Dr. No laid down the blueprint, From Russia with Love finely tuned the formula and then came Goldfinger to truly set in stone what a James Bond movie is. The […]
Dr. No laid down the blueprint, From Russia with Love finely tuned the formula and then came Goldfinger to truly set in stone what a James Bond movie is. The third 007 movie in as many years saw Guy Hamilton take the director’s helm for the first of four films, directing a returning Sean Connery as Bond, a dubbed over Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger and Honor Blackman as, err, Pussy Galore – this isn’t a subtle Bond film. It was filmed on a budget of $3 million and made around $125 million back, almost $50 million more than From Russia with Love. Bond was a bona fide Box Office SMERSH (this is a hilarious joke if you have read the novels which I haven’t soooooooooooo).
Goldfinger sees Bond, after a successful mission blowing up a big supply of heroin, holidaying it up in Miami when he his CIA buddy Felix gives him his new assignment – to watch over Auric Goldfinger – a gold merchant with many legitimate businesses. Bond makes his acquaintance by foiling Goldfinger’s plans to cheat at cards and in true Bond style he also steals Goldfinger’s woman, Jill Masterson. During the night, Bond is knocked out and Jill is killed by being painted completely in gold in what is one of the most iconic images in the whole series.
Bond gets chewed out by M for getting too involved with Goldfinger when he was supposed to just watch him but is then given the mission to see whether or not Goldfinger is actually involved in anything illegal – suspected to be gold smuggling. After a second meeting where Bond beats Goldfinger in a game of golf after both parties bend the rules a little bit – Goldfinger warns Bond to stay out of his business. Bond reacts by placing a homing tracker in his car and follows him to Geneva where Bond is shot at by a particularly terrible sniper.
The sniper turned out to be Tilly Masterson, the sister of Jill, who wanted to kill Goldfinger but, as mentioned, she is a terrible shot. Bond infiltrates Goldfinger’s factory where he finds them melting down his car (which is how he smuggles his gold into other countries) however he overhears Goldfinger talking to a Chinese man about “Operation Grand Slam”. Eventually Bond and Tilly are caught, they drive away but as Bond gives Tilly a chance to run she is killed by a well-timed throw of the hat from Oddjob, Goldfinger’s right-hand man.
After a car chase where a mirror tricks Bond into crashing into a wall, he is captured and is about to get lasered crotch-first. He doesn’t expect Bond to talk, he expects him to DIE. However, Bond convinces Goldfinger to keep him alive as he knows about Operation Grand Slam and while Goldfinger correctly guesses Bond knows nothing, he plans to keep Bond alive and well until the operation is a success so they don’t send a second agent.
Bond is knocked out again and awakens on a plane where…*sigh* Pussy Galore is piloting. He is being flown to Kentucky where he will stay at Goldfinger’s stud farm. There he manages to break out of his cell, learns the details of Operation Grand Slam – essentially Goldfinger plans on releasing a nerve gas to kill all the soldiers around Fort Knox. However his goal is not to rob Fort Knox – he plans on setting off a nuclear device causing all the gold in the vault to be radioactive for decades thus increasing the value of the gold he already possesses. In terms of Bond plots, it’s actually an interesting idea.
Goldfinger asks, *sigh* Pussy to *sigh* “look after” Bond to trick the CIA into thinking Bond is doing well however after a quick judo fight Bond *sigh* turns *sigh* Pussy onto the good side with his *sigh* penis. This is a scene that really hasn’t aged well either – he very much forces himself onto *SIGH* Pussy and is not the most comfortable watch in 2020. This is going down as one of the worst paragraphs I’ve ever written.
The next day Operation Grand Slam is in full effect however the nerve gas was changed out by *SIIIIGGGHH* Pussy and as soon as Goldfinger and pals get into Fort Knox they awaken and start a fight. Goldfinger disguises himself as an American colonel and shoots his Chinese pal as well as a group of American soldiers before escaping, not before locking Bond, Oddjob and his other good pal Kisch in the vault with the nuclear device. Oddjob kills Kisch who wants to disarm the bomb before fighting Bond. Oddjob meets a rather shocking end and Bond’s friends arrive just in time to help turn off the bomb (naturally, with 00:07 left on the clock).
Bond is invited to the White House for lunch with the President but the plane was hijacked by Goldfinger who accidentally shoots out a window in the plane and badly special effects his way out of the plane to this death. The plane is falling but Bond and, one last time, *pussy* Sigh escape just in time.
Goldfinger, despite a couple of aging issues, is still a fine Bond film. It has an interesting plot and Goldfinger is a delightfully evil villain but one who at least can match wits with Bond, while Oddjob and his sharp hat is a physical powerhouse. Goldfinger is unique to the early Bonds by not involving SPECTRE at all and it lets the film stand on its own as a good film without having to know much about James Bond at all.
It was also this film that introduced the Bond theme to the franchise with Shirley Bassey belting out a tune about Goldfinger and his love of gold. It’s a classic theme. Also new to this film was Q-Branch – Desmond Llewelyn is officially christened Q and he introduces Bond to his many gadgets and car – in this case an Aston Martin DB5, while slapstick comedy happens in the background. Like I mentioned in the last review, Q-Branch was always my favourite parts of Bond films as a kid and honestly, I’m still a kid so it still is.
The creepiness of Bond in the stable scene with Pussy Galore really is cringey when watched through modern eyes (and it won’t be the last time this happens with Connery-Bond) so it makes it a little hard to enjoy the dynamic between Bond and Galore in 2020. Of course this film also gave us Oddjob, a name that is sure to give people who grew up playing Goldeneye’s multiplayer nightmares.
Overall, I do think Goldfinger holds up as a really good film. A lot of its issues comes from the fact that the film was made 56 years ago but the fun stuff is plentiful with a great villain, interesting plot and some good action (albeit there is less action than you might imagine). Goldfinger’s legacy cannot be overstated, it was the film that truly made Bond a phenomenon and for good reason. However, I feel like From Russia has definitely aged just a little better but there is definitely no drop in quality between the two. Goldfinger would continue being the gold standard of Bond films for a very long time.