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Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger is a 1964 spy film and the third installment in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions, starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as the iconic Bond girl Jill Masterson. Goldfinger was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and was the first of four Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton.

The film’s plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger’s plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Principal photography took place from January to July 1964 in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the US.

The release of the film led to a number of promotional licensed tie-in items, including a toy Aston Martin DB5 car from Corgi Toys which became the biggest selling toy of 1964. The promotion also included an image of gold-painted Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson on the cover of Life.

Many of the elements introduced in the film appeared in many of the later James Bond films, such as the extensive use of technology and gadgets by Bond, an extensive pre-credits sequence that stood largely alone from the main storyline, multiple foreign locales and tongue in cheek humour. Goldfinger was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award and opened to largely favourable critical reception. The film was a financial success, recouping its budget in two weeks, and is hailed as the Bond canon’s quintessential episode.

In 1999, it was ranked #70 on the BFI Top 100 British films list compiled by the British Film Institute.

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My Review


The series hits its stride with groundbreaking movie The initial filmic foray into James Bonds world, the 1962 DR. NO introduced a number of key elements in what would become known as the "James Bond formula." We have the suave and sophisticated British agent defeating a larger than life villain among an exotic land populated by beautiful, exotic women, some good and some bad, and signature sets designed by the legendary designer Ken Adam. Then a year later came FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, the second entry which further added the elements of a shocking pre-credits sequence, a gadget laden briefcase and a seemingly indestructible henchman in the shape of Robert Shaw's Red Grant. Yet, it is 1964s GOLDFINGER which is almost universally acknowledged as setting the blueprint for all future movies not only because it combined all the previous element, but that it put them all together in one bigger and more fantastic tapestry of overblown action and spectacle. It's not surprising that many Bond fans list this extravaganza as one of the most consistently entertaining of the series. Based on the 1959 book by Ian Fleming, the main attraction in this movie is the villain, who utters some of the most memorable lines in film history. Who can forget the image of Bond strapped down to a table about to be dissected by a laser. "Do you expect me to talk?," asks 007 nervously eyeing the danger. "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die," replies Goldfinger before going on about his business. We catch our first sight of Goldfinger on Miami Beach immediately after a stand-alone precredits sequence and a main title sequence that features Shirley Bassey belting out the famous title track. In a quite ingenious manner Goldfinger is cheating at cards. It's not long before Bond has figured out the manner by which he is doing it, but also met a very beautiful blonde named Jill Masterson (played by the impossibly beautiful Shirley Eaton) and turned the tables on Goldfinger - all in a matter of a couple of minutes (this 007 guy doesn't stick around I tell you). However, later that night, as Bond recovers from being knocked out cold we are presented with one of the iconic images of 1960s pop culture with a dead Jill, nude on a bed and covered entirely in gold paint. This image proved so enticing that it became a trademark image associated with the film and the series for years to, come. Another trademark image from the movie is a giant Korean (the actor was actually Hawaiian) who kills people with a steel-rimmed bowler hat. Oddjob, who would set the standard by which all future henchmen would be measured) makes his first on-screen appearance in a game of golf (although he is clearly the one who knocked Bond out earlier). In what is one of my favorite sequences in the 40-plus years of the Bond franchise Goldfinger is at it again - cheating. This time when a ball is lost Oddjob simply drops another ball in a more convenient location. However yet again Bond manages to turn the tables on him. It's the understated game of cat and mouse set on the lush green golf course that really set the magic for me in this scene. The book is set into three sections and these are mirrored here in this movie. The first section of the book is titled "Happenstance" in that one meeting can be a matter of timing and focuses mainly on the meeting between 007 and Goldfinger in Miami. The second section is titles "Coincidence" to explain a second meeting and this focuses on the golf game between the two. The third section is titled "Enemy Action" in explaining Goldfingers take on 007s third encounter with 007 and details the confrontation between the two in Switzerland that form the middle-part of the movie. Another seminal image of the movie is the gadget laden Aston Martin DB5 complete with ejector seat. Pushing the envelope and taking its cue from the briefcase in the previous movie here we have a car that includes among its special features an oil slick, homing system, guns behind the lights and revolving number plates. Truly this is the seminal entry in the franchise and we are treated here to a nice collection of special features the most impressive of which is a scene specific commentary from director Guy Hamilton. I have given this movie high marks in every area except Bond girl appeal. Whereas the two supporting actresses Shirley Eaton and Tania Mallet are both stunning beauties, they are both in the movie for such short time. The primary bond girl Honor Blackman, though a great actress, has never been that appealing for me, most especially compared to her two predecessors.

Bond girl Appeal

About The Author


Born on the English-Scottish border I emigrated to the US after graduating college in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. I have served in the U.S. military and my past positions include as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Washington Post Company, a technical writer working on technical documentation for both a construction company and a large government contractor, a graphic designer creating graphics in support of government contract proposals, and as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy. which included being assigned as the official writer for the Navy and DoD on the assumption ceremony of a new Secretary of the Navy. I am currently a Web Services Writer for a large government contractor in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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