There's something about that The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)!

DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
edited July 2016 in Bond Movies Posts: 16,097
Do you feel as I do that, despite terrible press and reviews over the years since the release of The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) over the years, it still has something about it that is special - it is very different in style and themes from many of the James Bond films that either preceded it or indeed followed it. There are the elements of the serial killer plot strand - Bond sent the 'calling card' of the OO7 engraved golden bullet, the light-007 versus the dark-007, the topicality of the 'energy crisis' plot, the transfoermation of Scaramanga from thug in the novel to a darker version of James Bond, the Flemingesque dialogue in the M-Bond briefing scene, the boxing match scene, the Scaramanga-Bond speeches at the dinner table etc.

This is a very Flemingesque film, and I think it is Moore's best James Bond performance after that in FYEO. It's a much better film that the bloated LALD that preceded it and the stunt-laden TSWLM and MR that followed it. Yet, despite all of these great elements - the welcome focus on Bond's character (odd in a Moore-Bond film) there's very little love for this film in the James Bond fan community. Roger Moore was just the optimum age for Bond here - after this he began to look increasingly too old for the part of the suave and sophisticated secret agent OO7.

It has some poor elements too - the way that (like in DAF) Bond's mission and the Scaramangs hunt are in fact linked is pretty hard to swallow, the end fight is poor - much of the good stuff involving Molotiov cocktails etc. left on the cutting-room floor etc. and the scenes in Hai Fat's 'school' feel like padding, as does the canal chase on klongs. Sheriff J.W. Pepper was also a great mistake - just like Mrs Bell in LALD.

I'd really love to hear your views on this overlooked flawed gem of a film - perhaps ambergrist rather than 24-carat gold...?
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Comments

  • edited February 2013 Posts: 1,497
    A few things I'd like to say about 'Gun'...first, the single location Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
    in itself is incredibly iconic and breathtaking. Using this location is a great way to start the film. It really draws in to the 'fantasy island' (pun intended) that Scaramanga lives in. Most of the locations throughout the film are abroad, even the the half sunken ship, used as a temporary mi6--all of which is a good thing. Macau too, which isn't as exotic as Thailand, still adds to the travelogue flavor of the film. The magic of Bond films of Dr. No and YOLT, is that they take the viewer far off to these exotic locations. I think Golden Gun achieves this as well.

    Secondly as you rightly point out, Gun brings a fine performance from Moore. He has conviction and confidence and looks as dapper as ever - being just the right age as you mention as well. Though there a few moments where his Bond comes across as a jerk: pointing the rifle at Lazar (that always seemed like a dick move to me and not very Bond like), twisting Andrea's arm, locking Goodnight in the closet, kicking the guy in the face as he bows (what a cheap shot), pushing the boy off the boat, stuffing NicNac in the cage (he deserved it, but is just seemed cruel), all of which I think hurts how Bond is potrayed in this. But overall I enjoy Moore's presence in the film.

    I also think the plot overall is quite good. The ending was a bit underwhelming, but the connection with Hai Fat and Scaramanga, and the other plotline linking Andrea and Bond is all interesting.

    Golden Gun does have this great surrealistic, bizarre quality to it that I enjoy. Ted Moore's cinematography is a big help, and John Barry's score, even if he admitted was his worst, still is memorable to me: I especially love the cue's to the main theme like the wester Honky Tonk version that plays past the gangster scene in the funhouse.

    Overall, there are flaws, when it comes to measuring up Gun with other Bonds. But it is unique unlike any other.
  • Posts: 183
    Have to say I love it, but then I would say this about almost all of the Bond films as I really do have a love of all styles of Bond from the serious hard edged Casino Royale/Licence to Kill to the more jokey light hearted portrayals you see from Moore.

    There are too many classic moments for me not to love TMWTGG, Scaramanga is a fantastic villain, the locations take me to paradise every time I watch it, there are some serious moments and I even love the comedy in it, especially when Pepper asks for a test drive and Bond gets in the car with a "certainly Sir" before smashing out of the showroom! Not to mention the arrogance of saying to Goodnight "your turn will come I promise"!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    Can't say much that hasn't been said except that I think it's Hamilton's best Bond, and YES that means I like it better than Goldfinger.
    Overall.
    Pussy Galore still rules, though.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    Does anyone else here agree with my thesis that there's indeed something about that The Man with the Golden Gun? If so, I'd love to hear from you as this is one of my favourite Roger Moore James Bond films!
  • Posts: 1,052
    I agree completley, it does have a certain feel about it, the locations definitley have an impact on this and Nic Nac being such a different take on the henchman and as mentioned Roger Moore giving a darker performance. Not a huge fan of th theme tune but i like the instrumental used of the theme throughout the film.

