Goldfinger book or film. Which do you prefer?

edited August 2013 in Bond Movies Posts: 1,314
Just finished reading the Fleming Goldfinger. Funnily enough I really preferred the film. It's tauter, more focused and cuts through lots of the filler of the book, which is the only one which I feel could have done with an edit.

The villain's plan is more plausible in the film, the use of bond more believable (and Tilly Masterson) - its impossible to think they would be integral to operation Grand slams success), and the roles of the gang members who already know Goldfinger.

Other improvements include Bonds method of getting out of being chopped in half, elevating the death of Jill Masterson, and why Bond is in Miami in the first place.

I liked the book obviously as its so similar to the film but I wouldn't put it anywhere near the top 3.

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited August 2013 Posts: 23,723
    This is the only case where I prefer the film over the novel. I think the GF book is good enough but Fleming introduced truly incredulous events that the film script somewhat repaired. Also, without willing to sound too PC, I think the novel is particularly judgemental towards homosexuality, seeing it as a decease that can easily be cured by Bond's magic penis. The film more or less downplays that theme. Usually I take the Fleming novels over their film adaptations, but GF is the one exception.
  • Posts: 1,314
    Agree entirely. Don't know how much the world knew about lesbians back in the day but its written like a schoolboy day dream

    There's one fantastic line that stuck in my mind though. "The difference between a poor Golf shot and a great one is the same as the difference between a plain woman and a beautiful one. Millimetres. "
  • Posts: 2,400
    Not a huge fan of either, to be honest. Though on a relative scale, the film ranks higher among the films than the novel does among the novels for me. Not sure which is better.
  • Posts: 30
    Easily the film, I agree.

    Whatever its faults, it achieved an aesthetic approach that really emphasized the more visceral and visual elements of the Bond fantasy world. In the book, we don't even witness the death of Jill via gold paint, or the inside of Fort Knox. Maibaum and Hamilton recognized the striking imagery that Fleming only hinted at and brought it out on screen.

    Hamilton's later entries were less than stellar, but he understood his medium better than Terence Young did and managed to rise above the source material. Fleming correctly panned Young's films as inferior adaptations, but I've always been curious what he'd have thought of Goldfinger had he lived to see it.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 4,622
    The book is excellent, but its no more excellent than any number of other Fleming novels.
    The film though, IMO sits on a cinema pedestal for sheer exciting Bondian entertainment.
    Siberia wrote:
    Easily the film, I agree.
    Fleming correctly panned Young's films as inferior adaptations, but I've always been curious what he'd have thought of Goldfinger had he lived to see it.
    Interesting, Young is almost sainted in Bond circles, but yes it was Hamilton's film that really put Bond over the top. Fleming might have really liked the extra zip. Fleming himself wrote with a flair.
    This is not to take away from the Young films. His first two efforts I think are superb, but Fleming might really have liked Hamilton's more flamboyant touch, moreso than Young's solid efforts.

  • Posts: 2,483
    A good topic. The film, IMO, is very overrated, while the book is one of Fleming's lesser works. Still, because the first two thirds of the book is excellent (classic Fleming) it gets the edge over the film.
  • Posts: 7,653
    I really like the movie and enjoy it every time I see it the ending is actually an improvement on the ending of the book imho (radiactive gold instead of stealing it I mean).
    The book might be a lesser work according to PK but Flemings writing is bloody brilliant. WHile I have no interest in golf whatsoever the man writes about the game in such a way that you actually want to sign up for golf yourself. And the match and its innuendo is one of the highpoints in Flemings writings (I find it more exciting than the cardgame in MR).

    Both media are excellent in their own way, and will be revisited many more times in my future.
  • Posts: 686
    It used to be that a lot of people considered the plot in the novel to be unrealistic. I think it is plausible, so plausible that I believe that Die Hard 3 is based on the novel.

    The novel I thought had some flaws, I thought the character development of Goldfinger was weak and no sense of irony whatsoever. The movie downplayed the sexual deviancy of Goldfinger.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,044
    They are both equally good, which means equally splendid in my world.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,352
    I would also say this is the only case where I prefer the film over the novel. The book just felt really lacking to me. Did Fleming have an off year?
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,700
    I enjoyed the book to be sure, but in the end I felt the movie elevated the source material.
  • Posts: 533


    I dislike the film. But it's still better than the novel.
  • Posts: 5,634
    I haven't read the novel yet. I haven't read much of the literary side of James Bond if I'm honest, much more familiar with the movie releases side of things, but the book surely has to be an improvement on the film, from my perspective. It's all dependant on how you like the film on it's own. If you're a great fan of the movie, you'll think the book is a lesser attraction. If you think the film was disappointing (my view), you'll see the novel as something better, and so on. I will endeavor to get hold of a copy and see for myself whenever available
  • Posts: 533
    If you think the film was disappointing (my view), you'll see the novel as something better, and so on.


