My Summer Love Letter to James Bond: A Series of Bond Reviews

samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
edited July 2014 in The James Bond Films
Dr. No

Every summertime as the school year winds down, and June comes to a close; everyone I know feels a great sense of triumph, relief, and anticipation towards summer. This thought always hits me as soon as I exit the front door of my school with my report card tucked away in my pocket. I think about the new challenges I had to overcome that year, whether it be a difficult course or annoying teacher. After a few days of celebration, summer has officially sunk in, and all I have to worry about now is unmowed lawns and sunburns.

About five years ago, my summer was just beginning. It was Canada Day (July 1), and after a day of celebrations my family and I had returned home. It was about quarter to nine in the evening, my dad and I were sitting on the downstairs couch, watching TV, hoping to pass a couple hours until fireworks started at midnight. With a Pepsi in one hand and the remote in the other, he flipped through most of the channels on the guide, but nothing was catching our eyes. He flipped again through, slower this time and one program caught my eye. It even started in just a few minutes.

Dr. No

I didn't know it was as Bond film at the time, (the only ones I had seen at the time were the two Craig pictures and Tomorrow Never Dies), but my dad did, I soon came to realize how much of a fan he was of the Bond franchise. The blinking cursor on the screen in front of me snatched Dr. No and entered. Since then, I've never looked back.

Immediately after clicking we caught a montage of the best and most action packed sequences in the history of Bond. They ranged from Moore leaping of the snowy mountain in The Spy Who Loved Me to Brosnan driving a motorcycle with Wai Lin while being chased by a helicopter. In little time I learned all these moments. The montage ended soon after and revealed the reason of this promotion. The station, beginning tonight, and every night that July would play one Bond film, in order until the most recent flick Quantum of Solace. My dad smirked, and looked at me. He said, "Good thing I don't have plans this month." I laughed. Two hours later, there was no doubt, I was going to be a Bond fan for life.

Every summer since, beginning on the first of July, I embark on an annual re-watch of my favorite franchise. Always beginning at Dr. No, of course. But this summer, I wanted to express my love for the films, and this is the method I've selected. Here are my thoughts on one of the finest jewels in Bond crown, Dr. No.

***

One of the first things that ever really leapt out to me about this film is Sean Connery's performance, and how he plays the role of Bond. From the get-go in the casino, you are looking at a self-confident, suave, quick-witted, and womanizing force on the screen which is hard not to enjoy. He immediately gave off the impression that he can be a very dangerous man when needed. He also looks very fit as well, which allows you to think that he can give anyone who wants it, a scrap. He shows us later on by manhandling the clearly weaker chauffeur (Mr. Jones) who took him to the airport. Even at the end of the film when Bond and Dr. No are shoving on the tiniest of enclosures, I had little doubt that Bond could lose because of what we see saw and an hour earlier. Plus, Dr. No without any hands, was in tough anyway.

Not only did Connery turn in a quality performance, but he was a given a good script for him to work with. He has enough punny one-liners and solid dialogue (dinner with Dr. No), to really show off a Bond as a character that you can really enjoy and root for on the screen.

Ursula Andress' portrayal is one of my favorites in the series. I have always loved, loved, loved Honey. She's stunning, the beautiful blonde hair, the tan body, and gorgeous legs. Whoa! Every time I watch I can't what to see her emerge onto the beach. Ursula plays Honey with a certain sense of naivety or vulnerability that I think helps the character. Honey walks into quite a predicament, and is understandably scared. In the Bond cannon, the Bond girl very rarely just pops up right out of the blue and had no choice but to continue into a dangerous mission. That's what gives Honey a bit uniqueness, and she sets the bar high for her fellow female counterparts to follow.

The plot of the movie is easy enough to follow, and is quite enjoyable. The writers did a good job of using a matter that was quite relevant at that time and it really isn't that difficult to envision.

Dr. No's mystery, is what builds him up to be a great villain. The control he has of Professor Dent, Mr. Jones, and the airport photographer is very interesting and lets your mind fill in the blanks. What does he look like, and what allows him to control and manipulate as well as he does? That's whats I've really come to enjoy about his character. We find out later that he is very cerebral and is well thought out. And when you do get a chance to see him, that eerie music plays, and you soon find out hie much of a maniac he really is.

Bond's two main allies in the picture, are Felix Leiter, and Quarrel the local fisherman. Quarrel is a real fun character and adds a realistic perspective to the film which is greatly appreciated. What gets almost lost about him is, he is only there because he was hired to be there. Quarrel's death is solely the fault of Bond and Leiter, because he had no dog in the fight. He basically foreshadows his doom, by saying how much he was unwilling to go to Crab Key because of the mystery of Dr. No and the dragon. Quarrel is unique because he really is an ally by hire, and not an ally with a government or agenda. With that being said; John Kitzmiller, Connery, and Jack Lord play off of each other well, especially in the nightclub. Every time I watch, I never get sick of Quarrel and Leiter.

For a low budget film, the brains behind the film did a good job of creating action, drama, and suspense in clever ways. The tarantula is a great example. Bond is at the mercy of this spider and there is little he can do to stop it. With that in mind, the staredown between Quarrel and Bond after they first and both begin walking to the bar is intriguing because of how it is directed. There is just an edge to it (excluding the subtle drop of Underneath the Mango Tree). Even Bond's escape from his cell is so interesting because you aren't sure what's going to happen. What could be hiding in that tunnel?

Ken Adam's sets is something that all Bond fans have come to enjoy over the years, and it all started here. I really like M's office as sort of the typical drab and very serious place where all of Britain's secrets are held. Dr. No's buildings are visually stunning as well, the control room is fantastic, plus the dining room are sophisticated and shown off well. But my favorite is the white room where Dent receives the spider. The dome, with a grid for a ceiling just feels sadistic, and the intensity of that scene alone is built up by the eerie room and it's white walls.

***

Little Things I've Grown to Love

The opening is fantastic, I don't get sick of seeing the flashing lights and Jamaican dancers, and there are no complaints about the Bond theme, that's for sure. Plus, the music playing in the tarantula scenes and when Dr. No is first introduced are both immaculate.

When Bond is in the casino playing chemin de fer, there are few weird looking characters st the card table. When Bond receives the card for him to leave, the guy to his right gives him the weirdest glance. Also the man to the right of Sylvia Trench looks like a British Bob Newhart, and when the camera pans out, you can see a lady with these thick sunglasses on at the table next to him. It's like she's trying to be like Phil Hellmuth or a modern poker player...

On the topic of sunglasses, Leiter's glasses could be the most unintentionally hilarious moment of the film. The last time I saw a pair like those, they were resting on the face of an eighty year-old woman.