    I think in many ways it gets forgotten as LALD was very popular and the start of a new era and then TSWLM is considered Moore's best by many or by the popular media anyway.
  • edited April 2013 Posts: 11,175
    MWTGG is an odd film for me. Its one of those films where you start watching it with the assumption that its not that great. Then the first 30 minutes go by and you think "this isn't all THAT bad" - it has some nice "Fleming-y" touches like Bond dealing with the sumo wrestlers and threatening the gun maker. Then the goofiness kicks in (Goodnight, Sheriff Pepper, too much Kung Fu and a pretty routine car chase) and it drags the film down.

    ...and its not like they are small moments in the film (like Octopussy) they are big chunks.
  • BAIN123 wrote:
    MWTGG is an odd film for me. Its one of those films where you start watching it with the assumption that its not that great. Then the first 30 minutes go by and you think "this isn't all THAT bad" - it has some nice "Fleming-y" touches like Bond dealing with the sumo wrestlers and threatening the gun maker. Then the goofiness kicks in (Goodnight, Sheriff Pepper, too much Kung Fu and a pretty routine car chase) and it drags the film down.

    ...and its not like they are small moments in the film (like Octopussy) they are big chunks.

    This pretty much sums up how I feel about the film.
    I used to enjoy the film an awful lot more when I was about 9 or 10

  • edited April 2013 Posts: 11,175
    BAIN123 wrote:
    MWTGG is an odd film for me. Its one of those films where you start watching it with the assumption that its not that great. Then the first 30 minutes go by and you think "this isn't all THAT bad" - it has some nice "Fleming-y" touches like Bond dealing with the sumo wrestlers and threatening the gun maker. Then the goofiness kicks in (Goodnight, Sheriff Pepper, too much Kung Fu and a pretty routine car chase) and it drags the film down.

    ...and its not like they are small moments in the film (like Octopussy) they are big chunks.

    This pretty much sums up how I feel about the film.
    I used to enjoy the film an awful lot more when I was about 9 or 10


    I remember thinking it was fairly average even back then (it was one of the last Bond films I saw when I was 12). Like the avatar by the way :D
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    I still think it's one of the most Flemingesque of Roger Moore's film, an odd belief so I'm told.
  • edited April 2013 Posts: 2,782
    I think there's an argument to mirror this film with QoS. Roger though pulled it off with a bit more panache and fun. And it gave us one the best Bond moments ever in a film.

    Growing respect for Roger, he's no.3 for me now.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,097
    I think there's an argument to mirror this film with QoS. Roger though pulled it off with a bit more panache and fun. And it gave us one the best Bond moments ever in a film.

    Growing respect for Roger, he's no.3 for me now.

    Could you elaborate on this? The QoS mirror reference, I mean?
  • Posts: 11,425
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Do you feel as I do that, despite terrible press and reviews over the years since the release of The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) over the years, it still has something about it that is special - it is very different in style and themes from many of the James Bond films that either preceded it or indeed followed it. There are the elements of the serial killer plot strand - Bond sent the 'calling card' of the OO7 engraved golden bullet, the light-007 versus the dark-007, the topicality of the 'energy crisis' plot, the transfoermation of Scaramanga from thug in the novel to a darker version of James Bond, the Flemingesque dialogue in the M-Bond briefing scene, the boxing match scene, the Scaramanga-Bond speeches at the dinner table etc.

    This is a very Flemingesque film, and I think it is Moore's best James Bond performance after that in FYEO. It's a much better film that the bloated LALD that preceded it and the stunt-laden TSWLM and MR that followed it. Yet, despite all of these great elements - the welcome focus on Bond's character (odd in a Moore-Bond film) there's very little love for this film in the James Bond fan community. Roger Moore was just the optimum age for Bond here - after this he began to look increasingly too old for the part of the suave and sophisticated secret agent OO7.

    It has some poor elements too - the way that (like in DAF) Bond's mission and the Scaramangs hunt are in fact linked is pretty hard to swallow, the end fight is poor - much of the good stuff involving Molotiov cocktails etc. left on the cutting-room floor etc. and the scenes in Hai Fat's 'school' feel like padding, as does the canal chase on klongs. Sheriff J.W. Pepper was also a great mistake - just like Mrs Bell in LALD.

    I'd really love to hear your views on this overlooked flawed gem of a film - perhaps ambergrist rather than 24-carat gold...?

    just watched Gun for the first time in years and have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It's got that whole weird in a good way vibe that I identify in DAF and LALD as well. I actually quite enjoyed it.

    the strangest thing was realising how much of SF is lifted from it - probably 50% of SF is TMWTGG. Maud Adams is Severine. She even asks Bond to kill Scraramanga, like Severine asks DC to kill Silva. The villains live on a strange island in the South China Sea. Goodnight is a bit like MP in SF - totally useless.

