I haven’t made up my mind yet about Goldfinger. At one time I thought it was one of the best; more recently I’ve thought it one of the worst. Right now, I’d have to divide it into two movies and call one half one of the best and the other half one of the worst.
I think Goldfinger is great for the first hour-plus. I’m going to be controversial here and go against everything I hear: when Miss Galore arrives on the scene, the movie takes a nose dive. She really doesn’t do anything for me, her ‘flying circus’ of pilot minions is just ridiculous, and for such a strong-willed person she all of a sudden melts at Bond’s advances after they’ve physically fought and he forces himself on her. Puh-lease. The scenes of the planes gassing everyone (who unconvincingly “fall down”) around Fort Knox before the raid are embarrassing. In typical movie-countdown fashion, the nuclear device Bond is trying to disarm takes way too long to count down between cuts alternately showing it and the surrounding action.
So, the bad stuff out of the way… on to observations and such:
Firsts and onlies:
- The classic and quintessential Bond car shows up for the first time, the Aston Martin DB5.
- This is the only one of the first 7 (Connery-era) films where nothing to do with SPECTRE is even mentioned (either SPECTRE or its presence implied via its leader Blofeld makes an appearance in the other 6 of the first 7)
- With the death of Jill Masterson, the theme of a ‘leading’ lady being killed is introduced to the series, a theme which has stuck throughout, recurring in almost every Bond film since.
- Bond visits the United States for the first time in the series, starting out in Miami and eventually being kidnapped and transported to Goldfinger’s estate in Kentucky near Fort Knox. (Although all the filming for the U.S. scenes were actually filmed in the U.K.)
All in all, a good Bond flick in many regards, but the ridiculousness mentioned above ruins its chances of being a great one. A great plot, and this movie elevates the element of World Travel the movies have been known for. In the previous two, one location was primary. Q becomes really a famous character here, and the Aston Martin with e revolving license plates, bulletproof glass, machine guns, oil slick, and ejector seat is pure genius.
James Bond: Auric Goldfinger. Sounds like a French nail varnish.
Q: Now this one I’m particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.
James Bond: Yeah, why not?
Q: Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!
James Bond: Ejector seat? You’re joking!
Q: I never joke about my work, 007.
James Bond: 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!
James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
Goldfinger: Man has climbed Mount Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He’s fired rockets at the Moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor… except crime!