Bond Breakdown #03: Goldfinger (1964)


Goldfinger (1964): Bond Breakdown by Rantbo

The Bank of England contacts MI:6 with a request that they investigate a gold dealer they suspect of smuggling and stockpiling large amounts of bullion. They want to know why, and how, he is transporting said gold overseas. So of course, top agent James Bond 007 is chosen for the job and he is soon to discover that this time, the stakes are higher than they have ever been.


Before delving into the credits, I think it’s worth mentioning a few things about the action-packed pre-credits sequence. Filled with top-notch espionage and ass-kickery; featuring a giant explosion, a beautiful girl and a brutal fight with a would be assassin, the third Bond installment hits the ground running. The sequence is as thrilling as it is funny and though it seemingly has nothing to do with the rest of the story’s plot, it kind of does…

By making that girl a human shield, Bond (in a way) creates the first of many anti-feminine undertones that snowball from this point. Also, with this sequence the filmmakers begin a trend in showing us that Bond and the girl had previously been together. This marks the first pre-credits sequence that could be considered the END to a previous, un-shot 007 adventure. We the audience get to join Bond at the closing end of another mission BEFORE getting to the one that we paid to see. Bonus. How cool is that!? Answer: Very.

Several female models squirm and wriggle in full golden body paint to, in my opinion, the best theme song in the 20+ film history. Not my favorite, mind, but it is just too well done and catchy to not be considered the crème of the crop. Shirley Bassey wailing “Go-wld Fing-Gar!” over John Barry’s score gives me chills and I find myself humming the tune for days after listening to it. You know you have a good song when the album sells enough copies to outshine the Beatles on the charts and go—dare I say?—Gold. The theme and credits of this film solidified the tradition and set the bar for all the following. It’s solid gold, baby.


Body Bags Filled [6] Bedpost Notches [2 for certain, 2 implied]

When we join him post credits, Bond is staying at a prestigious hotel in Miami, recuperating from his opening scene mission by bathing in the primordial stew of beautiful people. We find out though Bond’s buddy Felix, who crashes the scene, that it was M who sent James to the hotel for business, under the guise of vacation (dick move). It seems as though Bond is starting to take his job a little more serious. Rather than disappearing off the grid, much to the chagrin of M and MI:6, he is taking his holiday’s through the organization. This is the first of several character traits appearing in 007 that show his growth as a gentleman spy.

Another comes up while James is tailing Goldfinger’s car via transmitter. All is going as planned, until a beautiful girl happens into the scenario. Speeding past his car, Bond gets giddy as a schoolboy at the opportunity of sexual pursuit, but hesitates and tells himself out loud, “Dischipline 007, dischipline.” —

Who is this man, and what did he do to James!? It is these subtle tweaks and changes in his personality and habits that keep the character interesting and worth watching like a hawk.

GOLDFINGER catches Connery at his best, in his prime and having the time of his life. And it shows in his performance. Connery plays Bond with his usual comedic lighthearted touch, but this time it is accented with a more relaxed easy-going feel. My favorite performance of Connery as Bond, the man even makes golf intriguing. Now that’s charisma. Though he had played Bond for two years, it is clear that this is the film where Sean became him. And the world joined in.


Michael Mellinger is Kisch

Goldfinger’s second best man is often overlooked and  forgotten, overshadowed by that other henchman. Kirsch seems to carry out the military aspects of Goldfinger’s operation. Other than that, not much is known of the man. I only really felt the need to mention him in this review as he had a name and managed to procure the single most kills. Also, Bob Simmons gave him one hellova farewell dive.

Harold Sakata as Oddjob

Oddjob—putting the MAN in manservant. Named for his various talents at completing random dastardly tasks, his number one ‘odd job’ seems to be killing off gorgeous ladies—yes, he’s kind of an asshole. The man says nothing, but never has to. A mere grunt and a lumbering shuffle and the character is sold. While he is not the first to have a peculiar physical trait, (Dr. No’s hands) he is the first to make them memorable. With his shit-brick house frame, incredible strength and deadly throwing hat, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Also worth mentioning, the filmmakers decided to give him his own theme music. An eerie ~Bum, Ding!—Ding!—Ding!~ plays whenever he is revealed on screen. Not that he needed  it, as I’m sure everyone was already watching his every move (I know I was), the tune is still classic and almost rivals Bond’s own guitar cords. As far as henchmen go, this Oddjob was worth doing, and done right.

Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger

Arguably the Best Bond Villain of all time, Goldfinger is absolutely diabolical. He starts the film as a mere cheat at cards and golf and ends up being a criminal mastermind and a completely heartless bastard. The definition of megalomaniacal, Goldfinger redefined the role of the Bond Villain by adding an amazing sense of size and scope to the average everyday thief and practically invented the ‘Evil Monologue’ and ‘Over-The-Top’ presentation of  mad genius.

With a moral barometer permanently buried left of the middle, Goldfinger is a sight to behold. Not only does he show no sign of hesitation or remorse to the thought of killing over 60,000 people for the baseline purpose of increasing the value of his gold stockpile, he has also convinced a veritable army of goons that are willing to participate, fully knowing the outcome. Now THAT’S power.

It is appropriate that the film is named after this character as he completely owns every second he is in it. Which is saying a lot as I believe that every performance in this flick is fantastic. Maibaum and Dehn’s screenplay combined with Michael Collins’ voice and Fröbe’s performance, Goldfinger inspired a generation of evildoers and for good reason. He is, in a word: Perfect.


Nadja Regin as Bonita

Very little is know about this pre-credits femme fatale, other than she is not to be trusted. Shortly after blowing up a massive compound, James spots her at a nearby bar, dancing seductively for a small group of eager gentlemen. Upon hearing the explosion, Bonita rushes from the dive and is next seen bathing in Bond’s hotel room. It’s quite clear the two share some history, but just before it repeats itself (the history), the couple is interrupted by a would be assassin working in cahoots with Bonita. Bond narrowly avoids his attacker as he sees the traitorous deceit in her eyes, literally…

Quick thinking, Bond uses her as a human shield, and throws her unconscious body to the floor. After disposing of his attacker, 007 collects his things and heads for the door, leaving the confused and sore Bonita to wallow in her defeat and shame. And it’s the last we ever see or hear of her. But—was it the first?

Upon further research, I discovered that Nadja Regin is no newcomer to the Bond universe. She was also Ali Kerim Bay’s sex-starved lover in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

Now, so far as I know, she was never given a name within FRWL. The little we know about her character, was that she seemed to be genuinely in love with Kerim. So, I pose the question: Is Bonita Kerim Bay’s girlfriend? Was she so distraught over his death, that she tracked down Bond and seduced him into a trap for revenge of her lover’s death? We may never know, but it is an interesting proposition, is it not?

Margaret Nolan as Dink (and also one of the opening credits models)

Bond: Dink, meet Felix Leiter.
Dink: Hello.
Bond: Felix, say hello to Dink.
Felix: HI—Dink.
Bond: Dink, say goodbye to Felix.
Dink: Hmm?
Bond: Mmm—man talk. ~PTSH~

Shirley Eaton and Tania Mallet as Jill and Tilly Masterson, respectively

A sister sandwich I would love to slide my pickle into. Crude chauvinism aside, these girls represented far more than just the ideal female physical condition, they also represent two different aspects of women’s liberation. And both are grotesquely killed for it. Welcome to the 60s!

Aside from the Gun Barrel POV shot, Shirley Eaton’s impeccable body is arguably the most recognizable image from the film series. Though her role in the film was very small, you can show pretty much anyone that iconic image of her on that hotel bed, covered in gold, and have it be recognized immediately. While her character was simply someone who helped Goldfinger cheat at cards, her downfall, like so many other ladies, was succumbing to Bond’s charm. She helps him humiliate Goldfinger, before jumping into the sack with J.B.. Jilly gets to spend one lovely day with 007 before being punished for her actions by being painted entirely with gold and left unconscious to die by skin suffocation on the very bed she came to know God on. That’s what you get for betraying your man, ladies. Tsk Tsk.

T.M. is for Tilly Masterson and V is for Vendetta. Pissed at the grisly murder of her sister, this Bond babe is out for blood and rightfully so. Problem is, this girl is all passion and no payoff. She knows what she wants, but is unable to achieve it. Her plan comes apart time and time again as she keeps bumping into Bond. Twice she is stopped in the line of duty by James and thrice she fails at her objective of getting to Goldfinger first. Tilly’s story is by far the most tragic aspect of the film. Shortly after joining Bond in a riveting getaway sequence, her luck is improving as it looks like she will team up with James in bringing down the bad guy. But—sadly, this is not the case. Bond underestimates Goldfinger’s henchmen and Tilly gets her neck broke in the process. This is what happens when you try and take on a man for revenge, ladies. Tsk Tsk.

