Goldfinger (1964)

The Cast Sean Connery (James Bond), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson), Harold Sakata (Oddjob), Gert Frobe (Auric Goldfinger)

The Supporting Cast Bernard Lee (“M”), Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Tania Mallet (Tilly Masterson), Cec Linder (Felix Leiter)

Credits Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Directed by Guy Hamilton; Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn; Music by John Barry; Title Song performed by Shirley Bassey; Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; Titles by Maurice Binder; Edited by Peter Hunt; Running time 1 hour and 50 minutes

Assignment: Uncover the reason why millionaire Auric Goldfinger is hoarding a large portion of the world`s gold supply.

Villain`s Idiosyncrasy: Obsessed with gold.

Locations covered: Cuba; Miami, Florida; London, England; Switzerland; Fort Knox, Kentucky

Release dates: United Kingdom: September 17th, 1964; United States December 22nd, 1964

Box office: $125 million worldwide (or $650+ million in 1999 dollars)

Notable notes: Shirley Bassey`s single “Goldfinger” climbed the US Top 40 to the #8 position, while charting as high as #21 in the U.K.

Best lines: Bond: “You`re a woman of many parts, Pussy.”
Pussy: “You can turn off the charm. I`m immune.”

Pussy: “Where`s Goldfinger?”
Bond: “Playing his golden harp.”

Review by Michael Kersey

When Goldfinger was released in 1964, it became an international phenomenon. The film was so successful it spawned countless games, merchandise, magazine covers (including LIFE), and imitators. Sean Connery became an international star, and 007 moved from cult following to mainstream hit status. Goldfinger also paved the way for future Bond films by nailing down what would become the essential Bond formula: a precredits sequence, titles and a title song, multiple exotic locations, cool gadgets, larger than life henchmen, villains with grandiose plans, jaw dropping stuntwork and of course, an abundance of beautiful women with provocative names based on anatomical parts.

The heart of the story takes off at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami. Bond, on vacation, is put on assignment to investigate Auric Goldfinger`s activities. Bond observes Goldfinger play a game of cards, in which it`s obvious to Bond that Goldfinger is cheating. A millionaire who feels compelled to cheat at a game of cards is too irresistible a match for Bond to refuse, and he soon infiltrates Goldfinger`s room, uncovers his scheme, and forces him to lose. But the embarrassment doesn`t end there. Bond adds humiliation to the embarrassment by seducing Goldfinger`s paid companion and partner in crime, Jill Masterson. But their relationship quickly ends in tragedy, as Bond is knocked unconscious and Jill suffocates to death after having her skin painted head to toe in gold. There is no mistaking who is behind this. It`s Goldfinger; and now it`s personal.

Bond returns to England to meet with “M” and Colonel Smithers. Bond has yet to have a face to face meeting, so it is then decided that Bond will snuff Goldfinger out of his shell by posing as a man who has access to lost Nazi Gold. The temptation to Goldfinger should be too much to resist. And at first it is. Bond arranges a game of golf with Goldfinger with the stakes being the bar of Nazi Gold Bond just happens to have with him. But Goldfinger is no fool, and soon realizes who and what Bond is. After losing to Bond yet again, Oddjob is summoned to show Bond what happens to those who meddle in Mr. Goldfinger`s affairs: Oddjob takes off his bowler derby, flings it at a courtyard statue and immediately the hat slices through the statue, beheading it. The message to 007 is clear: stay out or be put out.

Of course Bond will not stay put. He follows Goldfinger on to Switzerland, where he soon realizes he`s not the only one who wants the man dead. Complicating matters is a mysterious blonde woman who keeps trying to get close enough to Goldfinger to kill him. In the middle of the night, after a search of Auric`s Swiss property, Bond and the mysterious blonde run into one another while fleeing. Bond then realizes who she really is: Tilly Masterson, Jill Masterson`s sister; the woman who died of skin suffocation in Miami. A better fate does not await Tilly, as Oddjob`s deadly derby breaks her neck, killing her instantly. Bond manages to escape, only to be recaptured a short while later. Goldfinger is about to splice Bond in half with a laser beam when he comes to the realization that Bond is probably worth more to him alive than dead, and temporarily spares Bond`s life.

The action then shifts to Kentucky, where Goldfinger runs a stud farm. Bond is the guest, and Pussy Galore is Bond`s hostess, employed to make sure Bond doesn`t get out of hand. Pussy is a woman of many parts. Besides being Bond`s personal bodyguard, whether he likes it or not, she`s also Goldfinger`s private pilot and run`s her own airline company. She`s in on Operation GrandSlam, a plan to irradiate the gold of Fort Knox, thus driving up the value of Goldfinger`s supply considerably. And it`s going to take all of Bond`s charm, machismo, seduction and charisma to persuade Pussy to switch sides and turn Goldfinger in.

Of course this being a Bond film, Pussy does eventually turn to the side of right and virtue. If the movie is predictable, no one`s complaining. There`s too much fun to be had. Everything works in this film, one of the rare times in the series where all the planets were lined up, so to speak. The title work by Maurice Binder is top notch for it`s day; Shirley Bassey belted out what is to this day the most memorable Bond song ever; the villains are larger than life, just as they should be; the women are provocative without sacrificing their brains. This film began the Bond mania and is the standard to which every other Bond film is inevitably judged. And rightfully so. Not too many films still hold up 35 years after being made. And like gold, “Goldfinger” continues to shine as one of the best Bond films of all time.

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