Posted by: dougery | December 30, 2010

Better Late Than Never: Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger is an iconic, over-the-top, and thoroughly enjoyable romp of a film with a plot, like many blockbusters, that one shouldn’t really overthink. Yes, there are plot holes a plenty, silly gimmicks and ridiculous names, but that is why we’re here, yeah? How can a man whose last name is Goldfinger not have the first name of Auric? (This is the old Marvel Comics gambit whereby a person’s future profession, usually a villain, is dictated by his or her hilariously apropos name [Dr Otto Octavius anyone?]) If you are going to give every Bond girl a double-entendre name, you might as well up the ante and give the censors a stroke by introducing Pussy Galore. And if you are going to mess up the United States economy go straight for the good stuff, bust right into Fort Knox.

Quite obviously, gold is the main fascination of Goldfinger, the film and the titular villain himself. This is the second film of the series to be titled after the primary antagonist although I guess the argument could be made that From Russia With Love‘s title refers to Romanova, who at the beginning is also on the ‘bad team.’ Goldfinger, the man, knows that money makes the world go round and for selfish reasons (he has hoarded a helluva lot of gold) he wants to destroy the United States’ wealth by irradiating the bullion at Fort Knox thereby increasing his own wealth many times over. This same plot that would be recycled and tweaked in the third Die Hard film with a heist of the Federal Reserve Bank in NYC and planned ‘loss’ of the bullion to the bottom of the sea.

Gold itself is portrayed as deadly many times, with bullion bars used as cudgels, with gold impregnated cars housing wacked mobsters inside that need to be ‘disappeared’ that are crushed into cubes, and in arguably the film’s most famous scene, gold paint is used to ‘asphyxiate’ a woman (which through endless discussion, probably wouldn’t happen, or at least a person whose body is entirely painted over might die, but mostly likely from heat stroke, and not right away, but over a long, horribly uncomfortable time). Setting-wise, gold is also a particularly ‘First’ World resource, so say goodbye Turkey and Jamaica and say hello Switzerland and the good ole US of A.

It is purposeful that many of the villains (with the exclusion of Oddjob) are blonds and that the heroes all have dark hair including Bond, the FBI/CIA agents, everyone back in England. Both Masterson sisters are blond which is good enough to be a death sentence. The only one to ‘defy their haircolor’ is Pussy who proves no match to Bond’s limitless charisma and is swayed from her evil mission that would have her knock out and possibly kill thousands of Americans. Again, it needs to be said, that 007 defends America and Britain not so much with his gun so much as his pistol.

Speaking of the ladies, Bond manages to bed 4 more women in Goldfinger bringing his film career count up to 11 in three movies. Rapacious doesn’t quite come close. And you just know he wanted to go two for two with the Masterson sisters. When Oddjob breaks Tilly’s neck, one assumes 007 is going to take him out later in the film. Screw the noble saving the day stuff, Korean dude just cock-blocked you James!

With apologies to Galore, Tilly Masterson is the true "Bond Girl" of this flick.

Goldfinger is chock full of zingers with more one-liners and memorable quotes than the first two films combined. Death by electrocution is of course, ‘Shocking.’ An exchange between Auric and 007 gives us the immortal “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” And then there is the suped up, machine gun sporting, oil slick spurting, ejection seat pimped out Aston Martin which will doom all future Bond films to Top Chef-esque levels of egregious product placement. But for right now it’s fresh and zany and fun.

There is an amusing moment toward the end of the film where Goldfinger’s investors, a collection of rogues and Outfit men, gangsters the lot of them, who stand around patiently to hear Auric’s evil plan, only to have the man gas them all moments later. Why he felt compelled to tell them anything at is fairly simple, it’s exposition for us the audience and Bond himself who has literally become Fort Knox and watches the whole thing through the windows of Goldfinger’s scale model which he is hiding underneath–Bond is the real treasure here, not gold.

I’m going to close this essay where I usually begin things, by talking about the opening credits sequence which upon reflection is unusually sinister. Whereas in From Russia With Love we had gypsy belly dancers gyrating while the names of producers and actors were projected upon their flanks in Goldfinger we have the names appearing on the motionless form of a gold skinned woman. It doesn’t become clear until well into the film that this woman is a representation of Jill Masterson and thus, dead.

Bond Grade: 006 (out of 007)


  1. what i want to know is:
    1. is croftie watching these with you?
    2. what does she think of them?

    • kind of?

      Lara is real bad with watching movies. I have to trick her into watching them, even ones I know she will like. I watched Dr. No and FRWL by myself but brought Goldfinger home for the holidays as I knew my parents would definitely want to watch it at some point. Lara watched it with us.

      In regards to question number two, I suppose we will just have to wait for her response.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


finding jackie

celebrity, biography, feminism, feelings


the greatest comic strip on earth... literally

taken by sound.

New music reviews and interviews from a music nerd, finding, reviewing and interviewing the best new and undiscovered music that Earth has to offer.

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...


Two brothers expatiate [wander intellectually without restraint]

Me Blog Write Good

An episode-by-episode retrospective of a truly cromulent show

Raging Biblio-holism

The overwhelming urge to collect, consume, and consider books

Austin H. Gilkeson

Fiction, Nonfiction & Things That Go Bump in the Night

douglas e riggs

reflections from a house on fire

%d bloggers like this: