James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No Mr. Bond - I expect you to die!

Despite the incredible financial success of both Dr. No and From Russia With Love, Goldfinger did more to define the cinematic James Bond than any other. It stands as the quintessential Bond movie for all to see. Production began in 1963, however due to a law suit case with Kevin McClory over the rights to the Thunderball movie producers Cubby R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to Goldfinger as their next film. With a budget of three million dollars, the equivilant of both Dr. No and From Russia With Love combinded, it turned to be the first James Bond film classed as a block-buster hit.

Richard Maibaum, who wrote the previous two movies returned to adapt to seventh Ian Fleming novel. He stuck to the story written however with a few noticable differences. In the novel Goldfingers masterplan was to empty Fort Knox, the home of the USA's federal gold supply. How due to its unrealism it was heavily criticised. Taking this in mind Maibaum alterred the plot so that Goldfinger would destroy the gold supply, which would in turn increase the value of his golf and essentially ruin the economy. Goldfinger boasts this as 'the crime of the century!'. With Terence Young being unavaliable due to scheduling producers turned to Guy Hamilton to direct. Goldfinger also saw the return of two other crew members returning, stunt man Bob Simmons and production designer Ken Adam, who both had worked on Dr. No, Both of them played crucial roles in the development of Goldfinger, with Simmons choreographing the fight sequence between Bond and Oddjob in the vault of Fort Knox, which is not just seen as one of Bond's best fights but also as a great combat in cinematic history.

The plot of the movie sees Bond investigate Auric Goldfinger, who the bank of England suspect of smuggling Gold internationally. Bond soon uncovers Goldfingers sinister plot codenamed Operation Grandslam. His plan is to explode a dirty nuclear device at Fort Knox, thus poisioning the American gold supply and mutliplying the value of his own Gold Supply many times over.

Principal photography began in January 1964 in Miami, Florida. After five days there they then moved to England, where the vast majority of the film was done. The primary location being Pinewood Studios in where Ken Adams built his visionary sets. Other filming also took place in Kentucky and Switzerland. During the film at Pinewood Studios Ian Fleming himself visited the sets. Filming commenced just a small three weeks prior to its release. The production crew sturugglled to get permission to film in the Fort Knox area, however under strict supervision they gained entry. For security reasons they were not allowed to film instead, although exterior photography was permitted. All of the sets for the interior were designed and built at Pinewood Studios. The filmakers had no idea what the inside of the depository looked like, so Ken Adam used his imagination and designed it all. In later interviews Adam recalled that 'in the end [he] was pleased that [he] wasn't into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted"

Auric Goldfinger 'the man with the midas touch' was portrayed masterfully by German actor Gert Frobe. However not being able to speak a word of English, he was entirely dubbed by Michael Collins. Goldfinger is one of the richest men in the world, but obsessed with gold. Frobe not only matches the character description for the novel, but he proves to be one of the most iconic villains of all time. From his first appearance in the movie where him and Bond engage in a game of golf and warns Bond to keep clear of his business, to the scene where he has Bond tied to a table and tortures him with a laser saw, which glides through solid metal, from the part where he delivers his maserplan crime speech to the mob bosses. "Man has climbed Mount Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He's fired rockets at the moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor... expect crime!". Frobe stole every seen in which he was present.


Alongside Goldfinger was he menacing henchmen Oddjob. A mute korean manservant. Director Guy Hamilton discovered the perfect star to portray him. A wrestler named Tosh Togo. However it turned out his real name was Harold Sakata, and he even won a silver medal in the 1948 olympics. Oddjob is mostly remembered from his deadly razor sharp bowler hat, in which is in many scenes a killer weapon, but in his last scene is also the death of him. Not only did the film introduce the legendary henchmen, but it also introduced a path for some many more imaginative weapons in movies to come.

The main Bond girl does not appear until late into the movie, however on her first introduction lays memorable to the audience. Bond is awaken from a drug-induced sleep, upon opening his eyes he is starring into the face of a beautiful blonde woman. 'Who are you?' asks Bond. 'I am Pussy Galore'. 'I must be dreaming' replies Bond. In the Goldfinger novel the character of Pussy Galore is a lesbian gangster, and this proves Bond's masculinity of being able to seduce a lesbian. It is her change of heart in the movie that allows good to triumph over evil. Honor Blackman, who was a popular actress in England at the time was chosen to play Pussy, she had recently had a role in Avengers, and some of the movies script was rewritten to show her judo abilities. Pussy Galore still stands as one of the first and most memorable Bond girls.

Also starring in Goldfinger were two co-Bond Girls, Jill and Tilly Masterson. Jill Masterson, who is played by English actress Shirley Eaton, is seen early in the movie, in Miami. She is helping Goldfinger cheat in a game of cards. Bond seduces her, however for her betrayal Goldfinger has her painted from head to toe in Gold paint, and she dies of skin suffocation. This iconic scene is most associated with the film. At the time it also graced the cover of the LIFE magazine. Tilly Masterson, portrayed by Tania Mallet, the sister of Jill is on a vendetta to kill Goldfinger, however she also meets her demise by Goldfinger.

The movie sees the introduction of Bond's Aston Martin DB5, a remarkable gadget ridden car-which now has been given the name 'the most famous car in the world'. In the movie gadget master 'Q' tells Bond that his Bentley 'has had its day' and issues him the Aston Martin. The car is completely modified with an array of weaponary and equipment, including ramming bumpers, bullet proof windows, homing devices, revolving number plates, machine guns and also the most famous ejector seat. The vehicle proved so popular that the producers had to commission another two cars cars simply to tour the world for publicity events. Following the films release Corgi Toys, and English company products its first Bond toy car. It quickly became the fastest selling toy of the year, and is still to this day being produced.

Goldfinger also defined 'The Bond Sound'. John Barry once again returned to score the movie. He described his work in Goldfinger as a favourite of his, saying it was 'the first time I had complete control, writing the score and the song. The soundtrack keeps close to the movies theme of gold and metal, and makes heavy use of brass and chimes. Goldfinger is said to have started the tradition of Bond theme songs. Being written by John Barry himself, and sung by the fantastic Shirley Bassey, the theme song Goldfinger risen to the top of the charts at the time, even replacing The Beatles in the number one spot. The lyrics to the song were expertley chosen and it sets the backstory to Auric Goldfingers character.

With its ingenious blend of humour, action, gadgets, sex and sophistication and exotic location Goldfinger defined what audiences would come to expect from a Bond film. Giving it is own special Bond forumla. Upon its premiere in London 1964, audiences were so large that police were unable to control the crowds. Goldfinger quickly won back its production value and sold over one hundred and thirty million tickets worldwide, gaining an astonishing $125 million gross. This was an incredible amount of money for its day. It stands in the Guiness Book of records as the 'fastest grossing movie of all time'. The movie won academy awards for Best Sound and effects. Following even greater success after the movie was released the novelisation of Goldfinger, written by Ian Flemming sold an additional 960,000 copies just in the year 1964 alone. Furthermore between the years of 1962, and 1967 over twenty two million Bond novels were sold.

Rating:  5 Star Rating

Goldfinger arrives in UK cinemas on 18th September 1964.
You can watch the trailer by clicking here.

Review Written On:

Movie Released On:
18th September 1964

Words By:

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