Too cook for words (1964)
With Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Harold Sakata, Shirley Easton, Bernard Lee,
Desmond Llewlyn, Lois Maxwell
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Reviewed by JL and JB

     Look at the man in the picture to the left.  Now look at the man in the picture for GOLDENEYE. Which one is so naturally tough and cool that it hurts, and which one is trying so hard to look tough and cool that it's painful?  To be fair, Pierce Brosnan makes for a decent James Bond. But for many fans, Sean Connery was, is, and will forever be the "real" James Bond. And for many of the same fans, GOLDFINGER is the definitive Bond film with the definitive Connery performance. No other Bond film "has it all" as much as GOLDFINGER: an outstanding and ingenious villain, an unforgettable Bond girl (with the most unforgettable Bond-girl name of Pussy Galore), thrilling action and fight sequences, and just the right touch of gags and gadgets to provide plenty of fun but not overwhelm things. At the center of it all is Connery, still the only actor to capture all levels of Bond's toughness, charm, humor, and elegance, and make it all look impossibly easy.  If you've never seen a James Bond film, start here. 5  - JL

I trust 008 will be more successful     With GOLDFINGER, the James Bond series had reached its peak. Virtually everything that could be done in the new Superspy genre had been done in the first three films. From this point on, each succeeding Bond film would be a variation of DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE or GOLDFINGER, or some combination thereof. 

     Not that the rest of the series was worthless - there would be plenty of more above-average, even excellent, Bond films to come - but GOLDFINGER represents the moment when everything came together, the whole James Bond phenomenon firing on all cylinders.  Sure, there are cheesy moments, but having lived through the Roger Moore years, I find it easy to forgive a handful of poorly done effects shots or hard-to-swallow plot twists. Goldfinger, magnificently played by German actor Gert Frobe, is undoubtedly one of the top three Bond villains ever, with his trusty sidekick Oddjob (Harold Sakata) a truly unforgettable evil henchman. Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore? Perfection. And has there ever been a better Bond climax than the battle at Fort Knox, with Bond fighting Oddjob while an atomic bomb is counting down?

     When my brother saw this film, his first Bond film ever, he said to me "So I really don't have to see any more, do I?". I mentioned a handful of Bond films, but, in the end, I had to agree. If you are not a Bond fan and want to know what it is all about, see GOLDFINGER. It may be all you need to understand the appeal of the series. Not only the best James Bond film, but one of the best, most fun films of the 1960s. 5 - JB

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The Secret Vortex


"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bond... I expect you to die."


"Choose your next witticism carefully - it may be your last."  


Fleming... Ian Fleming     Author Ian Fleming invented superspy James Bond for his 1953 novel Casino Royale. Over the next decade, Fleming wrote eleven more James Bond novels, as well as several short stories featuring the character. Although the Bond novels had a large following in England, the character was not well-known in the United States until From Russia With Love appeared on a list of President John F. Kennedy's favorite books.

     Fleming was reportedly pleased with the film versions of DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, and came to admire Sean Connery's portrayal of Bond. Unfortunately, Fleming died in 1964, one month before the release of GOLDFINGER, so he did not see his character turn into a worldwide phenomenon. The final two Bond books - The Man with the Golden Gun and the short story collection Octopussy and the Living Daylights - were released posthumously.

    Aside from giving us James Bond, Fleming created some of the most unforgettable villains in the history of spy fiction: Dr. Julius No, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his worldwide criminal organization SPECTRE, Auric Goldfinger and his lethaly-chapeaued henchman Oddjob, Colonel Rosa Klebb and her deadly shoe. He was also the master of creating ironic, double-edged titles out of everyday sayings. It can be argued that that phrases like "You only live twice", "From Russia, with love" and "Live and let die" are far more remembered than the coloquialisms that inspired them. Fleming was also famous for his punning female names: Tiffany Case, Mary Goodnight, Miss Moneypenny and, of course, the one that no modern-day Bond screenwriter has ever been able to top - Pussy Galore.