Review: Goldfinger (1964)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Starring: Sean Connnery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe

Release Date: September 17th, 1964 (UK)

Well. Here we are. Three films in and we might have reached what is arguably the apex of the series during the 1960s, Goldfinger. I was not born for another twenty four years after this film was released but the term Bondmania was correctly spawned by the public responce to this film. The flagship Odeon in London’s Leicester Square ran this film around the clock just to acomodate those watching it. OK, I won’t pretend this film is the best thing since sliced bread, but to be honest it is not far from this. It is indeed worthy of its lofty status amongst the 007 fan community.

The usual suspects are all present and correct, Sean Connery, in possibly his finest turn as 007 gives a masterful performance and really fleshes out a two dimensional character, so much that it is completely valid to be so mesmerised you do not even notice how little he actually does for the second half of this film where Bond spends most of it under the capture of Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe). Goldfinger, for being entirely dubbed (as unkown to the producers, before being cast, Frobe was FAR from fluent in English) is well played throughout, to the point where the two sharing the famous scene where Bond is strapped to a table with Goldfinger’s laser threatening to cleave him in two has now become synonimous with the series as a whole, virtually only less than the Bond theme itself.

Additionally, the initial plans for Diamonds Are Forever (1971) which fell through did call for Frobe to reprise the role to play Goldfinger’s identical twin brother. While this plan does seem a little contrived (Goldfinger just happened to have an identical twin who was also a criminal mastermind and MI6 never thought to tell their top agent?), it is a credit to Frobe that he would have at least been virtually guaranteed to give another good turn if it had happened. No matter how utterly daft the plan was.

Then we come to the car. There is a reason in my mind that Daniel Craig was right to play Bond as largely emotionless during Silva’s confrontation with him at Skyfall in … well, Skyfall (2012) up until the point where Silva orders the Aston Martin DB5 riddled with bullets until exploding. The look on Bond’s face is one of ‘Right. Try to destroy my childhood home, attempt to kill the man who raised me and the woman who is nearly my own mother, but mess with the Aston and you have crossed a line!’ It is quite simply one of the most beautiful things celluloid has ever had the honour of capturing and has not only gone on to become an icon of itself, the car chase through Auric Enterprises is fairly much the model for which all other car chases can be defined by and on a personal note, the Aston Martin DB5 was not the nicest car to drive, but I would be a liar to say I would ever pass up the chance to own one and I am confident all reading this will say the same.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film to anyone. Goldfinger is quite simple quintessential Bond. The same can not be said about the very next instalment in the series, Thunderball (1965) but more on that in my next article.

Also, yes, THAT Bond girl name ….


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