85. Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger_-_UK_cinema_posterDirected by Guy Hamilton

Written by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn

Produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli

Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Hard Sakata and John Barry

Country: United Kingdom

Release date: September 17, 1964

Why you should see it?

This is the third film in the James Bond series and it is based on the book with the same name by Ian Fleming. This was the first of four films directed by Guy Hamilton. Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that two preceding films combined.

Many of the elements introduced in the film appeared in many of the later James Bond films, such as the use of technology and gadgets. Goldfinger was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award and opened with a largely favourable critical reception.

This movie was the first to propose that James Bond is the 20th century hero; a hero that in many ways remind me the presence of another British Hero, Sherlok Holmes. The longevity of Holmes depends in his constant reinterpretation while with Bond his longevity depends in quality control keeping the same production team, even modern Bond is a second generation of the same production team. Bond always remains Bond, recognizable as the same spy, even when the actor has change.

Goldfingfer is perhaps the shortest James Bond film and probably contains more durable images than any other title of the series, this film also has one of the most memorable theme songs in film history, “Goldfinger” performed by Shirley Bassey.

PLOT

After destroying a drug laboratory in Latin America, James Bond—agent 007—goes to Miami Beach. There he receives instructions from his superior, M, via CIA agent Felix Leiter to observe bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger, who is staying at the same hotel as Bond. The agent sees Goldfinger cheating at gin rummy and stops him by distracting his employee, Jill Masterson, and blackmailing Goldfinger into losing. Bond and Jill consummate their new relationship; however, Bond is subsequently knocked out by Goldfinger’s Korean manservant Oddjob, who then covers Jill in gold paint, killing her by ‘epidermal suffocation’.

In London, Bond learns that his objective is determining how Goldfinger smuggles gold internationally. Bond arranges to meet Goldfinger socially and wins a high-stakes golf game against him with a recovered Nazi gold bar at stake. Bond follows him to Switzerland, where Jill Masterson’s sister Tilly attempts to kill Goldfinger by sniper fire out of revenge.

Bond sneaks into Goldfinger’s plant and discovers that he smuggles the gold by melting it down and incorporating it into the bodywork of his car, which he takes with him whenever he travels. Bond also overhears him talking to a Red Chinese agent named Mr. Ling about “Operation Grand Slam”. Leaving, Bond encounters Tilly as she tries to kill Goldfinger again, but trips an alarm in the process; Oddjob kills Tilly with his hat. Bond is captured and Goldfinger ties Bond to a cutting table underneath an industrial laser, which begins to slice a sheet of gold in half, with Bond lying over it. Bond lies to Goldfinger that MI6 knows about Grand Slam, causing Goldfinger to spare Bond’s life to mislead MI6 into believing that Bond has things in hand.

Bond is transported by Goldfinger’s private jet, flown by his personal pilot, Pussy Galore, to his stud farm near Fort Knox, Kentucky. Bond escapes and witnesses Goldfinger’s meeting with U.S. mafiosi, who have brought the materials he needs for Operation Grand Slam. Whilst they are each promised $1 million, Goldfinger tempts them that they “could have the million today, or ten million tomorrow”. They listen to Goldfinger’s plan to rob Fort Knox before Goldfinger kills them all using some of the “Delta 9” nerve gas he plans to release over Fort Knox.

Bond is recaptured while eavesdropping and tells Goldfinger the reasons why his stated plan to rob the gold repository won’t work. Goldfinger hints he doesn’t intend to steal the gold, and Bond deduces that Goldfinger will detonate inside the vault an atomic device containing cobalt and iodine, which would supposedly render the gold useless for 58 years. This will increase the value of Goldfinger’s own gold and give the Chinese an advantage from the potential economic chaos.

Operation Grand Slam begins with Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus spraying the gas over Fort Knox. However, Bond had seduced Galore, convincing her to replace the nerve gas with a harmless substance and alert the U.S. government about Goldfinger’s plan. The military personnel of Fort Knox convincingly play dead until they are certain that they can prevent the criminals from escaping the base with the bomb.

Believing the military forces to be neutralised, Goldfinger’s private army break into Fort Knox and access the vault itself as he arrives in a helicopter with the atomic device. In the vault, Oddjob handcuffs Bond to the device. The U.S. troops attack; Goldfinger takes off his coat, revealing a US Army colonel’s uniform, and kills Mr. Ling and the troops seeking to open the vault, before escaping himself.

Bond extricates himself from the handcuffs, but Oddjob attacks him before he can disarm the bomb. They fight and Bond manages to electrocute Oddjob. Bond forces the lock of the bomb, but is unable to disarm it. An atomic specialist who accompanied Leiter turns off the device with the clock stopped on “0:07”.

With Fort Knox safe, Bond is invited to the White House for a meeting with the President. However, Goldfinger has hijacked the plane carrying Bond. In a struggle for Goldfinger’s revolver, the gun discharges, shooting out a window, creating an explosive decompression. Goldfinger is blown out of the cabin through the ruptured window. With the plane out of control Bond rescues Galore and they parachute safely from the aircraft.

 

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