Goldfinger is the third film in the James Bond series and also the third to star Sean Connery as the MI6 agent James Bond. The main cast was rounded out by Honor Blackman and Gert Fröbe. The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and was the first of four Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton.
The film is generally regarded as the first official Bond blockbuster as well as being the template for all future Bond films; it is usually credited with triggering what is known as the "James Bond craze". The film made cinematic history when it recaptured its production costs in record-setting time, despite a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. Goldfinger was also the second Bond film to use a pop star to sing the theme song during the titles, the first being "From Russia With Love, sung by British pop star Matt Monro. Every other Bond film would include a pop star song, except On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
After a pre-titles "mini-adventure" in which James Bond destroys the base of a drug lord and defeats a thug in a bathroom brawl, the film proper begins in Miami with Bond foiling the plan of Goldfinger to cheat at gin, when he chats up the girl, Jill Masterson, who is watching the card game through a telescope. Bond and the girl have sex and afterwards, as Bond goes into the kitchen to get some fresh champagne, he is knocked unconscious by Goldfinger's henchman, Oddjob. When Bond comes to, he discovers that Jill has been covered with gold paint and she is dead. Later in London, Bond is told to investigate Goldfinger to discover his means of shipping gold internationally as Goldfinger is under suspicion of illegally smuggling his gold by Colonel Smithers who is in charge of the Bank of England. Bond goes to a golf course where he plays a round of golf with Goldfinger luring him with the prospect of getting a German gold bar from World War II era that Smithers supplied him with. He foils Goldfinger's cheating (although by switching the ball, he was cheating himself), and Goldfinger has to pay Bond. Oddjob at this point shows his ability to throw his hat which cuts the head off a stone statue, then he crushes a golf ball in the palm of his hand.
Bond installs a homing device on Goldfinger's car, and follows him to Switzerland. While there he meets the sister of the girl who was killed at the start of the film, who tries to shoot Goldfinger with a sniper rifle although she is 'a lousy shot'. Bond is chased around Goldfinger's factory by cars full of Asian men, and Bond using gadgets in his car to lose them, including the famous scene of the passenger side ejector seat, although he is finally brought to a stop by Oddjob's car with its bright yellow beams, and Bond crashes into a brick wall. The girl tries to escape, and Oddjob kills her with the hat he throws at her.
Bond bluffs his way out of being killed by the laser by pretending to know what 'Operation Grandslam' is that he overheard. He is saved from being lasered, but is shot in the chest by a stun gun, and wakes up on Goldfinger's plane, where Pussy Galore introduces herself. Bond activates a homing device in the heel of his shoe. They are flying to Kentucky, where Bond is taken to Goldfinger's ranch where he races horses. While there, Bond sees the plan of Goldfinger to attack Fort Knox, tries to drop a note off to the CIA by putting it in the pocket of one of the mob members who was going to help Goldfinger, although he ended up being shot by Oddjob and crushed when his car was crushed into a cube. Bond managed to convince Pussy Galore to change the nerve gas canisters in the planes about to attack Fort Knox with dummies, so that it has no effect on the soldiers there. In addition, the army are warned about the attack by Pussy, although this is not revealed until after Goldfinger has broken into the building, where they were all playing dead. But Goldfinger escapes because he is wearing a US uniform disguise under his coat.
Bond is chained to the small atomic device, and is able to free himself when Oddjob throws a guard down several stories next to Bond, and Bond retrieves the key. Bond and Oddjob then battle it out, Bond throws his hat at Oddjob which misses but get stuck in some metal bars. Bond then electrocutes him with a live wire that had been previously severed. Bond prepares to defuse the bomb, and just before he is about to pull some wires, the bomb defuser has arrived, and turns the right switch, disarming the bomb with the clock reading '007' seconds remaining.
Bond then flies off to meet the President, but he finds that Goldfinger has hijacked the plane and is planning to fly to Cuba. After a struggle, Goldfinger fires his gun, breaking the window, and he is sucked out of the plane. Bond quips that he is flying with his golden harp. The plane goes down, but Bond and the girl escape on parachutes.
