Thursday, 15 March 2012

Is that a duck on your head, or are you pleased to see me?

Bond has changed slightly. Connery has more than made the role his own, jumped in a DB5 and set about making a template for all following Bond films.

Some people say Goldfinger is the quintessential Bond film. In a way it is as here we are introduced to the wittier one liners, the larger than life baddies with grandiose schemes (more than Dr No ever had), gadgets and big bold theme songs.  Goldfinger is a slight reboot of Bond since From Russia with Love. Bond is less serious but makes up for this with chauvinism and arrogance.  This isn't a bad thing as we are moved from just another Cold War thriller towards an more accessible suave action film. This is what Goldfinger did more than anything; it made Bond for the masses.

We begin with the now almost traditional ending of a previous mission before the film's proper storyline begins. This means Connery with a duck on his head (the BEST disguise ever), some plastic explosives. heroin flavoured bananas and a damned treacherous belly dancer. A witty retort to a thugs death leads to a thunderous entrance for Dame Shirley's theme tune.

Bond is tasked with a simple case of gold smuggling but soon uncovers Goldfinger's plan to send the Western world back to the Dark Ages by making the US gold reserve glow in the dark. It's a simple storyline that encompasses the best looking death on screen in the history of cinema, some well place gadgets and a bird nicked out of The Avengers.

 Strategic cushion. Excellent Feng Shui

Pussy Galore. Really? I mean, really? Honey Rider was subtle and we haven't reached the depths of Holly Goodhead, but Pussy? It's just daft, Fleming must have been taking the piss.  It's a good job she's a strong character and gives Bond as good as she gets before the inevitable roll in the hay.  Bond's eventual 'seduction' is more than a little rapey.

For the first time in the film series we see Bond put in real perilous situations that he can't fight or shoot his way out of and the villain of the piece is armed with just as many quips as Bond.

'Get comfy Mr Bond, I intend to gloat over you'

The elevation of the villain to 'star' status is genius and allows for more development to the story.  For the first time we see the villain explain his diabolical scheme in no uncertain terms. The blow by blow breakdown of the plan is set up and conveniently gives Bond (actually spying) all the info he needs. Bond's use of Q's gadgets here is necessary and purposeful. The homing device especially. These aren't gadgets for the sake of having gadgets. Pay attention Roger Moore.

Predictably Goldfinger double crosses his allies and hurtles towards the final showdown at Fort Knox full of confidence and an unhealthy obsession with lasers.

Goldfinger has set up many elements which will become key to following films. The suave one liners, the gadgets, the theme tune, the henchman with a unique talent and the bonkers plots to take over the world from gorgeous locations.

Goldfinger was the first Bond to have everything. Connery peaked as Bond in this film and without disrespecting the two previous films set out what a Bond film should be.

Connery's next film splashing about in The Bahamas has got a lot to live up to.