Great theme song by Shirley Bassey, contains some of the most memorable scenes of the franchise (Do you expect me to talk?), fantastic gadgets, and Bond has some truly funny one-liners. The whole affair really feels like a 60's pulp-thrill comic book brought to vivid life, and I mean that in the best sense possible.
However, with all these elements that surely make Goldfinger an entertaining flick, why is it I don't LOVE this entry as much as everybody else does? I think it comes down to two critical things:
1. Despite her outrageously hilarious name, I find Pussy Galore to be the most over-hyped Bond girl of all time. Outside of her name, I just find her to be a bland, unremarkable character and don't get me started on the infamous barn scene.
2. The second act, in which Bond is a prisoner of the title villain, is a bit too slow-paced and nearly grinds the whole affair to a dead halt. The fact that the whole second-half of the movie takes place in America doesn't help matters (I find pretty much all the Bond movies that take place in America to be boring)
Don't misunderstand, I do enjoy this movie and I do appreciate it's importance to the franchise, but it doesn't even break my personal top ten Bond entries. Heck, I enjoy the previous two Connery films and the two that came afterwards (Thunderball and You Only Live Twice) more.
A lead with all the answers, courageous, on-the-job and yet not too on-the-job to take a detour every now and then (If the reason's sexy enough), civilized and yet ready to rough-and-tumble should the need occur. Check.
The women? Competent, alluring, able to do any man's job (forgive me) and more, and yet still submissive? Check.
Our villain? Sophisticated, worldly (portly, too), ingenious, conniving, ruthless. Check. Did I mention ruthless yet? Check again.
Henchman? Strong. Silent. Ready to kill. And yet stylishly coiffed with a derby. Check.
Let's get ready to rumble.
Unfortunately, the film looks quite dated. The misogynist undertones in the way Bond controls women as well as the ridiculously sexist names like Pussy Galore come off today as too objectifying to overlook. The action scenes are cringe worthy, and the plot seems rather flat when compared to Bond's latest adventures.
That's not to detract from the fact that Goldfinger is required viewing for any Bond fan. This is the film that established the character as we have come to know it. It's also interesting to watch this film to see how far we've come since its release, both for the better and for the worse.
This one certainly has some of the most memorable quotes and moments for sure, namely the chief Bond girl's name (the deliciously unsubtle entendre of Pussy Galore), the infamous torture/intimidation scene (laser near the crotch), and the sequence with the woman in gold. It also marked a shift into the kitschy and campy realms, mostly with the gadgets and humor, but thankfully these didn't reach the heights of silliness until far later on in the series.
Bond is tasked with the fairly straightforward mission of stopping a notorious gold smuggler from robbing Fort Knox. Of course, despite how simple this sounds/seems, the quest to getting the job done is loaded with many challenges, perils, and great characters. Not only did this film really help set the tone for the rest of the series, but it also had a major hand in shaping the look, feel, and tone for many other action and adventure films of the 1960s and 70s.
Hands down required viewing for all fans of Bond, spy films, and action/adventure movies in general.
Goldfinger is like a Bugs Bunny cartoon: it's ludicrous, violent, occasionally fun to watch, and has no moral center. I enjoyed watching the film in spite of itself. Normally, I gain pleasure from films when they make my brain work harder than it would if I were staring at the walls, but this film actually requires that one turn one's brain off and enjoy the spectacle of beautiful women and debonair Sean Connery and contrived plot devices that fit into the Bond formula as securely as we're supposed to feel knowing that spies like Bond are protecting us from the bad guys.