ASSIGNMENT #003: Goldfinger (1964)
With SPECTRE out of the way for now, James Bond is assignment in Miami to subdue a gold smuggler named Auric Goldfinger (Gert Forbe) alongside Felix Leiter (played this time by Cec Linder). Bond decides to put his charm to work his way to Goldfinger’s assistant, Jill Matheson (Shirley Eaton), to further learn about Goldfinger’s ploy. Unfortunately, after sexing up the assistant, Bond is attacked by the mysterious Oddjob (Harold Sakata) and is knocked out. Bond wakes to find Jill has been covered in gold pain and is dead due to skin suffocation. In England, Bond gets briefed on the true mission of how Goldfinger smuggles gold all around the world and heads to Q branch to be briefed on the gadgets that will help him on this venture, including the now famous Bond car of choice, the Aston Martin. From there, Bond engages in a high stakes game of golf with Goldfinger with a Nazi gold bar as the prize and pursues him to Switzerland shortly after. Upon arrival, he catches up with Tilly Matheson (Tania Mallet) attempting to avenge the death of her sister. Bond then finds Goldfinger’s plant and hears of a plan known as ‘Operation Grand Slam’, bu doesn’t hear anything further than that.
Tilly trips an alarm and they attempt to escape until Oddjob kills Tilly with his trademark hat. Bond is then captured, tied, and is interrogated by Goldfinger via laser slowly going to his crotch. After lying to Goldfinger’s about MI6’s knowledge of Grand Slam, Goldfinger’s spares him, knocks him out, and he is awaken in his private jet, piloted by Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Pussy takes the plane to Goldfinger’s private farm near fort Knox. Whilst there, Bond discovers exactly what Grand Slam is…a plot to break into Fort Knox and steal gold by using Pussy’s pilot students planes to spread nerve gas to avoid any military interruption. Later, Bond finds out not only stealing it, but releasing an atomic device that will radiate the gold that will make it valuable by rendering the gold useless. As Grand Slam begins, Bond is handcuff to the atomic devicen ticking away and is in Fort Knox as the army is unconscious and seems Goldfinger’s plan will work until Felix Leiter brings out a troop unaffected by the gas near Fort Knox to attack. Bond escapes, fights Oddjob to the death, unarms the bomb (with help), saves the day, and boards a plane to have dinner with The President of the United States. On board, Goldfinger appears to finally get his man and shoots his gun, but depressurizes the plane causing gravity to take over and Goldfinger to exit to his death via window. Pussy piloting the plane escapes with Bond due to parachute. Felix Leiter try to find where they are, Pussy gives the signal when Bond tells her there is no need and…well, you know the rest.
Goldfinger does add every final trope that was missing from the two previous Bond features and delivers on a promise of action, suspense and excitement. One of the key moments I enjoyed was actually venturing into the Q branch and seeing the gadgets and testing that goes on with Q getting more screen time. Q might grow to be a favorite of mine with snappy lines and takes his job very seriously, even if the gadgets are a bit ridiculous. The other scenes are the ones you all Bond fans know such as the Aston Martin chase proving the full display of what this car packs, the fight at Fort Knox with Oddjob that is one of my favorite fights in a feature, and the laser scene that made many a woman quiver with fear at the lost of Bond’s manhood and many men fear for their own manhood. Despite her name (stop giggling like a premature schoolboy while reading), the addition of Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore is great and she actually seems like a Bond girl capable of beating the ever loving hell out of 007.
I really did enjoy this film and so far these three are the best in my eyes. I had seen this film before when I was a Freshman in high and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed it now, but not as much as From Russia with Love. From Russia had everything but handled suspense and pacing very well. Goldfinger balanced the pacing also, but lacked the suspense and romance that made From Russia a favorite of mine. Pussy and Bond just seemed to be with one another virtually out of nowhere without build up and sincerity, but that is going to a very minor complaint in a great Bond feature.
As for the theme song, Shirley Bassey lets it all out on ‘Goldfinger’ and sets the scene for what to expect from this film. I love it, and apparently EON loved it too as this begins the tradition of the theme of the film at the opening instead of the close a la From Russia with Love. Expect quick theme song reviews from here on out.
Assignment Status: 4.75 out of 5
Next time, SPECTRE returns to take the world ransom by obtaining two atomic bombs and it is up to 007 himself to take them down. James Bond fight by jetpack, fights underwater, and fight on land to become the ultimate epitome of cool badass.
Next assignment: Thunderball