October 21, 2014


  ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.


This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon



ColeSmithey.comIt took until the third installment of the Ian Fleming-based James Bond spy movie franchise for its identity to crystallize.

Following on the successful heels of “Dr. No” (1962) and “From Russia with Love” (1963) — both directed by Terence Young, Sean Connery’s early mentor for the urbane leading role — “Goldfinger” marked a significant upgrade in production values that would make everything about the franchise iconic. Female characters would be sexier and more dangerous, yet also more likely to die.


“Goldfinger’s” introduction of Pussy Galore (played by Honor Blackman) sent a powerful signal. Exotic set pieces would be epic in scale. The series’ signature nuanced tone, straddling dualities such as dry humor and outrageous danger, would be more pronounced.

John Barry’s unforgettable theme, sung by the incomparable Shirley Bassey, created a longstanding tradition of James Bond theme songs becoming chart-topping hits.

Budgeted at more than the cost of the first two films combined, “Goldfinger” launched the ritual of beginning each subsequent Bond film with a stand-alone mission sequence for the fictional British MI6 agent, known by his code number 007, to show off his stuff.


Other customs followed. An assignment meeting with British Secret Service head M allows for the otherwise autonomous Mr. Bond to have his feathers clipped while being informed of his latest mission. A little office flirtation with M’s secretary Ms. Moneypenny segues into a meeting with resident gadget master Q, who gets Bond up to speed on the state-of-the-art devices that the audience can expect to see employed throughout the movie.

It’s not every spy that can arrive on an island in a wet suit, blow up a South American drug lab, strip down to a white tux, and seduce a villainess who must be sacrificed to save his own skin — all without breaking a sweat, as Bond does in “Goldfinger.”


Yet every man wants to be James Bond, and every woman wants to be with a guy as capable, confident, and handsome as Sean Connery. The Scottish actor made such an indelible impression in the role that most audiences still consider Connery’s portrayal to be the truest filmic embodiment of the James Bond character to command the big screen.


A pay dispute between Terrence Young and the franchise’s notoriously selfish producers (Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman) opened the door for French-born English director Guy Hamilton to helm “Goldfinger,” a story based on Ian Flemming’s seventh novel in his 16-story James Bond series.


007’s mission is to foil international gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger (‪Gert Fröbe‬). The treacherous villain uses a trafficking technique later employed by the real-life heroin smugglers represented in William Friedkin’s “The French Connection” (whereby illicit goods are stashed in the body of a large car).


Goldfinger’s plan to rob the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox arrives at Bond’s eavesdropping ear in an outrageous set piece of exposition wherein the German mastermind enlightens the heads of America’s regional Mafias before killing them via poison gas. The not-so-subtle nod to Hitler was not lost on audiences at the time.


“Goldfinger” set in stone the formula for what would become cinema’s longest running and most reliably entertaining franchise. Regardless of how many installments have come since, “Goldfinger” retains its reputation as the best of the bunch.


Rated PG. 110 mins.

5 StarsColeSmithey.com

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos



Throwback Thursday

Podcast Series