Retro Review – Goldfinger: The blueprint for spy films


Goldfinger posterNo Time to Die was originally supposed to be released at the end of April. I had my tickets and everything. During my time in Quarantine, I’ve tried to satisfy my Bond craving in many ways. Watching the 1967 Casino Royale, which was actually the only Bond film that I hadn’t seen, listening to the Bond soundtrack while getting groceries, and writing my own script for a Bond film called More Time to Kill, but after the death of Honor Blackman last month, I rewatched 1964’s Goldfinger.

I have a ton of memories involving Goldfinger, for the most part involving the levels in the videogame 007 Legends, but it was always one of the few Connery’s that actually grabbed me. I also want to preface this review with the fact that I don’t want to use the word iconic too many times in this review, so I replaced every time I say “Iconic” with a song from Abba. So, to prevent us from killing more time, let’s start on Goldfinger.

Now, it’s really hard to think of what the best thing of this movie is. So many parts of it are “Waterloo”, whether it be the character archetypes that inspired practically a generation of films, or the fantastic production design, “Dancing Queen” in every way. However, I have to say the best part of this film is the villain, played by Gert Fröbe and voiced by Michael Collins.

One of the best Bond villains, Auric Goldfinger is a maniacal type, who gives us some of the best lines in the franchise and an awesome plot that doesn’t make a ton of sense when you think about it, but whatever. It’s the way that Fröbe carries himself and the script that makes him one of the best in the history of the Bond and Spy films in general.

Still from Goldfinger

© MGM

Speaking of the villains of Bond, we have to talk about the “Super Trouper” Oddjob, played by Harold Sakata. Now, consider Red Grant of From Russia with Love to be the first henchman of the Bond films, I consider him to be on equal footing with Rosa Klebb. Oddjob was the first true henchman, and he was fantastic. With both his silent intensity and awesome murder hat, he steals every scene he’s in.

Oddjob also provides the “Why Did it Have to Be Me?” Bond Archetype of henchman with some weird metal add on, whether it be his metal brimmed bowler hat, the metal hands of Teehee, or the metal teeth of Jaws. The effects of his character make it very captivating to see on the screen.

Now, when it comes to things that aren’t villain related, the cinematography of the film is once again “Kisses of Fire”. We have the laser table, which provided the now “Angel Eyes” death trap scenario. We have the shot of Honor Blackman coming out on the plane, saying the name that launched a thousand jokes. We also have other “One of Us” shots like the gold painted body, the assailant being spotted in the eye, the 0:07 timer gag, and of course, the scuba seagull. The scuba seagull is the greatest thing ever, and that’s in a movie with ejector seats and an Aston Martin. Overall, the cinematography is some of the best I’ve ever seen, though admittedly the fact many of the scenes have become “Name of the Game” may have some kinda boost with it.

I suppose I need to talk about one negative thing and I will admit it’s kinda hard to do that. The classic lines and set design make it difficult to pick a negative, so if I have to pick one, it’s that there are a few moments that feel awkward. There’s a fight scene with absolutely no score that just makes it feel kind of slow. The lack of score is even more surprising when you consider the absolutely “When I Kissed the Teacher” theme song, Goldfinger. However, the action is entertaining enough that I don’t have a huge problem with it. It’s also pretty messed up that this is the first Bond *ahem* should have been “Me-Too”ed and that scene is still pretty uncomfortable.

So that ends that, and Goldfinger is definitely still a top tier Bond film. It’s definitely the second best Connery, right behind the equally problematic You Only Live Twice, but we really have to applaud the fact that it gave us so many classic spy cliches we can appreciate today. The movie is truly “Fernando”. And yes, I have also been listening to the soundtrack of the hit film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again a lot lately. Sue me. But before you sue me, go watch Goldfinger, because with it’s kinda diabolical criminal characters and over the top plot, it’s the original Tiger King. 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ :star

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