Fan Reviews - Goldfinger

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"Goldfinger" by Simon

The Mission
Bond is sent to follow the tracks of Auric Goldfinger, a billionaire whom the secret services suspect of smuggling large quantities of gold. Bond first makes contact with Goldfinger in Miami, where he seduces Jill Masterson, and forces Goldfinger into losing a huge sum of money in a game of cards he intended to cheat. The punishment for Jill is death - by being painted completely in gold paint. The next meeting between the two is a high stakes game of golf. Bond again scupper Goldfinger's attempt at cheating, and Oddjob demonstrates his marksmanship, my taking the head off of a statue with his blade-rimmed bowler hat. Bond follows Goldfinger across Europe and into the USA, and discovers his plan to pull off 'Operation Grand Slam' in Fort Knox. Bond must escape the prison in which Goldfinger has placed him, and save, not only the worlds most famous bank, but thousands of troops that guard it.

007's Women
Pussy Galore (Honour Blackman) - Pussy Galore arrives late on in the film, but is instantly memorable, thanks in no small part to her entrance to the film. After Bond awakens from a tranquillizer dart, we see the smiling face of Blackman; "My name is Pussy Galore" to which Bond replies, "I must be dreaming".
Pussy is the flying ace, and personal pilot for Auric Goldfinger, and is looking forward to completing the job, so she can receive her share of the profits. Bond however, seems to bypass her insinuated homosexuality, and she ends up in the arms of Bond, having helped save the day. Blackman's performance is regarded as one of the highest for a Bond girl. However, her almost wooden line delivery and seemingly ineptness to making a movement and speaking take away from an otherwise glorious character. 6/10

Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) - Masterson is an accomplice of Goldfinger's, helping him win thousands of dollars in cards, by using high powered binoculars to read the cards of Goldfinger's opponents from the suite balcony. When Bond finds Masterson, she succumbs easily to Bond charm, and sleeps with Bond. For her betrayal, however, she received death by skin suffocation - covered head to toe in gold paint. Masterson is a character who never gets a chance to really show any form of character. A few lines, and flirtatious play with 007 in bed is all we see. The image of her lying on the bed covered in paint, however, lives on in the memory, and is one of the most recognisable scenes in cinema history, let alone Bond history. 4/10

Tilly Masterson (Tania Mallet) - The sister of the ill-fated Jill, Tilly is out to seek revenge for her sisters death. She encounters Bond during a night when Bond is surveying Goldfinger's premises. Masterson, however, isn't bothered about watching, instead, she has a sniper-rifle, which she inadvertently uses to set off an alarm. The ensuing case see's Masterson also succumb to death at the hands of Oddjob, as her sister did. However, this kill was Oddjob's specialty kill - his steel-rimmed bowler hat. Quite possibly one of the worst Bond girls, full stop. Wooden acting, bad delivery, and in fairness, not all that good looking. She simply comes across as a 'silly' character, and does nothing to enhance the film, other than aid the capture of Bond. 1/10

007's Villains
Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) - English billionaire Goldfinger is a self admitted obsessive - obsessed with gold. The brutish figure of a man holds the idea which could see him become even more enormously rich than he already is. One of the better villains of the series, Goldfinger provides a manner of different aspect required from a Bond villain. A classic line (Do you expect me to talk), a classic henchman in Oddjob, a perfect balance of genius and madness, and the money to afford magnificent surroundings at all times. Memorable for all the right reasons. 8/10

Oddjob (Harold Sakata) - The henchman of Auric Goldfinger, Oddjob is an ex-wrestler. His skills don't lie with his fighting, however. This magnificently strong man uses his bowler hat for his skilled assassination method. The hat has a rim made of steel, with a bladed edge, which, when thrown, can be fatal to the victim. Oddjob is also a quiet henchman, preferring to use his actions to say a thousand words, such as when he crushed a gold ball in his bare hands. Sakata's performance is one of the best form a henchman. He is to the Connery era what Jaws was to the Moore era, which speaks volumes in itself. 9/10

007's Allies
M (Bernard Lee) - In his third outing as M, Lee provides yet another solid performance. A genuinely good scene is provided in his limited screen time, where he and Bond exchange general banter across the table at Colonel Smithers house. 5/10

Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) - Moneypenny once again tries to entice Bond to her, with the offer of baking him a cake. Before Bond can answer however, M interrupts over the intercom reminding her that Bond has an arrangement with him. Only briefly seen in the film, but Maxwell still leaves as bigger mark as possible for the screen-time. 6/10

Leiter (Cec Linder) - Had clad CIA counterpart in the CIA, Leiter thinks that he has Bond covered at Goldfinger's Kentucky ranch. The casting of Linder is somewhat puzzling. He seems many times Bonds superior in age, and is unbelievable that it is the same man ho could have shared adventures with Bond on Crab Key. He also seems less like a CIA agent, and more of a C&A employee in his actions. 1/10

Q (Desmond Llewelyn) - The first appearance of Q-Branch sees Llewelyn excel in the role of Q. Goldfinger is the first time the title Q is used. Some memorable moments include Q's scenes, such as where we are first introduced to Bonds Aston Martin DB5, and possibly his most famous line, "I never joke about my work 007". Llewelyn still seems a little uncomfortable in the role, but still manages a good performance as Q. 5/10.

Aston Martin DB5 - The first time the classic Bond car is seen in the series. It is still the most memorable Bond car, and is probably the most gadget laden, with the possible exception of the BMW 750il in Tomorrow Never Dies. It includes rear mud-jets and oil slick, rear raised bullet proof shield, front mounted machine guns, and a remarkable ejector seat. The inclusion of what would now be called Sat Nav was also seen as a major thing, and was a revelation in the 60's, and seemed as daft then as remote-controlled BMW's seem now, proving that Bond is always ahead of the times, and never makes a wrong turn into sci-fi.

1937 Rolls ROyce III Sedance De Ville - Goldfinger's personal car. The 1930's classic falls apart, and gold moulded pieces used as replacements, and is the chosen method of smuggling. The car, weighing in at a massive 7,000 pounds, was capable of reaching 100MPH. The car was auctioned at Sotheby's, London, for over 120,000 dollars.

Gadgets & Weapons
Golden Pistol - Even in his armoury, Goldfinger couldn't resist the lure of using gold. The pistol is used to try and deceive US troops he was one of them.

Goldfinger's Laser - At the time a seemingly sci-fi gadget, the laser has bought with it one of the most recognisable quotes in cinema history,

Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.

Goldfinger is one of the more memorable films for individual lines, scenes or gadgets. As a complete film however, it still has some downfalls. Some of the acting is frankly terrible, and in places, the outcome all too predictable. It's remembered as a great film, but it certainly isn't. It does however avoid being a bad film, and instead qualifies to be one of the most middle-rated Bonds. Out of 20 films, it'd be either 10th or 11th.

"Goldfinger" by zDBZ

The year was 1964, and producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had started the most popular motion picture series in cinema history - James Bond. With Dr. No and From Russia With Love, both starring Sean Connery as 007 and directed by Terrence Young, the foundation was laid for the third feature - Goldfinger.

It proved to be the biggest step up in Bond's legacy until 1995.

Taking over the directing reins was Guy Hamilton, who had originally been offered the job of directing Dr. No in 1962. Having the foundation laid for him, Hamilton moved in to make Bond the biggest cinema character of all. The gadgets became more hi-tech and apparent. The villains and stories became larger than life. And, in Hamilton's eyes most importantly, the humour was substantially increased. Working with Paul Dehn, Bond veteran Richard Maibaum developed the screenplay. Ken Adam fulfilled Broccoli's request for a "cathedral of gold" within Fort Knox. And Sean Connery strapped on the tuxedo for a third time

The film was an amazing smash-hit at the box-office, firmly launching the Bondmania of the 60s. Bond was now the larger-than-life cinematic superman, an elegant secret agent with a licence to kill and with no regrets doing so, shooting out dry one-liners and winning over every woman with the uttering of "Bond...James Bond." It can be said that Goldfinger firmly established 007's place in cinema history.

Despite in what it has done for the franchise, Goldfinger is far from my favourite of the series. The film seems to rush and for the first time, Bond becomes an action movie; focus is directed on the gadgets, the one-liners, and the stunts, while story is left off to the side. Ian Fleming's spirit seems far removed this time, though this is a film adaptation, not book-reading.

