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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Goldfinger

Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe
Director: Guy Hamilton
Rated: PG
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: December 1964
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense, Classic

*Also starring: Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Tania Mallett

Review by Andrew Hicks
3½ stars out of 4

Here it is, the best James Bond movie out there, with DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER coming in a close second. It just makes me wonder why all the Sean Connery movies in the series couldn't be like this. The first two weren't (DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE) and the two after this certainly weren't (THUNDERBALL and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE). The formula that's utilized in all the other 007 films--death traps, chases, explosions, intriguing villains with plans for world conquest, girls, girls, girls--click together especially well here, making it the standout episode of the series.

Goldfinger is certainly an intriguing villain. He's a roly-poly fat guy on the surface who has millions in gold bullion yet gets off on conning people for relatively small amounts. In the beginning of the movie, he has his secretary watch a card game through binoculars and tell him over a radio transmitter what cards the other man is holding. Bond thwarts that racket and later takes Goldfinger for five thousand pounds by utilizing some trickery of his own to win a game of golf. Goldfinger gets him back by capturing Bond halfway through the movie and taking him back to his hideout, where he tells him all about his plan to loot the gold reserve at Fort Knox. That's always the single biggest mistake of Bond villains--the inability to keep their damn mouths shut.

Bond remains in captivity for the second half of the movie, mingling with other memorable villains on the Goldfinger compound as he repeatedly tries to escape. There's Oddjob, a beefy Korean who never talks, choosing instead to express himself through decapitating people by using his tophat as a frisbee. And, of course, there's Pussy Galore (That phrase, incidentally, also represents James Bond's main goal in life.), a sexy airplane pilot who is probably the only woman who has the balls (Wait a minute, you can't say someone named Pussy has balls. Let's change that to "guts.") to resist Bond's advances. He soon changes her mind, though, by forcing himself on her and making her his third conquest of the movie. Could the 60's have been a more groovy decade?

GOLDFINGER takes the already-worn Bond formula to new levels. The death trap where a laser is advancing toward Bond's crotch (the Vasectomy of DEATH!) is one of the most tense scenes in the series, as is the movie's climax, involving Bond, an atomic bomb and a pair of handcuffs (which just happened to be left over from Bond's date the night before). While other 007 movies utilizing these elements have come off looking campy and ridiculous, this one works almost all the time. Well, there is a scene in the movie where planes drop nerve gas on an entire army and they all fall over simultaneously, but you have to give the director credit for trying.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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