Why is Goldfinger the general favourite?

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  • edited July 2014 Posts: 11,493
    On this website at least, I wouldn't consider it a general favorite; it barely made the Top 10 in the elimination game. I have it at #4 on my list, and I think it's spectacular for the following reasons:
    -The PTS is awesome; like a mini-Bond film in 5 minutes.
    -Sean Connery gives a great performance. His best Bond performance is up for debate (usually people pick FRWL or TB), but there's no doubt he's a lot of fun to watch here.
    -Oddjob is one of the series' best henchmen, and Auric Goldfinger is a solid main villain.
    -Pussy Galore...
    -The action scenes were really good (arguably better than the previous 2, save for FRWL's train fight)
    -Title theme + soundtrack; it has a very fitting and memorable Bond soundtrack, include Shirley's opener song (the FIRST sung Bond song in the title credits, which brings me to...)
    -It established A LOT of things for the Bond formula. The PTS that doesn't have to relate to the movie, the title song with lyrics (excuse OHMSS), the car, the gadgets, and probably more. FRWL may have started a lot of things, but GF took it a step further and really cemented the Bond formula.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    Spot on, @FoxRox. Goldfinger also introduced grumpy Q.
  • They showed this on ITV4 as part of its season.

    It is a standalone Bond really, the only 60s film to have Guy Hamilton. Okay, so YOLT is the only Gilbert one, OHMSS the only Hunt. But unlike these, GF has a stylish, shimmering quality, it's Fred Astaire in his prime.

    It's a great entry level Bond. It opened across the US in screens simultaneously, making a smash impact. Like the Beatles, also making a big impact in the US in 64, fans could then feast on the back catalogue all ready and waiting, so the Fab 4 records made up the US Top 5, and Bond fans could go back and sample Dr No and FRWL reissues, maybe even preferring them - but if you're getting into Bond, GF is the best place to start at the time. It is the catchy single everyone likes, though the album proper may yield other treasures.

    Connery gives his best performance as Bond in this. Oh, it's not Fleming's Bond really. But Connery's Bond is at his best in this, he is the most emotionally engaged, and engaging. He has the widest emotional responses: the usual arrogance, a bit more suave and charismatic this time round, but also humility (his reaction to Oddjob's crushing of the golf ball, and Tilly Masterton's snub to his famous 'Bond, J-') but the witty script really allows Connery the actor to shine.

    Christopher Bay's excellent book on Connery in film describes the acting qualities on display as Bond discovers Jill Masterton covered in gold - the anger, contempt, guilt and remorse all struggling to get the upper hand.

    In this film Bond's excessive charm makes sense as it explains why Goldfinger doesn't just kill him - this Bond is fun to have around. It doesn't make strict logical sense but it makes emotional sense in the film. Likewise, the Aston is way to showy a car, but as Bond is trying to impress Goldfinger and get into business, this puts up a good front whereas some crappy banger would not.

    But plot holes exist, just as my sister pointed out when she joined me watching it. Bond isn't much of a spy, standing out there watching over GF in the Swiss alps, they only have to look up to see him. Those kids selling portraits don't seem bothered by the shots. At the time it makes sense to the viewer that Oddjob is unperturbed by the shot as we too think they have aimed it at the following Bond, and are in on it.

    Anyway, what happened to Bond's attempt to get hired by the villain? He just antagonised the bloke on the golf course by outcheating him. He didn't really have to wager the gold bar, he could just say 'Well, that's a taster old boy. Let me win, and you'll get access to more!' all charming and so on. It has to be said, Bond is a crap role model for getting what you want in life, he can't do it can he? He just goes in there and pisses on the villain's chips. It is a measure of the film's charm that only decades on do I realise this.

    Of course, Bond mucks up Masterton's assassination plan. Maybe American saw her, topically, as a Lee Harvey Oswald type so undeserving of sympathy. Then again, as my sis unsympathetically pointed out, she is a lousy shot so maybe it wouldn't have made any difference anyway.

