The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, Goldfinger.
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Todays Key Movie:
Bond is up against Auric Goldfinger as the villain plans to irradiate all of the gold in Fort Knox in order to collapse the world’s economy and drive up the value of gold itself. Bond must find a way to prevent this attack before it’s too late. Featuring iconic villains like Oddjob and Goldfinder himself, this is one of the most iconic Bond films of all time.
Why this movie?
This is the first Bond film I remember seeing. I know it wasn’t in the theater as I hadn’t been born yet but I do remember my father bringing home a VHS copy for us to watch. This was one of his favorite films and he felt that it was time to introduce me to one of his favorite fictional characters. He was a James Bond fan through and through and, when it was apparent that I liked the movies as well, lets just say it was a bonding experience.
The thing that really made this film special for my dad was that he was present during the filming of some of the movie at the Army base of Fort Knox Kentucky. You see his father had been stationed there at the time and my dad remembers seeing the planes fly over and the areas being blocked for filming. One thing that he thought was really cool is that the soldiers that collapse in the ‘gassing’ scene were real soldiers, many of whom he knew and his own father was in charge of. Somewhere in those scenes my own grandfather was present, his isn’t visible, but he is certainly there…somewhere.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
This is perhaps Sean Connery’s finest film as James Bond. It has every feature of the perfect Bond Film, from the cool gadgets to a strong villain. Everything about it resonates perfectly and it is certainly one that holds up even to this day.
One aspect of this film that really sells it is the theme song sung by the amazing Shirley Bassey. This song marks the first ‘theme song’ with lyrics recorded to be played over the intro segment, the previous film having one but only played with lyrics during the movie itself. This would soon become a staple for all Bond Films to come with famous musicians vying for the prestigious spot of recording the Bond Movie Theme.
Another cool aspect is that the film begins at the end of one of Bonds missions. This really establishes that he is an active agent who is constantly working around the globe It also gives the feeling that we are not privy to all of Bonds adventures opening the character up to have a much more three dimensional feeling than him only having his adventures during the movies themselves.
Additionally, this film marks the first appearance of the classic Bond Car, the Aston Martin DB5. This car would soon become synonymous with James Bond and would make multiple appearances throughout the series.
The villain in this film is one that really sets the bar for every villain to follow. Auric Goldfinger is more Batman villain than Bond Villain and that really sets the stage for the future of the franchise. While it has become a tradition in films like this for Villains to tell the hero their plans before they ‘kill’ the hero, Goldfinger broke this mold and saw no reason to dawdle, threatening Bond’s life from the get go with no explanation. He is a true villain in every way with no conscious when it come to killing, he cares only for gold. In addition to Goldfinger we are introduced to our first Bond Henchman by the name of OddJob. The strange and powerful henchmen with a code-name will become a key component to all bond films going forward with some of the most iconic characters still to come. Interestingly, the voice you here in the film is not that of Goldfinger actor Gert Frobe but that of Michael Collins. Frobe’s dialogue was recorded but when it became apparent that he spoke little english and much too slowly, he had to be dubbed over in order for the production to work.
The Bond Girl in this film is unique in that she not only becomes one of Bond’s infatuations but starts off as someone working for the villain. Played by Honor Blackman, Pussy Galore is a pilot under the employ of Goldfinger himself. Unlike the other ‘Bond Girls’ she has no interest in James Bond himself, in fact she rebukes him at every turn. This only forces our intrepid hero to try harder at his seduction methods only succeeding when it is on her terms. She is one of the few ‘strong female leads’ of her time and, despite her unfortunate character name, is someone who is not to be messed with.
Other regulars appear in this film including the second incarnation of Felix Leiter (this time played by Cec Linder), Bernard Lee returns as ‘M’ and of course, Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and Desmond Llewelyn as ‘Q’. These characters make regular appearances from here on out with Felix returning on occasion to help out when needed.
The film itself is a blast, every aspect of it is perfect in every way. It is fun, adventurous, absurd at times, but ultimately one of the most enjoyable entries in the Sean Connery era of James Bond. To this day, every new Bond Film is compared to this movie and rightfully so.
OK, where do I get this movie?
and the original trailer:
Late To The Game 1/17/2019
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