One of the film's highlights is the cast. Gert Frobe delivers wonderful expression and presence as Goldfinger; it's almost hard to believe he was dubbed for the entire film. The first Bond supervillain, he utters one of the most famous lines in cinema history: "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" Felix Leiter's being played by Cec Linder is one negative aspect of the cast. While his scenes with Bond are well-written as if between two old friends, Linder himself looks much older than Sean Connery and has almost no relation to Jack Lord's character from Dr. No. Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell give their usual fine performances. Desmond Llewellyn is now firmly introduced as Q, having been merely the "equipment officer" in From Russia With Love. Also uttering one of the most famous lines, he is a highlight of the cast and was, I feel, the best thing that Goldfinger provided the series. Honor Blackman gives a wonderful performance as the shrewdly-named Pussy Galore, and the Masterson sisters are fantastic as well. Harold Sakata's silent Oddjob; the first of the fantastic henchmen; comes through in spades.

Sean Connery does well, but it is here where his performance starts to slip. This is a problem for me mainly because Bond is a bit too much of a superman here in this film, and Connery doesn't have as many scenes to play as he did in the first two films. With the moments he has he provides a good show.

The action is alright, though it lacks some of the energy of later efforts. For what is essentially an action film, there seems to be an adequate amount of the genre title.

Upon watching this film again this month, I realised something I had not noticed before; that Guy Hamilton's look and style was...brassy, for lack of a better term. He lacks the cool, smooth sophistication of Terrence Young and later directors and seems to be too direct in his style and cutting. The look of the film, as mentioned, is brassy; too much so.

The music is another highlight of the film, providing John Barry with his first major Bond score. The bold, brassy title song by Shirley Bassey has wonderful colour to it and is one of the few brassy things in this film that doesn't seem out-of-place.

As I've said above, my main problems with this film are: that it is nothing but an action film, that Bond begins to become a superman, and Guy Hamilton. The pace is too quick and on the whole, the film just seems out-of-place following the first two.

Goldfinger has retained its legacy throughout the years, outshining Thunderball, which out-grossed it and proved Bond different from the action genre. It is still considered by many to be the best film in the series. I'm not one of those people.

"Goldfinger" by Stromberg

Often fondly recalled as the favourite of many, Goldfinger is the film that had the perfect mix and balance of every element, the film that cemented the Bond formula for many years to come. The film is filled with moments that will be treasured for many years to come, and scenes that will make cinema history. There was the Aston with the ever-famous ejector seat, Pussy Galore and her girls, the quotes, Fort Knox, and the very man himself – Goldfinger.

Guy Hamilton took over the role of director, bringing a style of Bond that was about showy sets, a focus on the characters, a plot that was universally understood, and an easy going, enjoyable nature that appeals. The film doesn’t have the gritty edge of From Russia With Love, rather it takes the casual feel of Dr. No and seamlessly matches it with the storyline. The pre-titles are set in South America, where James makes his way into a drug-making factory in a wetsuit. He takes the wetsuit off to reveal a spotless white tuxedo – a classic moment of Bond. Bond destroys a set of nitro glycerine tanks using an explosive, and makes his way into a night-club unruffled to make contact with another agent.

The agent tells Bond not to return to his hotel, although Bond disregards the information, and returns to his hotel to a woman in his bath. Sensing danger and mystery in the girl, he then realises why the agent gave him a warning – there are a set of assassins waiting for Bond there. The inevitable fight breaks out, predictably Bond gets the upper hand and sends the assassin and an electric heater into the bath, and a fairly uninspiring set of pre-titles follow.

In a nutshell, the main plot behind Goldfinger starts in Miami, where Felix Leiter introduces Bond to Goldfinger, a bullion dealer who has it all – fast cars, properties, a mute henchman with a steel-rimmed hat called Oddjob, and a plan named ‘Operation Grandslam’, which involves Goldfinger breaking his way into Fort Knox, accessing the gold bullions there, and detonating a bomb inside that will make the gold unusable for the next 58 years. If the operation is a success, Goldfinger’s collection of bullions will obviously increase dramatically in value.