A point that proves that Connery is just great in this film is this one. While phoning Playdell-Smith at the airport payphone, he discovers that the chauffeur there is really a baddie. As he's about to hang up, Bond says, "Forgive me if I'm a few minutes late." Then delivers the deadliest glare I've seen in a Bond flick. If looks could kill, the chauffeur, all three blind beggars, Miss Taro, and Dr. No all would have perished. It's so scary. That is the official, "You just screwed with the wrong British secret service agent."

While in the nightclub, the great tune "Jump Up" is played all danced to by all the people. If you look close enough, just as Pus-feller is about to arrive at Bond's table there is some guy that looks hilarious as he shakes his face and all muscles as much as he possibly can.

Bond again ascerts his will on others by the way he rather poshly asks for the slip of paper back from Professor Dent at Dent's office. The icyness of the whole conversation is great anyway, but the way James says, "Ohhh Professor, allow me" and snatches back that bill is excellent.

Again, Bond seems like he is really in control of each situation he's in, even when there is no he is. When originally captured by Dr. No, Honey and James are both being hosed off from the radiation they received on the island, Bond is still handcuffed. The way he orders himself to be uncuffed is hilarious, he basically just points and says "You, How bout we do something about this first" and gets his wish.

Staying in that scene, I swore for a long time there was s slip by the censors when Honey receives her towel from the baddies. The way the camera is angled, it looks like if you just could maybe make out a nipple or something.... but alas try as I might, (and I did), I was never able to see anything out of the ordinary. It wasn't until recently that I found out she's wearing a skin-coloured bathing suit. Oh well...

While Dr. No and Bond are conversing over dinner, Bond conjures the line, "World domination, same old dream." What an amazing line, considering this is only the first Bond picture and 50 years of world domination attempts still haven't been tried.

***

Little Things I Dislike

Bond and Honey are talking while Quarrel's taking first watch for the dragon. Honey talks about how her father was killed, she was raped, and how she killed her rapist, and Bond looks so completely uninterested. Then at the end, gives a look like, "What the hell kind of woman did I just get to know." I wonder if Sean was told to play it that way, or decided himself to it that way. It just has always irked me.

For a seemingly smart villain, and intelligent manipulator of people, Dr. No makes some really really dumb choices. This is a man that seems to have the means to do whatever he needs to eliminate those in his way and he chooses, a one-off assassination attempt from long range (a scene that I always forget about because it's just awful), and the slight chance that if you put a spider in Bind's room it will kill him. That one is destroyed by basic common sense. Aren't there so many more effective ways that could be tied to eliminate him? The fact it takes two ridiculous attempts to realize that you know somebody to actually hunt him down and shoot him, shouldn't happen for a smart guy like Dr. No. Also he gives Bond an escape route from his cell. It's almost like he asked to be killed.

After Bond delivers Miss Taro to the authorities, why does he stay at her house? Why does he assume someone will come to kill him? Why would Professor Dent assume Bond is still at her house? If anyone has an answer to that, I would be grateful.

***

Overall, Dr. No is one of the finest films in the Bond cannon. It has always had a special place in my heart for making me the fan I am today. 52 years after the fact, I still think that it holds up today, and provides two hours of entertainment for the average guy. Connery really shows he has the stuff to play Bond, and that's what puts it over others in the series.

10/10
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Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    Welcome Samurai 4114 {[]
    Wonderful review of Dr No, many interesting points. -{ I was hooked way back
    In 1975 when it was first shown on British TV. :D as a matter of interest, We
    Have started a Bond Film club ( starting this month ) to review two films a month
    and this month we are starting with Dr No and FRWL.
    http://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/44079/bond-bluray-film-club/
    If you could perhaps copy and paste this brilliant review there, you'd be one of the
    First reviewers :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,301Chief of Staff
    Nice review, and welcome!
    A couple of minor points- the reason No attempts to have Bond killed by spider is "Plausible Deniability", and it's the same with the attempt to run his car off the road. If Bond is killed seemingly by accident, there would be less suspicion than if he were found shot dead- which is why the long-range assassination attempt and Dent's try at shooting him in Miss Taro's bed are weak plotwise (and neither is from the book).
    Dent assumes Bond is still at Miss Taro's house since she tells Dent she will keep Bond there as long as she can. And Bond assumes that Dent will try to kill him since he thought he would turn up sooner or later- Bond was already suspicious of Dent, who is either a poor professor or a bad liar, and knew Miss Taro was talking to someone about him.
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Nice review, and welcome!
    A couple of minor points- the reason No attempts to have Bond killed by spider is "Plausible Deniability", and it's the same with the attempt to run his car off the road. If Bond is killed seemingly by accident, there would be less suspicion than if he were found shot dead- which is why the long-range assassination attempt and Dent's try at shooting him in Miss Taro's bed are weak plotwise (and neither is from the book).
    Dent assumes Bond is still at Miss Taro's house since she tells Dent she will keep Bond there as long as she can. And Bond assumes that Dent will try to kill him since he thought he would turn up sooner or later- Bond was already suspicious of Dent, who is either a poor professor or a bad liar, and knew Miss Taro was talking to someone about him.

    Thanks for the warm welcomes! What you're saying makes a lot of sense, and perhaps I didn't really think enough about it.

    And I'd be delighted to add my review Thunderpussy.
  • BlackleiterBlackleiter Washington, DCPosts: 5,604MI6 Agent
    What a terrific post and review! Great to have you in the group, samurai4114. I'm looking forward to your other reviews and contributions to the forum. -{
    "Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."
  • PeppermillPeppermill DelftPosts: 2,852MI6 Agent
    If your first post is an indication of the quality of your (hopefully) many posts in the future we are in for a real treat! Welcome to the forums!

    Dr. No was the first movie I had on VHS and I must have seen it what seems like a million times. It is still a great movie and a great introduction to the Bond we all came to love.
    1. Ohmss 2. Frwl 3. Op 4. Tswlm 5. Tld 6. Ge 7. Yolt 8. Lald 9. Cr 10. Ltk 11. Dn 12. Gf 13. Qos 14. Mr 15. Tmwtgg 16. Fyeo 17. Twine 18. Sf 19. Tb 20 Tnd 21. Spectre 22 Daf 23. Avtak 24. Dad
  • chrisisallchrisisall Western Mass, USAPosts: 9,043MI6 Agent
    Welcome sam! Great post! And DN is one of my two favourite Connery Bonds! -{
    Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
    #1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.GF 5.DN/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    edited July 2014
    From Russia With Love

    If you asked someone to imagine a spy thriller from the 60’s, what they would see in their minds eye, would be From Russia With Love. This is it. This is the big one. It’s the king of the hill. The toppermost of the poppermost. From Russia With Love is the epitome and zenith of the Bond franchise. The one that was never eclipsed.

    When I saw it for the first time, it was July 2, and the night before Dr. No had dazzled and delighted my eyeholes. I was now a huge Bond fan of exactly 24 hours, and couldn’t wait until 9:00 that night to watch the next one. But, I wasn’t expecting an experience like this. Then again, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I assumed that maybe they were going to build onto the SPECTRE angle, and try to really delve into aspect of the plot. And sure enough, they did and delivered my favourite Bond adventure, From Russia With Love.

