Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman
Perhaps similarly to my Doctor Who experiences, my Bond history is firmly centred around recent times. I’ve watched all the Craigs, most of the Brosnans, and nothing before that. I now own all but about five or six of the back catalogue, and having returned from a brief Christmas shopping trip with Goldfinger and Moonraker I felt that the time was right to immediately change this fact. I settled on the former, as my girlfriend assured me that her home state of Kentucky would be central.
After the iconic Bond opening with the timeless Shirley Bassey number played over the top, the film settled in to show Secret Agent James Bond (Connery), in his third official film outing, tasked by MI6 to follow the machinations of the ominously-named Auric Goldfinger (Fröbe), a gold-exporting Englishman with a suspicious foreign accent. Goldfinger is smuggling his gold out of the country, Bond discovers, by coating his car in the precious metal and driving it to Switzerland before taking the opportunity to speak indiscreetly yet inconclusively about his grand scheme, “Operation Grand Slam”. Bond is captured but bluffs his way out of death before being flown with the rest of Goldfinger’s entourage to Fort Knox (in Kentucky), where Grand Slam will take place. It transpires that Goldfinger’s aim is not to rob the largest gold reserve in the world of its shiny bricks but to detonate a nuclear device, making them radioactive for several decades and thus driving up the price of gold (of which he owns quite a lot) tenfold. Of course in the end Bond prevails either thanks to or despite the input of Pussy Galore (Blackman), Goldfinger’s exotic plane-flying henchwoman who never seems to decide her allegiance, and certainly no thanks to Oddjob, a mute man-mountain with a killer hat.
One thing I found very noticeable about Goldfinger was the soundtrack, and I don’t usually notice a soundtrack. As I’ve mentioned, I was of course already well-acquainted with the main theme but I was highly impressed with the way variations on the same melody kept popping up throughout the story, always sounding just right whatever the scene required. Other than that nothing was particularly remarkable other than the inherent excitement of James Bond, but the charm of the enduring legacy is more than enough to keep my interest when a stand-alone film might have lost it.
Overall it’s definitely fair to say I enjoyed the film. Of course the acting wasn’t the best (Connery’s accent), and the plot was a little weak in places, but it’s always fun to watch one of those iconic films that are known across countries and generations and quoted all the time (“No Mr. Bond. I expect you to die” a personal highlight). I’m certainly inspired to delve deeper into the Bond experience, although I do worry that I’ve set the bar a little too high. I’d like to close with a pun about being shaken or stirred, but I like to think I’m better than that.
My Rating: 24 carat gold.
My sincerest apologies. 7.5/10.