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Goldfinger could best be described as the quintessential, definitive Bond
film, the first of the series to set the necessities of the entire saga in
motion. It is also the best of the Bond movies, arguably the most suave
sophisticated, far superior to the Roger Moore era and those who followed
Connery's footsteps. It is the Bond ultimatum, so to speak.
Goldfinger was the first of the iconic legacy to feature Q (Desmond Llewelyn) as a recurring comic relief figure. (He was introduced in From Russia with Love, the second film in the series, where he was credited as Major Boothroyd, and given little screen time.) It was also the first to truly setup the suave nature of 007, the tongue-in-cheek humor (absent in the first movie, Dr. No), the far-fetched gadgetry (including fast cars, this one being an Aston-Martin) and, arguably, the first of the series to feature the famous line, "Bond, James Bond," as a 007 catchphrase, versus a mere line of dialogue. When Bond storms out onto the patio of the motel room, the camera zooms in towards his face, the 007 theme song roars through the speakers, and he says his motto with cool confidence. It's Bond, baby.
Both of Goldfinger's predecessors were darker, more serious motion pictures -- more in-tune with the writing of Fleming versus the suaveness to later be salvaged from the series with the third installment. Although Dr. No was a terrific movie, and although From Russia with Love is exciting, Goldfinger beats them both. It features the best (and most famous) Bond villain to ever grace the screen, constantly spoofed in countless productions: Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), the target of Austin Powers in Goldmember and, according to IMDb, referenced and spoofed in well over 100 other productions.
There isn't much of a plot, really. Goldfinger plans to rob Fort Knox and become the richest man in the world. Bond finds out and tries to put a stop to his mission. What entices us, and what makes the film so entertaining despite the absurdity, is its leniency towards itself. It doesn't mind being silly because the entertainment value far outweighs any flaws. Plus, it has some of the most memorable scenes in history, and arguably the best Villain Explanation Scene to ever be recorded. "Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?" Bond (Sean Connery) asks as a laser beam slowly makes its way towards his groin. "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" he says with mock ridicule, before walking away. The following shots is one of the only sequences in James Bond history where the iconic character actually seems fairly worried that fate may be playing a deadly hand.
Released in 1964, forty years later it stands as one of the most risqué Bond films to date. Especially for its time, there is brief nudity during the opening credits, sexual scenes, constant innuendo (including a Bond girl named "Pussy Galore," played by Honor Blackman) and implications of lesbianism.
Galore's sexual orientation is not delved into as deeply and explicitly as it may be dealt with in today's day and age, but the inclusion exists. Bond struggles verbally with Galore, trying to woo and seduce her, and she subtly implies from their very first meeting that she will not be seduced, claiming it is impossible for Bond to get very far with her, thereby insinuating that she is, in fact, a lesbian. According to the director of the film, Guy Hamilton, the entire situation is given much more emphasis in the novel by Ian Fleming, but it was simply too foul a subject for audiences back in 1964. Surprisingly, the verbal exchanges and implications behind the subject matter are much more effective.
All of the actors in Goldfinger are, at the very least, very good. But of course, it is really Sean Connery who demands our utmost attention and respect, for it is Connery whose inhumanly strong screen presence launched Bond into the heights of Movie Legend.
Recently in London I attended a James Bond exhibition, and as I made my way through a maze of Bond memorabilia and objects used in all twenty-something movies, I found myself realizing that the myth of 007 propels the films farther than anything else ever could. There is a sort of iconic legacy surrounding the entire Bond franchise that will probably never die. Different action heroes come and go, and nowadays Rambo looks criminally out of date, but Bond, in his black-and-white tuxedo, with all his suave sophistication, will never grow old, because he is a timeless hero who is comprised of all the greatest heroic attributes to ever be assembled, and although his style and looks may grow weary amid the changing ages, his character will remain the ultimate hero, and I very much doubt that we will ever live to see a day when Bond becomes outdated.
First of all, I must state for the record, Sean Connery is THE James Bond.
Even though the first Bond film I ever saw was "For Your Eyes Only" with
Roger Moore. I was very young and very much drawn in. I have seen every one
of the Bond films and without a doubt, "Goldfinger" is the finest the 007
saga has to offer.
Before I had begun an appreciation of the Connery films, i.e. before I'd seen them, a good friend and cartooning mentor, Ross Paperman, sorted me out. He helped me see how Connery's Bond was suave and sophisticated but also demonstrated a quality the other Bonds do not portray: fear. Not a panicky soil-your-pants kind of fear, mind you. But Connery's Bond actually has a few anxious, sweat-soaked-brow moments. A perfect example is when Bond is strapped to a table as Goldfinger's captive with a laser beam primed to cut him in half. 007 has to think fast. "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" A famous scene and line from Bond's most enjoyable film.