Cast & Characters
- James Bond - Sean Connery
- M - Bernard Lee
- Miss Moneypenny - Lois Maxwell
- Q - Desmond Llewelyn
- Felix Leiter - Cec Linder
- Auric Goldfinger - Gert Fröbe
- Pussy Galore - Honor Blackman
- Oddjob - Harold Sakata
- Jill Masterson - Shirley Eaton
- Tilly Masterson - Tania Mallet
- Mr. Ling - Burt Kwouk
- Mr. Solo - Martin Benson
- Sierra - Raymond Young
- Bonita - Nadja Regin
- Capungo - Alf Joint
- Denise - Aleta Morrison
- Simmons - Austin Willis
- Hawker - Gerry Duggan
- Colonel Smithers - Richard Vernon
- Mei-Lei - Mai Ling
- Directed by: Guy Hamilton
- Written by: Ian Fleming
- Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
- Music composed by: John Barry
- Film editing by: Peter R. Hunt
- Cinematography by: Ted Moore
- Production design by Ken Adam
With the court case between Kevin McClory and Fleming surrounding Thunderball still in the High Courts, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to Goldfinger as the third Bond film. Goldfinger had what was then considered a large budget of $3 million ($22,480,687 in 2012 dollars), the equivalent of the budgets of Dr. No and From Russia with Love combined, and was the first James Bond film classified as a box-office blockbuster. Goldfinger was chosen with the American cinema market in mind, as the previous films had concentrated on the Caribbean and Europe.
Terence Young, who directed the previous two films, chose to film The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders instead, after a pay dispute that saw him denied a percentage of the film’s profits. Broccoli and Saltzman turned instead to Guy Hamilton to direct; Hamilton, who had turned down directing Dr. No, felt that he needed to make Bond less of a "superman" by making the villains seem more powerful. Hamilton knew Fleming, as both were involved during intelligence matters in the Royal Navy during World War II. Goldfinger saw the return of two crew members who were not involved with From Russia With Love: stunt coordinator Bob Simmons and production designer Ken Adam. Both played crucial roles in the development of Goldfinger, with Simmons choreographing the fight sequence between Bond and Oddjob in the vault of Fort Knox, which was not just seen as one of the best Bond fights, but also "must stand as one of the great cinematic combats" whilst Adam's efforts on Goldfinger were "luxuriantly baroque" and have resulted in the film being called "one of his finest pieces of work."
Richard Maibaum, who wrote the previous films, returned to adapt the seventh James Bond novel. Maibaum fixed the novel's heavily criticized plot hole, where Goldfinger actually attempts to empty Fort Knox. In the film, Bond notes it would take twelve days for Goldfinger to steal the gold, before the villain reveals he actually intends to irradiate it with the then topical concept of a Red Chinese atomic bomb. However, Harry Saltzman disliked the first draft, and brought in Paul Dehn to revise it. Hamilton said Dehn "brought out the British side of things". Connery disliked his draft, so Maibaum returned. Dehn also suggested the pre-credit sequence to be an action scene with no relevance to the actual plot. Wolf Mankowitz, an un-credited screenwriter on Dr. No, suggested the scene where Oddjob puts his car into a car crusher to dispose of a dead body. Because of the quality of work of Maibaum and Dehn, the script and outline for Goldfinger became the blueprint for future Bond films.
