2015 Blind Spot Series: “Goldfinger”

GOLDFINGER poster

I could probably fill half of my Blind Spot series lineup with James Bond films. I’ve just never been what you would call a big 007 fan. That said I do love the Craig films and a couple of Brosnan’s, but I’ve never felt compelled to give the older Bond films much of a chance. In an effort to do that I thought “Goldfinger” would be a good place to start. In fairness I have seen much of the film but never all of it and (obviously) never in one sitting. Yet I have heard so many good things about it especially from Bond aficionados who know and love the franchise a lot more than I do.

“Goldfinger” is the third film in the Bond series and the third of Sean Connery’s six Bond films. Watching Connery work it is easy to understand why many consider him to be the best Bond. “Goldfinger” is also recognized for its many firsts. It was the first 007 film categorized as a blockbuster. It’s budget equaled the previous two films combined and the movie’s promotion heralded it as a big box office draw. “Goldfinger” was also the film that made the extensive use of gadgets a fixture. It was also the first James Bond film to win an Academy Award and it was well received by both critics and audiences. The film would also influence the series in many other areas such as the title credits sequence and overall production quality. In many ways “Goldfinger” changed the standard of what a Bond film was to be.

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The story finds Bond lounging it up at a fancy Miami Beach resort, but soon he finds the true reason he was sent there and it wasn’t for vacation. At the same resort is Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), an obsessed gold smuggler. 007 is tasked with observing Goldfinger and finding out how his smuggling operation works. Bond’s mission takes him London, Switzerland, and bluegrass Kentucky. At each stop he finds himself getting a little too close to his objective and Goldfinger always seems one step ahead of him. But as 007 begins to piece together the inner workings of Goldfinger’s operation, he discovers a much bigger and more sinister plot.

Half of the fun in watching “Goldfinger” involves the characters Bond meets along the way. First there is Goldfinger himself. At first I wasn’t totally convinced in Fröbe’s portrayal but director Guy Hamilton never uses Fröbe beyond the actor’s capabilities. The big surprise was learning that the voice of Fröbe, who spoke practically no English, was dubbed. It’s a clever trick that is brilliantly pulled off. There is also Oddjob (Harold Sakata), Goldfinger’s enforcer and right-hand man. He’s a stout strong arm known for is lethal bowler hat. Silly and preposterous for sure, but he is also entertaining and a lot of fun.

Then of course there are the Bond girls. The stunningly beautiful Shirley Eaton meets Bond in Miami and gives us one of cinema’s most iconic images. Tania Mallett comes along next and aside from her shaky acting, she is a mysterious character that did little to serve the plot. But then you have Honor Blackman as the cool, confident, beautiful, and provocatively named Pussy Galore. Easily one of the most famous Bond girls, Galore had a tougher side which made her a lot more than the typical eye candy. For the rest of her career Blackman would always find herself connected to this classic character.

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“Goldfinger” is absurd and it times in sanely over-the-top. But at the same time it never falls into the cheesy category that some of the later Bond films would. I never had a problem just going along with the craziness of the plot or the way things unfold. There’s a fine line there and “Goldfinger” navigates it beautifully. That’s not to say there weren’t moments where the story pushes believability too far, but that’s forgivable when you’re being so entertained. The film doesn’t allow you to concentrate on its absurdity. The pacing is so crisp and the direction so calculated. It’s also a beautiful film to look at. Some of the locales are breathtaking and the film utilizes them well. But I was even more impressed with some of the clever camera techniques that truly made the film feel spectacular.

In a nutshell “Goldfinger” is a really good movie and I can understand why Bond fans hold it in such high regard. For those who are not fans of the suave secret agent, well this is unquestionably a Bond film so take that as you will. But consider this, as a lukewarm fan of the franchise, I had a blast. Connery is superb, the action is well done, and the story is good crazy fun. The film was surrounded by lawsuits both prior to and during development so it’s a surprise it got off the ground. Thankfully it did and in doing so it gave audiences a classic 007 movie. Without a doubt this is Bond done right.

VERDICT – 4 STARS

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46 thoughts on “2015 Blind Spot Series: “Goldfinger”

  1. Nice write up Keith. It’s interesting to read the opinion of someone who can take or leave the Bond franchise for a change but I’m still glad you enjoyed it. I’m a predictable Bond fan in that I think this is one of the best to date, although it has been a long time since I watched it. What’s with all this Connery-is-best business though? Roger Moore is the man!

    • Interesting. Moore is one of the reasons I couldn’t connect with Bond at an early age. Just wasn’t a big fan of his.

      As for this one, it was a ton of fun and now it sits nicely in my Blu-ray collection. I gotta admit, I was surprised at how much I responded to it.

