Wednesday, November 16, 2011

415. Goldfinger (1964)

Running Time: 112 minutes
Directed By: Guy Hamilton
Written By: Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn, from novel by Ian Fleming
Main Cast: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata
Click here to view the trailer


Well, well, well...long time, no see. Yes, it's been about a week or so since I've stepped into the pages of the "1001" book, but I've returned and am ready to immerse myself in so-called classic cinema, yet again. This time around we take a look at the one and only 007 movie from THE BOOK, "Goldfinger" - a movie that I highly underestimated the first time I saw it, years ago.

The appeal of the 007 movies really isn't in the plot, but I'll relay it to you nonetheless. James Bond (Connery) is a British MI6 agent (code designation: 007) with a license to kill and a tendency to thrill. In this particular film, Bond's latest assignment is to infiltrate and gain information on the nefarious Auric Goldfinger (Frobe). For his entire life, Goldfinger has been entranced by the color gold and in his latter years, has become more infatuated with the type of gold that is worth something. His grand scheme is called "Project Grand Slam", where Goldfinger plans to break into the Ft. Knox, Kentucky gold depository and set off a radioactive bomb, thus rendering the gold useless for a period of 58 years and making Goldfinger's own gold more valuable. As Bond learns more and more of Goldfinger's scheme, his mission becomes more dangerous, but also more personal, when Bond's "girl of the night" - Jill Masterson (Eaton), is killed via skin suffocation, when her entire body is painted gold. Along the way, Bond must also contend with Goldfinger's villainous cohorts: the hat throwing, muscle-man Oddjob (Sakata) and the vivacious Pussy Galore (Blackman).

Before I start reviewing, a story: Many years ago, when I was just starting to become interested in film, I made the decision that James Bond films were essential viewing. At the time, I had never seen a Bond film and so I decided to acquire a list of his movies and watch my way through, one by one, from the beginning. I started with Dr. No and if memory serves me correctly, made it all the way to "GoldenEye" (starring Pierce Brosnan) before I decided to give up, because I simply couldn't take anymore Bond. For years, I would consider the entire Bond film franchise to be nothing but rubbish, and tonight I can finally lay those misconceptions to rest. Tonight I realized that the Bond films (well "Goldfinger" anyway) is almost exactly the opposite of rubbish, it's actually very good and taps into a certain excitement, that subconsciously, we all want with our movies. I mean, this is the ultimate, stereotypical male movie. You have explosions, car chases, car crashes, half naked women, guns, gadgets, cars, heists, bombs, evil villains and one, martini swilling hero that every guy wishes he could be. I mean, you have everything just shy of a straight up shot of testosterone.

In all seriousness, this usually isn't my kind of picture. I'm not big on spy flicks for starters, whether they're directed by Alfred Hitchcock or featuring 007. However, "Goldfinger" packs a punch and it's not an easy film to dislike. It actually has a really good story behind it, which kind of had me surprised at about the halfway point. The plot is followable, though I think for the most part, all you really need to know is that Bond is the super-hero and Goldfinger is the bad guy and you'll be just fine. And hey, if you want to talk about acting performances, I think we all know the credentials of Mr. Connery. Hell, it was that same year (1964) that he starred alongside Tippy Hedren in Hitchcock's "Marnie" and I think we can all agree that Alfred wouldn't cast a slouch. There's also the not so obvious Gert Frobe, who did an absolutely amazing job as Auric Goldfinger, making himself very convincing as someone who would be the mastermind of a gold heist. I'll bring this to a close by emphasizing just how much my watching of THE BOOK has done for my tastes. No longer do I write films off without, at least, giving them a fighting chance. Tonight, I say "sayonara" to my old opinion of the Bond films being rubbish and embrace them (well, at least this one) as a true classic and a really fun movie!

RATING: 8/10 I'm shocked by that rating, I truly am. If memory serves me correctly, "Dr. No" was not a bad movie either. I may just have to re-watch the Bond least the Sean Connery ones.


Point Blank (1967 - John Boorman)
My Night at Maud's (1969 - Eric Rohmer)
Come Drink with Me (1966 - King Hu)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994 - Frank Darabont)

November 16, 2011 2:35am

1 comment:

  1. Oh the Bond films...
    How I should hate these films.. they contain everything I dislike in modern films (something from 1964 Im calling modern? Thst shows my age!).. Loud, flashy, car chases, exotic (read expensive) locations, aweful sexism, lots of death and destruction...
    Why do I enjoy them so much then? Especialy the early Connery ones? I don't know. I feel guilty watching them. Certain friends I would not admit to likeing them to... Bond films are my guilty pleasure I'm afraid.
    In my defence, I will say that it is the planning and unmasking bit I enjoy. I am bored by the flash finish where he blows everything up.. I relish finding out what the bad guys plot is, and how he will do it. So I remeber the map room bit in Goldfinger, or Dr. No explaing his past in the fish tank room..
    I will agree with almost all your review - good one- with one exception. Sorry, but like them as I do, they are rubbish, but rubbish I enjoy making an exception for!
    (Excepting most of the Roger Moor ones which are just crap)


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...