Goldfinger

GoldfingerSynopsis: From the opening bomb blast outside a steamy nightclub to a last-minute escape from the president’s personal jet, James Bond’s third screen adventure is an exhilarating, pulse-pounding thrill-ride! Sean Connery returns as Agent 007 and faces off with a maniacal villain bent on destroying all the gold in Fort Knox – and obliterating the world economy!
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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

Goldfinger

Date of viewing: February 26, 2013

GoldfingerOpening credits

The Thorn: 8.0 – Goldfinger, he loves only gold: Taking a page from ‘From Russia With Love’s book, the credits in ‘Goldfinger’ consist of projections over women’s (gold) bodies. This time, however, they are more elaborate: clips from the picture as well as clips from the previous two films are shown over various body parts. It was done in a relatively clever fashion and is at once sexy and stylish. The Midas touch, indeed!

As for the opening segment, it’s unrelated to the core plot and it immediately denotes a change of tone for the series, focusing on cheap laughs (i.e. the duck decoy hat), techie stuff instead of smarts (i.e. secret doorways, gadgets) and mindless thrills over logic (i.e. Bond operate in a diver’s suit, then removes it to reveal a crisp tuxedo).

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Refinement of the technique used for the last movie. This time they project scenes of previous and current movie onto a golden babe in a bikini.

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GoldfingerStory

The Thorn: 8.25 – While the idea of making Fort Knox radioactive is totally bat-$#!t insane and doesn’t make any bloody sense in the “real” world, it’s completely in keeping with the megalomaniacal Auric Goldfinger: of course, this nutter would come up with a crazy scheme like that and actually follow up on it. With that in mind, ‘Goldfinger’ works: outrageous aims lead to outrageous acts. My only issue is that there are all too many conveniences and lazy twists and turns along the way – its simple-mindedness makes the film seem more like a comic book than I would like.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Excellent work by Bond to discover and thwart the villain’s plan.

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GoldfingerBanter

The Thorn: 7.0 – Aside from the infamous “I expect you to die” exchange between Bond and Goldfinger, the banter in ‘Goldfinger’ was somewhat hit-and-miss – even the repartee between Bond and Moneypenny seemed forced, uninspired. But at least, overall, the quips weren’t as corny as the previous film. Strangely, Oddjob had all the best lines.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – First time we see Bond being lectured by Q in his lab. Bond doesn’t hesitate to insult Goldfinger. Less cheesy lines than previous movies.

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GoldfingerVillains

The Thorn: 8.25 – While our combo plate of villains isn’t nearly as savoury as the one in ‘From Russia With Love’, ‘Goldfinger’ has a few tasty morsels: 1) Auric Goldfinger is dull and a bit of a nitwit, but his oafishness is matched by his confidence, arrogance and financial power. He’s pitch-perfect for this story. 2) Oddjob is cool because he’s a mysterious, silent bulldozer – plus he has that awesome hat, which he unfortunately tends to tip for the ladies. 3) Pussy Galore is not really a villain, she’s just an opportunist who happens to be in the villain’s camp. But she’s a truly memorable character (see Bond Girls).

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – Goldfinger is a typical american: fat, ugly, immature, greedy, and has a delusional sense of power, importance and omnipotence. His schemes are not stupid but not very wise. He relies too much on tricks; once stripped of them, his skill level is laughable. He would never be accepted in a league of evil.

***

GoldfingerBond Girls

The Thorn: 8.5 – My first thought when I think of the women in ‘Goldfinger’ is Pussy Galore – not pussy galore. While there are a few babes in ‘Goldfinger, not least of which is the delectable Jill “Golden Girl” Masterson, I am very keen on Galore, whose name doesn’t bother me because I’ve long ago dissociated its crude meaning and simply love the sound of it. Pusssssssay. Galore is self-assured, intelligent, sexy – an early feminist role model, when you think of it. Oh, sure, she’d be immune to my charms… well, so what? She’s still awesome. The other babes are all okay, but they’re barely on the radar in comparison.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Of all the bond girls, Pussy Galore has the worst name ever! However, she’s strong, independent, and has her own league of woman pilots: that’s cool!

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GoldfingerGadgets

The Thorn: 8.0 – Aston Martin aside (see Vehicles), there aren’t tons of gadgets for Bond to play with this time around. Even the attaché case from ‘FRWL’ is out of commission here before he gets to use it. But he has two homing beacons, which is boring but useful, and this wicked decoy duck headdress that would probably make Sesame Street’s Ernie jealous. Seriously, that gag failed to quack me up. Beyond that, however, there’s Oddjob’s own headwear, which is killer. And I loved how we saw Q’s workshop for the first time and he and Bond started taunting each other – a series staple to say the least.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Oddjob’s flying hat of death is lame. I really like the giant laser (see best moment), but the best gadget is the Aston Martin (see Vehicle).

