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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Goldfinger  

Review: written 2007

The iconic Bond movie



As is oft quoted, this movie is where all the Bond ingredients came together. Whether this is your favourite Bond movie or not, probably depends mostly on how you appreciated the change in tone that happened with this movie. Guy Hamilton took over directing duties, and recognised the whole tongue in cheek potential of the franchise, and ran with that. This is exemplified in the opening sequence, which has Bond swim up `disguised' with a duck on his head, and run around setting charges in an extravagant Ken Adams designed set, before suavely peeling back the dry suit to reveal an immaculate white suit, flourishing a carnation for his lapel from who-knows-where, and sauntering in to seduce a lady in a bar. This mini-story within a story exemplifies all that was to come in the movie and movies to follow. Suave, funny, action packed, and of course just a little bit over the top.

Much is said of the fact that gadgets came to the fore - the Aston Martin is introduced in spectacular form, and the women are both beautiful and played by talented actresses. Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore was the first leading Bond lady who actually had previous acting experience (and at 36, the oldest actress for many years to play a Bond lady). John Barry has also crafted a fully realised score for the movie far superior to his earlier work on Bond movies. However, two things above all make Goldfinger a success. Firstly, Sean Connery is by now completely at home with the character. His comfort in the role without yet being tired of it adds immeasurably to the charm of the movie. Secondly, the true measure of a Bond movie is in how good the villain is - and Gert Frobe makes a fantastic megalomaniac. You only have to check out the two screen tests for other actors to realise just how different the movie would have been without his exuberant style. The character, as well as key movie plotlines, rely on his bombastic enthusiasm for boasting, and Frobe makes this a believable trait.

Whether you like the comedic elements or not, the fact is that Guy Hamilton clearly got the balance right to appeal to the widest possible audience. Goldfinger was not just a hit - it was a phenomenon. In reality, as a film Goldfinger probably does not deserve 5 stars. But this is not reality - this is entertainment. And as the most defining iconic movie of a 20th Century hero, this movie has more than enough entertainment value to override the quibbles and make this a 5 star success.


Whether you like the comedic elements or not, the fact is that Guy Hamilton clearly got the balance right to appeal to the widest possible audience. Goldfinger was not just a hit - it was a phenomenon. In reality, as a film Goldfinger probably does not deserve 5 stars. But this is not reality - this is entertainment. And as the most defining iconic movie of a 20th Century hero, this movie has more than enough entertainment value to override the quibbles and make this a 5 star success.







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