HIDDEN GEMS: 14. GOLDFINGER
Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome.
A British secret agent with a ‘license to kill’. A villainous German with a lust for gold. A beautiful woman with the unlikely moniker, Pussy Galore. I know it sounds like a bad Austin Powers movie, but in actual fact it is an action packed spy film from 1964. This obscure little film is an absolute gem. Starring former Manchester United footballer Sean Connery as James Bond 007, the movie begins with the English superspy blowing up some large tanks of heroin and he then proceeds to get entangling with card cheat and eccentric millionaire Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Frobe. Smelling something fishy, Bond is soon on his tail across Europe, playing golf with him in England before almost being castrated by laser somewhere in the Austrian Alps. A plot emerges to destroy the gold supply of the US and thereby boost Goldfinger’s own holdings. Along the way we meet fiendish henchman Odd Job (Harold Sakata) with his razor sharp bowler hat and the aforementioned Pussy, played by ex-Avenger Honor Blackman, Galore.
The style is cool; the action slickly played with enough wit to belie its own frequent ridiculousness and there is fun to be had all round. Bond is equipped with a series of gadgets by Q, his quartermaster, including a beautiful silver Aston Martin with features including ejector seat and machine guns. One can only wonder why the James Bond character never quite took on. Perhaps if he had been played by an American – after all by the sixties Britain was obviously a spent power on the world stage and the idea that it would be an English secret agent to save the day beggars belief. Perhaps the nascent feminist movement could no longer stomach the scene in which Bond cures Pussy of her lesbianism via judo and a hay stack. Or perhaps we as a culture just watch something this good and think it’ll never be better. Let’s not go on and on. Let’s stop now we’re at the top of our game.
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