Perhaps what makes the earlier films more enjoyable is that they had fresh, innovative elements that have now become cliché and gimmicky. The new films are often stale and already covered ground and they don't even appear to be trying anymore.
But it's more than that. Even watching "Goldfinger" today, having seen all the latest in special effects and technology that Hollywood has to offer, it still is riveting and thoroughly entertaining. That is also without the added advantage of being overly nostalgic about "Goldfinger". How could I? I hadn't even been born when it first hit theaters, and it was far from my first 007 experience. The story, the characters and the fun of "Goldfinger" is timeless and if given a chance could probably rope in a whole new generation of fans. It just doesn't seem likely to happen.
Much of the satire from the Austin Powers films is directly derived from the Connery films, especially "Goldfinger" and "Dr. No", proving their lasting effect on popular culture. As well, John Barry's scores from the Connery films are finding their way into the ears of a new generation through pop music as snippets from his soundtracks are sampled by such artists as Robbie Williams, Mono and Curve, to name a few.
But if by some fluke you read this and you haven't seen "Goldfinger" yet, do yourself right and acquaint yourself with the real James Bond. You'll probably be hooked by the time you hear Shirley Bassey's voice in the famous opening theme.
Whether it's my nostalgia talking or a plain fact, I've always looked
at this as the best James Bond film ever produced. It had the most
memorable characters and scenes I can remember over these four decades
of Bond films. Yes, it's dated by now and not as exciting as when it
came out, but it's a treasure among the films of the 1960s.
It has a winning combination of good action, drama, romance and comedy. Best of all, it has great characters that all of us who first saw it years ago still remember: "Auric Goldfinger," Oddjob,." and - of course - "Pussy Galore," one of the all-time great names in the history of film!
The story moves fast without overdoing the action. Sure some of it - especially today - looks contrived and corny, but that's part of the fun and charm of the film. Meanwhile, Bond's Aston-Martin DB5 sports car will never go out of style. It's still very cool.....like the film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although 007 is notoriously careless with the equipment delivered to
him by Q, there is one item that retains a close hold on his
affectionsthe superb Aston Martin DB5 entrusted to him on the
The Bank of England suspects that Goldfinger has been smuggling large amounts of gold bullion around the world Armed with a bar of gold as bait, Bond is assigned to uncover the truth about the man with the "Midas touch."
Gert Frobewho had played a German sergeant on Omaha beach in "The Longest Day"is perfectly cast in the role He's an overweight man, but he's dressed smartly and expensively, and he has a certain lightness and grace to him He's also supremely confident, self-assured, and resourceful And even though Bond keeps thwarting him, nothing will shake his will to succeed
Honor Blackman is the first of a long line of James Bond females with patently sexual names And ho could ever forget Shirley Eaton's introduction in the film? She is lying on a chaise longue on the balcony of Goldfinger's Miami Beach hotel suite, attired in black bra and panties, while she observes Mr. Simmons' (Austin Willis) gin hand through binoculars
The Swiss location shots add an international dimension to the fun with the chase along the overwhelming Swiss highways with the Alps in the background...
With two immortal exchanges: "You expect me to talk?"/"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" and "My name is Pussy Galore"/"I must be dreaming."), and with a fairy tense plot between a large number of highlights, and an expected spread of gadgetry, great women, and a menacing heavy with a deadly weapon, "Goldfinger" is probably the liveliest and most amusing of the Bond spy spoofs
In this entertaining film, Bond enjoys a bottle of Dom Pérignon'53...
Could anyone not recognise that line today...and still be clinically
You hear talk about a "hit movie" today...what's that? "xXx" ??? (which itself owes its total existence to this film!) No my friends, "Success" is queuing up down the street to watch a film screening two sessions ahead. GOLDFINGER was such an enormous hit in '64 nothing much else mattered but THE BEATLES and seeing Connery do his thing! and let me add, NO-ONE has ever done the James Bond thing better...as Vin Diesel himself readily admits.
GOLDFINGER was everything that James Bond, action movies and escapism in general ever COULD amount to. Dated it may be, laughable back-projections yes! outrageous jump-suits and hair-styles....but still no one has come up with a better Bond film - and God they've had 18 stabs at it! PLUS a few ring-ins. (CASINO ROYALE, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN) Much of the credit for this fantastic film must go to the (then) new Bond Director Guy Hamilton, who ushered-in here an acknowledgment that Bond must grow and develop as a character and the ability to be able to send both himself and the series up via some smart dialog. How they ever managed to get away with the name "Pussy Galore" on screen, still staggers me!
