If “From Russia With Love” offered a promising future for James Bond, Guy Hamilton’s direction of “Goldfinger” solidified it. This is Sean Connery’s best representation of 007, and yet the only triumphant thing the character does is win a golf match against the title character, Goldfinger played by Gert Frobe.
As good as the film is, Bond does not succeed in any effort to thwart the diabolical plans of Auric Goldfinger, who intends to invade the gold depository located at Fort Knox. Bond doesn’t deactivate the bomb. He doesn’t successfully get his CIA allies on the right track. He doesn’t even do away with Mr. Goldfinger. Everything happens to occur circumstantially. James Bond just got lucky this time.
So then why is the third entry considered by many to be the best in the series?
Well, the movie is immense in its charm, and it pioneers the flavor of nearly ever Bond film released from here on out, at least until the coming of the blunt, brooding instrument of Daniel Craig.
The vile henchman, Oddjob with his razor bowler hat introduced a staple needed for a winning film. Every bad guy had to have an unusual trait. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) set a more defined precedent for the Bond Girl. Even Shirley Bassey’s dangerously pounding title song carried a threat of the most threatening villains to come.
Plus the gadgets are exceedingly fun. How do I know? Because time and again Bond returns toward using his classic Astin Martin DB5 with tricked out machine guns, oil slick and (I wouldn’t joke about this) ejector seat. 007’s moment with Q became a necessary ingredient in every Bond film following “Goldfinger.” Actually, I think Q is only missing from 2 or 3 films following this entry.
The tongue in cheek theme couldn’t be more apparent in this film thanks to Sean Connery. “Manners Oddjob. I thought you always took your hat off to a lady.” His casual response to any threat or following subduing a bad guy is such fun. What else would you say after you’ve electrocuted a guy in a bath tub?
“Shocking. Positively shocking.”