Principal photography on Goldfinger commenced on 20 January 1964 in Miami, Florida, at the Fontainebleau Hotel; the crew was small, consisting only of Hamilton, Broccoli, Adam, and cinematographer Ted Moore. Sean Connery never travelled to Florida to film Goldfinger because he was filming Marnie elsewhere in the US. Miami also served as location to the scenes involving Felix's pursuit of Oddjob. After five days in Florida, production moved to England. The primary location was Pinewood Studios, home to among other sets, a recreation of the Fontainebleau, the South American city of the pre-title sequence, and both Goldfinger's estate and factory. Three places near the studio were used, Black Park for the car chase involving Bond's Aston Martin and Goldfinger's henchmen inside the factory complex, RAF Northolt for the American airports, and Stoke Park Club for the golf club scene. London Southend Airport was used for the scene where Goldfinger flies to Switzerland. Ian Fleming visited the set of Goldfinger in April 1964; he died a few months later in August 1964, shortly before the film's release. The second unit filmed in Kentucky, and these shots were edited into scenes filmed at Pinewood. Principal photography then moved to Switzerland, with the car chase being filmed at the small curves roads near Realp, the exterior of the Pilatus Aircraft factory in Stans serving as Goldfinger's factory, and Tilly Masterson's attempt to snipe Goldfinger being shot in the Furka pass. Filming wrapped on 11 July at Andermatt, after nineteen weeks of shooting. Just three weeks prior to the film's release, Hamilton and a small team, which included Broccoli's stepson and future producer Michael G. Wilson as assistant director, went for last minute shoots in Kentucky. Extra people were hired for post-production issues such as dubbing so the film could be finished in time.
Broccoli earned permission to film in the Fort Knox area with the help of his friend, Lt. Colonel Charles Russhon. To shoot Pussy Galore's Flying Circus gassing the soldiers, the pilots were only allowed to fly above 3000 feet. Hamilton recalled this was "hopeless", and they flew at about 500 feet, "and the military went absolutely ape". The scenes of people fainting involved the same set of soldiers moving to different locations. For security reasons, the filmmakers were not allowed to film inside the United States Bullion Depository, although exterior photography was permitted. All sets for the interiors of the building were designed and built from scratch at Pinewood Studios. The filmmakers had no clue as to what the interior of the depository looked like, so Ken Adam's imagination provided the idea of gold stacked upon gold behind iron bars. Saltzman disliked the design's resemblance to a prison, but Hamilton liked it enough that it was built. The controller of Fort Knox later sent a letter to Adam and the production team, complimenting them on their imaginative depiction of the vault. United Artists even had irate letters from people wondering "how could a British film unit be allowed inside Fort Knox?" Adam recalled, "In the end I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted." Another element which was original was the atomic device, to which Hamilton requested the special effects crew to get inventive instead of realistic. Technician Bert Luxford described the end result as looking like an "engineering work", with a spinning engine, a chronometer and other decorative pieces.
|In-Film Locations||Shooting Locations|
Hamilton remarked, "Before Goldfinger, gadgets were not really a part of Bond's world." Production designer Ken Adam chose the DB5 because it was the latest version of the Aston Martin (in the novel Bond drove an DB Mk.III), which he considered England's most sophisticated car. The company was initially reluctant, but were finally convinced to a product placement deal. In the script, the car was only armed with smoke screen, but every crew member began suggesting gadgets to install in it: Hamilton conceived the revolving license plate because he had been getting lots of parking tickets, while his stepson suggested the ejector seat (which he saw on television). A gadget near the lights that would drop sharp nails was replaced with an oil dispenser because the producers thought the original could be easily copied by viewers - although this basic idea did eventually get used in Bond's BMW 750i in Tomorrow Never Dies. Adam and engineer John Stears overhauled the prototype of the Aston Martin DB5 coupe, installing these and other features into a car over six weeks. The scene where the DB5 crashes was filmed twice, with the second take being used in the film. The first take, in which the car drives through the fake wall, can be seen in the trailer. Two of the gadgets were not installed in the car: the wheel-destroying spikes, inspired by Ben-Hur's scythed chariots, were entirely made on studio; and the ejector seat used a seat thrown by compressed air, with a dummy sat atop it. Another car without the gadgets was created, which was eventually furnished for publicity purposes. It was reused for Thunderball.
Lasers did not exist in 1959 when the book was written, nor did high-power industrial lasers at the time the film was made, making them a novelty. In the novel, Goldfinger uses a circular saw to try to kill Bond, but the filmmakers changed it to a laser to make the film feel more fresh. Hamilton immediately thought of giving the laser a place in the film's story as Goldfinger's weapon of choice. Ken Adam was advised on the laser's design by two Harvard scientists who helped design the water reactor in Dr No. The laser beam itself was an optical effect added in post-production. For close-ups where the flame cuts through metal, technician Bert Luxford heated the metal with a blowtorch from underneath the table Bond was strapped to.
