Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn
Film matched beverage: Goldfinger cocktail
Synopsis: Felix puts Bond on the trail of Auric Goldfinger when accused of cheating at cards. It turns out his lust for gold extends well beyond gambling, to the point of being an international gold smuggler. The authorities know he is doing it, but cannot identify how. It is up to Bond to find out, in a mission that is more than a little personal given Goldfinger is also responsible for the death of conquest Jill Masterson, by way of skin suffocation after being coated in gold paint.
If my previous 007 reviews have not made it clear, this is THE Bond film. All the elements come together in a more than satisfying whole. The formula for a Bond film is truly established, and it is a mark of the success of this original template. It should also be noted that this film also indicated that Bond could have success even when uber-villain organisation SPECTRE was not a factor.
This film stands out from the pre-credits sequence. Almost surprisingly, it is the first pre-credits sequence to genuinely feature Bond himself, blowing up a facility before stripping out of a wetsuit with the immaculately pressed tuxedo underneath. The Blu-ray image quality is also almost enough to make you believe that one can observe an attacker’s reflection in your lover’s eyeball….. almost! These scenes are soon followed by the evocative image of Jill Masterson (Eaton) dead, as a result of being entirely painted with gold. This was a film out to make a statement, and that it did!
The film embraces the quasi-ridiculous to the point of absolute positive entertainment, and the film is so delightful one is more than willing to suspend disbelief. This process is helped by some very intriguing characters that Bond meets along the way. Goldfinger is an overweight bear of a man, yet exudes intelligence. So when he unveils his plans to infiltrate Fort Knox, the plan is positively inspired. Supporting him in his quest, you also have the first true Bond henchman in the form of Oddjob. It is a simple concept, a mute Korean with a lethal hat. Yet he forms more than a match for our hero, and hence has gone down in legend as an iconic character. Often has the lead henchman idea been repeated, yet never so successfully as here.
The formula is now complete in this film, with Bond receiving a briefing from Q, as well as being put behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DB5. This one scene captured the imagination of Bond films for years to come. Q in particular became an element unto himself. With lines such as “Pay attention” and “Grow up, 007”, he moved from exposition to an exasperated yet fatherly techie to Bond, and it is due to this that Ben Whitshaw appearing in Skyfall as the character is so hotly anticipated (in Australia anyway, a country that has to wait until November 22 to enjoy the film!!). This is also the first time that Bond is truly tooled up with gadgets, firing the imagination of would-be inventors everywhere.
The final thing that makes Goldfinger so special as a film is Honor Blackman’s “Bond girl”, Pussy Galore. As if the censor baiting name was not enough, her character is in the film initially “immune” to Bond’s charms. As far as 1960’s films are concerned, that is perhaps as close as we would get to the fact that in the book she was the head of a gang of lesbians. Bond’s success at seducing her at the end, while by today’s standards would be date rape, represents the extent of his “charm” in this film. Suspend disbelief once again, modern audiences, people do not call Gone with the Wind less of a classic for Rhet Butler’s chauvinistic acts!! Despite this, Galore is a very strong character which makes an interesting foil to Bond’s personality, and will always remain the quintessential Bond girl.
With each passing film, the quality that Blu-Ray imparts to the film tends to increase. Though some green-screen backgrounds still jar, they are used only when necessary, and rarely detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. The only distraction now is the fact that Gert Frobe was overdubbed in the film is more evident, his lips rarely coinciding with his speech..
All these are minor quibbles though. Goldfinger is a classic, and is often at the top of most lists for the best Bond film. It is a superb, entertaining, escapist film, and i block my ears to anyone who would claim any differently!!
5 stars out of 5
Goldfinger Cocktail recipe
½ part Grand Marnier
1 ½ parts Ginger Ale
Served on ice in a high ball glass.