Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger (1964) – The idea of masculinity is one that is constantly being redefined as culture changes through the ages. But men of the world, you have been outdone, outmatched, and outclassed. One man has defined manhood for the 20th century and beyond: Sean Connery as Agent 007, James Bond. You have a ruggedly handsome man, always impeccably dressed, knowledgeable about high culture (though technically he orders weak martinis), and who always gets what he wants. The suave superspy is an archetype that has been around for ages but Bond immortalized it and Sean Connery immortalized Bond. I’ve liked all the Bonds to some degree (except George Lazenby because I never actually saw On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), but there is no doubt that Connery is the best, and not just because he came first. Goldfinger is perhapos his most famous, if not necessarily best, of the Connery Bond films. Is that reputation deserved? Encore is running all 19 of the Bond flicks this month so I figured I’d watch a few and find out…

Bond’s superiors put him on the case of a bullion dealer named Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe). Bond ends up seducing Goldfinger’s assistant Jill (Shirley Eaton), but she is soon murdered by Goldfinger’s right hand man Oddjob (Harold Sakata). Now it’s personal. Using the latest bunch of gadgets that he gets from Q (Desmond Llewelyn), he stalks Goldfinger. Then, due to the untimely interference of a woman named Tilly (Tania Mallet), he falls into Goldfinger’s clutches. He actually spends a surprising amount of the movie as Gioldfinger’s hostage. Luckily for him, Goldfinger has a pilot named Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) who may just be susceptible to his charms. James Bond definitely has a way with Pussy. Of course, the movie also has one of the most famous scenes in all of the Bond films, where Bond is strapped to a table about to be sliced in half by a laser. He asks Goldfinger “do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger laughs and responds “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” As he often does, Bond defies expectations.

Goldfinger might not be the best of the Connery Bond flicks (Dr. No? From Russia with Love? Thunderball? You Only Live Twice? Diamonds Are Forever? I have a tough time picking….) but it has a combination of iconic characters and images that it’s a blast to watch. Some people might have problems with pacing (a common complaint of younger generations about older movies) but I think Connery is just supremely entertaining every second he’s onscreen. He’s a true movie star, with personality coming through in every frame. Hell, even a GOLF MATCH between Bond and Goldfinger is entertaining and I am on record as saying nothing is more boring to watch than golf. I think Daniel Craig really does live up to the Connery legacy and Casino Royale is one of the best of the Bond flicks, but there really is nothing like going back to the revisit the classics.

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