    ***
    If you thought Sean couldn’t improve upon his performance from Dr. No, then you were proved wrong by this film. Connery is even better! His acting just flows throughout the movie, how he can transition from the jokey Bond to serious and deadly one is just like a switch. Take for an example the scene where Bond is entering Moneypenny’s office. He says “And for my next miracle….” with a big grin on his face, he then transitions to the down to work one when he discovers M’s in the room as well. It’s little things like that, that have always convinced that Connery is Bond.

    Daniela Bianchi looks gorgeous as Tatiana Romanova, and shows us show pretty good acting chops in the process. She convinces me she’s madly in love with James rather easily. Hey, she even has Bond a little fooled as well. Tatiana has always been one of my favorites, especially when her hair is all done up in the train in the blue dress. Whoa! Connery was blessed with some of the best Bond girls, I tell ya.

    Kerim Bey is one of the finest allies Bond has ever had, the once circus freak, turned Station T Turkey leader, he really is one of the more enjoyable associates Bond has had. He’s funny, and there is great on-screen chemistry between Connery and Pedro Armendariz that really makes you believe that there friendship is genuine. When Kerim Bey says “James, life just won’t be the same without you,” I believe him.

    The score produced by John Barry is so good as well. The music is played at all the right times, especially at a scene like the gypsy camp fight. Although, I've never been crazy about the title song done by Matt Munro, the opening credits are still entertaining, and not one to skip.

    I think a lot of Bond aficionados would agree with me on this, a Bond movie can only be a strong as its villain. And when you discuss From Russia With Love, the villains are just superb. Beginning at the PTS, Red Grant gives the essence of someone that could mangle your still beating heart from your chest, and then bite into it. Maybe a little graphic but still, he’s that scary. His calmness too is what sets him apart. When Bond fires aimlessly into the hedges, they zoom in on Grant and he delivers a wry, sadistic smile that sends chills down your spine. It also helps that Grant is humongous. If calmness and ruthlessness was all you had but you were 5 1”. Then I’m not as worried as someone like Grant who is taller and seemingly stronger than Bond, and can take brass knuckles to the abdomen. Ouch!

    The smaller cast of villains impress as well. The vile Rosa Klebb played by Lotte Lenya is excellent. Her character just screams…. Soviet, with the great accent and cold-hearted ruthlessness. Kronsteen is one that I also particularly enjoy. A grandmaster at one of my favorite games (chess), he uses his skills of anticipation, tactics, and strategy to devise the evil scheme that SPECTRE will use. Plus, that look Kronsteen gives to the waiter who delivers the water, that slow composed glare, is purely from the eyes of a psychopath, and is great to watch.

    Then there’s Blofeld. A stroke of genius it was to not reveal him to the camera, and shoot the scenes from his perspective. The deep, Polish voice is chilling, and makes you wonder even more what the appearance of our main future antagonist is. It’s moves like these that make you think they really knew what they were doing when it came to on screen intensity, and SPECTRE, (until You Only Live Twice that is.)

    One of the best things that this film does, it balances the storyline and action sequences perfectly. And really how entertaining are they? The gypsy camp battle is great, as you watch Bond, not particularly engaging with anyone, but floating to fist fight to fist fight either pushing them into the water, or knocking the tent down over them. It really shows the quick think abilities of Bond under the most pressure. (That’s put to the test in the train as well.)

    The helicopter fight is great too. Besides the overly similar references to the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest, it’s entertaining, and the close-up of shots of the baddies chucking the grenades always makes me giggle a little. They’ve always looked a bit silly to me. With the boat chase at the end, there really are some overlooked scenes at the end of From Russia With Love, that maybe don’t get the respect they deserve.

    If you had to show one scene to show a buddy who had never seen a Bond film, what scene would you show them? I would choose hands down, the train fight. It’s the best fight scene in any of the Bond’s. What makes it so good is the cunning it takes just so that Bond has a chance. We’ve never seen Bond so helpless, in so much trouble. He’s on his knees, and about to be shot by someone that is his mental and physical equal. And there’s almost nothing he can do about it. He got played, fooled.

    When Bond brings the case into play we know what’s going to happen and Grant doesn’t. He’s found his ticket out! Bond can’t even believe his luck, when Grant exclaims, “Put your hands back into your pockets.” Bond gives this face which is excellent. He can hardly contain his jubilation. Finally the tear gas cartridge goes off and what ensues is the most brutal fight in the Bond cannon. The window gets smashed, the lights go out, one of them gets thrown onto Romanova. It reaches a critical mass when Grant finally gets him into a full-nelson and begins to choke with the deadly suffocating watch. I’m going to admit it. I yelled at the screen, “USE THE KNIFE IN THE CASE!!!” And surely Bond does it and stabs Grant with that convient dagger. Thanks Q. Then chokes him with his own fancy watch. What a scene! Punctuated by the underrated one-liner, “How’s that, old man!”

    After the train fight, the second best scene is the finale with Klebb’s last shot at getting the Lektor. You can see it unfolding before Bond does, and that’s what makes it great. With Bond at the phone saying, “Well, it should be pretty routine from here on in.” To the near end of his life coming seconds later, the drama is just too delicious. Bond getting momentarily double-crossed, Klebb pointing the gun at him ready to fire, Romanova saving his life, the poison-tipped shoe, to the last seconds where Romanova essentially does (eeny-meeny-miny-moe, or however that’s spelled) to decide who to shoot; Bond or Klebb. Just an excellent sequence from beginning to end.

    ***
    Little Things I Love About the Film

    The awkwardness of when Morzeny tries to grab Klebb’s elbow when she arrives at SPECTRE island. That’s just too funny haha.

    Two Bond films, and two funny looking pairs of glasses. That might be the first pair of Coke bottle glasses that Klebb wears when she’s briefing Romanova.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that the guy tailing Bond looks like an older, foreign Connery. You can sort of see it in his face, his eyebrows. I’ve always found a resemblance.

    How about that faint yelling noise you can hear when in the transition shot of the temple, right before Kerim and his lady-friend are about to go at it. Always thought that was interesting.

    When Bond and Kerim Bey are walking down the steps of the underground reservoir, Kerim is telling him the history of it, why it was build and so on. When he finishes the story, all Bond has to say is “Really?” The delivery is what makes it funny.

    At the gypsy camp, when Bond is relaying to Kerim about how hospitable the hosts have been to him, the leader replies, “Tank you, Tank you.” In a funny sort of voice. Sometimes I say it in the middle of a conversation, and everyone around me gives we a weird look because no one I’ve ever met gets the joke. I’ll probably never meet someone that will get the reference when I bring it up. But, if I do, and it’s a lady, she’s a keeper.