    Although that's usually the case, I feel differently in regard to "GOLDFINGER". Like you, I found the movie disappointing. However, I have an ever lower opinion of the novel.
  • Posts: 12,506
    Having not read the book? Guess it's the film for me! ;))
  • Posts: 14,893
    Difficult choice. I think the novel is very flawed, way too many coincidences/chances in the early chapters, the scheme of Goldfinger is implausible even for a fantasy novel and in many ways the film corrects these shortcomings. That said, Bond is much more proactive in the novel.

    Oh, and for the record I find Terence Young superior to Guy Hamilton.
  • Posts: 1,817
    "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death."

    That's one of the greatest incipits I've ever read and one reason for given the novel a closer look. I think that the novel is as good as the film and it is the popularity of the latter that outshines the former (but that would be contradictory to the majority of fans here that don't really idolize the film version.)
  • 0013 wrote:
    "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death."

    That's one of the greatest incipits I've ever read and one reason for given the novel a closer look. I think that the novel is as good as the film and it is the popularity of the latter that outshines the former (but that would be contradictory to the majority of fans here that don't really idolize the film version.)

    I had collected most of the 60's Pan paperbacks by the time I was 10 and although I never read them properly I used to flick through them quite a lot.
    I also thought that the intro lines of Goldfinger were tantalising but I couldn't work out why James Bond would have been eating Bourbon biscuits in the airport ? It was only as an adult when reading the book that I realised he had polished off a couple of double whisky's...!!

  • Posts: 14,893
    0013 wrote:
    "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death."

    That's one of the greatest incipits I've ever read and one reason for given the novel a closer look. I think that the novel is as good as the film and it is the popularity of the latter that outshines the former (but that would be contradictory to the majority of fans here that don't really idolize the film version.)

    I had collected most of the 60's Pan paperbacks by the time I was 10 and although I never read them properly I used to flick through them quite a lot.
    I also thought that the intro lines of Goldfinger were tantalising but I couldn't work out why James Bond would have been eating Bourbon biscuits in the airport ? It was only as an adult when reading the book that I realised he had polished off a couple of double whisky's...!!

    Gosh that really made me laugh! I can just picture Bond munching biscuits, crumbs falling down, thinking about the man he killed...
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Ludovico wrote:
    0013 wrote:
    "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death."

    That's one of the greatest incipits I've ever read and one reason for given the novel a closer look. I think that the novel is as good as the film and it is the popularity of the latter that outshines the former (but that would be contradictory to the majority of fans here that don't really idolize the film version.)

    I had collected most of the 60's Pan paperbacks by the time I was 10 and although I never read them properly I used to flick through them quite a lot.
    I also thought that the intro lines of Goldfinger were tantalising but I couldn't work out why James Bond would have been eating Bourbon biscuits in the airport ? It was only as an adult when reading the book that I realised he had polished off a couple of double whisky's...!!

    Gosh that really made me laugh! I can just picture Bond munching biscuits, crumbs falling down, thinking about the man he killed...

    Bourbons!!! Brilliant - GF as written by Alan Bennett:

    'The Mexicans death affected Bond greatly. He was on his way back from the parish jumble sale, which in his opinion had been somewhat of a failure due to Mrs Featherstone insisting on a tombola rather than a raffle, and had just missed the 29 bus so was forced to walk down the Ancoats Rd. As he popped a mint humbug in his mouth a fine grey drizzle had moved in from over the steelworks covering him in a cold mist as he trudged past the haberdashers and approached the cemetery.'

    etc.
  • DB5DB5
    Posts: 408
    One of the few Bonds where the film is better than the novel. The idea that GF would hire Bond and Tilly Masterson to do secretarial work is ludicrous beyond belief. Also the way Bond informs Leiter of GF's plan by leaving a note on the plane, come on! It's definitely one of Fleming's weaker Bond novels.
  • Posts: 2,483
    And it is a measure of Fleming's genius that even his lesser works are worth reading and rereading if only for the beauty of his prose, the vividness of his characterization and the majesty of his description.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Yes GF's hiring of Bond and Tilly as personal assistants does seem ludicrous, and ultimately was the deranged megalomaniac's downfall. But that's just it, Fleming paints Goldfinger as eccentric. GF is nuts. He does crazy stuff. He's a criminal genius and ruthless as hell, but he's got an ego the size of Fort Knox. These supervillains do crazy stuff. He wanted to keep Bond around, until such time as he didn't.
    Supervillains do what they want, even if the less adventurous, lower level criminal mind might do things by the book. Criminals by definition I don't believe are terribly rational people.The jails are full of them. They are prone to making mistakes, as most of them serve their own vanities.
    Fleming did good work demonstrating how truly deranged many criminal minds are. Bond was able to exploit their considerable vanities.
    GF I find to be one of Fleming's most entertaining books. I especially like that Bond is at his smartass best.
    Both Oddjob and GF, are on the receiving end of some great Bond barbs. Bond is especially unkind to Oddjob, but the guy eats cats, so screw him.
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