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GoldfingerVehicles

The Thorn: 8.0 – The vehicles in ‘Goldfinger’ mostly consist of regular fare, aside from Goldfinger’s own golden car, which is nothing spectacular, but nonetheless ingenious, Pussy Galore’s squadron (which no doubt inspired Monty Python) and, of course, Bond’s Aston Martin DBV – the standard bearer in filmdom for years to come. This classic geekmobile features a bevy of goodies, including smoke screen, oil slick, machine guns, bullet-proofing, rear shield, retractable wheel-shredders, ejector seat, tracking device, changing plates, and likely many other secrets. What 1960s super agent wouldn’t want one?

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 looks really nice and is equipped with tons of stuff that makes sense, i.e. that are generally useful and not specifically designed for the story.

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GoldfingerLocales

The Thorn: 7.75 – While not nearly as exotic as ‘From Russia With Love’ (Miami and Kentucky hardly fit the bill), ‘Goldfinger’ does spend time in Geneva, which is dour-looking but nonetheless pleasant. Plus which it has a few sets that are quite spectacular, including Goldfinger’s laser lab, Goldfinger’s massive farmhouse conference room, and, who could forget, the impressive For t Knox set. But I have knock some point fragments off for seeing Colonel Sanders’ big head twice too many times.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – Fort Knox, Kentucky. Boring!

***

GoldfingerStunts

The Thorn: 7.5 – There are still no awe-inspiring stunts, but there is plenty of excellent stunt work on screen, including Bond car crash into a cement wall, the many falls from three stories high, and the various fist fights. But it also has lame bits like the dummy being ejected from Bond’s car and the lame judo “duel” between Bond and Galore. Let us not speak of the inflatable Goldfinger’s escape from the plane window…

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Nothing overly good or bad. They did a good job with the laser, but not so good with the model planes.

***

GoldfingerSoundtrack

The Thorn: 8.25 – John Barry kicks into high gear, creating the perfect soundtrack: he uses the James Bond theme judiciously, incorporates theme song passages in appropriate measure, and knows how to balance romance and action. He plays it safe, but does it well. The theme song, as sung by Shirley Bassey, is a classic. I may have over-heard it at this point, but it still resonates to this day and I’d give it an 8.0.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Good use of music to complement scenes.

***

GoldfingerBest Bond moment

The Thorn: Truth be told, I can’t really pick one. I love that moment when Bond is beneath the laser and he tries his best to get Goldfinger to release him – the exchanges are superb and the tension is palpable. That bit in the intro when Bond sees the hood reflected in the girl’s eyes and (knowing she’s in on it), puts her between him and the hood, is a knock-out; I guffaw each time. How about the split second when Bond manages to short-circuit Oddjob? It’s arresting! Or how about when we find Jill Masterson dead, all covered in gold paint? Such a terrible waste, but it’s a brilliant use of paint.

The Horrible Dr. B: There are many: When Bond has to remind himself to practice discipline and not chase the pretty lady driving a fast car while he’s on a mission. The way Bond gets out of jail by “charming” his guard. Bond’s retreat blocked by a sweet grand-mother armed with a machine-gun. One of the most classic moment of the series is probably the one where bond is going to be cut by the giant laser while the following line is exchanged: Bond: “You expect me to talk”, Goldfinger: “No, mister Bond, I expect you to die!”. Did I mention that I like that giant laser?

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GoldfingerWorst Bond moment

The Thorn: Without a doubt, the moment that makes me cringe is the “love” scene between Bond and Galore in the barn. If this doesn’t constitute date rape, I don’t know what does. In 1964, Bond had obviously not yet heard that no means no. I know that it’s a product of its time, but it nonetheless leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The second worst bit is the duck hat. I know that I’m harping on it at this point, but it’s extremely lame. Rubber ducky, you’re (not) the one…

The Horrible Dr. B: The rape of Pussy Galore by Bond, and the outcome of renouncing her lesbianism for him. Disgusting!

***

GoldfingerOverall impression

The Thorn: 8.25 – The Bond series comes of age, or at least finds its formula with ‘Goldfinger’, which is likely why it was as successful as it was. ‘Goldfinger’ sealed the deal and became the one by which all spy movies would be compared – even now. Personally, I which it took itself more seriously; it’s more cartoonish, less serious, credible. But it’s still a very entertaining picture. At the very least, it will inspire one to try out edible body paints. Yum.

The Horrible Dr. B: 6 – Not as good as the first 2 movies, but it is such a joy to see a clever and resourceful Bond outwit a stupid american villain like Goldfinger and his minions.

James Bond will return in ‘Thunderball

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One response to “Goldfinger

  1. Pingback: From Russia With Love | thecriticaleye·

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