    Me, probably like you, had never really imagined Bond and M traveling abroad with each other before. But when Bond says so, “Once me and M had an interesting experience in Tokyo.” I was intrigued to get the end of that story. Oh well.

    ***
    Little Things I Dislike About the Film

    The end scene is kind of cheesy. The way Bond’s hand just kind of flutters up and down when he lets the film go. Weird man.

    Why is the original dialogue muted when Grant and Bond first meet. I swear they’re doing their third rendition of Can I Borrow a Match, No I Use a Lighter. And also, most of Morzeny's lines don't seem to much up with his mouth, if his mouth if is moving all.

    When Bond enters his hotel room he turns the tap on for a bath. Then it just keeps running. This is an error that has always bugged me a bit.

    ***
    Overall, there is little doubt in my mind that From Russia With Love is the best Bond film. There really isn’t a bad performance to be found, and the villains in particular are just superb. The first film in the SPECTRE miniseries arrives with a bang.

    10/10
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,301Chief of Staff
    Another nice post, thanks samurai!
    I believe that the reason we don't hear Grant and Bond's lighter/match dialogue is to delay the moment we hear Grant speak for as long as possible. He hasn't said a word in the film so far, and we know what the two are saying anyway, so the first time we hear him is on board the train introducing himself to Bond, which is more effective.
    Side note since you mentioned height- Robert Shaw was a good 4-6 inches shorter than Connery and wore lifts for their scenes together. Before Number 24 chips in with some Craig height jokes, that still puts Shaw at around 5'9 or 10 so hardly short.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    -{ another great review. {[]
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Another nice post, thanks samurai!
    I believe that the reason we don't hear Grant and Bond's lighter/match dialogue is to delay the moment we hear Grant speak for as long as possible. He hasn't said a word in the film so far, and we know what the two are saying anyway, so the first time we hear him is on board the train introducing himself to Bond, which is more effective.
    Side note since you mentioned height- Robert Shaw was a good 4-6 inches shorter than Connery and wore lifts for their scenes together. Before Number 24 chips in with some Craig height jokes, that still puts Shaw at around 5'9 or 10 so hardly short.

    Thanks again Barbel, the information you've provided each time has been really helpful! I should almost consult you before I post the reviews so you can enhance them with these little tidbits :))

    And much appreciated again TP
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,301Chief of Staff
    Oh no, you're doing fine!
  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,161MI6 Agent
    Yes, fantastic posts, Samurai4114 ( mind if I call you Sam?) :))

    The faint yelling sound you hear at the mosque scene in Istanbul is, I believe, the Islamic call to worship (though I many be wrong) - more details here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adhan

    And yes, the tap scene in Bond's hotel room always annoyed me too.... -{
    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    As Bond is always looked after by May, I believe he has
    no idea how a bath works. :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Yes, fantastic posts, Samurai4114 ( mind if I call you Sam?)

    The faint yelling sound you hear at the mosque scene in Istanbul is, I believe, the Islamic call to worship (though I many be wrong) - more details here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adhan

    And yes, the tap scene in Bond's hotel room always annoyed me too.... -{

    Yes, feel free to call me sam. Thanks for the additional input C&D, very interesting. {[]
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    As Bond is always looked after by May, I believe he has
    no idea how a bath works. :))

    Your are most likely correct :))
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Goldfinger

    My summer was just beginning, and was as relaxing as ever. The last two days I had seen Dr. No and From Russia With Love and loved them both. And really I should have been happy, Goldfinger was that night and it was a beautiful sun, shiny day. But, I wasn’t. July 3, is my sister’s birthday, and we were going to busy for most of that evening. I had to miss Goldfinger.

    The next day, I had to act quickly. How was I going to watch the movie. I wasn’t quite the tech savvy kid at the time, so going online to download it was out of the question. The movie rental place had shut down just a summer ago, and sure you could still get rent some movies in convenience stores, but you surely weren’t going to find a 45-year-old one to borrow. Then I had a eureka moment.

    My local library, had just started a program where you could borrow DVD’s and VHS tapes, just like you would the books. I could request Goldfinger, and if the movie was at a library that was close enough, they would ship it out. But, I wanted to watch it today! You have to remember, I didn’t know anything really about Goldfinger. What if there was information in Goldfinger that was need to know stuff for Thunderball (which was playing that night). So it was critical to see, as quickly as possible.

    Hoping that it was already in our own library’s collection, I raced over there on Marilyn (my bike), to see what I could see. After a journey of 5 or so blocks (I live in a small town), I busted through the front door. I went for the rack and began a feverish search party. A, B, C, D, E, F… ah finally G. Doing a quick rundown of the first letters, I hadn’t seen Dr. No or From Russia With Love, which had me discouraged. G was a short section, but a few flips through and the eyes of Sean Connery were piercing through me. Goldfinger had been found, and I can’t believe my luck.

    When I did arrive home, I was for one breathless, and intent on seeing it then and there. I even distinctly remember not even looking at the back of the box because I didn’t want any prior information before I watched it, I wanted to go in blind, like I had the first two. Although it maybe didn’t enhance the experience for me, I still had a lot of fun watching what many consider, the quintessential Bond flick.

    ***

    When the credits began to roll at the end, I just then began to realize how much fun I just had. Goldfinger is just a whole bundle of joy, you just feel better when you are watching it. Whenever you feel down or glum, Goldfinger is that friend that makes you laugh, or plain and simple, gives you a break from life for a couple of hours.

    Goldfinger is the Bond film that really began what some would call the “formula” for the ones to follow afterwards. And really Goldfinger has a lot of superbly entertaining scenes; castration by laser, painting people gold, Goldfinger’s unveiling of the plot, and the race against the clock at the end., where Bond could be smashed into a million pieces by the “atomic device.” From the first view gorgeous shots of Miami, to Bond and Pussy refusing to be rescued, Goldfinger delights and excites in a way not done by the first two. Bond is certainly getting bigger.

    Sean Connery adds a third straight tremendous performance as Bond, and really looks to be enjoying himself during Goldfinger. The fight scene with Oddjob shows off Connery’s athleticism, and the cunning and wit are still there when he does his best Jerry Lewis impression to escape the basement cell. I especially enjoyed the interaction between him and Q. While Q’s first film wasn’t this one, this is his first true outing of the character that we know and love like an uncle. Q detests Bond, and Bond just wants to get out of his lab. It makes for a funny scene with the even funnier line, “Ejector seat, you’re joking.”
    “I never joke about my work 007.” Complete straight-faced. Desmond Llewelyn with the acting chops there boy.

