THE BOND FILM: Goldfinger
THE BOND: Sean Connery
THE BOND GIRL: Honor Blackman -Pussy Galore
THE BOND BAD: Gert Frobe – Auric Goldfinger
THE BOND SONG: “Goldfinger” sung by Shirley Bassey
THE BOND DIRECTOR: Guy Hamilton
BOND WISECRACK: James Bond: “Shocking! Positively shocking!”
RELEASED: 17th September 1964, Odeon Leicester Square, London.
BOND TRIVA: Bond Author Ian Fleming partially based the title character of his original 1959 novel ‘Goldfinger’ on the controversial architect Erno Goldfinger. When he learned that Fleming was naming the villain of his new James Bond novel ‘Goldfinger,’ the architect threatened to file a lawsuit against Fleming’s publisher in an effort to stop the book’s publication. Fleming’s publisher then contacted the author to inquire whether Fleming might consider renaming the character, and the novel. Fleming replied that he’d be delighted to alter the name…if he could change the name of the character–and the novel–to “Goldprick.” Fleming’s publisher quietly settled the architect’s lawsuit out of court.
BOND BLOOPER Before Goldfinger joins his opponent at the card table in Miami, the cards are blue, but when Goldfinger sits down and they begin the game, the cards are red.
THE BOND PLOT: Using a nuclear device supplied by Red China, gold-smuggler and metallurgist Auric Goldfinger intends to increase the value of his gold bullion ten-fold by detonating the device inside Fort Knox, thereby making the 15 billion dollar gold supply of the United States radioactive for 58 years
THE BOND REVIEW:
And now onto the hardest review of all the Bond films and why? Well it is Goldfinger, the film that made all the others look up, the one that all the others that followed, wanted to be like as yes readers, this is the ultimate Bond flick and there is nothing much else to say really. I was tempted to end the review there and then, just chuck five stars underneath that paragraph because lets face it, if you love Bond then you adore Goldfinger.
Its amazing though that if events went the other way then the history of Bond could have well been different and instead of raving about this adventure for our James we would be talking about his trip to the underworld sea. You see it was not the touch of gold that we were supposed to have or the singing voice of Shirley Bassey to greet us but that of Tom Jones because Thunderball was supposed to follow the total delight of From Russia With Love
.A massive dispute between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming surrounding the rights to Thunderball put paid to the plans for that story to come third in the film universe of Bond and so producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided to turn their attentions to Goldfinger and sometimes fate plays its hand perfectly because the whole concept just fitted to what we had seen before.
But I will hold out for the praise until I get some facts out of the way and the producers had more problems to face other than a court case because for the first time, the reliable hand of Terence Young would be missing.
Young who directed the first two films to such critical and commercial success had a dispute with those behind the scenes over payment and left the franchise to film The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders and with an empty chair to fill, Broccoli and Saltzman turned to the guy who originally turned them down when they set their vision to bring Bond to the big screen. Guy Hamilton stunned the duo by turning down the chance to direct Dr No but soon said yes to direct the third film of a very much successful franchise.
With Sean Connery back in the role and with a fan base growing from each passing film, Goldfinger was set in motion with a £3m budget and while everyone hoped the film would continue the success set by the first two, no one could imagine what they were making because Goldfinger was all set to become a classic of not just this franchise but of the action genre itself.
Its amazing watching Goldfinger now and just seeing how on form the entire franchise is. If Dr No and From Russia set things in stone, then Goldfinger was the film that cemented the legacy. Right from the off with Bond emerging from the water to reveal a Tux underneath the Swimsuit is just wonderfully cool and such a good scene that James Cameron honoured it over thirty years later with Arnie in True Lies.
The beginning typifies why the character of Bond is such a wonderful creation. He is good looking and can handle himself in a fight and also manages to have a bit of sex before finally killing the last henchman thanks to a bath and an electrical item followed by the words “Shocking!”
Connery is just at his peak here. I very much doubt he could ever better this performance, he looks good, girls want to sleep with him, men want to be him and by the time good old Shirley is singing the ultimate Bond song, well you are just hooked.
But while I praise Connery, the film also serves up the best bad guy and also the best bond girl, we also have an infamous image that fans old and new will never be able to forget! Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) is one great bad guy, so good in fact that originally after the success of this film they wanted him back, even playing a twin brother in another entry an idea that was seriously mooted until the realisation in just how daft that would be.
Gert Frobe’s voice may be dubbed but the one thing that I loved about the character is that he was not some evil bad guy with a hand that can crush tins or some sort of weird body part, he is in fact a very believable character, someone who could actually be out there right now plotting to own the world. He also seems more of a match for our 007 and its great to see!
The one moment that shows just how brilliant they both are is the golf scene in which they both try to outwit each other. Having not seen this film for years I totally forgot just how good this sequence was and the chemistry between the two is just wonderful. It seems odd that all the hints of a man called Blofield is the nemesis for our James and yet Auric comes out from nowhere and just steals the limelight away from him.
The plot is centred around Auric who lives up to his surname with his love of all thinks gold especially the value of it. His grand plotting goes something like he wants to alter the economies of the Western world by doing something about the gold reserve and also breaking into Fort Knox. I know that sounds a bit vague but I was too busy having fun to really take in the full details of the plot, I mean when you are enjoying the ride, why worry about small details?
Bond is sent to find out all he knows about Goldfinger even more so when he returns one morning to visit one of the notches on his bedpost only to find her dead and covered in gold spray. Yes even now that scene is brilliant to see, such an historic image within the film genre and I really hope that it still gets the same buzz to all the newcomers of the franchise because it is that special!
Goldfinger added what was brilliant with the first two films and expanded the universe of 007, because Goldfinger is 100% bigger than what when on before. You see this with the character of Major Boothroyd who was originally played by Peter Burton and then Desmond Llewelyn for the Russia trip. Llewelyn returned for the third film but instead went now under the name of Q, a character who would appear in 19 of the Bond films with Desmond himself managing to share screen time with all the Bonds with only his sad death in 1999 meaning he would never be able to repeat the feat with Daniel Craig.
The arrival of Q meant new bolder gadgets and of course the introduction of the Austin Martin, the flashy car which resulted in one of Goldfingers most memorable scenes, a car chase which saw Bond use every single gadget in the book which resulted in every Bond film after trying to better the invention and ended up with, yes that invisible car…..shudder!…but that is another review for another time.
Goldfinger also benefits from having the best Bond Girl to beat them all. Honor Blackman who was years away from ending up in the truly awful sitcom The Upper Hand, is fantastic and benefits from having the best name as well. Her Pussy Galore is tough as nails, does not melt to the charms of 007 and is totally opposite to the role that it would become.
Another highlight of the film is that behind every mad man is their henchman and here we have the brilliant mute Oddjob (Harold Sakata), whose deadly weapon of his bowler hat is a surreal idea that somehow makes it a wonderful treat. Somehow I have managed to write all this about Goldfinger even though like I said it is the hardest review to write of them all.
The film is a blast from start to finish, Connery showing us the ultimate Bond portrayal, a great villain, a sexy Bondgirl and just cool gadgets and a blast of sex appeal that ripples through each and every frame.
This is Bond at his best, Bond at his dangerous, Bond just being brilliant and its amazing that to this day, every new film director who signs on the dotted line to make a new 007 film live in hope that their idea can match what was offered way back in 1964. It says it all that many films later, every single one have tried and failed…….
We will return with……Thunderball!