The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
July 23, 2015 3:49 AM - Subscribe

Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world's most expensive assassin and must hunt him down to stop him.

This is the 9th James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry. reviews The Man with the Golden Gun.
The James Bonding podcast (Matt Mira, Matt Gourley and guests Greg Proops and Jeff Davis) covers The Man with the Golden Gun.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: "Roger Moore is a pastry chef's idea of James Bond; but Christopher Lee as the archetype of the evil antagonist makes this 007 outing just about bearable."

Jay Cocks, TIME Magazine: "The best Bonds, like the car that twirls, were sly without quite getting silly. The best Bonds also had Sean Connery, whose absence is sorely felt here."

Variety: "The comparatively spare arrays of mechanical devices seem more a cost-cutting factor."

Time Out: "Roger Moore's interpretation of Bond is blandness personified."

Nora Sayre, New York Times: "If you enjoyed the early Bond films as much as I did, you'd better skip this one."
posted by doctornecessiter (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Even as a child of the Moore era, I had skipped this one for many years because of its reputation. When I eventually did get around to watching it, I found that it wasn't quite as horrible as many reviews had led me to believe...In a pinch, if you really need some of that special "Roger Moore as James Bond" magic, it will do. But it just doesn't reach very high in any way...It's not sophisticated as a spy story, and not really over-the-top enough to be so bad it's good.

However, all of the billions of J.W. Pepper fans worldwide must be so, so happy with this one.

Christopher Lee is having a good time, I do kind of like Nick-Nack in spite of myself (although why anyone would consider him a good foil for anyone, other than as kind of a nuisance, I'll never know), and I love the sets on the wreck of the Queen Elizabeth in Hong Kong Harbor.
posted by doctornecessiter at 3:59 AM on July 23, 2015

This clip of the famous bridge jump sums up this film in 53 seconds. I can get past the obnoxious southern stereotype sidekick and the slide whistle sound effect but putting 007 in an AMC Gremlin?
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Of all the Bond movies I've seen, this one is probably the most everybody-involved-in-this-production-was-high.
posted by box at 5:45 AM on July 23, 2015

But that's such an amazing stunt! Props to the Buffalo-based Calspan Corporation for doing the math on that one.

But also the slide whistle. And the racist Louisiana sheriff who probably only visited Thailand to try out some new slurs.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:48 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Of all the Bond movies I've seen, this one is probably the most everybody-involved-in-this-production-was-high.

Not seen the original Casino Royale then? That was a bad trip for all involved, man.
posted by sobarel at 5:56 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that Die Another Day was fueled by cocaine that was dissolved into gasoline.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:08 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Die Another Day is the scorpion-venom-induced fever dream of a man that's been left for dead in a North Korean concentration camp.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:51 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's like they're not even trying with this one. The whole thing is phoned in.

The cars are from AMC.

The girl with the double entendre's name is Chew Me. And she's just there to say her name so they can check the box. Bond literally walks through the frame, she says her name, and then we never see her again, right? It's like if Bond drove his stupid Hornet past a billboard that said "sex pun name" and did a Roger Moore patented double take at it.

And then there's the theme song, which just flat out says, this is a Bond movie song about a Bond movie. Now let's watch the Bond movie. "Who will he bang? Weeee shall seeeeee."

It has almost no redeeming qualities, and when it does come across one it doesn't know what to do with it. I mean I love Bond, but this is my vote for worst of them all. It should come in a plain white box that says Bond Movie on it.
posted by Naberius at 8:35 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

My theory on the first few Moore-era songs based on no evidence that I'm aware of other than my own observations:

Live & Let Die-- big hit song, one of the best in the series, no John Barry. Barry comes back for the next movie (The Man with the Golden Gun), EON asks him to emulate that hit and he tries/fails.

The Spy Who Loved Me-- big hit song ("Nobody Does It Better"), one of the best in the series, no John Barry. Barry comes back for the next movie (Moonraker), EON asks him to emulate that hit and he tries/fails (not as spectacularly as TMWTGG, I'll grant you).
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:53 AM on July 23, 2015

Christopher Lee was wasted in this. We'll always have The Wicker Man, though.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:42 AM on July 23, 2015

The Moonraker theme song was actually a return to the 60's era style - complete with Shirley Bassey. It didn't try to be a rock single.

And okay, The Man With the Golden Gun may not be the worst Bond song ever. There is still Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown? from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
posted by Naberius at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

There are definitely some of the elements of a really good, if silly, Bond movie in here, but it doesn't seem like anyone cared enough to make it actually come together in any meaningful or effective way. A good example is that hall of mirrors and, uh, wax gangster statues. It's actually pretty creepy, but there's no reason for it to be through a door in Scaramanga's remote island lair hidden in the South China Sea (yeah, they mention a few times that he was raised in a circus, but it's still ludicrous), and the only narrative purpose it serves is for a shocking reveal that absolutely everyone in the audience had to have been predicting since we first saw the wax Bond statue. A couple times it kind of felt like they were going somewhere with the wax statue thing (I sort of thought that Maud Adams was going to turn out to have been a wax statue instead of a corpse in her last scene, so she could show again up to do . . . something), but no, it's just an idea ham-handedly pasted into the middle of this movie, kind of like the martial arts school or the sudden appearance of a death laser.

Also, the movie doesn't have the decency to end promptly upon the death of its most interesting character, so we get 15 more minutes of Bond unscrewing a complicated lid and then the completely bizarre coda with Nick-Nack. Most other bad Bond movies are just stupid and boring, whereas this one feels worse because there's actually some squandered potential.
posted by Copronymus at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think this movie also pins down exactly what's wrong with Roger Moore as James Bond in the dinner scene at Scaramanga's hideaway. When Scaramanga says he and Bond are alike, Moore's handling of the scene is so stern and devoid of any humor or irony. He just gives a perfectly dry reading of "the men I kill are killers and I do so under specific orders from Queen and country," or whatever. You just know Connery would have put a little spin on that and not been so stolid.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:59 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

This movie has the most hilarious two-word sequence in the entire series.

"Knicknack! Tabasco!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:19 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have an oddly affectionate relationship with the film, as I got to see about two seconds of it being shot in an aircraft hanger in the home counties (where the wings attach to the flying car). I also got a guided tour of the forced perspective huts they drive through, to meet the 2nd Unit Director (who also worked on 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, apparently, but I was nine, so I didn't think to ask him about that) and discovered the wonders of film set catering. And then when it came out, several months later, I got to spot the two seconds I'd seen filmed.

But good? No.
posted by Grangousier at 5:36 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

C'mon guys, Dracula laser island!

But yeah, mostly trash.

Racist southern sheriffs sure were a big thing in the late 70s to early 80s.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on July 25, 2015

When Scaramanga says he and Bond are alike

... is probably the best inside joke of all in out of any James Bond movie, considering that Sir Christopher Lee is Ian Fleming's step-cousin, and much of the James Bond novels was drawn from the time that they both served in the Special Operations Executive during World War II, aka the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare".
posted by radwolf76 at 5:08 PM on July 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Plus Bond is a worldweary cynical assassin, just not this Bond.
posted by Artw at 7:22 PM on July 25, 2015

When Scaramanga says he and Bond are alike

If nothing else, this film was the reason for Brydon and Coogan's Come come, Mr Bond impressions, which earns it a pass from me, despite it being otherwise execrable.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:37 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

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