The other day I was talking with my hairdresser and we got on the subject of James Bond films. Here I’ve been blogging about classic movies for several years and I’ve yet to review a single 007 extravaganza.
Driving home, I knew I had to do “Goldfinger.” For one thing, the theme song was playing in my head. Might as well hear it sung right. (Cue Shirley Bassey and the title sequence):
I swear, this picture has everything. Sean Connery saying his name. “Bond. James Bond.” Perfect! Asking for a vodka martini, “shaken, not stirred.” Love it!
And the gadgets. From the moment I saw Q explaining the Aston Martin DB5 with (ahem) modifications, I could barely wait to see how Bond would use them—the smoke screen, oil slick, radar receiver, tire shredder, front and rear bullet-proof shields, left and right front wing machine guns and the pièce de résistance: the ejector seat. (Cue the car clip):
I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to see the bad guy shoot out the roof with a Wilhelm scream after Bond pressed the red button. (Also, it was a nice touch when the Swiss granny at the security checkpoint got out her machine gun and fired off a round or two at the retreating 007.)
Like any self-respecting evil genius, Goldfinger had all kinds of push-button machinery in his hide-outs, including a laser death-ray that nearly neutered 007. And then there’s the dirty bomb on wheels (kind of like the drinks trolley they use on airplanes) that he meant to set off in Fort Knox. But nothing beats Odd Job with that razor-edged bowler hat of his, the ultimate lethal — yet wearable — frisbee.
Of course, Goldfinger wasn’t all that smart. He shouldn’t have let Bond talk him out of killing him with the laser death-ray so easily. He shouldn’t have left Pussy Galore alone with 007 for one minute. He certainly shouldn’t have been playing with firearms in a pressurized cabin. (I remember worrying, as a kid, about getting sucked out an airplane window like that.)
I forgive Bond his overactive libido. I liked the girls in this picture, whether bikini-clad, gold-painted, or jump-suited. Honor Blackman was so capable and so classy, I forgive her the squadron of pointy-breasted bimbos. I liked the Mafia guy getting crushed in the car, although the scene went on a tad too long. The glimpse of Odd Job driving off with the compressed cube of metal in the back of a turquoise pick-up redeemed it. Even the business of the Red Chinese running around in their identical martial arts uniforms at Goldfinger’s bidding, intent on ruining the American economy…
Heck, with Sean Connery so clearly enjoying himself, who am I to quibble with a racist stereotype born of Cold-War paranoia?