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Goldfinger (1964, Guy Hamilton)

How can a film, with such a beautiful, awe-inspiring fight scene (Bond and Oddjob), have such terrible editing overall? In fact, how can the technical side be so contradictory… terrible direction from Guy Hamilton on most scenes, but fine or excellent when he’s on set. Terrible editing for most of it, but then the rest of the time, perfect editing. Or the rear screen projection. All the rear screen projection is atrocious, but the second unit photography is inspired. The only non-contradictory production element is the music. John Barry’s score is a masterpiece of effectiveness. The sequences where it overpowers the scenic audio are… they’re amazing. It’s like watching a scored sequence the way it should be.

Oddly, I have nothing but good things to say about Sean Connery too. He plays his role with a smile and a great deal of athleticism. He’s just a lot of fun to watch and he does great with his co-stars, particularly Gert Fröbe and Cec Linder. Fröbe and Linder, besides Harold Sakata’s fantastic performance as Oddjob, are the two best in the supporting cast. Problematically, the romantic interests in the cast leave a lot to be desired… Shirley Eaton is probably the best, with Honor Blackman not doing particularly well, but much better than Tania Mallet, who is awful.

Unfortunately, the movie is unaware of its own silliness (in terms of plot)… but once Bond is done using all his gadgets, it gets real good… starting with a great scene between Connery and Fröbe. That scene, though too short, comes after one of the film’s worst… when Fröbe meets with all the American gangsters (they aren’t called them the Mafia, of course, which makes it both dated and hilarious). That one good scene kicks off the last part of the film, which does very, very well….

And even though the last scene is poorly paced, Goldfinger comes off fine (thanks to Sean Connery of all people, which I find… given his work post-1970, rather amusing).

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Guy Hamilton; screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn, based on the novel by Ian Fleming; director of photography, Ted Moore; edited by Peter R. Hunt; music by John Barry; production designer, Ken Adam; produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; released by United Artists.

Starring Sean Connery (James Bond), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Gert Fröbe (Auric Goldfinger), Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson), Tania Mallet (Tilly Masterson), Harold Sakata (Oddjob), Bernard Lee (M), Martin Benson (Martin Solo), Cec Linder (Felix Leiter), Austin Willis (Simmons), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), Bill Nagy (Midnight), Michael Mellinger (Kisch), Peter Cranwell (Johnny), Nadja Regin (Bonita), Richard Vernon (Colonel Smithers), Burt Kwouk (Mr. Ling), Desmond Llewelyn (Q) and Mai Ling (Mei-Lei).


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