deity. The suit that defined and cemented Sean Connery as a sex symbol and fashion icon in one fell swoop. That’s right, folks, I can only be talking about the tropical-weight gray and white glen check suit with matching vest coat and pleated pants, finished off with a knitted navy silk tie that Bond wears while in Kentucky. Or, as it’s otherwise known, “The Goldfinger suit.” We get introduced by pure surprise to this suit while Bond is on the plane to Goldfinger’s Kentucky ranch. We know he’s taking a suitcase into the restroom to change, but have no idea just what it is he’ll be wearing next. When he exits and we get a full look at the suit, you can feel the ripples its entrance created in cinematic history. It’s a great suit of fine tailoring and composition on its own that is deemed a sure-fire masterpiece when worn by Sean Connery. Everything about it, the pleats, the length of the vest, the light gray fabric, the simple white linen handkerchief; it’s all immaculate, and there isn’t one wrong stitch in the entire damn suit. It's moments like this when suits become pieces of art worthy of their own museums.

    Out of all the Bond films, Goldfinger is the one that does fashion best, and contains more great suits in just two hours of its running time than some Bond actors got to wear in their entire tenure as James Bond. I would do anything to have Sean Connery’s Goldfinger wardrobe, and I don’t think we’ll see anything like these suits in Bond ever again.

    Special mention must also go to the ensembles made for Fröbe’s Goldfinger, which are entirely rendered with the color palette of browns, yellows and pure golds, from his casual wear all the way up to his gilded dinner jacket that glistens like a bar of the stuff from Fort Knox. Goldfinger’s style is perfectly fitting for a villain that obsessively loves all that shimmers, and the ensembles allowed Fröbe to slip even more into the character.

    As Pussy Galore, Honor Blackman got a professional and classy ensemble that helped to paint the picture of her as an all-business kind of gal, up until the moment that she changes into the top she wears while romancing Bond and wrestling with him in the barn, revealing to the eye all of her not-so-hidden beauty.

    Sets-
    After sitting out From Russia with Love to design Dr. Strangelove, Ken Adam returns for his second go at Bond sets in Goldfinger.

    At this early stage in his history with the franchise, Adam was already producing pieces that would live on forever. Three major sets that are most representative of his genius are the laser table room, Goldfinger’s Kentucky planning room and of course, the Fort Knox set.

    The laser table set is as successful as his Dr. No sets because, like the anteroom chamber of that film, Adam deftly plays with scale to make Bond appear like a speck in the face of the giant laser, which the designer and his team rendered without making the device feel too sci-fi. The reflective paneling Adam had used in the space gives the room a shiny, golden look when lights are placed inside it, perfect for Goldfinger’s personality and the kind of torture room he’d have.

    The Kentucky planning room set is perhaps as successful as it is because of how regular it appears to be on the surface. The space just looks like a nice lodging area that you could see yourself frequenting if you were going skiing and needed a place to stay. It has a warmth to it and a Kentucky feeling that is hard to place, evoked by the dark wood paneling that gives the structure a sense of American majesty. It doesn’t feel like a set built in England, but instead a nice slice of pure Americana, like it would be right at home on a Kentucky ranch. These details might not seem like they mean a lot, but they really do. When the set is revealed to be more than just a nice lounge, it’s one of the coolest surprises in the franchise. Walls turn to reveal maps, the floor parts like the Red Sea to showcase the vast model of Fort Knox, and our awe at the sight of this matches that of the gangsters Goldfinger is surprising with these hidden items of the room.

    And of course there’s the granddaddy of them all, the Fort Knox set, a space of great size and wonder (and logistical nightmares) that is a precursor to what may be Adam’s magnum opus in the volcano set of You Only Live Twice. Adam’s design was at first criticized for being too prison-like in its visuals, but Guy Hamilton gave it his stamp of approval and it was soon brought to life. Adam and his team always knew the right materials to use, and the metallic, shiny nature of the space matches perfectly with a film whose villain is attracted to the shine of such objects, and the gold inside the depository. If Goldfinger wasn’t bombing the place you could imagine him buying it up and refitting it as his new home, a sanctuary where he could worship the shimmer of the gold horde and metal paneling for the rest of his days.

    On producing the set, Adam himself had this to say:

    "No one was allowed in Fort Knox but because [producer] Cubby Broccoli had some good connections and the Kennedys loved Ian Fleming's books I was allowed to fly over it once. It was quite frightening - they had machine guns on the roof. I was also allowed to drive around the perimeter but if you got out of the car there was a loudspeaker warning you to keep away. There was not a chance of going in it, and I was delighted because I knew from going to the Bank of England vaults that gold isn't stacked very high and it's all underwhelming. It gave me the chance to show the biggest gold repository in the world as I imagined it, with gold going up to heaven. I came up with this cathederal-type design. I had a big job to persuade Cubby and the director Guy Hamilton at first."

    In the end, the prison look of the set worked immensely in its favor. You believe that only a hyper-guarded and heavily barred place like what we see could house all of America’s gold supply. Behind dozens of endless barred panels are stacked piles of gold that go on forever. Even out in the main floor of the set, where Bond defuses the bomb, there’s a lower level just below him that houses even more gold stacked on itself. The entire set has a suitable and fitting sense of shine and wonder to it, and the gold housed inside it seems infinite in supply.

