MOVIE REVIEW | ***BOND WEEK*** Goldfinger (1964)


“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!”

To say Dr No, left me underwhelmed is being pretty generous. The first Bond movie ever made, and maybe only the third I’d ever seen, it was pretty small scale stuff. And while it didn’t blow me away, I could kind of appreciate it as an interesting and careful toe in the water to what would become such a massive, iconic movie series. As a toe in the water test that paid off big, it’s even more interesting to see how quickly the corniness escalated just two years later in Goldfinger.

From the opening minutes, James Bond (Sean Connery) is already on the tail of the movies titular bad guy. There’s no big build up, no big reveal. Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) is revealed as a card cheat and quickly exposed by Bond. But they’re not done with each other. Because Goldfinger’s got bigger ambitions than cheating at cards. And because of his name, that means there has to be some sort of gold heist at the bottom of it all. Because that’s the kind of subtle level James Bond movies work on.

Globetrotting, double crosses, intrigue and one upsmanship follow as Goldinfger has Bond in various forms of captivity. Often under the guard of Goldfinger’s personal pilot, Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Once Galore is introduced (for some reason not until more than half way into the movie), Goldfinger definitely gets more interesting and more entertaining.

Now, two movies in, I find it funny how out in the open Bond is. He’s a spy, right? Shouldn’t that mean a little covert, undercover action? In Dr. No and Goldfinger, he takes a very front on, out in the open approach. Basically walking up to his prey and telling them to their face who he is, who he works for and that he’s there to take them down. He’s not the most covert of covert operatives.

Watching Goldfinger, I’m pretty sure it might be the quintessential James Bond movie. Not because it’s great, I think it’s average at best. It seems like the quintessential James Bond movie because it’s jam packed with the characters, lines of dialogue, set pieces and general James Bondery that are familiar to even a Bond beginner like me. Shirley Bassey theme song… Odd Job and his razor sharp hat… Pussy Galore… Ding dong in danger of being lazered off… The Austin Martin with machine guns and ejector seat… “No Mr Bond, I expect you to die”… Goldfinger seems to be the origin of every James Bond reference I have ever heard or seen.

This is James Bond at its James Bondiest and it’s no better or worse than that. If you’ve never seen a James Bond movie, whatever preconceptions you have are more than likely due to Goldfinger. So whether those preconceptions are good or bad, that’s exactly what you get here.

Directed By – Guy Hamilton
Written By – Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn

7 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW | ***BOND WEEK*** Goldfinger (1964)

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