    Goldfinger is another excellent example of Connery getting the best Bond girls. While the Masterton sisters are pretty good, especially Jill. (Whoever thought, we need to have her in the sun, in the least amount of clothes possible, but still make her look respectable, was a genius.) Plus, there is no forgetting the main Bond girl, Pussy Galore who during the barn scenes looks smoking. And, she is probably one of the smarter female characters in the Bond cannon.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, if a villain sucks, then the movie will probably suck. Or something like that. That isn’t the case here, as Gert Frobe delivers one of the best villain performances we’ve seen in the franchise. His madness clearly displayed, murder by skin asphyxiation (painting them gold), potentially bisecting Bond down the middle with an industrial laser, and the development of an invisible nerve gas that is deadly. He even cheats at cards and golf. How great is that. His soliloquy with the American gangsters is stunning, and shows his mania for gold. Even when Bond and Goldfinger are sipping their mint juleps and discussing the plan, Goldfinger takes a great amount of pleasure when Bond discovers the true reasoning of his Fort Knox heist. His smile shows it. And if there is one thing I like about the villains, it’s a sadistic smile, and the little nuances in the character that prove he’s evil, and Goldfinger has it all. It’s too bad Connery would never have a villain as nearly as good to foil the plans of.

    Oddjob is without a doubt the best henchmen that we’ve seen. The mute, Korean, personal assistant of Goldfinger is jacked right out of his corn, and kills people with his hat! I mean come on. That’s just great. He can chuck the thing and kill from many yards away, and can hold his own in a fight. He certainly built the mould for other big henchmen in the future.

    One of the great things about this film in particular is how we’re plunged into the meat of the story right away. We see Goldfinger ten minutes in, similarly to Grant. It might just be this thing alone, that gives them both edges over Dr. No in great baddie ranking. The more we see a villain, more often helps the story then hinders it. Especially when you have an interesting and maniac one like these first three.

    The great action sequences are always warmly received by me, the high stakes golf game, the Aston Martin chase on Goldfinger’s property too is delightful. Seeing all the gadgetry put to use is just plain exciting, and when we finally get to see the ejector seat it all its glory, it doesn’t disappoint. Even the final battle, where Goldfinger switches to American military man, and the great fight between Bond and Oddjob, the climax or pre-climax provides a pulse-pounding conclusion to the scheme.

    The real climax I guess, Goldfinger flying out of the plane, has always looked quite silly, in comparison to the rest of the movie. If that could of have been better done, I think we’d all be a little happier.

    Guy Hamilton’s direction in his first Bond outing is stunning. John Barry’s score is enjoyable, and who could forget the vocals of Shirley Bassey in the opening credits. She sets the bar so high for a Bond song, that I think it still hasn’t been eclipsed.

    ***
    Little Things I Enjoy About Goldfinger

    Bond fans can certainly recognize similar faces from smaller characters in different films. Goldfinger is no exception with the second appearance by Bond character actress Nadja Regin, who is seen in the PTS as Bond’s muse, while she was Kerim’s in FRWL.

    Like Leiter’s sunglasses in DN, the baby blue robe that Bond adorns while at the hotel is hilarious and so out of the date. Easily on of the most unintentionally hilarious parts of his Connery’s tenure.

    While Bond is being chased in the Aston Martin after ejecting the baddie, the old lady who is running the toll, snags her shotgun and starts firing shots at the windshield. I always have a chuckle at that part.

    When Tilly tries shooting Goldfinger from a million miles away, there is a close up shot of Oddjob and Golfinger getting back in the Roll Royce. Oddjob then delivers a smile to the camera. What is that supposed to mean? Does Oddjob know they are being followed by Bond? Maybe a question that Barbel can help me out with.

    At the dinner with the bankers, M, and Bond; when M smells the alcohol after Bond gives the full ingredient list, and what’s wrong with it is just hilarious.

    ***
    Little Things I Dislike About Goldfinger

    I couldn’t imagine driving all that way through the Switzerland highways, tailing Goldfinger, with that incredibly annoying beeping sound from the homer pounding all the way through. I might just have shot myself.

    Leiter is just sort of blah through the movie. Cec Linder’s performance isn’t bad, but isn’t that memorable either. Let’s just say, at the moment, he was the second best Leiter, and third or fourth best ally Bond had had at the point in the series. And it is certainly better than the next Leiter’s job, which I tear through next entry.

    Something sort of typical of movies from fifty or sixty years ago, or something I’ve found reoccurring anyway is the semi-rape, romantic scene where the man forces himself on the woman, and after resisting for a few seconds, she finally succumbs to the male. There is an example of this with Pussy and Bond. I guess the man forcing himself on the lady was really romantic a long time ago, I myself was just a little put off by it. But, that was normal at the time, so I can’t really blame the screen writers or director for including it.

    ***
    When you look back and re-watch Goldfinger, you realize how great it truly is. Bondmania, with Beatlemania was nearing its heights, and everybody was going to the cinema to watch what Bond would be up to next. The coolness is just at an all-time high, and it oozes throughout the picture. And even though in the end, my rush to watch it wasn’t really required, I’m still glad I did.

    Goldfinger is just 60’s Bond pure and simple. It’s greatness is showed by the millions of fans that hold it as their favorites, but for me, it’s just slightly below DN and FRWL.

    9/10
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,301Chief of Staff
    That excellent review took me back fifty years to first seeing GF.
    I totally agree that "Whoever thought, we need to have [Jill] in the sun, in the least amount of clothes possible, but still make her look respectable, was a genius" - this scene is practically verbatim from the novel, so all credit to Ian Fleming.
    Oddjob does not know they are being followed by Tilly who is being followed by Bond, and neither does Goldfinger. The knowing look after Tilly's missed shot is a small plot hole. That scene is not from the novel (I'd think Hamilton was behind it).
  • FiremassFiremass AlaskaPosts: 1,910MI6 Agent
    "a one-off assassination attempt from long range (a scene that I always forget about because it's just awful)"

    Can you refresh my memory, I seem to have forgotten it also...
    My current 10 favorite:

    1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    {[] Another great review samurai4114, I think you manage to capture all the excitement
    we felt on seeing Goldfinger for the first time. I know as a kid when I first saw it ( on TV )
    It simply blew me away. :)) I thought it was amazing !

    The long range attempt on Bond in Dr No, was the "Three Blind mice " waiting outside his hotel to
    shoot him ?
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Sir Hillary BraySir Hillary Bray College of ArmsPosts: 2,171MI6 Agent
    samurai4114, your reviews are a blast. I love your stream-of-consciousness writing style and the funny tidbits you toss in. Such as, you named your bicycle Marilyn. :))
    Hilly...you old devil!
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Firemass wrote:
    "a one-off assassination attempt from long range (a scene that I always forget about because it's just awful)"

    Can you refresh my memory, I seem to have forgotten it also...

    Yes, I was referring to the shot which lasts about 30 or so seconds, wherein the three blind mice try to kill Bond, outside of his hotel I believe.
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    samurai4114, your reviews are a blast. I love your stream-of-consciousness writing style and the funny tidbits you toss in. Such as, you named your bicycle Marilyn. :))

    Glad to see someone enjoys the tidbits :)) . Thanks for the kind words all. -{
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    Thunderball

    When Thunderball was released in 1965, James Bond fever was at its height. (I believe symptoms of Bond fever are coughing, sneezing, and runny nose.) Bond was the biggest thing going at the cinema at that time, as millions of boys, girls, men and women filled up lines around the world to watch what he had in store next. It’s a critical point in film history and is culturally significant. For those reasons alone, many from that time believe that Thunderball is the best that they ever offered.