    Loads of other similarities as well.

    Funnily though I still prefer Gun, despite JW Pepper.

    As usual His Rogness just brings something that means even though it's a total cheesefest, it's still lots of fun.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited November 2014 Posts: 17,283
    Getafix wrote: »
    the strangest thing was realising how much of SF is lifted from it - probably 50% of SF is TMWTGG. Maud Adams is Severine. She even asks Bond to kill Scraramanga, like Severine asks DC to kill Silva. The villains live on a strange island in the South China Sea. Goodnight is a bit like MP in SF - totally useless.

    Loads of other similarities as well.

    Funnily though I still prefer Gun, despite JW Pepper.
    Are we allowed to agree here? If so, I do.
    :P
    But my opinion has changed since my last post so long ago, I like GF better....
  • Posts: 11,425
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Getafix wrote: »
    the strangest thing was realising how much of SF is lifted from it - probably 50% of SF is TMWTGG. Maud Adams is Severine. She even asks Bond to kill Scraramanga, like Severine asks DC to kill Silva. The villains live on a strange island in the South China Sea. Goodnight is a bit like MP in SF - totally useless.

    Loads of other similarities as well.

    Funnily though I still prefer Gun, despite JW Pepper.
    Are we allowed to agree here? If so, I do.
    :P
    But my opinion has changed since my last post so long ago, I like GF better....

    that was a crazed comment from your wild youth!

    My appreciation for Hamilton has actually grown a lot recently.

    Maud Adams is very good in Gun. perhaps even better than her role in OP. I think she is Rog's best Bond girl. They just seem to suit each other really well.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    Getafix wrote: »
    that was a crazed comment from your wild youth!
    Evidently. :))
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited November 2014 Posts: 4,399
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  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    HASEROT wrote: »
    the score was not one Barry's best efforts (he himself even admitted it) - it feels phoned in, and the scores that sandwich it (LALD,TSWLM) are far superior....
    Now wait... LALD had a magnificent score worthy of Barry, but HAMLISH? Barry asleep is better than Hamlish firing on all thrusters.

  • Posts: 11,425
    oh and the duel is sort of ripped off in Sf as well.

    I assume a lot of this stuff is in the Fleming novel?
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited November 2014 Posts: 4,399
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  • Posts: 11,425
    Oh and tracing the assassin through the bullet to a casino in Macau. Maud Adams/Severine dying suddenly part way through the film.

    I'm clearly very slow, but the similarities are endless. I'm sure plenty of others have commented on it already, but I've never heard SF mentioned in relation to TMWTGG.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    HASEROT wrote: »
    Hamlisch's TSWLM score had "Nobody Does It Better" - which he did compose.. "Bond 77", "Ride To Atlantis", "Tanker", and "Eastern Lights"... sorry - but any one of those blows anything off of TMWTGG out of the water.
    It's a matter of taste then, and we can respectfully agree to disagree I assume. Even Barry's schlock work on King Kong & The Specialist freaks me.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
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  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited November 2014 Posts: 17,283
    HASEROT wrote: »
    in comparison to OHMSS, DAF, MR and TLD - it's pretty weak.
    Oh, no doubt at all. Still, I'll take weak Barry over most everything else.
    And back on the movie itself, at least the main villain didn't POP, or just get banged up a bit in a bathosub.
    TMWTGG is no TSWLM, but it doth have its merits IMO.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
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  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 3,157
    Personally I take TMWTGG over any Moore's Bond movie but FYEO.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    First seeing it as a kid on TV I thought is was very poor. After several rewatchings
    Though it grew on me a little. Christopher Lee is brilliant as Scaramanga ( although
    Far from the violent thug of the book ) some beautiful leading ladies and a truly
    Stunning location, that spiral car jump still looks very impressive after all these
    Years.
    Sadly though being shot in the TV format, it loses something, it doesn't look a big budget film. I think if it had been shot in wide screen it would have looked more impressive.
    It has a couple of daft moments but then most Bonds do. The escape from the martial arts school ( with Bond being left behind) stunningly embarrassing.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
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  • Posts: 13,983
    Getafix wrote: »
    oh and the duel is sort of ripped off in Sf as well.

    I assume a lot of this stuff is in the Fleming novel?

    not a whole lot actually. Scaramanga himself is very different. And so is Mary Goodnight.
  • The whole film is redolent of the mid 70s, sort of cheap and nasty. Even the Carry Ons were going off the boil, the 60s were totally over by now but the real 70s hadn't kicked in. One gripe is that the villain isn't actually after Bond for most of the movie, Bond just thinks he is, so any danger to our hero is rather contrived as there is no actual reason for the villain to take enemy action.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    Good point, hadn't thought about that before.
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