Investigating an apparently straightforward case of bullion
smuggling, James Bond stumbles upon an audacious plot to raid
the gold depository of Fort Knox. Auric Goldfinger (aided
by his assistants Pussy Galore and Oddjob) loves gold and
will stop at nothing to increase his private hoard, even if
it means devastating the world's economy...
was the film in which the gadgets took over. Not that you
can really blame the production team for the legacy they established
here. As the documentary feature The Goldfinger Phenomenon
explains, the public instantly fell in love with Bond's new
Aston Martin DB5, with all its optional extras, and this movie
marked the beginning of the '60s phenomenon that was Bondmania.
Remarkably, the character of James Bond is sidelined not only
by the DB5 but also by Goldfinger himself (played by the wonderfully
larger-than-life Gert Frobe), as 007 is held captive during
most of the second half of the film. Shocking! Meanwhile,
the action focuses squarely on the planning and execution
of the villain's raid on Fort Knox. During this time, the
audience is entertained by Ken Adam's lavish sets, including
those depicting the interior of the gold depository itself,
and also the "rumpus room", within which Goldfinger explains
the plot to his hired hoodlums and to the audience (this scene
would later be recycled in 1985's A View to a Kill).
Barry's incidental score, incorporating a strident military
march, also helps to carry the movie forward, while the potent
screen presence of Sean Connery ensures that the viewer barely
notices that Bond has taken a back seat.
film is also remarkable for boasting a main plot that is,
uniquely, actually more plausible than the novel that inspired
it. Shocking! In Ian Fleming's book, Goldfinger wants to physically
remove the gold from Fort Knox. However, as 007 himself points
out in the movie, the sheer weight of the precious metal would
have made this task impossible. Here, the villain's plan is
more cunning than that...
audio commentaries reveal, among other things, some interesting
lapses of continuity. Again, these are not readily apparent
to the average viewer, who will be carried along by the brash
and bold direction of Guy Hamilton as he leaves a lasting
impression on the series.
aspect that the documentary features curiously fail to discuss
is the interesting way in which the pre-titles sequence mirrors
in microcosm Bond's final confrontation with Oddjob (Harold
Sakata) towards the end of the movie. In either case, Bond
is left apparently defenceless (in the first instance, his
opponent reaches for the agent's own weapon, while in the
second, Oddjob reaches for his famously deadly bowler hat,
which Bond has just hurled uselessly between some metal bars)
and in both cases, 007 hits upon an innovative solution that
involves electrocuting his adversary. Shocking!
addition to the more familiar extras, disc 2 also includes
vintage radio interviews with Connery and - for the first
time on DVD - Honor Blackman. These "open-ended" discussions
are a cunning device that allowed radio stations to insert
the voices of their own disc jockeys, thus achieving the illusion
of an exclusive interview with the actor. Shocking! Other
new-to-DVD extras (which were not available for review) include
screen tests and newly recovered footage of the Aston Martin
usual trick of placing a series trailer at the beginning of
each and every DVD within that series is already becoming
annoying. (Stargate fans will be familiar with this
experience on recent releases of the SG-1 and Atlantis
TV series.) In all other respects, though, this new edition
is a golden opportunity to own an old favourite.