James Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”
Goldfinger, arguably the best of all the Bond films, features an outrageous plot with a very realistic sense of danger. The third James Bond adventure, the first of the globetrotters, takes 007 (Sean Connery) from the sun-soaked pleasure pools of Miami Beach to England’s rural golfing fairways, Switzerland’s treacherous Alpine highways and then back to Kentucky, U.S.A., home of sourmash bourbon, thoroughbreds and the biggest bank in the world—Fort Knox.
Goldfinger features perhaps the most memorable villain of the entire Bond series—Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) with his fantastic plot to destroy America’s Fort Knox gold repository with an atomic device.
When Goldfinger was released in the United States at Christmas 1964, it was a phenomenal hit, with many theaters opening their doors twenty-four hours a day to accommodate the crowds. By then, the paperback editions of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels were huge sellers, especially among high school and college students who appreciated the sexy, action-packed heroics of the British Secret Service’s most talented double-0 agent.
With a box-office gross of nearly fifty million dollars, Goldfinger guaranteed the huge international success of a film series that thirty years later is still going strong.
With director Guy Hamilton in command, the producers and writers went to work changing key elements of the original Fleming novel published in 1959. First, they updated and refined the plot itself, substituting an outlandish caper to irradiate America’s gold reserves in place of the original novel’s bank robbery.
Stalwart screenwriter Richard Maibaum softened the lesbian character of Pussy Galore and made her not so immune to Bond’s sexual advances. He also modified Fleming’s stock Aston Marin DB-3, turning a more modern DB-5 into a four-wheel arsenal—a virtual Excalibur sword of gadgets. Equipped with machine guns, oil slicks, smoke screen, ejector seat, bullet-proof windscreens and revolving number plates, it quickly became a favorite of fans around the world, and perhaps the most popular film prop in history. Its ingenious homing device which allows 007 to track Goldfinger across Europe from the dashboard of his car, became the prototype for anti-auto theft devices that are popular today.
But most of all, Maibaum honed the popular elements of the first two films that had worked so well—particularly the funny lines, the sexy Bond playmates and the increasingly outrageous situations in which Bond finds himself.
Goldfinger has the most alluring gallery of women ever seen in the series—Bonita the flamenco dancer (Nadja Regin), who is pulled from a soapy bathtub by Bond in the teaser; voluptuous Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), Goldfinger’s fetching secretary who has a rude encounter with gold paint; lithesome Tilly Masterson (Tania Mallet), who nearly murders Bond on a Swiss highway, only to join him on a high-speed chase in his Aston Martin; and finally, Pussy Galore, herself (Honor Blackman), the most famous of all Bond’s women, a tough pilot and judo expert whose “Flying Circus” of air-acrobats figures prominently in Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam.”
And watch for Oddjob (Harold Sakata) the villainous manservant, a wicked Korean who talks through a very lethal bowler hat. His final battle with James Bond inside the glittery gold depository is a heart stopper.