James Bond returns in the installment that created the mold. With the third James Bond film, director Guy Hamilton perfects the Bond formula, as we see in this welcome addition to the 101 Action Movies list. We have the incredibly suave Connery as 007, beautiful women, including The Avengers star Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, a plethora of gadgets, a huge showdown in the climax, the introduction of the beautiful Aston Martin DB5 and of course the pre-credits sequence.
This time out, Bond is chasing down Auric Goldinfger (Gert Frobe – who did not speak any English when he took the role) loves gold, and has a nefarious scheme to elevate the worth of his own holdings. He plans to break into the unbreakable, Fort Knox, and then detonate a dirty bomb, irradiating the bulk of the gold held by the United States.
Pussy, Auric’s personal pilot, is the link Bond goes after, I mean, who’s possibly going to resist the advances of 007? Or at least that seems to be the thought processes at work here. What was blatant in the original Ian Fleming novel is a little more subtle here, Pussy is a lesbian, and a baddie. Somehow, through sheer charm, and a judo romp in the hay, James Bond sets her straight (pun intended).
In Bond’s way though is the bowler hat throwing strong man, Oddjob, (Harold Sakata), and their showdown in the Ken Adam’s designed Fort Knox has become iconic.
When compared to the newer Bond films, of the Daniel Craig era, this one is decidely light and camp, the gadgets are fantastic (“Ejector seat? You’re Joking.”) but yet, it’s still a fantastic action film. The pacing, the look, they style of the thing has not dimmed with age, and in fact is still as entertaining today as it was on its first release.
John Barry’s magnificent score sends us along on the journey, and provides shocking chords when we find Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) dead, competely covered in gold paint, in yet another iconic image from the film, and heart-pounding tension as the dirty bomb counts off it’s last few seconds while Bond struggles with it.
This is the perfect Bond-Formula film, there are explosions, dastardly villians, witticisms, (“Do you expect me to talk?” “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”), lovely ladies, and that car.
While From Russia With Love is a cold-war thriller, brilliantly executed in the world of James Bond, Goldfinger takes us on more escapist fare, and set the tone for the series for a long time afterwards.
I came to Goldfinger, and the other Connery Bonds after I had already been introduced to the Moore films. And while in my youth, I was all about the goofiness of the 70s Bonds and the cool gadgets he had, over the years, Connery has taken his rightful place as the best Bond (though Craig runs a very close second).
While Goldfinger is hailed as the best of the early Bond-formula Bonds, and is a great film in its own right, it’s not my fave. That one is next on the 101 Action Movies list, but maybe it has something to do with all the scuba diving and my favorite Bond Girl.
Who’s your Bond? And which film is your favorite?