The gadgets hit a new high with this third outing which at the box office that year blew most everything else off the screen. At the London theater premiere, they had the famous Aston Martin actually there in the foyer...and you people think the latest Holden Commodore has some meaning???? Gimmee a break guys! Its taken them forty years to make publically available the satellite tracking system used here. THAT'S how far ahead of its time it was!
Was this packed with memorable dialog too? "This is GOLD Mr Bond!" "Lovely sport!" "Oh, he had a pressing engagement," "You don't look like the sort of girl should be ditched!" and the quintessential "I never joke about my work 007" Gert Frobe's villainous Goldfinger has never been improved upon and Harold Sakata's bad-guy Oddjob simply never equalled.
GOLDFINGER had everything. It stands as perhaps THE icon of 60's movie-making and for those lucky enough to have been around then, it remains the most beloved of nostalgic revisitations.
Sean Connery's third go around as James Bond has become the quisessential James Bond Flick and for good reason..from the catch opening chorus by Shirley Bassey and the intro pretty lady decked out in gold to oddjob's hat and the name of the bond girl Pussy Galore..What else could one ask for? The most popular and arguable the best Bond as James tries to stop Goldfinger and his pilot from robbing Fort Knox.. On a scale of one to ten... Goldfinger strikes a 9
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first saw GOLDFINGER round about 1977 and it has been shown on British
television more times than I can count . In fact it`s somewhat ridiculous
the amount of times it`s been repeated and having seen it so many times
after more than 25 years I find it impossible to say much on it.
I will say however that future Bond production teams seem to have taken all the lesser bits of GOLDFINGER while completely ignoring all the good elements . The lesser bits are the awful puns like " Shocking " and " He blew a fuse " . How many times have you watched a Bond movie where the hero has dispatched a bad guy and you`ve made your own pun which is ten times better than the one Bond says to camera ? Exactly . Of course in 1964 these one liners might have been ground breaking but after the franchise has gone on you feel that the screenwriters have been ordered to write a sequence so that Bond can make a groan inducing one liner . Oh and I haven`t even mentioned Pussy Galore ( Insert your own joke here ) , this is another thing that the producers seem obsessed with - woman with completely unreal names , everytime someone makes a Bond movie we get a Plenty O Toole or some such weird name . The novelty wears out very quickly .
What I liked about GOLDFINGER is that James Bond is shown as being vulnerable , it`s about the only film in the franchise when he is unable to save the lives of his lovers for example , and lets not forget the classic scene of the lazer beam creeping up the table where he has to use his wits , and has anyone noticed that he doesn`t actually save the day at the Fort Knox climax ? He doesn`t even need to be there . Compare that scenario with the later Bond movies ( Especially the Roger Moore ones ) when he stops the baddies single handed in a ridiculously contrived and OTT manner , such a pity they don`t make Bond films like this anymore .
Despite seeing GOLDFINGER more times than I care to mention I`ll no doubt watch it again next time it`s on British television
A great piece of escapism that has held up well thru the years as a tightly paced film and a standard by which other Bond films are often judged by. There are so many great scenes in this film that tickle me every time, when Bond outsmarts Goldfinger on the golf course, the Pussy Galore flying circus scenes, the scenes where the Mob bosses are eventually snuffed out, the Lincoln crushing scene because it's so outrageous to have crushed a new car, and the scene where Goldfinger gets pulled thru the plane's broken window to his demise, and many others. The classic theme as sung by the still great Shirley Bassey is a "10"!!(I saw her perform recently in Atlantic City NJ and she is awesome!..only odd thing is she did every Bond theme she recorded except "Goldfinger"..not sure why.) I have always enjoyed this film upon repeat viewings thru the years and always looked forward to it's occasional showing on Sunday night on ABC network in the years before video players were a common household item. I have always wondered about one scene in the movie if it's a mistake or not....when Bond and Goldfinger are fighting in the Plane for the gun and the gun goes off, there is a long shot of Bond grabbing hold of one of the plane's seats as Goldfinger is flying toward the broken window..but I swear there is a person lying in the isle on the floor near Bond!?? If this is so, who is it supposed to be? A person who got knocked out when debris started flying? Is it the Asian hostess that spied on Bond when he was on board the last time? It's such a quick shot I swear my eyes are fooling me! I hope someone can answer my question!
