Wednesday, August 14, 2013

#1,094. Goldfinger (1964)

Directed By: Guy Hamilton

Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe

Tag line: "Mixing business and girls! Mixing thrills and girls! Mixing danger and girls!"

Trivia: In the Ian Fleming novel, Pussy Galore is a lesbian, which is why she gives Bond the cold shoulder to start with

Goldfinger is, hands down, my favorite James Bond film, an exciting adventure that also features a pair of unforgettable villains, two of the toughest 007 ever had to face. 

James Bond (Sean Connery), Agent 007, is back. His assignment this time is to keep an eye on millionaire Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), a jewel expert who has been illegally smuggling gold into other countries. 

Following an unfortunate run-in with Goldfinger in Miami Beach, Bond follows him to Vienna, Switzerland, where he overhears the millionaire talking about something called “Operation Grand Slam”. As 007 soon discovers, Operation Grand Slam is the code name for a plan to “neutralize” the American gold supply at Fort Knox. 

With time running out, Bond, who has been captured by Goldfinger’s henchman, Oddjob (Harold Sakata) and is being held prisoner, attempts to warn the U.S. Government about the impending attack while, at the same time, doing everything he can to stay alive. 

The 3rd Bond film (after Dr. No and From Russia with Love), Goldfinger set the standard for the entire series, giving us an action-packed pre-title sequence (featuring an explosion, a rendezvous with a beautiful woman, and an electrocution), a great title song (performed by Shirley Bassey), and some cool gadgets (Bond’s patented Aston Martin makes its debut in this movie, and has, among other things, bulletproof windows, a built-in radar, machine guns in the front, an oil slick released from the back, and a passenger ejector seat). 

By the time he made Goldfinger, Connery had settled into the role of Bond, delivering his usual suave performance with just a hint of brutality (in the pre-title sequence, he shields himself with a woman - who he was making out with only moments earlier - to avoid getting clubbed on the head). 

We also get two awesome Bond girls in Goldfinger: Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), who meets an untimely, and unusual, end; and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), perhaps the most memorable of Bond’s many women. Both start off working for Goldfinger, but are won over by 007’s charms. 

Along with the ladies, Goldfinger also gives us two outstanding adversaries, arguably the most interesting villains in the series. What I like about Auric Goldfinger is that he’s both a criminal mastermind and a petty thief (when we first meet him, he’s cheating at cards, bilking his unsuspecting opponent out of thousands of dollars). Whether stealing on a small scale or a large one (and it doesn’t get much bigger than Fort Knox), Goldfinger is a man who hates to lose, and isn’t above resorting to violence if anyone stands in his way. 

His sidekick, a mute Korean named Oddjob, is incredibly strong (at one point, he crushes a golf ball with his bare hand) and has a pretty nifty weapon as well: a blade hidden in the brim of his hat that is so sharp it can slice the head off a marble statue! Together, Goldfinger and Oddjob make for a pair of formidable foes, giving Bond a real run for his money. 

To date, there have been 23 James Bond films, some of which are excellent (including the recent Skyfall). But in a desert Island scenario, where I could take only one Bond movie with me to watch for the rest of my life, I would choose Goldfinger. In my opinion, it’s the cream of the crop.

1 comment:

PooBahSpiel said...

I've watched "Goldfinger" so many times I've lost count. Here is my cartoon review: