Goldfinger (1964)
June 11, 2015 3:46 AM - Subscribe

Investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.

This is the 3rd James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry. reviews Goldfinger.
The James Bonding podcast (Matt Mira, Matt Gourley and guests Alie & Georgia) covers Goldfinger.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

TIME Magazine: "In scene after scene Director Guy Hamilton has contrived some hilariously horrible sight gags."

Variety: "There's not the least sign of staleness in this third sample of the Bond 007 formula."

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: "This 1964 entry is the most enjoyable of the James Bond thrillers starring Sean Connery -- perhaps because it's the most comic and cartoony in look as well as conception."
posted by doctornecessiter (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Now pay attention, 007: this is a powder-blue terrycloth romper, with an attached belt. Use it when you need to be the talk of the pool party.
posted by doctornecessiter at 3:50 AM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]

New York's hottest club is Goldfingers. This place has everything; a guy named Auric, Beatles insults, ejector seats, gold-painted ladies, tire-shredding, time bombs that stop at 007, scale models of Fort Knox (a piece of which still exists and is on view at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox), Mint Julips, Korean henchman, metal hats, electrocution, Odd Job, Pussy Galore....

What's Pussy Galore?

It's that thing where Ian Fleming gives a female character a frighteningly sexist name, and you're supposed to giggle, but Fleming plays it straight, but the movie police still have to kinda censor how Sean Connery reacts to the name.

Oh. I must be dreaming.
posted by valkane at 4:34 AM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

Also, I do a killer Sean Connery imitation, and I used to drive my kids batty quoting the "Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?" line.

My other killer Sean Connery line is "We named the dog Indiana!"
posted by valkane at 4:44 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Goldfinger explaining his plan to the mobsters is really the shining pinnacle of pointless exposition scenes. He's going to kill everyone there, but first let's hear all the salient details and look at the giant scale model!
posted by sobarel at 5:03 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Testing has determined that you cannot see an assailant coming up behind you in the reflection in the eyes of a person held in your arms. Bond would have been doomed! Shocking.
posted by capricorn at 5:35 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe she lost her real eye in an unfortunate boob-shimmying accident and the one that reflected was glass?
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:50 AM on June 11, 2015

CONTROVERSY: Is this one kind of overrated or is it just me? I quote the Shrunken Cinema essay, quoting Bond Films:

Bond Films: "Perhaps the most highly and consistently praised Bond picture of them all, Goldfinger is far slower and more low-key than you remember it being, and gives its leading man little or nothing to do. Despite this, it is fluid, witty, sexy, excitingly shot and brilliantly performed - physical proof that you can make an undeniably great film with an episodic script, characters that don't so much develop as stroll around pouting, and a resolution in which the ostensible lead character plays no real part."

I quote that because I can't improve on it.

While I agree with much of that, "undeniably brilliant" is a bit much (except when you consider that the formula established here has been more or less consistent over 20+ more very successful films, no small feat for sure).

Disregarding the actual important flaws like Bond's passivity through two thirds of the movie and the painfully dated sexism*, I personally have a problem spending so much of a Bond film looking at kitschy 60s Kentucky suburbia. I know that it's just the few cutaways to Felix eating KFC while looking for Bond, but that stuff has almost as much (or as little) screen time as the scenery in Switzerland, which I love. I mentioned on the Dr. No thread that that one was great as a travelogue, well this one kind of bites it as one. Again, it's my own hangup but it's what I watch many of these movies for, and to me it really matters.

* Not even getting into specifics like Bond "converting" a lesbian to heterosexuality by force...which, wtf. I mean, in these movies there's always going to be dated "time capsule" issues that reflect unfortunate attitudes of the period, most of the time it's chuckle-worthy as we consider how far we've come and continue to move, but that scene is just uncomfortable. Listen to the James Bonding podcast episode linked above for a real earful about it. Spoiler: Alie and Georgia are not fans.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:37 AM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

I personally have a problem spending so much of a Bond film looking at kitschy 60s Kentucky suburbia.

And just as much time playing golf! And about that: as someone we watched it with pointed out, you wouldn't expect the suave, debonair James Bond to be such a rules lawyer.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd agree that it's overrated. I think these films work best when there's a sense of real danger for Bond, which there rarely is here, and also the not-really-romance-but-corrective-rape romance feels very shoehorned in, which makes sense if it's not in the books. Still a hell of a lot of fun though, and makes good on the usual Bond promise of the world tour through multiple, colorful locations.
posted by capricorn at 7:43 AM on June 11, 2015

Obligatory best dialog scene: I love the hands-in-the-pockets pose.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:02 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

So yeah my main memory of re-watching this about a decade ago is that the way Bond defeats Goldfinger has nothing to do with his skill or cunning, but entirely using his magic penis to not only convert a lesbian to heterosexuality, but also to betray he employer as well.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:00 AM on June 12, 2015

Thanks for the link, TWinbrrok8. I've only ever seen the first minute of that scene, and hadn't known that the villain does indeed hang around until Bond is dead (well, is about to be dead). None of this 'I will now leave the room, trusting my deathtrap completely'. Also, love how he casually talks it over with two of his lieutenants before he orders the laser shut off.
posted by Mogur at 4:49 AM on June 12, 2015

That theme song tho.
posted by davidmsc at 7:21 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

The kids in Ernie Pook's Comeek sing Goldfinger to their turtles in one of the strips.
posted by brujita at 10:42 AM on June 12, 2015

Disregarding the actual important flaws like Bond's passivity through two thirds of the movie

I find that to be much of the fun. Take the nuclear bomb disarming sequence at the end. As the bomb ticks down, Bond grabs a handful of wires and is about to yank them out heroically. Someone grabs Bond's wrist, deactivates the bomb by flicking one toggle switch, then gives Bond the world's finest "what kind of idiot are you?" look.

The movie is a half-satire in which Bond is the straight man, barely able to believe that anything happening around him is real. "My car has an ejector seat? You must be joking." "Do you...expect me to talk?" "My name is Pussy Galore. - I must be dreaming." Bond is not hyper-competent in this movie, he's Arthur Dent of MI6, perpetually baffled and maintaining his grasp on reality with difficulty.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:06 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Bond isn't just passive in this, he's actively useless. This is the first in a couple of films where he is literally incapable of anything that isn't supported by others... His only skill is his "raw sexuality" I suppose. His first escape from his cell is the only really competent thing he does (and is one that really shows some of the charm of Connery as bond, because those expressions are priceless)

Somebody clue me in - There's a one-liner regarding Pussy Galore - after she turns sides, so to speak, Bond says "It must have been her maternal instincts" - I have been struggling with exactly what that meant, and I have two strong feelings about it: 1. I must be missing something obvious and 2. That seems really really creepy
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:17 AM on January 6, 2016

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