Forty years after it's initial release, the third 'James Bond' film,
GOLDFINGER, remains the quintessential 007 film for many fans, with a
of hysteria upon it's initial release that younger fans may not fully
appreciate. It set records at that time as the fastest-grossing film in
history (making back it's $3,000,000 production cost in a mere 2 weeks, on
only 67 screens), spawned the first massive 007 merchandising 'blitz'
everything from jigsaw puzzles, dolls, and lunchboxes, to shoes and
and even Aston Martin DB5 automobiles offered as 'collectibles'), launched
whole new genre of 'spy thrillers' to TV and film (with the debut of the
Fleming-approved TV series, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." in America, and the
increased popularity "Danger Man" and "The Avengers" would enjoy in
Britain), and gave the franchise it's first worldwide #1 hit song, sung by
Shirley Bassey. Everyone was crazy about 007, with a resulting pandemonium
that rivaled the adoration of the Beatles in it's intensity!
The story, pitting the British secret agent against a megalomaniac whose master plan was to explode a 'dirty' nuclear device at Fort Knox, thus poisoning the American gold supply, and making his own gold reserves infinitely more valuable, would benefit from 'perfect' casting. German actor Gert Frobe (his voice dubbed, as he barely spoke English), was an ideal Goldfinger, a rotund, piggish monster who always 'cheated' to win, at cards, golf, or dealing with adversaries. His 'right-hand man', Oddjob, played by Hawaiian wrestler Harold Sakata, became the prototype of every subsequent villainous henchman; silent, nearly invulnerable, with an evil grin and a steel-edged bowler hat he would toss that could cut the head off a marble statue.
Bond's women were never sexier; Shirley Eaton, 27, created a sensation in a 5-minute appearance as 'Jill Masterson', who betrays Goldfinger for a tryst with 007, and ends up a nude corpse covered in gold paint; and 27-year old "Avengers" alumni Honor Blackman, as the lesbian pilot 'Pussy Galore' (yes, the name DID cause problems with American censors), who discovers the joys of male lovers after Bond pins her in a fight. Sean Connery, at 34, was simply irresistible in his third outing as 007!
Director Guy Hamilton, making his first Bond movie, said that the character of 007 only needed a 'push' to become a Superman, and he provided it, by increasing the humor and ever-present gadgets, most memorably the prototype Aston Martin DB5, complete with armor plating, machine-gun turrets, rotating license plates, and an ejector seat.
Unforgettable moments abound, from the "shocking" pre-title sequence, to the golf match between Goldfinger and Bond (introducing Connery to the sport that would become his lifelong passion), to the famous laser torture scene ("Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DIE!"), to the climactic fight between Bond and Oddjob (during which Connery was actually injured, and Sakata burned his hand, badly).
007 author Ian Fleming passed away during production, after a last visit to the Pinewood set (although the story takes place in Florida, Switzerland, and Kentucky, nearly all of the film was shot in England). He was very pleased at the success his creation had achieved, thus far, thought Connery made an ideal Bond, and was confident in the future of the series, in the hands of producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
And speaking of the future...A few months later, in Ireland, twelve-year old Pierce Brosnan would view GOLDFINGER (the first Bond film he'd ever seen), and decide to become an actor, fantasizing about playing the spy, someday...
Now, we're talking.
What Goldfinger does, that so many subsequent Bond movies forget, is not overdo things. It underplays everything. This is a movie of such effortless cool and style that it's sweeps the viewer along with charm. Many Bond movies also jar between action and non-action scenes (The World is Not Enough, for instance). Goldfinger moves through the gears with aplomb.
Goldfinger is so stylish that even the pre-credit sequence contains more cool than the entirety of most 007 films. You have the iconic wetsuit/tuxedo scene; Bond lighting a cigarette just as an explosion goes off; the unflinchingly brutality of Bond electrocuting a man then just turning away to make a quip; and finally him slamming the door - even than leads perfectly into the Shirley Bassey theme.
Everything is pitch perfect. Goldfinger himself is the ideal combo of vulgar greed and gentlemanly host. A perfect foe for for Bond. Pussy Galore combines the voluptuousness of 60's Bond girls with the spirit of the more modern ones. Connery himself is the epitome of Bond; charismatic, tough, ultra-suave.
There are plenty of standout scenes; the laser-beam table is unmatched in the series for sheer, pure tension; the aston martin chase is again one of the best in the series and shows up similar scenes in the likes of Die Another Day as merely visual showcases - this one is genuinely exciting. Bond's fight with Oddjob set the template for numerous, 'How do I stop this guy?' cat-and-mouse fight scenes, especially in Spielberg movies.
You might argue than Goldfinger could do with at least one more action set-piece, as it does slow down before the climax whilst Bond is Goldfinger's guest. But it wouldn't really fit into the story. As a Bond film, Goldfinger is practically perfect. Connery even has the best wig.
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