The Man With The Golden Gun

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

The Cast: Roger Moore (James Bond), Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight), Maud Adams (Andrea Anders), Herve Villechaize (Nick Nack) and Christopher Lee (Francisco “Pistols” Scaramanga)

The Supporting Cast Bernard Lee (“M”), Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Clifton James (Sheriff J.W. Pepper)

Credits Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Directed by Guy Hamilton; Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz; Music by John Barry; Theme Song performed by Lulu; Titles by Maurice Binder; Title Song lyrics by Don Black; Edited by Ray Poulton

Mission: Bond must recover the Solex Agitator, a vital means to ending the energy crisis, while staying one step ahead of a would be assassin who wants Bond dead.

Locations covered: London; Beirut; Hong Kong, Macau; Bangkok; Phuket Islands

Release dates: December 18th, 1974

Box office: $97.6 million worldwide ($350,185,670.99 worldwide in 1998 dollars)

Best lines: Bond to Lazar: “Speak now or forever hold your piece.”

Review by Michael Kersey

The Man With The Golden Gun isn`t just the worst Bond film, it also happens to be one of the worst films ever made. Surprisingly, this film was released the following year of Live and Let Die, thereby breaking the then recent tradition of waiting two years in between pictures. Two years apart would`ve helped. Perhaps three. Maybe four.

`Golden Gun` is a mess. There are two plots that run parallel and eventually intersect but neither one with decidedly outstanding results. The film starts off with Bond receiving a golden bullet with his name on it. Only one man in the world uses a golden bullet: Francisco “Pistols” Scaramanga. The world`s foremost assassin for hire, he only carries one bullet with him on any assignment. He only needs one.

Then there is the Solex Agitator. It`s a device able to harness the rays of the Sun and convert it into a powerful energy source. Cheap, abundant energy in the midst of the early 70`s fuel crisis would be like a godsend. In the right hands, the world`s economy could be straightened out. In the wrong hands, the Agitator could ruin many lives.

Bond was originally assigned to retrieve the Solex Agitator and make sure that it`s use was purely humanitarian. That is, until he became a marked man. So it`s very convenient plotwise to have the Agitator later come into play because the film is so poorly written that a story about Bond being marked for assassination could not hold the film on it`s own.

As Scaramanga, Christopher Lee is just okay. He`s not particularly memorable. In fact, as it turns out, he`s not even the one who sent the golden bullet to Bond. It was his exasperated mistress, Andrea. So, in essence, Scaramanga doesn`t even pose a threat to 007. He actually admires Bond.

Mary Goodnight, Bond`s ally is South Asia, exemplifies all the stereotypes and prejudices about Bond girl roles: blonde, buxom, and utterly clueless, she`s a complete waste of time in the film and contributed absolutely nothing to the plot.

It tells you something about the quality of a film when Clifton James is the highlight. As the bigoted, culturally challenged Sheriff J.W. Pepper, he has now ventured from the swamps of Louisiana (Live and Let Die) and moved on to the canals of Bangkok. He shouts “BOY!” where ever he goes, and for some inexplicable reason, feels the need to get a test drive of an AMC Hornet in a foreign country. Herve Villechaize plays the diminutive manservant Nick Nack. Oddly, he`s not too bad as Scaramanga`s happy-go-lucky carnival house operator/henchman.

John Barry`s score is great, however the same can`t be said for the main song. The titles are routine and uninspired. The action is few and far between and what there is of it is uninspired and uninvolving. After this film, the series needed a major overhaul in order to survive.

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