Monday, March 5, 2018
Bond Ratings - Goldfinger!
Goldfinger is often tagged as the gold standard of Bond movies, but for my tastes it falls short in many respects, though still quite diverting in many ways and so comes in as my fourth favorite Bond film. The notion of Bond taking on someone other than SPECTRE is fine and dandy, but the lack of that secret organizaiton's shadow on this story hurts the motivations for me personally. If Goldfinger (portrayed by portly Gert Frobe) had been working for them all along and making monkeys out of the Chinese who seem to be his benefactors, then I'd have liked this one more.
The high points in this are the girls. Both Masterson girls end tragically in this tale, but both go out in memorable fashions. Jill (Shirley Eaton) gets painted gold and has become an icon for the Bond films and Tilly (Tania Mallet) out for revenge gets knocked in the noggin by Oddjob's deadly hat. But the star of the show is the insanely named Pussy Galore played by Honor Blackman, the first woman in the Bond series who can occupy the screen with Connery on equal footing.
The flaw in this one is the finale which is downright stupid. Somehow we are to think that Bond after converting Pussy to his side with his awesome maleness uses her to undermine Goldfinger's scheme by having hundreds and hundreds of soldiers and others fall down (rather unconvincingly) as the supposed deadly gas passes through them. They all them stay still as legions of Red Chinese soldiers motor into Fort Knox. Then they all jump up and knock down the bad guys when the atomic bomb shows up. The battle between Bond and Oddjob is a classic but the tag ending with Goldfinger while perhaps fitting undercuts the potency of end.
This is the one in which a gleam gets in the eye of the producers and they start to treat Bond with more humor than is really necessary. It's not readily noticeable in this installment, but the trend will continue until the whole shebang becomes open farce in the post-Connery years. Goldfinger has dandy scenes but its overall impact is diminished mightily by its impossible ending. But I do always like to see scenes of Kentucky in a movie of this scale.
More to come.