PG, 1 hr. 57 min. Directed by: Guy Hamilton. Release Date: September 17, 1964. DVD Release Date: November 18, 1997.
“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” I knew the line before I’d seen my FIRST Bond movie, much less this Bond movie. In many ways, this is one of the more perfect Bond flicks. It manages to balance the spy stuff against a reasonable enemy and make magic at the same time. Unlike some later Bond movies (cough, cough Die Another Day cough) the spy gadgets here represent reasonable technology that may not have been available during the time of filming, but much of it is widely available today. I have a GPS in my car and lasers are common tools in many kids of manufacturing. I also like this movie because it doesn’t cling hopelessly to the Cold War dynamic upon which the Bond literary franchise depended as a plot tool. Post-Iron Curtain Bond films have struggled to come up with a reasonable enemy, shape shifting sons of Korean dictators and media moguls turned tyrants notwithstanding. I also think it’s interesting that this movie remains unfettered by the removal of the gold standard. There are other Bond movies that revolve around concepts that feel dated. This is not one of them.
Every time I watch a Bond movie, I get in to the "best Bond" debate with myself. Not out loud, of course, because that's nuts, but the dialogue runs through my head. I’m never sure who I think played the best Bond. I liked Timothy Dalton because I thought his work represented the literary Bond… at least until Daniel Craig took the role all psychotic in the last two films. I’ve never been a fan of Roger Moore because he’s responsible for most of the worst Bond movies released to date. Pierce Brosnan made for a cool Bond, but I want something more out of my Bond than skirt-chasing and shopping at the local Brooks Brothers outlet. Connery… well, Connery made an amazing Bond, and I waffle between him and Daniel Craig as my favorite. Goldfinger is the reason Connery ranks so far up there. Hell, watching his face as he’s introduced to Pussy Galore makes me laugh every time I see the scene.
There are plenty of reasons this movie ended up being spoofed (at least partially) by Austin Powers. Oddjob remains, in my usually not-so-humble-opinion, the worst henchman ever to hold the title and for plenty of reasons that don’t include the hat of doom. Even the butterfly henchmen from Venture Brothers feel more reasonably evil than that grunting, hat-trick throwing fool who only seems competent enough to take out the frail young women that seem to flock around Mr. Goldfinger. I think in this particular work everyone involved is so busy having a good time that they didn’t take the project quite as seriously as they should have, which tends to make anything ripe for parody... especially if the semi-reality of the plot decides to take a sick day, which happens in several places throughout the movie. Does anyone really believe that the airspace over Fort Knox isn't (1) restricted and (2) monitored? If you discount those two attempts to suspend disbelief, the whole "mastermind" plot has to come in to question. Cheesy but memorable, would be my short response.