Goldfinger - 1964
James Bond's Goldfinger marks the third installment of the Sean Connery's era. With Guy Hamilton jumping in as director, this installment feels fresh and yet almost in a groove with how a Bond movie should flow. Goldfinger features a confident Bond in Connery and a great set of villains with a unique criminal master plan.
If I'm going to talk about Goldfinger, the first thing I need to address is the incredible music intro (to what has now become a Bond staple). The song was composed by John Barry and performed by the incredible Shirley Bassey, it's considered by many the quintessential Bond song and one that the following movies tried to surpassed. Along with the music, the visuals of the women painted gold, the black background and the movie scenes playing on their bodies is what makes this intro one if not the best of the entire franchise.
Sean Connery plays James Bond for the third time in his career, and it shows. He is confident, smooth and comfortable in this role. Cruising through all of the Bond tropes we know, drinking, seducing women, using gadgets and mocking bad guys, Connery was and is for many what a Bond should be. One of my favorite scenes that put Connery's mastery of what makes Bond great, is his creative escape of Goldfinger's prison:
Along with a great Bond we get a great Q, played by Desmond Llewelyn (who would play Q in a total of 17 films). The banter between them as Q shows off all the new gadgets that him and his team has came up with for Bond, is memorable and entertaining (something that would be repeated in many other films). Q begrudgingly shows him the new car (classic Austin Martin) asking him to try to bring it back in one piece, something that Bond rarely accomplishes with all of his gadgets.
Now let's talk about the bad guys, like all Bond films, we have two; Goldfinger the mastermind and Oddjob the henchman. Goldinger's plan is simple yet unique, as he plans to break into Fort Knox and contaminate the entire gold reserve so his personal reserve grows in great value. Oddjob, the second henchmen in the history of the franchise (the first being Red Grant in From Russia with Love), sets the stage for the rest of the henchmen to come. Oddjob is a combination of brute strength, a trademark (and random) weapon (in this case is his bladed top hat), little to no dialogue (but always sporting a smile) and 100% loyal to the criminal mastermind. Since Oddjob has the hand to hand combats covered, Goldfinger is in charge of challenging Bond with his mind, with great back and forth between them (Bond winning most, but Goldfinger gets a few good shots in... specially the best line of the movie below) throughout the movie, that makes you understand why so many people follow him and his evil.
Sometimes is hard to go back to old action movies and enjoy them like we do with the action movies of now a days (specially since we have become accustomed to Daniel Craig's Bond), but this movie delivers its fare share of action set pieces. Everything from hand to hand combat (Bond vs Oddjob), to chase sequence in the Austin Martin (with Bond using all the gadgets) and gun battles that are very well choreographed and directed.
Everything about this movie screams classic, specially in the Bond franchise. The intro is incredible and the story is solid, with enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged. Being able to watch Sean Connery's smooth, cool and "dangerous" Bond fifty-three years later and understand why every single Bond after him was messuared next to him is why I love movies.
Goldfinger is currently playing on Amazon Prime.