The sisters’ tale is indeed a tragic one and brought a great degree of mystery and suspense to the film. I shall remember them always.

Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore

On top of from having the most renowned name in the Bond Girl stable, Pussy is THE kick ass Bond girl. Showing up late in an already amazing Bond entry, Pussy proved that Bond girls could be more than just eye-candy. Unlike Jill Masterton, Pussy is not just another one of Goldfinger’s floozies. A trained martial artist and world class pilot, Pussy leads a group of all-female aviators, that call themselves ‘Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus’. I believe that James says it best, ‘I musht be dreaming.’

Pussy shows up several times in the film, always catching Bond in an act of tom-foolery and for some messed up reason he is always glad to see her. “Poo-she!“ She holds him at gun point, knocks him around with her judo skills, and after a romp in some hay, decides to help James monkey-wrench Goldfinger’s plan by alerting the CIA and switching out the deadly toxic canisters on her planes with something that isn’t. What a gal. Honor Blackman oozes sex like a sponge contraceptive and brought about a tinge of class, beauty and grace to difficult-to-take-serious role, solidifying Miss Galore as a classic cinematic sex-pot and memorable entry to Bond’s stable of easily-forgettable floozies. She could judo-chop my ass any day.


With the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE briefcase of badassery a huge success, the producers decided to up the ante and took it to the limit:

(and what modifications they are…)

-Windscreen, Bulletproof
– Revolving License Plates
– Radar Screen
– Extending Hubcap Tire Slashers
– Exploding Sun Roof With Passenger-Side Ejector Seat (No Joke)
– Extendable Rear Bulletproof Shield
– Twin Browning Machine-gun Turrets
– Rearward Defense Smoke and Oil Slick Sprayers

And those are just the features used in the film. The prop department also installed:
– Radar Scanner, Hidden In The Wing Mirror
– A Hidden Car Phone In The Glovebox
– A Hidden Gun Tray Under The Driverside Seat
– A Device That Dropped Nails Out The Rear Headlight
– And Front and Back Extendable Ramming Rods

The Aston Martin  is an icon of automotive craftsmanship. And God damn is it a gorgeous chunk of metal. It’s sleek style and flashy design quickly made it the most famous car in cinematic history. And what is a car without it’s creator? Desmond Llewelyn returns as Brittan’s top quartermaster, Q.

His role enlarged, we are given a tour of his laboratory and birthplace of Bondian gadget lore. Bond, of course, immediately thinks of using Q’s inventions to serve his sex life and Q quickly tires of Bond’s overly-confident know-it-all attitude. And, thus begins the mock nemeses relationship of Bond and Q. Bond finds Q’s briefing a bore and Q finds Bond’s apathy for instructions irritating. Like an old married couple, Q is the one person who doesn’t have to put up with Bond’s nonsense and this just makes James push it further. Grow up, 007…


The Body Count [66]

Bond only takes out 6 himself this time, which is sort of disappointing after FRWL. He electrocutes one, kills four by a car explosion-oil slick proxy, and shoots one dead before being captured for the duration of the film. Not all is bleak for those viewers with unquenched bloodlust, however, as the supporting cast almost triples the amount of death from the first two films combined.

Goldfinger gets his beefy yellow hands dirty and shoots 5 men dishonorably and then in the climax, accidentally takes himself out. Oddjob gets the creativity medal for his 3, with a kill by skin suffocation, a kill by bowler induced broken neck and one by gunshot, turned overkill in a car crusher. Kisch takes the single players cake with 11 kills, with the press of a gas chamber button. And the final battle at Fort Knox warrants an impressive 35 dead Asian Stunt-Team members and 5 American Soldiers, proving that a homegrown Kentucky white-boy  is worth 7 slant-eyed communists. And before you send hate-mail, that’s the movie talking, not yours truly.

The Best Fight

Bond vs. Oddjob

The fight mirrors Bond vs. Red in that the fighting style of Bond is the same (clunky, awkward and silly), but the fight differs in that this time 007’s skills are pitted against a professional wrestler with a lot of room to get throw-crazy in, as it takes place in the treasure room of Fort Knox (Pinewood Studios). The two men grunt, shove and judo-chop one another all across the showroom, and it soon becomes clear that brawn will be taking home the gold…

Just kidding, of course 007 wins. Using a bowler-severed powerline, Bond electrocutes Oddjob as he tries to retrieve his beloved hat from some metal bars and the poor fellow fries like rice.

