Film of the Week: Goldfinger (1964)

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Guy Hamilton directs Sean Connery, Honor Blackman and Gert Fröbe in this premium 007 adventure where Bond tangles with a gold obsessed megalomaniac. 

This is the movie that has defined the tropes and format and quality of the Bond machine for the next five decades. As it, indisputably, is the dog’s bollocks. How many other films series have their peaks at their third film? Often a time when complacency and losing sight of core values becomes endemic in franchises.  It is easily the most relaxed and classiest of thrillers. Bond essentially patiently waits in the wings for Goldfinger’s evil plan (and it is a corker of a mad scheme) to reveal itself. Irradiate the world’s gold stores by nuking Fort Knox, creating financial chaos and giving old Auric the monopoly on the metal he loves. This leads to an incredible pop art finale where Bond is cuffed to a bomb and Odd Job and he fight for control of the ticking timer, razorsharp brimmed hat and all. Production design, agonising near silence then percussive score, muscular action and star power mix together perfectly. The meander we take to get to this point involves all the classics; quips, laser beam castration set pieces, quips during laser beam castration set pieces, nude women being suffocated in gold paint, an Aston Martin full of  Q Branch tricks (why would such a well armed car ever need a passenger ejector seat?… Oh…), that Shirley Bassey romper stomper of a theme song, plus my personal favourite moments… Tilly Masterson’s alpine assassination attempts on the villian. These classy location stalking sequences are beautiful and pleasurably overanxious, utterly true to Fleming too. They are often overlooked as Pussy Galore rocks up in the second half with her squad of sexy pilots. Being all iconic and shit. The bad girl is always going to overshadow the good girl. She bosses Bond about, is aloofly amused by his attempts to flirt, she is more than a match for him. Sure, he eventually seduces the lesbian out of her (it was a different time™) but you get the feeling there haven’t really been enough Honor Blackmans in the series since. Bond girls who probably vaguely remember that spy as a mere notch on the bedpost rather than vice versa. For such a leisurely actioner Goldfinger delivers thrills, laughs, glamour and Bond genuinely put in the ringer a few satisfying times. Perfection.

10

 

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