    Thunderball is the second in the SPECTRE series after taking a brief hiatus with Goldfinger. It also starts to really up the threats and prospects of world domination and destruction of major cities, making a thriller like From Russia With Love looks so much smaller in the process.

    Thunderball was dubbed the “Biggest Bond of them all.” at the time and watching the film, you can feel that the grandeur is even more so than Goldfinger. The character had become so beloved by the public, that the appetite and want for more outrageous, or maybe better said, greater entertainment grew as well. Case is point being the PTS, a scene specifically made to up the action and entertainment of the franchise. Bond, after beating up the cross dresser after the funeral, is being chased by two thugs. With seemingly no escape what is Bond to do? If this was just a couple years ago, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that Bond was just going to have to beat them up. But, with this added dimension or aspect of the Bond phenomenon, we get the jet-pack escape. A marvellous scene for a boy in the mid-sixties. But I’m almost as interested in how creative he would have to get without it.

    The fourth James Bond outing, is the ultimate Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Bond film. I liked it the first time, disliked it the second time, found it really entertaining the third, then boring the fourth, and back and forth. Thunderball’s enjoyment level hinges on the day, and more so the underwater scenes. They are what I’ll call “hinge scenes.” But more times than not I’m able to identify what I like, and don’t like about this picture.

    I really like a Bond film where you can really see what the villain is doing, and how he is going to accomplish his goal, his motives and such. In From Russia With Love, the first 15 minutes are devoted to how SPECTRE has formulated their plot and how they are going to carry it out. Thunderball is similar in that respect. Right after the song (what a number by the way, Tom Jones knocked it out of the park) we are plunged into a boardroom meeting, where criminals take the place of businessmen. (That phrase almost works if you flip it around.) This scene is really neat and adds a complexion of bigness that wasn’t there before with SPECTRE. Last time we saw them meet, they were in a modest room, with just a few people. Now you can tell that SPECTRE is stronger than ever, and that Bond’s challenge will be his toughest as well.

    While that was a good scene, the ten minutes we get where Derval’s double hijacks the planes, and recover the atomic bombs (just realized, second straight Bond film to have atomic bombs, or “devices.”) is just dull and seems much longer. Almost like a documentary feel to it. This can be said as well about the underwater fight scenes. At times I think it’s just a big mess, and you aren’t sure who to focus on. Although there are unique challenges being underwater; limited mobility and different weaponry, it just wasn’t enough to keep me enthralled the whole time. When you compare it to a gypsy fight scene, where you know where Bond is, and you can see him fighting all these different guys. That’s more entertaining to me, than that of Thunderball’s.

    What I often forget about Thunderball, is just how good Connery is (again). I mean wow! He’s just good. How he handles the social, physical, and personal aspects of Bond is remarkable (again). Bond’s ego snubs out Largo at the chemin de fer table, and when he is invited for a lunch at Largo’s house. The comedy aspect of the clay pigeon scene is hilarious. He kind of holds the gun awkwardly and says he doesn’t know much about them, then snipes the target like he wasn’t trying. How good is that! Bond is still in tip-top shape, and can fight with anyone who wants it. Was there any doubt that the meatball Largo was going to get wrecked by Bond… I didn’t think so.

    And who can forget when Bond walks in on Fiona taking a bath in the hotel. “Well since you’re here, you mind grabbing me something to put on?” *Hands her the shoes. Bloody brilliant!

    Somehow, in the world of fast cars, skis, boats, the best chase scenes for me have always been on two legs, and are usually done in crowded areas. The best chase scene in Thunderball, isn’t the one with Count Lippe, (that scene is quite forgettable in fact) it’s the one during the parade where Fiona and the heavies are searching desperately for Bond. Connery always looks like he’s in control, but here he plays Bond to be a little scared, and that’s what I like. The way he weaves through the different floats and such with the wound, gives him a certain amount of weakness that draws us further in. When he is finally caught at the sleazy nightclub, he knows he could be within his final seconds of life. The screen cuts back and forth to Fiona and he dancing, the guards surrounding them, the gun peaking out through the curtains (not sure what else to call them), the drummer ramping up the intensity of the moments with his high octane hands, the singer’s face about to seemingly burst, all until BANG!

    Like nothing happened, Bond swings Fiona into the bullet at just the right time. The music returns to normal, none of other dancers know what happened. It’s like it all took place in a vacuum inside the nightclub. The scene finishes brilliantly, “Mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead.” A line delivered so well, not intended for laughs, but might still get a morbid one here or there from someone. It speaks to how intense the scene really was, and how close it was for our hero.

    Thunderball has the best collection of Bond girls you could really dream of. The good girl of Domino Derval, basically a hostage of Largo, is secretly hoping to find someone to save her from her bleak life. Claudine Auger is just stunning and gives a believable performance. And the bad girl of Fiona Volpe. The red hair, the accent, the body….. Gives me chills every time. More proof that Connery, bar-none had the best Bond girls. Let’s just say that during the first four Bond pictures my thoughts haven’t always been pure.

    Other than the “hinge scenes,” there are two things that just dampen Thunderball a bit for me. That is the abominable performance by Rik van Nutter as Felix Leiter, and the frankly boring Emilio Largo.

    Whenever Rik van Nutter enters my eyeholes whilst I watch Thunderball, I can’t help but groan. The James Bond production stuff in the past had hit home runs with inexperienced actors and actresses (mainly European models, so hey, how can you lose), but here they failed, miserably. Despite looking like Clint Eastwood’s bastard step-brother, Rik van Nutter possesses no acting skill and bores you when he tries to speak his lines. He doesn’t put any conviction into his words, and doesn’t make you think he has any competence at his job. Watching the scenes with him and Connery, I’ve always wondered how much his (Connery’s) back hurt carrying him on the screen like that. There’s no chemistry at all with any of his colleagues, and he looks silly when he has to anything to say or do. I didn’t notice the extent of how bad the acting is at first, but every time I put the disc in the player I’m reminded. It really is too bad.

    Emilio Largo is a boring villain. Alright, I know he’s got an eye patch, but come on. That really is the most sinister thing about him. The scenes where he’s made to look tough, just make him look like a cranky old man, especially when he threatens to torture Domino. (And how are we supposed to believe there’s a universe where a girl like Domino is attracted to and becomes involved a guy like Largo. That begins to cross the realm the possibility.) Usually I’m in favour for a lot of villain screen time, but in this case it was too much. I’m not at all engaged with his character at all, unlike Dr. No or Red Grant, or Goldfinger. Thank God there was Fiona Volpe, a vibrant character that can seduce and be oh so evil. There’s a better character. Part of the blame is Adolfo Celi, and probably the writers. For a big Bond movie, we deserved a larger than life baddie, and Thunderball undersells in that department.

