CLASSIC REEL: Goldfinger

Cast: Sir Sean Connery, Gert Frobe and Honor Blackman

Year of release: 1964

 Directed by:  Guy Hamilton

Plot: MI6 agent  James Bond is sent to investigate a gold magnate suspected of international gold smuggling and uncovers a plot concerning Fort Knox.

With No Time To Die, the Bond franchise's 25th instalment, scheduled to be out next year, it's time to go way back to 1964, the year of the  3rd Bond instalment- Goldfinger. Sir Sean Connery first brought Ian Fleming's creation to life in 1962's Dr No and even after he was replaced with George  Lazenby, the late Sir Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and then Daniel Craig; the Scottish actor is still regarded as the face and most memorable Bond to date. Of course, most Bond fans have their favourite, yet Connery always seems to be at the top of the list. Connery played Bond less cold-blooded than Ian Fleming described, flirty, full of dry wit and ready with his fists and gun.

Goldfinger is a straight forward, action-packed Bond thriller, and the most memorable, which is why it's mostly regarded as the best entry in the Bond franchise. It is the first to have a pre-credits sequence where Bond is seen on a mission before the movie's main one, the first to have a theme song with lyrics which sums up the villain's  personality - Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger,

the first to introduce Bond's signature car- the gadget modified Aston Martin DB5 (which was recently auctioned), the first where Bond uses gadgets and the first to have a Bond girl who had better things to do than swoon over his charms.  It's also so sixties, no mobile phones, no internet, men wearing fedoras and Bond mentioning the Beatles who were reigning at the time.

There is of course, the very memorable  Bond villain- Audric Goldfinger played by German actor, Gerte Forbe. Goldfinger is a very wealthy man; articulate, no-nonsense, cunning and a psychopath with a creepy obsession with gold which is glaringly spelt out; particularly the unforgettable scene where he has his 'mistress'  Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) murdered via skin suffocation-
having her painted head to toe with gold paint. Goldfinger is a man who didn't take kindly with people who try to thwart him (as Bond immediately finds out early in the film) and makes sure they know that. He also doesn't mince words;  the nail-biting scene where Bond is about to be killed by an industrial laser, instead of giving a typical villain monologue in answer to Bond's question, 'Do you expect me to talk?' he retorts, 'No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!'

There is the Bond girl with the most offensive name, Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman. For some reason Fleming chose to give some of the  Bond Girls weird and inappropriate names; in Dr No, it was Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), Moonraker, it was Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles),  in Octopussy it was... well, Octopussy (Maud Adams) and A View To a Kill, a female character introduced herself as 'Jenny Flex', which made Bond (then played by Roger Moore)  reply, 'I'm sure you are.' Hmph.

Back to Ms Galore, she was portrayed marvellously by Honor Blackman; a beautiful but strong-willed pilot; a no-nonsense independent lady who is definitely not a damsel in distress. Women all over the world must have cheered her on when she politely but coolly told Bond: 'You can turn off the charm, I'm immune' and louder still when she roughened him up via her judo skills. While she engaged in mild flirtation when she rubbed her gun on his freshly shaved jaw, commenting, 'You like close shaves, don't you?', she also put him in his place when he asked just how personally connected was she to Goldfinger, clearly offended at his implication that she was Goldfinger's mistress. 

                                     'I'm a damn good pilot, period!'

Then we have Goldfinger's mute henchman/butler/chauffeur; Oddjob, played by professional Japanese wrestler and Olympic weightlifter, Harold Sakata. Oddjob clearly proved the adage 'Action speaks louder than words'. All through the film he didn't say a word, except the few times he cried 'Aha!' or 'Ah!', his actions did all the talking for him. Obviously loyal to his master, Oddjob's method of killing was using his now-iconic bowler hat like a discus to snap necks. Plump but very strong and wearing a creepy smile, he also chooses to grapple with Bond, rather than exchange gunfire- the fight sequence making the movie even more realistic. There was also the car chase where Bond got to use the Aston Martin's gadgets and the scene where Ms Galore's crew sprayed sleeping gas all over Fort Knox, knocking out the soldiers- which was crucial to Goldfinger's scheme. Bond's initial thought was that Goldfinger intended to steal gold from Fort Knox, which would take several days but it turned out the villain's intent was to destroy the gold, rendering it useless for the next 50 years or so, give the Chinese advantage in the ensuing economic crisis and increase the value of his own gold, making him even richer; economic dominance. Straight forward and simple diabolical plan, or so he thought- we all know Bond wins in the end!


Goldfinger began the formula of Bond's use of gadgets, Q Branch equipping him with new ones in the later entries of the franchise.

Honor Blackman is 6 years older than Sir Sean Connery.

Goldfinger was initially banned in Israel because Gert Forbe once belonged to the Nazi Party. But it was lifted after it was discovered he left the Party before World War II and hid some Jews from the Nazis, saving them from the concentration camps.

Gert Forbe spoke very little English, hence had to be voice dubbed.

Goldfinger was the first Bond film to win an Oscar.

The story's plot involving economic dominance was used much later on in the 18th entry- Tomorrow Never Dies, where the main villain attempts to induce a war between China and the  UK in order to sell more newspapers.

Gerte Forbe appeared in another Ian Fleming adaptation, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968.



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