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Have your say on 'Goldfinger' - the last entry in MI6's Bondathon

14-Apr-2011 • 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 next month on mi6-hq.com.

Everything he touches turns to excitement in 'Goldfinger' the 22nd film in MI6's Bondathon...

Introduction

"I'm beginning to like you Mr Bond... more than anyone I've met in a long time..."

It's 17 September 1964. Already, Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman have proved themselves enviably canny, bankable film producers thanks to the runaway success of their first two film adaptations of Ian Fleming's literary hero James Bond, in the shape of Dr No (1962) and From Russia With Love (1963). However, tonight, the night of the world premiere of their latest 007 adventure Goldfinger at the Odeon Leicester Square, London, they will truly prove themselves the men with the midas touch.

Make no mistake, back in the day, Goldfinger was an utter sensation. Its success was, well, shocking... positively shocking. On the back of the first two cinematic Bonds, anticipation had grown to a tumult; the world's public had fallen for the masculine, sexy, cruel charisma of Sean Connery's ice-cool spy like few fictitious heroes before and simply couldn't wait for his next escapade. At the Paris premiere of the flick, the front window of the cinema shattered owing to the crush of fans outside. This was the birth of 'Bondmania', a mid-'60s phenomenon that genuinely bears fair comparison to the 'Beatlemania' of the same period - not bad for a character who believed (surely incorrectly) that The Beatles were best heard through airmuffs. By the end of its run, Broccoli and Saltzman's third effort would break attendance records at theatres throughout the world, finally pulling in a staggering box-office total of $125m (that's around $900m in today's money).

But did it deserve to? Does Goldfinger deserve to be ranked up there with the all-time great movie adventures or was it simply a product of its time - a somewhat cynical licence to print serious moolah at the dawn of the modern consumer age? Well, down through the years it's certainly had its critics - 'Fleming purists' will point to others in Broccoli and Saltzman's Eon 007 series as more Fleming-faithful and overall better flicks - but to say it's The Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End of its era must be very wide of the mark too.The truth, as so often for so many things, probably lies in the middle.

Goldfinger is film fantasy with bells on (golden, of course). Indeed, it unquestionably cemented not just the world's love affair with its most famous secret agent, but also key ingedients of the Bond film 'formula': the seemingly indestructible, unruffled, expert-in-all-things and witty-as-hell hero; the beautiful Bond Girls with innuendo-laden names; the outrageous villain with an even more outrageous plan; the built-like-granite and loyal-to-the-last, but somehow loveable henchman; the amazingly impressive, cool and beautiful sets of the legend that is Sir Ken Adam; the brilliant title song belter (its own is the classic delivered by Shirley Bassey) and, last but far from least, 007's gadget-modified sportscar-for-all-occasions, the supreme Aston Martin DB5.

Quite frankly, what could film audiences of the mid-'60s - and indeed those of today - want that Goldfinger doesn't give? Realism? Well, all right, it doesn't deliver much of that. But then James Bond (either onscreen or in print) is the stuff of intelligent, technology-driven, aspiration-friendly fantasy - and that potent panoply of princely fun comes no smoother, cooler or perhaps more irresistible than in surely the most popular Bond film of them all. If, rather like Pussy Galore, you're immune to its charms, then it's a shame; because you're missing out on a Fort Knox-ful of fun and no mistake.

Introduction by St. George

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