The opening credit sequence was designed by graphic artist Robert Brownjohn, featuring clips of all James Bond films thus far projected on Margaret Nolan's body. Its design was inspired by seeing light projecting on people's bodies as they got up and left a cinema.
Visually, the film uses many golden motifs to parallel the gold's symbolic treatment in the novel. All of Goldfinger's female henchwomen in the film except his private jet's co-pilot (black hair) and stewardess (who is Korean) are red-blonde, or blonde, including Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus crew (both the characters Tilly Masterson and Pussy specifically have black hair in the novel). Goldfinger has a yellow-painted Rolls-Royce, and also sports yellow or golden items or clothing in every film scene, including a golden pistol, when disguised as a colonel. Bond is bound to a solid gold table (as Goldfinger points out to him) before nearly being lasered. Goldfinger's factory henchmen in the film wear yellow sashes, Pussy Galore at one point wears a metallic gold vest, and Pussy's pilots all wear yellow sunburst insignia on their uniforms. "The color gold seems to persuade every scene, giving it a distinct motif that the other films have lacked". The concept of the recurring gold theme running through the film was a design aspect conceived and executed by Ken Adam and Art Director Peter Murton.
The model jet used for wide shots of Goldfinger's Lockheed JetStar was refurbished to be used as the presidential plane that crashes at the film's end. Several cars were provided by The Ford Motor Company including a Mustang that Tilly Masterson drives, a Ford Country Squire station wagon used to transport Bond from the airport to the stud ranch, a Ford Thunderbird driven by Felix Leiter, and a Lincoln Continental in which Oddjob kills Solo. The Continental had its engine removed before being placed in a car crusher, and the destroyed car had to be partially cut so the Ford Falcon Ranchero pick-up truck on which it is deposited could support the weight. The actual soundtrack of the car being compacted was deemed unusable; this was later dubbed during post production - sound editor Norman Wanstall used multiple overdubs of beer cans being crushed in a bucket to simulate the sound of the car being crushed, whilst the baling machine itself was replicated by recording the sound of an air compressor that was being used by road workers repairing the parking lot at Pinewood Studios.
- Main article: Goldfinger (soundtrack)
Since the release date for the film had been pre-determined and filming had finished close to that date, John Barry received some edits directly from the cutting room floor, rather than as a finished edit, and scored some sequences from the rough, initial prints. Barry described his work in Goldfinger as a favourite of his, saying it was "the first time I had complete control, writing the score and the song". The musical tracks, in keeping with the film's theme of gold and metal, make heavy use of brass, and also metallic chimes. The film's score is described as "brassy and raunchy" with "a sassy sexiness to it".
Goldfinger is said to have started the tradition of Bond theme songs being from the pop genre or using popular artists, although this had already been done with Matt Monro singing the title song of From Russia with Love. Shirley Bassey sang the theme song "Goldfinger", and she would go on to sing the theme songs for two other Bond films, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. The song was composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse that were described in one contemporary newspaper as "puerile". Newley himself recorded the early versions, which were even considered for inclusion in the film. The soundtrack album topped the Billboard 200 chart, and reached the 14th place in the UK Albums Chart. The single for "Goldfinger" was also successful, going 8th at the Billboard Hot 100, and 21st in the UK charts.
Although James Bond films are not known for their technical accuracy, but rather for outlandishly plausible action, one incident in this film bears mentioning.
In one scene, the villain's girlfriend, Jill Masterson, is murdered by "skin suffocation." She was painted with gold paint and died, because her skin was unable to breathe. According to urban legend, the concept was based on the death of Swiss fashion model who painted herself and asphyxiated.