    The boat fight though is a great clincher for the movie. The intensity is ramped up to its height in the film and is great fun to watch. Although I almost get sea-sick from the editing done, it re-inforces the effect and situation Bond is in. Someone has to steer to the boat while they fight. Back and forth they go, with Largo’s underlings taking turns at Bond as well. Then the final seconds where Largo has Bond all but killed, and the great twist with Domino killing Largo. Fitting ending considering all the bad blood in that relationship and really unprecedented, our main villain not being ousted by the title hero. A little uniqueness there. And who doesn’t love the grandiose of Bond and Domino flying through the air, hitching a ride on airplane flying by. We know that Bond is probably getting lucky after that.

    And a small thing to make mention of. In a world where Bond fights SPECTRE, he has no problems using a bit of extortion to bed that lady at that health clinic after his experience with “the rack.” Another sort of “semi-rape” moment from the 60’s…

    Overall, Thunderball has its good bits and bad ones. While Connery again delights and excites with his two leading ladies, there are noticeable weak points in the characters of Felix Leiter and Emilio Largo. I’m sure there are those who like it more than me, and others who dislike it more, sometimes it’s a rollercoaster. Bond fever was its height, and many fans left the theatre feeling pretty good after Thunderball, while others perhaps left a little disappointed that it wasn’t of the same quality of the first three.

    7/10
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,301Chief of Staff
    Another good read and fun review. Many thanks.
    I adore TB, it's one of the best as far as I'm concerned. Connery as you said is at his best- as a sidenote, check out how much of the time Terence Young films him simply walking across a room. It's character establishment at its finest- just the way Bond walks tells you a lot about the man.
    And of course John Barry's score is fantastic!
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    {[] Great Review.
    TB is an epic along with YOLT almost eon's version of those huge war films
    Of the 60s :D . The scale of the underwater scenes is still amazing. -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BlackleiterBlackleiter Washington, DCPosts: 5,604MI6 Agent
    Goldfinger

    My summer was just beginning, and was as relaxing as ever. The last two days I had seen Dr. No and From Russia With Love and loved them both. And really I should have been happy, Goldfinger was that night and it was a beautiful sun, shiny day. But, I wasn’t. July 3, is my sister’s birthday, and we were going to busy for most of that evening. I had to miss Goldfinger.

    The next day, I had to act quickly. How was I going to watch the movie. I wasn’t quite the tech savvy kid at the time, so going online to download it was out of the question. The movie rental place had shut down just a summer ago, and sure you could still get rent some movies in convenience stores, but you surely weren’t going to find a 45-year-old one to borrow. Then I had a eureka moment.

    My local library, had just started a program where you could borrow DVD’s and VHS tapes, just like you would the books. I could request Goldfinger, and if the movie was at a library that was close enough, they would ship it out. But, I wanted to watch it today! You have to remember, I didn’t know anything really about Goldfinger. What if there was information in Goldfinger that was need to know stuff for Thunderball (which was playing that night). So it was critical to see, as quickly as possible.

    Hoping that it was already in our own library’s collection, I raced over there on Marilyn (my bike), to see what I could see. After a journey of 5 or so blocks (I live in a small town), I busted through the front door. I went for the rack and began a feverish search party. A, B, C, D, E, F… ah finally G. Doing a quick rundown of the first letters, I hadn’t seen Dr. No or From Russia With Love, which had me discouraged. G was a short section, but a few flips through and the eyes of Sean Connery were piercing through me. Goldfinger had been found, and I can’t believe my luck.

    When I did arrive home, I was for one breathless, and intent on seeing it then and there. I even distinctly remember not even looking at the back of the box because I didn’t want any prior information before I watched it, I wanted to go in blind, like I had the first two. Although it maybe didn’t enhance the experience for me, I still had a lot of fun watching what many consider, the quintessential Bond flick.

    ***

    When the credits began to roll at the end, I just then began to realize how much fun I just had. Goldfinger is just a whole bundle of joy, you just feel better when you are watching it. Whenever you feel down or glum, Goldfinger is that friend that makes you laugh, or plain and simple, gives you a break from life for a couple of hours.

    Goldfinger is the Bond film that really began what some would call the “formula” for the ones to follow afterwards. And really Goldfinger has a lot of superbly entertaining scenes; castration by laser, painting people gold, Goldfinger’s unveiling of the plot, and the race against the clock at the end., where Bond could be smashed into a million pieces by the “atomic device.” From the first view gorgeous shots of Miami, to Bond and Pussy refusing to be rescued, Goldfinger delights and excites in a way not done by the first two. Bond is certainly getting bigger.

    Sean Connery adds a third straight tremendous performance as Bond, and really looks to be enjoying himself during Goldfinger. The fight scene with Oddjob shows off Connery’s athleticism, and the cunning and wit are still there when he does his best Jerry Lewis impression to escape the basement cell. I especially enjoyed the interaction between him and Q. While Q’s first film wasn’t this one, this is his first true outing of the character that we know and love like an uncle. Q detests Bond, and Bond just wants to get out of his lab. It makes for a funny scene with the even funnier line, “Ejector seat, you’re joking.”
    “I never joke about my work 007.” Complete straight-faced. Desmond Llewelyn with the acting chops there boy.

    Goldfinger is another excellent example of Connery getting the best Bond girls. While the Masterton sisters are pretty good, especially Jill. (Whoever thought, we need to have her in the sun, in the least amount of clothes possible, but still make her look respectable, was a genius.) Plus, there is no forgetting the main Bond girl, Pussy Galore who during the barn scenes looks smoking. And, she is probably one of the smarter female characters in the Bond cannon.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, if a villain sucks, then the movie will probably suck. Or something like that. That isn’t the case here, as Gert Frobe delivers one of the best villain performances we’ve seen in the franchise. His madness clearly displayed, murder by skin asphyxiation (painting them gold), potentially bisecting Bond down the middle with an industrial laser, and the development of an invisible nerve gas that is deadly. He even cheats at cards and golf. How great is that. His soliloquy with the American gangsters is stunning, and shows his mania for gold. Even when Bond and Goldfinger are sipping their mint juleps and discussing the plan, Goldfinger takes a great amount of pleasure when Bond discovers the true reasoning of his Fort Knox heist. His smile shows it. And if there is one thing I like about the villains, it’s a sadistic smile, and the little nuances in the character that prove he’s evil, and Goldfinger has it all. It’s too bad Connery would never have a villain as nearly as good to foil the plans of.

    Oddjob is without a doubt the best henchmen that we’ve seen. The mute, Korean, personal assistant of Goldfinger is jacked right out of his corn, and kills people with his hat! I mean come on. That’s just great. He can chuck the thing and kill from many yards away, and can hold his own in a fight. He certainly built the mould for other big henchmen in the future.