    In the gunfight in the Swiss woods, Oddjob makes himself vulnerable with his hat antics 'Why doesn't Bond just shoot him!' yelled out my sister. Why indeed. And why do they suddenly just let Bond run out to check her over and not kill him. That said, the scene makes emotional sense and the sudden reversals of fortune we get in this film, wit and arrogance then sudden sombreness and humility, might have sat well with the Western world reeling from the death of Kennedy and then rallying with the onset of happy youth culture and Beatlemania.

    Even the Korean stuff would have had an added edge, with the then recent Korean War.

    Goldfinger is all charm, and fits into other films of the time like The Sound of Music and The Great Escape, even in its location for a significant part of the film. That means it transcends the Bond genre and is something bigger than that. Even the attitude to the German villain is conciliatory. He doesn't kill Bond, as it is a nod to the German Army code in World War II, where Rolex watches could be ordered from a German PoW camp and they would arrive to the PoWs, who would pay for it after the war, as an Englishman's word is his, well, Bond. German soldiers wouldn't nick the watches, it just wasn't done. Just like the German command was horrified by the Gestapo killing of the 50 officers in The Great Escape, not all Germans were out of Schindler's List, and GF taps into that kind of memory. Bond is a PoW in this, up to a point, and it sort of makes sense. This was before the onset of the counterculture (just) when on the streets it was every man for himself and the bad guys were terrorist organisations or hoodlums strung out on drugs.

    Yes, Bond spends a lot of time banged up, but in some ways it anticipates OHMSS where he is there in disguise, in contrast Bond's containment here I find highly enjoyable. And Honor Blackman makes a fantastic impression bearing in mind she turns up so late in the film, for the third and final act.
  • edited August 2014 Posts: 11,175
    Great post @NapoleonPlural.

    I watched it again myself the other day and. compared to DN and FRWL, it certainly seems more light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek in tone. As I said in my review the film seems to take great delight in knowing that its essentially utter nonsense...but doesn't go too far into silliness and has charm and sophistication. The likes of Pussy Galore, her Flying Circus, the Aston Martin DB5, the caricature gangsters and the old lady with the machine gun all essentially allow the viewer to simply have fun and not take proceedings too seriously. By contrast the previous two are played fairly straight but sprinkled with style and small dashes of humour.
  • Posts: 2,488
    I'm not sure if this is off topic but I'll share it anyway:

    http://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/girls-elle-evans-goldfinger?t&s&id=03745
  • Posts: 12,436
    dragonsky wrote: »
    I'm not sure if this is off topic but I'll share it anyway:

    http://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/girls-elle-evans-goldfinger?t&s&id=03745

    Have to say I think she did a great job! :D ;)
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited August 2017 Posts: 9,020
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  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    TSWLM sure, but GE? Really?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited August 2017 Posts: 9,020
    .
  • Posts: 7,424
    TSWLM sure, but GE? Really?


    Nonsense!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,651
    Can't say everything falls together perfectly in GF-part of my problem with it is that it doesn't mesh well together and only works in moments-but people seem to take to it still. Even in spite of itself-by which I mean most of the Kentucky scenes-there's some great moments to be had even if the Young films will always be my visions of what vintage Bond is at its best.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited August 2017 Posts: 9,020
    .
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    .

    You do have a point.
  • Posts: 438
    Top three reasons Goldfinger is considered the general favorite:

    1. Sean Connery
    2. Sean Connery
    3. Sean Connery
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    There is a lot more to it than that.
  • SeanCraigSeanCraig Germany
    Posts: 730
    Many are able to explain in great detail what exactly it is that makes them like GF best - to me it just "feels" so great - again and again and everytime I see it. To me, personally, it's closely followed by TB which also just gives me a feeling that combines nostalgia with never-fading entertainment. Because I like Goldfinger himself so much as the villain it's my all-time #1 and closely followed by TB.