Though this is a plausible explanation for this unusual method of killing, it has been argued whether or not it is possible. Humans, being mammals, achieve respiration via their mouths and nostrils to fill their lungs with air. The only animals that breathe through their skin are insects and worms. In fact, were it true that people breathe, in auxiliary fashion, through their skin, it would, therefore, be impossible for people to engage in extended bathing, mud baths, scuba diving and, indeed, body painting - activities requiring extended covering of the skin. If one did try murder via gilding, the victim would die of heat stroke, but only after a long period and not in the manner shown in the movie. The gold paint would clog the pores and prevent perspiration, rendering the body unable to properly regulate its temperature. Dying in this fashion, however, would take several days and is a very inefficient manner of killing.
The Discovery Channel series, MythBusters has twice attempted to prove or disprove whether skin suffocation due to paint was possible. In both experiments one of the hosts of the series was covered head-to-toe in gold paint. The first experiment was called off when the subject began experiencing breathing and blood pressure problems. In a follow-up experiment, a different subject was covered but this time showed no ill effects.
- The villain's name was borrowed from the architect Ernö Goldfinger, and his character bears some resemblance. Ernö Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when the book was published, prompting Fleming to suggest renaming the character "Goldprick", but eventually settled out of court in return for his costs, six copies of the book, and an agreement that the characters' first name Auric would always be used.
- The film's opening teaser sequence is based on the novel's opening where Bond is in the Miami Airport lounge thinking about the recent killing of a drug smuggler.
- The character "Pussy Galore" was named after Ian Fleming's pet octopus.
- Concerned about censors, the film's producers thought about changing Pussy Galore's name to "Kitty Galore". They kept the original name when British newspapers began to refer to Honor Blackman as "Pussy" in the lead up to production.
- Ian Fleming also contributed to the original draft screenplay for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series, in which one of the heroes was named "Napoleon Solo". That name originally came from the novel: Napoleon Solo is one of the crime bosses Goldfinger invites to participate in his scheme to steal the gold from Fort Knox, however, the character appearing in the film is a gangster referred to only as "Mr. Solo" (coincidentally a working title for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), he exits the story due to "a pressing engagement."
- Ford supplied the Lincoln Continental which is unceremoniously crushed in a junkyard compactor (causing much anger among American audiences) in return for the all-new Ford Mustang being showcased in the Swiss mountain driving sequence.
- In the end sequence, when the atomic bomb is defused, the original ending countdown shown was "003" seconds remaining to detonation. When the film was released in the U.S., the producers changed it to 007 seconds, but the dialogue line remained: "Three more ticks and Mr. Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot".
- For an unknown reason Jill and Tilly's surname was changed from Masterton to Masterson for the film.
- The gold-painted girl in the opening credits is actually Margaret Nolan who also plays Bond's Miami masseuse, Dink.
- Sean Connery never traveled to the United States to film this movie. Every scene where Bond is in America was shot at Pinewood Studios in London.
- For security reasons, the filmmakers were not allowed to film inside Fort Knox. All sets for the interior of Fort Knox were designed and built from scratch.
- The 3D map Goldfinger used during his mission briefing is now on display at Fort Knox.
- Bond is not a fan of those other British 1960s icons The Beatles. He tells Jill Masterson that they should not be listened to without earmuffs.
- Script co-writer Paul Dehn would later be hired to write most of the entries in the Planet of the Apes film franchise, in part due to his work on Goldfinger.
- Scenes from the film are shown during the opening credits sequence, although footage from the helicopter chase in From Russia with Love is also featured.
- The film was temporarily banned in Israel due to Gert Fröbe's connections with the Nazi Party. The ban, however, was lifted many years later when a Jewish family publicly thanked Fröbe for protecting them from persecution during World War II.
- Gert Fröbe was chosen for the villain's role because producers Saltzman and Broccoli had happened to see his performance in a German thriller named 'Es geschah am hellichten Tag' ('It happened in broad daylight', 1958), which is based on the story Das Versprechen (literally The Pledge) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. In that movie, Fröbe performed the role of a psychopathic serial killer named Schrott, who lets out his frustrations about his overly dominating wife on helpless children.
- The iconic slow aerial shot that follows the opening credits is that of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, which still stands. The big band piece accompanying that is John Barry's "Into Miami."