    In a fun production detail that could only happen on a Bond film, during the filming of Goldfinger the Fort Knox set was deemed so real that EON had to have a 24-hour guard stationed around it to prevent anyone from trying to steal the gold bar props used in its expansive space. Looking back, Adam was pleased that he wasn’t allowed inside the real Fort Knox, because it allowed his imagination to blossom with a childlike wonder unencumbered by the laws of reality his world played by, rules that Bond films joyfully tossed out the window. "In the end I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted," he once said.

    I don't do quantitative ratings on a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale as a principle of mine, but if Goldfinger wasn't inside my top 10 (which can fluctuate), I can't ever imagine it being too far outside it. Though my feelings on it have deflated somewhat in the last few years, it is a film worthy of the greatest respect for what it did to impact the franchise and all of cinema beyond it forever after. It was this film that gave rise to the term "Bondmania" as film critics and fans alike scrambled to find a word to most adequately describe the effect the movie and James Bond, the man, were having on cinema culture. This was the film where Bond became a sure-fire phenomenon, where the gadgetry really took hold, where Bond became a true style icon, where the shaken not stirred martinis arose and where the tradition of a vocal title song began, amongst other developments.

    For all its iconography, however, I could never allow it in good conscience to outrank what I view to be the best of Sean Connery in the Young trilogy of Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Thunderball, which are far superior on nearly all counts in my mind. I find those films more potent escapes, with tighter scripts in the vein of true spy thrillers, where Connery really got to play. Goldfinger toes the line between vintage 60s Bond and the type of Bond films that would unfortunately run rampant into "Camptown" later on past the 70s, but thankfully there is enough spirit of the former in this film to avoid any great upset.

    Despite Goldfinger's flaws, however, one would have to be utterly blind not to spot the distinct shimmer that this film radiates, with a luminescence like a star going supernova. All the holdings of Fort Knox itself would fail to match the luster it casts, even to this day, more than fifty years after its release.
  • Daniel316Daniel316 United States
    Posts: 210
    That was Goldfinger, overall it was really damn good


    Once again let's start with the positives. First of all once again amazing cast of characters just like FRWL. We have a really amazing villain In Goldfinger, A very awesome and classic henchmen in Oddjob who is just the true great definition of the strong but silent type henchmen, Connery was once again Fantastic as Bond here though I do feel that he was better in FRWL, Desmond returns once again now with the name Q (Boothroyd is his actual name btw) and he delivers yet another stellar performance here. we also get some nice Bond girls in Jill and tilly masterson who are pretty good in their roles in my opinion and better than Pussy Galore by a long miile. Along with all that we also have nice locations once again, really good set pieces (Fort knox especially), and another amazing score by John Barry along with a now legendary theme song as the title theme. There was lots of good action scenes as well such as the fort knox break-in and the PTS.


    This film would also mark the debut of the now iconic Astin Martin DB5 as Bond's car. However the biggest positive and change here would have to be the tone switch, Goldfinger would set in stone the formula that would be used for future Bond films up until Die Another Day, elements of this that would become staple include: Wacky over the top Gadgets, A Bond car loaded with weapons and gadgets, an evil villain hell bent on Having all the world's money and or taking over the world, Bond getting with a girl who has ties with the villain and Many more, in many ways FRWL established about 3 quarters of the essential and staple bond elements, but Goldfinger added the last pieces of the formula and as such is very important and great for doing so.


    Now with all that said this film is really great, amazing even. However there are some flaws here. For starters, imo Jill and tilly were kind of wasted and didn't exactly do to much. Pussy Galore while being an okish character has her own issues, for one her turn is really forced and quite stupid, she overacts at times and tbh she seems like she was made bond girl last minute just for the sake of it and it honestly shows, imo Jill or Tilly would've been better as the bond girl.

    Another issue I have is that Bond is held captive for a long time, in reality Bond gets pushed around and defeated a lot in this movie which is quite odd coming off of Dr. No and FRWL. The biggest issue of GF imo is that the pacing just goes totally out of control, the first 50 minutes or so is well paced but once bond is captured by Goldfinger the movie just slows down by a lot and it honestly hurts the flow of the movie quite badly, while it does get fixed by the time we reach fort knox, it still is a big issue.


    But overall this movie is really great and it deserves the recognition it gets for the contributions it did to establish the Bond formula, but it definitely is not the best Bond film imo and I think it's predecessor was better. Unfortunately it'd be all downhill from here for quite a bit but that's for another time


    My final rating is an 8.5/10
  • LocqueLocque Escaped from a Namur prison
    edited June 2020 Posts: 259
    Despite some iconic scenes, Goldfinger is a slightly disappointing Bond movie. Problem is that for a large part of the film, Bond is a prisoner, unable to be the globe-trotting man of action we know and love, and the film tends to drag in parts.
    The movie's saving grace is Gert Fröbe, who, as Auric Goldfinger, portrays one of the series' most memorable villains. His performance is so effective because he refuses to play evil: he could be anyone's genial uncle.
    It just so happens that this uncle wants to nuke Fort Knox.
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