    I agree that due to many logical things FRWL is the better story and maybe also the better film - but to me Goldfinger is just the ultimate Bond film because it has it all: Perfect Connery, perfect villain, perfect henchman, perfect girls, perfect soundtrack, perfect level of humour and suspense. Maybe that's why it still appeals to so many people - even it get's way more criticism in this or other Bond-centric forums. In general I think many still see it as "the" bond movie, too.
  • Posts: 1,841
    Can't say everything falls together perfectly in GF-part of my problem with it is that it doesn't mesh well together and only works in moments-but people seem to take to it still. Even in spite of itself-by which I mean most of the Kentucky scenes-there's some great moments to be had even if the Young films will always be my visions of what vintage Bond is at its best.

    Agreed. The gangsters are so clichéd and the business with Leiter chasing the signal and the car-crushing and all that does nothing to really advance the story or add much in the way of thrills, suspense or anything interesting, really.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 2017 Posts: 23,883
    I have to watch it again soon. I enjoyed it more last time around although I still don't rate it nearly as high as other members, and still far prefer Connery's more lethal manner (including his panther like movements) in the Young films.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,651
    One area where GF really shines, and one of the things I appreciate it most for, is fashion. I don't think we will ever see a movie where Bond looks so consistently good, on so many levels, whether it's the super formal white dinner jacket, the iconic gray three-piece (for me the greatest suit in film history) or the casual and formal blend of the brown country style Bond has in Switzerland. In the briefing with Q we even get to see Bond in a navy suit and black knit tie, the only time in the history of the movies where the character dresses the way Fleming's original did while in the field.

    Of course the clothes are one thing, but it's also the man that wears them that factors in and Sean feels very at home in all of it despite not coming from a life that would make suits a natural style item for him. But that's the actor in him, the ability to be someone he is not for the screen while bringing out that classic cool.

    GF was the film where Bond fashion really exploded, and was the first time that the costume design really pushed its boundaries. In DN and FRWL we see Bond in the default light and dark grey suits with the navy grenadine ties that were to Sean's Bond what the navy and black ties were to Fleming's original; something he wore instinctively. The only breach of this is in the less prevalent blue suits and blazers Sean would get in at times, which were styled to accentuate his brown hair and eyes. When we get to GF, then, Bond's style really breaks out and we see him in a wider range of colors, in a white dinner jacket instead of the usual tuxedo, and wearing three piece suits instead of the usual two pieces. This expansion of style then carried into TB and the rest is history. Bond style got wacky a bit after with the crazy 70s, but the timeless fashion of the 60s is best alive in those early movies and GF leaves a big imprint because of it.

