Cast: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn
Plot: Whilst recovering from a mission Bond is introduced to Auric Goldfinger, a bullion dealer and smuggler who has caught the interest of MI:6 and the CIA. During the investigation into Goldfinger’s activities Bond discovers that a much larger plot is afoot.
Review: As far as the sub-genre of James Bond is concerned, this is pretty much as good as it gets. While the series has changed faces over the decades to keep up with technology and trends in cinema and politics every subsequent entry into the franchise seems to be trying to capture the lightning in a bottle of this adventure. From the insanely named female sidekicks and gimmick centered henchmen to the gadget laden cars and set-piece finale all the aspects of the formula have fallen into place.
The story is almost episodic in the way it switches from one locale to another. Beginning (after a shocking prologue) in a Miami resort Bond first crosses paths with the dubious Goldfinger. He returns to London for briefing before tailing Goldfinger to Switzerland. The jumps between locations and scenes often happens while Bond is unconscious. While this sounds jarring the narrative flows immensely well with little to no lag. New characters are introduced whenever things look to be slowing down giving Bond a new dance partner to interact with. The action scenes never feel like contrived set pieces but instead blend into the story perfectly, especially Bond outwitting his captors using his Aston Martin.
There are numerous iconic scenes in the movie. Shirley Easton covered in gold paint is certainly the most striking moment in the film. Bond strapped to a slab with a slow moving death mechanism gets its first outing, with a castration bound laser in effect. This motif has been parodied so many times that one could be forgiven for thinking that it only exists in satire – although in those circumstances he doesn’t usually talk his way out of trouble. The best moment comes from the simple game of golf played between Bond and Goldfinger. This battle of wits between them carries all the tension of a chase scene or shoot out with just as much witty banter, capped off with Oddjob unleashing his signature attack.
When we get to the finale inside Fort Knox one might think that everything is looking to be as expected since the characters have been sitting around discussing their plots for a large chuck of the second act. Luckily the film still has a couple of cards yet to be played and it becomes a pretty gosh darn satisfactory climax. With the balance of gadget hijinks, witticisms and Bond relying on his cunning to get out of trouble. This is the one Bond movie to see, and the one for film-makers to beat.
Score: TEN outta TEN