Goldfinger (1964) Directed by Guy Hamilton. With Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman and Bernard Lee.
Guy Hamilton takes the directorial reigns from Terence Young for this third, and perhaps most celebrated James Bond adventure of them all. Pleasingly, Hamilton does a fine job of maintaining and building on the themes that had made the Bond series so enjoyable.
Goldfinger immediately aims to outshine its predecessors with the ‘wow’ factor introduction of Shirley Bassey’s opening song. Mixed in with Monty Norman’s original Bond theme, it’s a powerful and enticing use of music that seems to state – “this will be the grandest, most epic Bond yet“.
Up to his old tricks is Sean Connery, with that now-familiar sense of wit and roving charm dialled up to the maximum. This time, he’s nemesis to Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), an audacious crook with suitably nefarious intentions. Frobe conjures some jovial bad-guy fun in his part, as does his driver-cum-henchman ‘Oddjob’, with his dangerous flying hat tricks. Adding charm on charm is the delightful Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, a Bond girl with serious attitude to boot.
You don’t have to wait long for iconic moments in Goldfinger. From Shirley Eaton’s fatal golden spray-tan, to the vintage Aston Martin DB5, we’re on landmark territory. While the plot isn’t anything particularly exceptional, tonally, it’s brighter, with more emphasis on the more campy features of Dr. No, than the grittier edge of From Russia with Love. Crucially, it’s a broader piece than its predecessors and although I cant recommend it any more highly than From Russia, it’s plain to see why it lives on as a stand-out of the series. Golden delicious. 4/5