“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!”
Helmed by franchise newcomer Guy Hamilton who had previously turned down the chance to shoot the first Bond movie and with a budget three times that of “Dr No”, “Goldfinger” with it’s memorable Shirley Bassey sung theme song told the story of Auric erm…Goldfinger who is planning to detonate a nuclear device in Fort Knox, thereby devaluing the US’s stock of gold to raise the value of his own. Naturally, Bond manages to foil him, aborting the countdown to detonation and blowing Goldfinger out of the cabin of his own private jet. This was the last film that Ian Fleming was able to visit during production, he died a few months before it was released.
Hamilton assembled a cracking cast for his movie. Professional German Gert Frobe played Goldfinger, a man obsessed with the precious metal with a nice line in industrial lasers (then new technology) while Tania Mallet as the doomed Tilly Masterson made a good impression, though it is Shirley Eaton who is best remembered and who featured most prominently in the publicity for her inventive death scene where she is suffocated by being covered in gold paint.
Honor Blackman, fresh from the similar role of Cathy Gale in the TV series “The Avengers” played the enticingly named “Pussy Galore” , Goldfinger’s private pilot and put her judo skills acquired on the series to good use in a memorable scene where she defeats Bond in hand to hand combat, before inevitably mellowing to his charms.
Ex wrestler Harold Sakata was Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob. Again, the character was given a “gimmick” in that he memorably killed by flinging a steel rimmed bowler hat at his opponents; the eventual cause of his downfall as Bond touches a power cable to the metal bars in which the hat is stuck and electrocutes his opponent (a scene during which Sakata was reportedly badly burned). Jack Lord who had played Felix Lieter in Dr No was not invited to reprise the role after he demanded billing as a co star and considerably more money, the part was taken instead by experienced character actor Cec Linder.
Another famous first appearance in this film came in the sleek shape of Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Two cars were used in the making of the film, only one of which was equipped with such imaginative gadgets as revolving number plates, a smoke screen and an ejector seat.
Ken Adam took over as art director. Denied access to fort Knox for security reasons, he simply invented his own version which was unpopular with the producers but which found favour with Hamilton and so was used regardless. Released in 1964, Goldfinger rapidly became the fastest grossing film of all time and with so many iconic scenes, such as Shirley Eaton’s quite beautiful golden death, Oddjob taking time out to crush a golf ball and the sight of a laser beam inching inexorably towards the pinioned Bond’s crotch, Goldfinger went on to set the template for every Bond film that followed.