Felix: Where’s your butler friend?
Bond: He blew a fuse.

The Most Satisfying Kill

This honor goes to the title character, and the novelty death he performs on the film’s lead villain. Wrestling with Bond in the fuselage of an in-flight jet, Goldfinger squeezes his revolver a little too tight, trying to keep it in his possession during the struggle and a shot goes off claiming a window as its victim. Naturally, with a hole in the side of the aircraft, the cabin decompresses and causes a little bit of unwanted suction…

Pussy: What happened? Where’s Goldfinger?
Bond: Playing his golden harp.


Best Witticism

[After throwing a would be assassin into a bathtub full of water and knocking a heat-lamp in after him]

Bond: Shaw-king.

Best Double Entendre

[James and Tilly inspect the damage to her car after it goes off-road]
Tilly: Huh, look at them!
Bond: A double blow-out! I‘ve never seen one of these before.
Tilly: How could new tires…?
Bond: A defect of some kind, most likely. Anyway, I’m so glad it’s only the car, and not you. You don’t look like the sort of girl who should be ditched.


Some may say you need a grain of salt to fully digest a Bond film and for this outing, a pinch may be required. As the entire outcome of this film comes down to one Bond gadget that is never shown on-screen. I’m talking, of course, about the good old PP, 7 and a half—(you know—his Pee-Nish)..

If Goldfinger has the Midas touch, then James Bond has the maternal touch. Bond spends nearly the entire film being outsmarted, defeated and in captivity, yet still somehow manages to win the day… Bond’s one saving grace? His libido.

Allow me explain. It all comes down to that memorable scene in the hay loft. Charged with making Bond look at ease for the on looking CIA agents, Pussy takes James for a walk and tries her best to not act disgusted by his thick flow of male-chauvinistic charm.

When Bond first meets her, he tries immediately to crack her prickly demeanor, but as Pussy says, “You can turn off the charm. I’m immune.” What she is REALLY saying is, “I am batting for the opposite team and I don’t just mean working for Goldfinger”. This is kept pretty low-key in the film, and might go unnoticed by the casual observer. But I know a lesbian when I see one.

So, this all adds up to the most blatant of examples in the anti-feminine undertones. It is in that hay filled stable that Bond crushes feminism much like Stallone crushed communism in ROCKY IV. After ending her charade of kindness toward Bond with a judo flip, the two continue to show off their moves resulting in Bond forcing himself on Pussy and kissing her until she bloody well likes it. Bond understands, sometimes you have to take the Pussy.

Lucky for James, in the realm of the 1960’s spy world, rape can apparently get you everything you need to save the day. In “appealing to Pussy’s maternal instincts” (deep dicking), Bond gets her to renounce her same-sex ways and turn over a new flap.

Pussy betrays Goldfinger, alerts the CIA and successfully aids James in saving over 60,000 lives and the entire U.S. economy. All because of his fully stocked slacks. The best part about all this is that this wasn’t even James’s intention! He just wanted to get some ass before he died. When Bond speaks with Felix after helping to disarm the third-act bomb, he asks how they foiled Goldfinger and were able to help, only then finding out that it was a defected Pussy that saved his ass. Now that’s some powerful man chowder.

GOLDFINGER is the epitome of everything a Bond film should be. A Charismatic Hero, Gorgeous Leading Ladies, Action, Mystery, Suspense, Drama and a Little Old Lady With A Machinegun.

What a ride. This movie inspired countless films and characters. From the spoof film SPY HARD to the comedic action films like IF LOOKS COULD KILL and TRUE LIES, to being the source of 90% of Mike Myers’s AUSTIN POWERS jokes. Everyone tries to copy it, few come close and none have ever surpassed it. The film is an event not to be missed.


[X] Destroys Evil Doer’s Lair
[X] Drinks or Orders a Vesper Martini
[X] Gets Captured and/or Tortured
[X] Introduces Himself As “Bond—James, Bond”
[X] Teams-Up With Felix Leiter
[X] Uses Judo or a Walther PPK to Dispose of an Enemy
[X] Wears a Tux


Goldfinger (1964) © Danjaq S.A., United Artists, MGM Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment