JT Film Review

44 – Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger REVIEW

2/5 stars

Director – Guy Hamilton

Cast – Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee

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— follows From Russia With Love

— followed by Thunderball

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goldfingerJames Bond returns in the third of the series. Goldfinger features the villianous Auric Goldfinger, a gold collector, who plans to rob Fort Knox itself. (Or does he?) He is a large British man who speaks with a German accent and wears yellow clothes. And has a yellow gun. And car. You get the picture, he’s obsessed with gold. He is brouht to Bond’s attention by the CIA, who suspect him of smuggling gold from country to country in an effort to raise its value. (Or something. It’s not very clear.) Bond follows him around many exotic locales and beds a couple women (all in a days work; not bloody likely) and logically discovers that Auric Goldfinger is up to his gold tipped collar in treasonous and diabolical plots. You’d think the name would have given him a clue that something was up….

There are 2 thinks I liked about this movie.

1) The famous scene where Auric Goldfinger straps Bond to a table and points a laser at his crotch. This scene is remarkably tense and riveting(despite the innumerable parodies that have come in between) and the effects work is top notch. Keep in mind they actually had to physically accomplish the effect of a laser cutting through metal. There was a documentary included on the DVD which explained it and it’s quite fascinating. Sean Connery’s face throughout is priceless. We see a suave spy, yes; but a suave spy who will soon be childless at the very least.

Which brings me to # 2. There is a shot (a single shot) which shows Bond’s car whipping through a factory. It was shot ( I believe) from a camera car directly in front of Bond’s car. I think they may have sped the frame rate up; but if they did it is practically the only time I have ever seen that effect used without looking ghastly. It is a great shot, reminiscent of the car chases in Ronin or The Bourne Identity. It is years ahead of its time and it quite shocked me when I saw it.

goldfinger2The rest is… well, awful. Sean Connery looks just plain bored, and the film is slow, ridiculous, and horribly edited. How can we expect to be thrilled when Bond spends half the movie sitting and amicably chatting with the villian? That might have worked in another movie, but not here. This movie has almost no drive whatsoever.

The amateur mistakes are shocking. There is one scene, for example, when Bond is in his car and a baddie has a gun to his head. He speeds up rapidly, does a quick turn to face in the other direction, and then fires off the ejector seat that Mr. Baddie is sitting in. This takes literally 3 or 4 seconds of screen time, yet the bad guy not only does nothing the whole time, but we are specifically shown him sitting there and do nothing!

The special effects are awful; and while I know we’re supposed to just “go along for the ride”, and while I know that they didn’t have the special or physical effects available to us now, there is a point where a bad movie is just a bad movie. If they couldn’t do a shot well with their limited special effects work, they should have written something else to happen. For example From Russia With Love (the previous movie in the series) gave us plenty of tension and action without resorting to ridiculously cheap-looking rear projection and effects. Why couldn’t they have done that here?

OVERALL

Goldfinger is a bored and tired affair, with a tired and bored villian to match. There are a couple iconic moments scattered throughout, but they are not worth the long wait and awful special effects to get to them. Only Bond completists would want to re-watch this, goodness knows I won’t.

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TRAILER

“Goldfinger” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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September 6, 2009 - Posted by | 2 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 1960-1969 | , , , ,

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