Bond v0.3 - Goldfinger
“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”
This classic of the series starts off with a bang, and from then on, just keeps the good times rolling. While avoiding the later “action-fest” that the series seems to become, this metered pacing works very well this early on. Starting off with the end-game of a separate mission, we see stealth-Bond doing a scuba approach into a harbour - but to keep his movements secret - has some sort of bedraggled water-fowl strapped to his head! Very subtle! :) After accessing a secret panel in a chemical storage facility, he finds his way into your typical secret/evil lair, plants his plastic explosives, sets the timer and exits stage left. Back down near the harbour, he peels off his black wetsuit revealing his super stylish white dinner jacket and pants - enters a local bar and waits cooly by the bar. Super smooth and super cool, he’s the only one that doesn’t flinch when the explosives let rip.
So the film settles a little from that point on. We’re introduced to Goldfinger as a cheating low level card player, who likes to win, and doesn’t care how he gets there. The story folds out to reveal he’s an international gold trader, along with his ever present man-servant, Oddjob. The story is a bit formulaic for the whole, but that’s hardly a problem. You go along for the ride and enjoy the scenery. The big surprise for me is a twist at the end of the film :) While we are led to believe that Mr Goldfinger plans to break in and clean out Fort Knox, the truth is eventually revealed that he’s looking to irradiate it to drive his own gold stocks up in price! A rather obscure way of raising finances - but given that much of the world was still using the gold standard as an international driving force, it’s meaning at the time would have been much stronger.
However the story isn’t the selling point of the film. This visually impressive film has some truly classic scenes. The gold painted woman; Bond about to be cut in two by a “laser”; Oddjob with his razor sharp bowler hat; and revealed for the first time - Bond’s Astin Martin :)
The car is simply superb. While we’ve seen other “nice” cars, this really sets the standard for future Bond fims. Although there was a brief deviation in recent years to a BMW, the Astin Martin DB5, 7 and 9 have been iconic for, and with Bond. They simply go together.
We also have one of the best Bond songs ever. Shirley Bassey with the title song is just perfect! Coupling Bassey up with John Barry, we’ve got the makings of one of the finest film scores of the decade - brilliant. Opening credits combine Bassey’s growling voice, with the visual appeal of gold painted naked women!! Bond films really do have a certian style about them! :)
Now style - Wow this really is a sixties film! While the fashions are still very much tending towards the fifties “straight” style, we do see some of the flamboyance of the later sixties shining through - not as much as the later films though, but still pretty impressive! All in all there are no obvious fashion disasters here, but also no real wonders - but for one! Early in the film we see Bond lounging around the pool side in Florida, and while the short shorts are there, it’s his “robe” that drew the attention here - a one-piece, sky blue, terry-towelling, short jump-suit! Now this is something I’ve not seen before, and hopefully will never see again! :)
Goldfinger is well worth seeing, and not only becuase of the later Austin Powers references. It’s a good and solid film, once again improving on the previous installments. Well worth a watch.
James Bond will return in…