    It really says something that you could wear every single style item Bond has on in any of the films from DN to YOLT without looking strange on the street; it all works perfectly today as it did 5 decades ago, exactly as designed by the costume team and Sinclair.
  • Posts: 7,424
    For me Goldfinger is a brilliantly paced and constructed thriller... up until the Kentucky segment which drags the film down to a hault and makes it a pretty mundane and anticlimatic film overall. As previously noted the signal chase is basically nothing more than redundant plot filling that just drags, and the plot does not really make sense. The film stubbornly tries to persuade us that keeping Bond alive and bringing him all the way to Kentucky to witness the plan unfold makes sense, but come on, who honestly buys this? The main plot twist of Pussy Galore saving the day after being seduced (well... basically raped) on to the good side comes across as lazy script writing and is not very satisfying. But the main problem is that I struggle to invest at all in the story. Why should I really care if Goldfinger gets his extra fortune or not? He has dedicated so much work to this elaborate plan. He might as well get his prize. I could probably have cared for the lives of all the soldiers if the film didn't make a gag of it during that ridiculous "fall to the ground when you hear my whistle" scene. In the novel Fleming at least brought some major significans to the plot with
    making Goldfinger a SMERSH agent.
    As it is I just don't care that much, and the whole finale becomes mundane.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Its not my favourite by a long way.
  • edited February 2020 Posts: 2,680
    John McElwee of the Greenbriar Picture Shows Blog has written a very enjoyable piece that shows why so many of the people who saw Goldfinger upon its release considered it their favorite film of the series. It was a dazzler: a thrill ride bigger than the earlier Bonds and less bloated than the later ones.
  • JamesCraigJamesCraig Ancient Rome
    edited February 2020 Posts: 3,497
    I've always ranked it below Thunderball. But it has never left my top 12. ;)
  • Posts: 1,314
    Nearly every single scene in Goldfinger is memorable. Just go through the film scene by scene. Nearly everything, particularly in the first third is The franchise at the top of its game.
  • Posts: 1,413
    If you were there...................you would know......................for all it's short comings, Goldfinger changed the world when it was released. There has never been another Bond film with the impact it had.
  • WhyBondWhyBond USA
    Posts: 52
    GoldFinger is all about Bond getting lucky to accomplish the mission. It had nothing to do with his impeccable skill but his wits.
    Think how lucky everyone got when Bond turned Me. Galore to the "good side". That gas was supposed to kill everyone around Fort Knox.
    No other Bond film has displayed 007 getting lucky by a hair. Now it's more based on his skill set.
  • Posts: 2,680
    And luck has always been one of Bond's greatest strengths in the novels; Fleming almost elevates it to a mystical force. Bond is not a genius--his intelligence is no more than above average. He is someone blessed with high powers of endurance, an ability to make the best of his luck, a zest for life, and a belief in his mission.
  • Posts: 1,841
    I've made it known many times GF isn't my favorite and I have my issues with it, but I have the respect to know why it's so beloved and will always defend it against the luck perception and the view 007 doesn't have an impact on the outcome.

    Bond's skills come into play numerous times in the film: His ability to charm Pussy; his physicality helped him escape his cell to learn of Goldfinger's plan; is fitness keeps him alive when Oddjob would've killed a lesser man. The examples could go on from there.

    As Revelator said, luck is a big part of the novels and the films. I perceive luck as putting a note in the jet's lavatory hoping somebody will contact Leiter in the novel. Being able to turn a woman like Pussy enough to do the right thing is what makes Bond special. And not just being able to bully his way into winning always and having so many setbacks makes him a more relatable character due to his failings in GF. He's not yet the superman he'll become in coming films.
  • Posts: 14,806
    Birdleson wrote: »
    WhyBond wrote: »
    GoldFinger is all about Bond getting lucky to accomplish the mission. It had nothing to do with his impeccable skill but his wits.
    Think how lucky everyone got when Bond turned Me. Galore to the "good side". That gas was supposed to kill everyone around Fort Knox.
    No other Bond film has displayed 007 getting lucky by a hair. Now it's more based on his skill set.

    That has been brought up to death around here, nothing new. But though much of that may be true, it is still my favorite.

    Mine, too.
  • Posts: 2,898
    GF is easily my favourite Bond film. It is the movie where all the planets aligned, where the Bond mixture got it spot on.

    Connery - easily his coolest performance as Bond. The more serious Fleming tone of the first 2 films are still evident in his performance, yet he is not quite the relaxed casual sleepwalking pedestrian that would eventually plague his later Bond movies, once he started losing interest in playing 007. Here he is perfect.

    The script adapts the entire Fleming novel and characters very closely, and for once actually improves on it. The entire blueprint of a Bond film was laid out here (actually laid out in Fleming's novel).

    GF himself is a larger than life villain, probably the best in the series. Oddjob is equally memorable as the henchman.

    John Barry gives us one of his best bombastic scores, as does Bassey with the song.

    The gadgets are in play, but not too OTT like they would later become. Here, the gadgets feel believable and for once actually work effectively within the film, without losing the fear and danger or making Bond too superhuman (the scene with a vulnerable Connery tied to the table is one of the best in the entire series.)

    The rest of the series would forever live in its shadow, trying to replicate the winning formula that Fleming penned in his original novel - the blueprint for a successful cinematic Bond.
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