The film features a host of classic moments – Jill Masterson, lying on a bed, covered in gold paint is one that is a pleasure to watch. Her sister, Tilly, is subjected to Obbjob’s hat, and Goldfinger’s laser, which nearly signals the end of 007. Sean Connery combines the easy-going elements of Dr. No, mated to the more action focused style in From Russia With Love, and blends them to create what I feel is one of his finest portrayal’s of Bond. Honor Blackman, often looked upon as most people’s favourite Bond girl, plays Pussy Galore, and while I find her performance isn’t as awe-inspiring as many think, she does a fine job. Goldfinger, although with the burden of not speaking English and having his voice dubbed, makes a good Goldfinger and a good villain, though, like Pussy Galore, suffers from being ‘good, but not outstanding’. Oddjob, the mute henchman, is another icon that has a villainous aura that appeals. Regulars (M, Q, Miss Moneypenny) perform their normal routines to their normal excellent standards.

The film is shot throughout Switzerland and America, with plenty of exciting eye candy to look at. Particular highlight, and yet another icon, is Ken Adam’s brilliant impression of Fort Knox’s interior, its sterile simplicity a sight to behold. Miami is used, and is shot with a casual, light, breezy feel. Swiss scenes are defined and sharp. John Barry scores the film, and the music is a pleasure to listen to alongside the action. Clothing and the like are trendy 1960’s, and is mostly nice, particularly Sean’s white tuxedo. Less impressive is the disgusting outfit Goldfinger plays golf in.

So, Goldfinger, with all its icons plastered on top to keep people raving, is also a decent film underneath. However, without such moments as Fort Knox and the ejector seat, Goldfinger would be another fish in the large Bond sea. Unfortunately, I sometimes get the feeling that Goldfinger relies on these moments to keep it interesting. However, it is a pleasant 2 or hours in front of the TV, and has a pretty high ‘watchability’ rate.

"Goldfinger" by Overkill

Look up the word ‘iconic’ in an illustrated dictionary. Chances are it will feature a picture of one of the following:

• A man taking up a wetsuit to reveal a pristine white tuxedo underneath
• A woman painted gold from head to toe
• A squat oriental with a deadly bowler hat
• An Aston Martin DB5 (with modifications)
• A man strapped to a table while a laser slowly crawls up between his legs

These images were as much a part of the sixties as The Beatles (with or without earmuffs), flower power, scooters, Carnaby Street and ‘Mars Bar’ parties.

Yet these images all have one thing in common: they all came from just one film. One film that not only re-invigorated an already successful film series, but would be the springboard for a decade of copies, spoofs, homages and general spymania: Goldfinger.

Even the name has become synonymous with a kind of entertainment that old people claim they ‘just don’t make anymore’. Here was the film that took what had gone before and refined it into a formula so good Colonel Sanders and the Coca-Cola Company would die to get their hands on it.
From the fantastically low-key (but exciting) pre-credits sequence, to the gadget filled car chase, the laser table, Fort Knox and the sting-in-the-tail finale, Goldfinger is, to this day, superb entertainment

Connery was never better as Bond than here. After finding his feet in Dr No, and trying some proper acting in FRWL, here he simply lets Bond take over his soul to the point that in the public’s imagination they were one and the same. Check out his cool swagger as he infiltrates Goldfinger’s hotel room (and his girlfriend, the ill-fated Jill). The famous laser table scene shows another side, and a side rarely seen in Bond movies since, with Connery refusing to believe he is about to die, and desperately trying to figure a way out, almost to the point where he’ll say ANYTHING to get Goldfinger to switch the bloody machine off. (And after watching the Making of… documentary you’ll too believe that sweat and look of fear is real.)

Critiquing Goldfinger is rather like assessing The Bible or Van Gogh. It’s just accepted that it’s a great movie. Whilst Bond aficionados may argue their case for OHMSS, TSWLM or LTK, your casual viewer will almost certainly plump for GF as their favourite Bond (or at least the one that first comes to mind). This universal appeal made it Channel 4’s choice of Bond for its 100 Greatest Films poll a few years ago. It came a very disappointing 79th (sandwiched between Snow White and Cabaret if you’re interested).

As pure entertainment GF still stands today as an absolute classic; as Bond film it lacks a little in the way of spectacular action, but it still features one of the best combinations of Villain, henchman and girl in the whole series. But it’s also where the producers started to do away with Fleming (maybe as a result of Fleming’s death just before it’s release), something many fans dislike.

But for two hours of leave-your-brain-at-the-door fun, even forty years on, you’d be hard pressed to find something better.