Saturday, February 02, 2013

Goldfinger (1964)

It’s with Goldfinger, that, to me, the Bond series really starts feeling like it’s found its stride.  It always surprises me how short this movie is, under two hours.  I usually forget what happens in the pre-credit sequence of this one.  This is because, for an unknown reason, the video we had of this movie growing up (taped off television) started with the main title, which is one of my favorite of the Bond main title sequences.  The theme song, so famous now, and deservedly so.  I love the images from the previous movies shown on the gold-painted girl.  Really cool.

The humor – a key point for me – is much stronger in this film, with quite a bit of funny dialogue.  The repartee between Moneypenny and Bond – always a highlight – is spot on.  And the priceless look Bond has when Q tells him he needs an hour to show him all the ins and outs of the Aston Martin.  The “pressing engagement.”

And, of course, the lovely Aston Martin, with its full array of weaponry, defenses, and ejector seat.  Oh how I love that car!  There’s a reason when, in the newest Bond, Skyfall, the audience cheers when the garage opens and there’s the Aston Martin (at least they did in my theater!).  It’s a beautiful little car loaded with awesome gadgets.

Goldfinger is a great bad guy, cold, calculating, but also rather harmless-looking – which just makes him more dangerous, and he has the perfect loyal henchman:  Oddjob.  Oddjob is willing to give his life to see his boss's plan succeeds.  I love how Goldfinger explains one version of his plan to a roomful of men, convinces them of the awesomeness of said plan – then kills them all with deadly nerve gas.  Hah!  Now that’s a great egotistical, classic Bond film bad guy.  The real plan is quite awesome, and I love the scene when Bond figures it out, and Goldfinger smiles on, encouragingly.  I love this movie for the sheer simplicity of what Goldfinger intends to do:  make the US gold supply radioactive so that his own gold becomes worth a fortune.  It's quite brilliant.

Pussy Galore, as played by Honor Blackman, is quite lovely and cool, very unruffled, very capable.  However, I never understand why she switches sides.  It happens so suddenly, with no explanation.  There she is, telling Goldfinger how she intends to spend her cut of the money, and then BAM!  She just up and betrays her boss.  That abrupt change of heart bugs me every time I see the movie.  Like really bugs me.  Betrayal is a huge deal for me (for either side), and this betrayal of Goldfinger's trust seems unjustified.  It's that plot failure that keeps me from rating this movie higher.

Other than the beautiful scenery driving around Europe, the locations in this film are very non-exotic.  Miami, Fort Knox, Tennessee… Not that that’s bad, it’s just rather boring after Jamaica and Istanbul in the previous two films.

Favorite parts:  the golf match.  Bond’s anger over Jill’s death in front of M.  Bond and Q.  "No, Mr. Bond.  I expect you to die."  Bond scruffy when he wakes up on the plane.  Bond's peek-a-boo match in his jail cell with the guard.

I really like this movie, and I think it’s one of the best Bonds; however, it’s not one of my top five favorites.

Music: Great
Theme song:  One of the best.
Credit sequence:  Great
Bond girls:  Pussy is cool, but... bugs me.  I like Jill Masterson a lot.  Tilly isn’t there long enough to make much of an impression.
Bad guys:  Excellent
Felix:  I’m quite fine with this Felix.
Overall personal rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Gosh, I have missed you!! I'm glad to see you posting again, even if I know nothing about James Bond films.

    I've only seen 2 Bond films in my entire life...dare I admit that without hanging my head in embarrassment! And they were both Roger Moore films...For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy.

    By the way, what is the famous theme song to this movie?

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I think my brother-in-law has only seen a couple more than you. LOL! James Bond isn't for everyone! I love For Your Eyes Only. Looking forward to reaching it in the line up!

      The theme song is the title song, "Goldfinger," sung by Shirley Bassey. I think it's the "go-to" song if you mention James Bond to most people.

  2. Oooh. Bond scruffy when he wakes up on the plane - also a favorite part for me. Pure sexiness right there.

    I think the whole betrayal thing happens because Bond seduces Pussy Galore ("I must be dreaming" - classic line!) and I suppose we are meant to believe that his incredible charm has swayed such an independent woman to the good side. *shrug* Modern audiences would never believe it. LOL

    1. Yeah, I know that's what it's supposed to be, and I think it might have worked for me if there was something else somewhere in there to indicate she *could* be swayed. I like to think there's a conversation in there after their romp in the hay, where he convinces her she has to help him with some legitimate arguments, even a "Goldfinger is just using you and has no intention of paying you off later, any more than he paid off all the hoods who made the operation possible" would work for me.

  3. Yeah I love the "pressing" scene with the car compactor, and how Oddjob has a truck ready and waiting for him right there. And that's a good point about Galore switching sides. But what do you think about her being won over by Bond's charm?

    1. Yeah, you have to wonder if they've gotten rid of people that way previously! I really don't think anyone's charm would work on her, least of all Bond... but then again, she's pretty inscrutable and may be more fickle than she acts.