Introductory note: I watched Goldfinger on Sunday night the 14th and filed my notes away to complete the review the following evening. In the interim, the awful explosions at the Boston Marathon happened. My boyfriend and I both have personal connections to the city. We’re incredibly saddened by this tragic, awful story. Our hearts go out to all those affected, and our gratitude to the brave first responders and medical personnel. Between the events in Boston and the Waco explosion, it seemed tasteless to run this post on its regular schedule given the plot-line – so I hope you’ll forgive the delay. -Eira
Goooooooldfingeeeeeer, the man with the Midas touch…..
Y’all, I was so excited to revisit Goldfinger. This is the earliest Bond movie I had seen prior to starting Church of Bond, and I remember loving it the first time around. On re-watch, it did not disappoint, at all.
And you heard it here first: whenever I form a rock band, the name is totally going to be Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus.
Plot in twenty words or less: Fort Knox is going to be blown up to disrupt the world economy and so Goldfinger can get RICH.
How it’s aged: What struck me about this movie was how, while the plot could obviously never happen in 2013 (not the least of which is the idea that it’d take 2 hours for everyone to uncover your takeover of Fort Knox….), it still feels less dated than the first two Bond movies. And despite many of the cringe-worthy moments (and there are plenty) it’s a movie that still feels incredibly fresh and glamorous. The flirting grows more sexy and less campy, Bond begins to completely toy with his enemies the way a cat plays with a bird before taking it out, and his humor is just so, so good. For example, the “shocking” scene at the beginning really captures that blend of suave wit that 007 is known for. Bond also seems to hit his stride, even displaying a bit more sassiness than I could recall from the first two. I wonder how much of this was Sean Connery just getting really comfortable with the role.
I’m one of those people who will go see almost any movie (well, except horror movies because I am a big wussy), and my sole criteria for my review is “Was I entertained?” If a movie doesn’t entertain me, I’m not interested. Life is too short. As I was watching the epic chase scene that involves all of the following elements:
- Passenger ejector seat!
- Old lady with a machine gun!!
- BOXES FALLING OVER!!!!
….All I could think was:
- I am so fking entertained right now!!!!
And that’s when I think I really fell in love with the Bond franchise back when I saw Goldfinger the first time. Because if nothing else, I am always entertained by Bond movies.
Oh, and the other reason Goldfinger rocks? Bond finally gets a decent car. WITH A BIG RED BUTTON.
Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: At least there was no yellow face this time, but why were all the Asian worker extras in stereotypical outfits?
Obligatory feminist commentary: With the introduction of Pussy Galore, I think we’re seeing an interesting duality emerge in Bond movies. There are the “window dressing” women who only appear in the movie as existing solely for Bond’s amusement and are fairly expendable (they’re lucky if they get more than a scene) – and then there are the “women with names.” Meaning that they’re significant enough, storyline-wise, that they get the dignity of a full-name (see: Masterson, Jill and Tillie, and Galore, Pussy). Usually this includes the Bond Girl and maybe some other women important to the story who Bond at least flirts with, if not sleeps with.
While doing some background reading on Rosa Klebb for the From Russia with Love review, I ran across several mentions of Pussy Galore being a lesbian. I didn’t totally recall this from the first time I watched Goldfinger, so I kept an eye out during this viewing. There are certainly suggestions that she is a lesbian, but to a modern viewer, these are only “suggestions” insofar as one would suggest that any woman not falling immediately to Bond’s charms is totally super-duper gay.
The interwebz tell me that the Ian Fleming novel definitively casts Pussy Galore as a lesbian (and Tilly, too!), and not necessarily for the most progressive storyline. And Bond’s “overpowering” (ew) of Pussy Galore’s tough shell and/or sexuality brings us to another running theme of many Bond movies: sex scenes characterized by not-entirely-enthusiastically-consensual interactions. I think saying “Well the movies were a product of their times and other movies do it too!” is an insidious cop-out, because, uh, this stuff is still happening as recently as Skyfall. Let’s hope it tapers off at some point in the franchise (I say ‘tapers’ since I’m not confident we’re going to have a feminist Bond anytime soon).
Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: The shadow of Goldfinger in the room right before Bond gets knocked out and Jill Masterson gets gold-fied reminded me of Hitchcock’s famous silhouette. Also, following the scene with the laser in Goldfinger’s lair, I kept thinking “Huh, isn’t this like an updated version of an Edgar Allan Poe story?” Upon going through the interwebz, I might have been thinking of The Pit and the Pendulum.
Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: Pretty sure I saw palm trees in the background when Oddjob was driving Mr. Solo to the airport in Kentucky. Friends, I grew up across the river from the great state of Kentucky (in Cincinnati) and I’m here to tell you I did not see palm trees on the regular until I moved to New Orleans.
Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: Anyone else notice James Bond’s bathrobe-jumpsuit (er, “playsuit”) thang? I’m still confused by rompers and jumpsuits in general (how do you pee?!) but if anyone can make it look good, it’s Sean Connery.
possibly dubious super-awesome thing I learned from Wikipedia: “[Honor] Blackman was the first of two “Bond girls” older than the actor playing James Bond, and she was the oldest actress ever to play a Bond girl.” Also, Honor Blackman is definitely THE coolest name of all time.
Administrative information concerning this viewing:
Drinks consumed: Ginger ale and bourbon
Food eaten: Black bean tacos and buttermilk pie bars
Viewed on: April 14, 2013
Viewing Partner: Dudes of the house aka Boyfriend and Cat