1964 Running time: 106 Certificate: pg Rating: 5
Goldfinger-KA

Synopsis

Three films into the franchise and 007 returns with what many regard as the finest in the whole series. James Bond (Sean Connery) has to thwart the plans of arch-villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) to manipulate the global gold price with a nuclear attack on Fort Knox. From the chilling death-by-gold-paint of Shirley Eaton to the first appearance of a gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5, this was Bond playing to his sophisticatedly callous strengths. And all to the accompaniment of Shirley Bassey's stunning theme song.

Director

  • Guy Hamilton

Cast

  • Sean Connery

  • Gert Frobe

  • Honor Blackman

  • Shirley Eaton

  • Harold Sakata

Review

"I suppose you expect me to talk?"

"No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die."

The chilling response delivered by arch fiend Auric Goldfinger (Frobe) as an industrial laser slowly made its way toward's 007's family jewels has to be one of the most popular movie quotes.

It was the third time out for Sean Connery's superspy and the Bond movies were on a roll, attracting the budget of the first two put together ($6m) and building on the box office draw of Dr No and From Russia With Love.

Kicking off with an unfeasibly fiendish death (Goldfinger kills disloyal servant Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) by suffocating her with a coat of gold paint, blocking her pores), this sees Bond on the trail of the "man with the Midas touch".

Undeterred by Goldfinger's mute henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata) attempting to decapitate him with a steel rimmed bowler hat, 007 trails the arch-criminal across Europe to a Swiss factory where gold smuggled in the bodywork of a vintage Rolls Royce is smelted into ingots.

Despite an Aston Martin boasting machine-guns, an oil slick dispenser and ejector seat, Bond is captured after a car chase and only escapes a painful death-by-laser when he convinces Goldfinger that he knows more than he's letting on.

It turns out that the villain - named after Erno Goldfinger, the controversial architect whose modernist style Bond creator Ian Fleming disliked - has hatched a plan to irradiate all the gold in Fort Knox, boosting the value of his own reserves.

This saw every classic element of the Bond series machine-tooled and forged together for the first time...and the balance was never struck quite so slickly ever again.

From the nudge, nudge, wink, wink moniker of Goldfinger's personal pilot Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) to the emergence of the gadget - particularly Q's reinvented Aston - as a Bond mainstay, this really had it all.

It also possessed a certain calculated cruelty - for instance, the gruesomely inventive death-by-Dulux and Oddjob's despatch of a reluctant investor whose body ended up on a car crusher.

Ken Adam's sets - particularly the inspired recreation of Fort Knox as a steel barred mausoleum - never worked better and the matching of Bassey to John Barry's soaring score was a masterstroke.

Top of his game, Connery was never so comfortable in the role, a perfect synthesis of cynicism and sophistication.

This was the one to leave you shaken and stirred. Truly 22-carat.

Tim Evans