Review: Goldfinger (1964)

goldfingerThe film opens with a wonderfully unnecessary opening gambit, which allows us to reenter the world of dashing MI6 super spy James Bond (Sean Connery). His electrifying escapade culminates in the memorable quip, “Shocking, positively shocking” and just like that we jump headlong into his next adventure, Goldfinger!

Shirley Bassey’s striking rendition of the title tune reverberates over the metallic credits setting the tone for one of the great Bond films. It starts with the music and never wavers as we pick up with MI6 on a nice holiday in Miami Beach. He has his first run-in with international gold dealer and suspected smuggler Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frode). Bond has a little fun with the cheater at the expense of a young woman while also having his first encounter with the mysterious Odd Job.

Goldfinger leads Bond all over the place from Switzerland then back to the United States. MI6 discovers how Goldfinger does it while also crossing paths with Jill Masterson’s sister Tillie, who has a personal vendetta to make Goldfinger pay. It doesn’t go so well.

Bond is imprisoned but not before proving himself to be a nuisance. He is nearly mowed down by an industrial laser, but Goldfinger thinks better of it and ships him off to his base on a Kentucky farm. Bond gets his first tete-a-tete with pilot extraordinaire Pussy Galore, and needless to say, he is intrigued. Meanwhile, his American ally Felix Leiter attempts to track his whereabouts and keep tabs on his progress.

Imprisoned yet again, he, of course, escapes just long enough to witness the plans of Goldfinger to use a deadly Delta 9 nerve gas to incapacitate the defenses at For Knox so he can swipe all the gold from the stronghold.

He first gets rid of some lowly American mobsters and captures Bond again. Operation Grand Slam begins as Pussy leads her group of pilots over Fort Knox deploying the gas over the premises. It takes effect instantly and soon Goldfinger rolls in with his forces and Bond in toe. It’s like taking candy from a baby and Bond can do very little as he is handcuffed to the bomb which is to set off in the vault. A rather sticky situation indeed.

But alas it was all a ploy. The gas did not actually work and all the troops suddenly get up and convene on Fort Knox with Goldfinger and his forces still inside. The game seems to be up, but not before another shocking moment between Bond and his old nemesis Odd Job.

The rascally Goldfinger gets away but Bond at least ends up with Ms. Galore. He used all his power of persuasion to acquire her help. What happened to Goldfinger, you ask? He comes back to enact his revenge, of course, and it nearly works. Instead Bond and Pussy get in some passionate necking while the search parties are out looking for them.

It is hard to top this early Bond installment for a plethora of reasons. It has the best theme song. It has arguably the best villain (or villains if you include Odd Job). Perhaps the best Bond in Sean Connery. The best decked-out car in the Ashton Martin DB5. And a couple memorable Bond girls. When it is all said and done, it adds up to an enjoyable spy thriller stuffed with intrigue, wit, and a crumbling of early 1960s sensibility. Above all it’s a “positively shocking”  piece of entertainment sure to give you a volt.

4.5/5 Stars

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