By Judy Berman
James Bond peels off his wet suit as he emerges from the water in the opening of the film Goldfinger and steps out on shore in a tux. It was the third film in the British spy series, and the beginning of my love affair with the MI6 agent James Bond (code name “007.”)
It is now the longest-running film series and celebrates its 50th anniversary with the opening of Skyfall starring Daniel Craig as Bond. The first Bond film, Dr. No, opened in 1962. There have been many admirable performers in Bond’s role. But, for me, the best is Sean Connery.
Shirley Bassey’s title song and the iconic opening as we first view the character thru the view of a gun barrel set the tone for an action-packed spy thriller in Goldfinger (1964). The cheeky spy, the gold-painted girl, humor and gadgets lured me in like Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) to a bar of gold.
That love of all that glitters was used as payback for betrayal. International jeweler, and suspected smuggler, Goldfinger had his former mistress and secretary, Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), painted in gold when she left him for Bond. Bond explained to his boss that Masterson died because her skin couldn’t breathe because the paint closed off all the pores of her body. (This was widely believed at the time, but was later found to be false.)
“Incidentally, Goldfinger, was not the first film in which a person was killed by being covered with gold paint. That honor belongs to the 1946 Boris Karloff movie, Bedlam,” said Snopes.com.
Before Bond can get the goods on Goldfinger, he returns to London and heads to the lab of his weapons specialist “Q.” There, Q gives Bond two tracking devices, and a new car (a 1964 Aston Martin DB5) that is equipped with machine guns, oil slick, smokescreen, passenger ejector seat, tire slashers, bulletproof glass and revolving license plates.
Bond puts the car thru its paces as he pursues, and then tries to elude, Goldfinger. It doesn’t end well for the Aston Martin nor, initially, for Bond.
Who else could remain as unflappable as Bond when he’s strapped to a table and about to be cut in two by a laser? Bond’s memorable line to Goldfinger:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
Bond didn’t, of course. He was able to dupe Goldfinger into believing he knew all about the villain’s Operation Grand Slam, as did his replacement, 008. Goldfinger did not want to risk word leaking out and ruining his plans to dominate the market for gold. So he takes Bond with him to the scene of his next crime: the gold in the depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
There, Goldfinger’s henchman, Odd-job is electrocuted. The weapon? Odd-job’s own lethal hat with a metal rim. Bond notes that Odd-job (Harold Sakata) “blew a fuse.”
Sad to say, the creator of the Bond books that led to the movies, Ian Fleming, never lived to see this film. His reaction to the screening of the first film, Dr. No, was “Dreadful. Simply dreadful.” I’m sure he would have been delighted with Goldfinger which was the first Bond film to to win an Oscar (category: Best Sound Effects).
For an excellent review of the newest Bond movie, Skyfall, visit Love Your Movies at: http://loveyourmovies.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/bond-celebrates-its-50th-anniversary-with-a-true-gem/
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Video clip from Goldfinger with title song by Shirley Bassey.
Snopes.com finds that the actress who portrayed Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), in the James Bond film Goldfinger, did not die from asphyxiation after being covered with gold paint . http://www.snopes.com/movies/films/goldfinger.asp
Photo: 1964 Aston Martin DB5, produced by Corgi, as a tie-in to the James Bond film Goldfinger http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/98/1964_Corgi_Aston_Martin_DB5.jpg