      • I’m only kidding – I guess the most generous thing I can think to say about him is that Moore is an acquired taste!

  2. Pingback: 2015 Blind Spot Lineup | Keith & the Movies

  3. Let me be honest, there is no way for me to be objective about this film. 007 is my favorite fictional character in books and movies, I am a dyed in the wool fan of the film franchise and even the failures will get multiple viewings from me, it is a bit like crack.
    That said, this is my favorite Bond film and you pick out many of the reasons why. It is the first that moves past the straight spy stuff to the bigger than life storytelling of the films. Sean Connery is at the peak of his run as James Bond in this movie.
    Pussy Galore, OMG is that bait for every adolescent boy in the world who still laughs at the double meanings of words used both accidentally and on purpose. Odd Job is the template for every iconic henchman to follow for the next fifty years. Goldfinger himself is not a nebulous rich guy with delusions of a new world order, he is a corner cutting shark in the economic market place, creating the ultimate insider trading deal with the Communist Chinese.
    Plus, we get a car with an ejector seat,…that’s right an ejector seat. As Bond himself says, “You’re joking.” Of course it get used.

    You put it best : “Goldfinger” is absurd and it times in sanely over-the-top. But at the same time it never falls into the cheesy category that some of the later Bond films would.”

    Once more I will share with you, and be perfectly fine if you want to avoid having links in your posts if you delete, but for now here is a supplement for your excellent post here.

    http://kirkhamclass.blogspot.com/2012/03/goldfinger-double-0-blast-from-past.html

    • Great comments my friend! Love hearing from die-hard Bond fans on this and I can say I’m with you. This was a hoot. I can see where this would be tops on the lists of Bond folks. It’s so much fun.

  4. It’s been ages since I saw this but I think this might be one of my faves from Connery. Oddjob is an amusing henchman, tho my fave is still Jaws 😉

    P.S. I finally got around to seeing The Two Faces of January, just posted my review. I remember you liked that one, right?

    • Thanks for reading Ruth. I’m a fan of this one for sure. Kinda surprised me how much I liked it.

      You are right on, I really enjoyed January. Anxious to hear your take on it. Your tweet SEEMED to indicate you liked it? 😉

      • Very cool that you have a Bond flick in your Blindspot btw, now maybe you should give the two Dalton Bond films a shot? 😉

        Yeah I did like it for the most part, but I do have some issues w/ it.

      • I do need to see both Dalton films. It seems like I may have seen one of them years ago but I can’t remember. Wasn’t he in The Living Daylights?

  5. One of my favourite Bond films. I would recommend seeing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service if you have not yet. It is essentially the Daniel Craig version of James Bond before Daniel Craig.

  6. Certainly one the better Bond flicks. Been a while since I’ve seen it though. Unfortunately, that pic of the woman painted gold was co-opted into the dreadful Quantum of Solace. Good review. By the way, even though I grew up during the Roger Moore era and always thought Connery was the best, I’m a Daniel Craig convert.

    • Thanks Wendell! I actually love the Craig films (even Quantum more than most). Goldfinger has really opened me up to the older ones though. I’m serious about them where as I had dismissed them previously. I may have to watch a few more!

  7. Nice review. I grew up watching the Bond films and Goldfinger’s my favorite of the series, though it does feel dated compared to the newer pictures.

    • Thanks! You’re right, it does feel a bit dated. On the other hand it was pretty easy for me to fall right into it. I had a lot more fun with it than I expected.

  8. I have seen maybe four Bond films :S hehe BLASPHEMY!! But this sure sounds like a good place to start. I have only seen the Brosnan films I am pretty sure. One of the Craig ones too, but none of the early ones. I probably should fix that eh?

    • Should you fix it? I don’t know, I guess. Like you I have never been a huge Bond fan. I do love Craig’s films and this particular one is a lot of fun. Give this one a shot.

      • I really should. I haven’t given Bond a chance since I was bloody fifteen or so! I reckon I’ll hire this out as I remember liking Connery as Bond when I was a kid. This seems like the ultimate Connery-Bond film!

      • I do remember liking him as a kid. never liked Moore, bt always liked Connery. Hmm now that I am an adult I gotta get back into this stuff. Its timeless stuff!… In a way!

  9. Loved your review, Keith! Glad you picked this one, man. My favorite Connery Bond flick. Always loved it. I remember playing my VHS of this movie so much the tape began to warp. Yep, I am that big of a Bond nut. I own the Bond 50 blu ray set and just re-watched The Living Daylights with Dalton. Good job on this post. Very cool read!

    • It is preposterous isn’t it? Yet at the same time I had no problem just going with it. As I mentioned I think the pacing is just so good that it never allows you to sit around and concentrate on the absurdity.

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