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'The Man With The Golden Gun' is up for review in the May 2010 MI6 Bondathon

01-May-2010 • Site News

To celebrate the spate of upcoming Bond film anniversaries and the pave the way to Bond 23, we thought it was high-time the forum (Keeping The British End Up) pulled together for an official review of the whole series.

A film will be presented each month for viewing, discussion and review; running in conjunction with the main site, overall ratings and a selection of the best reviews will be published at the end of the month on mi6-hq.com.

Roger Moore's far east outing, "The Man With The Golden Gun" is under review in May's Bondathon...

Introduction

"You're that secret agent! That English secret agent from England!"

Indeed, that's exactly what Roger Moore was. As the new leading man of EONs film franchise was settling in to his role, his second outing marked the swan song of several aspects of the franchise, such as the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, witty script-smith Tom Mankiewicz (who joined the franchise for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever), director Guy Hamilton, and - of course - producer Harry Saltzman, whose financial difficulties prompted him to sell his 50% of Danjaq to UA in 1975, leaving Albert R. Broccoli as the sole producer for the next ten years.

The script, penned by long-time Bond veteran Richard Maibaum and short-time Bond veteran Mankiewicz, is very much a product of its time: the pursuit of a MacGuffin designed to solve the 1973 Energy crisis (an oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries against Great Britain, the United States and other western nations, in response to the US' backing of Israel in the Fourth Arab-Israeli War), leads Bond through colorful locales, including the wreck of the RMS Queen Elizabeth which sank in 1972, and even more colorful action-comedy shenanigans, including a karate school sequence designed to join in on the global success that the martial arts genre enjoyed in the early '70s, and ultimately to the doorstep of a dangerous hitman already on his trail.

Christopher Lee's Francisco Scaramanga (a role originally intended for Jack Palance) and his titular weapon are almost certainly the film's most recognizable contribution to the Bond legacy. Many film critics who disparage the ninth Bond adventure cite Christopher Lee as a bright point of the experience, and even the golden gun itself has become something of a staple in many of the modern Bond video games as a weapon that kills with a single shot.

Moore's performance shows flashes of grimmness - something of an oddity in a film so light-hearted - and between him and Christopher Lee, The Man With The Golden Gun's levity is punctuated with a streak of malevolence; an intriguing aftertaste from a wine with a very fruity flavor. This contrast alone makes the film an interesting addition to the Bond canon.

The Bottoms Up Club (at least the iteration seen in the film) closed in April of 2004. So instead meeting up there, let's all serve ourselves a beverage of our choice, pop The Man With The Golden Gun in the DVD player, and spend a few (well, two) pleasant hours together, in spirit, at least.

- Introduction by Jobe

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