    One of the great things about this film in particular is how we’re plunged into the meat of the story right away. We see Goldfinger ten minutes in, similarly to Grant. It might just be this thing alone, that gives them both edges over Dr. No in great baddie ranking. The more we see a villain, more often helps the story then hinders it. Especially when you have an interesting and maniac one like these first three.

    The great action sequences are always warmly received by me, the high stakes golf game, the Aston Martin chase on Goldfinger’s property too is delightful. Seeing all the gadgetry put to use is just plain exciting, and when we finally get to see the ejector seat it all its glory, it doesn’t disappoint. Even the final battle, where Goldfinger switches to American military man, and the great fight between Bond and Oddjob, the climax or pre-climax provides a pulse-pounding conclusion to the scheme.

    The real climax I guess, Goldfinger flying out of the plane, has always looked quite silly, in comparison to the rest of the movie. If that could of have been better done, I think we’d all be a little happier.

    Guy Hamilton’s direction in his first Bond outing is stunning. John Barry’s score is enjoyable, and who could forget the vocals of Shirley Bassey in the opening credits. She sets the bar so high for a Bond song, that I think it still hasn’t been eclipsed.

    ***
    Little Things I Enjoy About Goldfinger

    Bond fans can certainly recognize similar faces from smaller characters in different films. Goldfinger is no exception with the second appearance by Bond character actress Nadja Regin, who is seen in the PTS as Bond’s muse, while she was Kerim’s in FRWL.

    Like Leiter’s sunglasses in DN, the baby blue robe that Bond adorns while at the hotel is hilarious and so out of the date. Easily on of the most unintentionally hilarious parts of his Connery’s tenure.

    While Bond is being chased in the Aston Martin after ejecting the baddie, the old lady who is running the toll, snags her shotgun and starts firing shots at the windshield. I always have a chuckle at that part.

    When Tilly tries shooting Goldfinger from a million miles away, there is a close up shot of Oddjob and Golfinger getting back in the Roll Royce. Oddjob then delivers a smile to the camera. What is that supposed to mean? Does Oddjob know they are being followed by Bond? Maybe a question that Barbel can help me out with.

    At the dinner with the bankers, M, and Bond; when M smells the alcohol after Bond gives the full ingredient list, and what’s wrong with it is just hilarious.

    ***
    Little Things I Dislike About Goldfinger

    I couldn’t imagine driving all that way through the Switzerland highways, tailing Goldfinger, with that incredibly annoying beeping sound from the homer pounding all the way through. I might just have shot myself.

    Leiter is just sort of blah through the movie. Cec Linder’s performance isn’t bad, but isn’t that memorable either. Let’s just say, at the moment, he was the second best Leiter, and third or fourth best ally Bond had had at the point in the series. And it is certainly better than the next Leiter’s job, which I tear through next entry.

    Something sort of typical of movies from fifty or sixty years ago, or something I’ve found reoccurring anyway is the semi-rape, romantic scene where the man forces himself on the woman, and after resisting for a few seconds, she finally succumbs to the male. There is an example of this with Pussy and Bond. I guess the man forcing himself on the lady was really romantic a long time ago, I myself was just a little put off by it. But, that was normal at the time, so I can’t really blame the screen writers or director for including it.

    ***
    When you look back and re-watch Goldfinger, you realize how great it truly is. Bondmania, with Beatlemania was nearing its heights, and everybody was going to the cinema to watch what Bond would be up to next. The coolness is just at an all-time high, and it oozes throughout the picture. And even though in the end, my rush to watch it wasn’t really required, I’m still glad I did.

    Goldfinger is just 60’s Bond pure and simple. It’s greatness is showed by the millions of fans that hold it as their favorites, but for me, it’s just slightly below DN and FRWL.

    9/10

    Fantastic review of my personal favorite Bond film! And as some of our fellow members mentioned, one of the most delightful aspects of your reviews is your ability to evoke the feelings many of us experienced the first time we saw each film. I really look forward to your next review. -{
    "Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."
  • samurai4114samurai4114 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 129MI6 Agent
    You Only Live Twice

    You Only Live Twice is where **** gets real. Sure, before we were topping American missiles, stealing decoding devices, breaking into the palace of Fort Knox, and hijacking atomic bonds at ransom for 100,000,000 pounds. But now we’re at the real big-time threats of war, and world domination.

    The third SPECTRE film is the most pivotal to the franchise at the moment. After building the anticipation and mystery in the other two SPECTRE features, we’ve been building up till a final climax which must be revealed in this entry. That climax being Blofeld. What does this guy look like? Blofeld is the main baddie this time, he doesn’t have his operatives doing his bidding for him, he really is the main villain this go-round. Even though his underlings play a significant role as well, now we’re going to see how the two best at what they do are going to clash and become locked together in film lore.

    This is the first Bond film where Connery underwhelmed me. Now I realize my expectations were quite high, but that is the bar he set with his performances the years previous. Something has happened to him since Thunderball. Watching the recent documentary feature on Bond, it has been said that Connery had a difficult time in Japan, and was mobbed everywhere he went. He also felt that he had been robbed of money that he should have earned because of this boon. Now, I think that this was probably why there was some…unrest and uneasiness between Connery and the producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.

    Why it’s significant I guess is because all the Bonds stay pretty consistant during their tenures. And here is a noticeably off performance from someone that has done so much better work. He doesn’t look bad in the fight scenes though, in fact he looks in tip-top shape. But, I noticed it the little things, the things that I’ve obsessed about that made Connery great in the past, how he walked into a room with presence and how he glared at his assassins. The dialogue he just doesn’t deliver the with the same conviction anymore, like he doesn’t believe the words he saying. The usual back-and-forth between him and Moneypenny isn’t as fluent, especially when he grabs the lantern on her desk and tries to deliver a joke. It falls flat. He just kind of under delivers, which downgrades the film a bit for me.

    While I’ve said in my last four reviews is that Connery had the best Bond girls, this movie I suppose, depends on your taste and preference. The girls this time around underwhelm me too, Aki and Kissy Suzuki just aren’t that interesting. And why do Aki and Bond even start their romance anyway? Out of the blue she starts massaging him and suddenly they pecking at their each others lips. It’s just a forced storyline that is sort of weak. Kissy while down-to-earth, and athletic enough to scale the volcano (twice), and avoid being killed on her swim, she is just kind blah to my experience. Like I said just a few sentences earlier though, maybe if you have are fond of Asian chicks you would have a better time watching it, but even then, the characters are just weak.

    Even Bond’s ally Tiger Tanaka, who’s good and convinces me that he is a Japanese operative, is alright. However, it’s a shame that we get just that snippet with Henderson and there wasn’t more there, Henderson was shaping up to be an interesting character. (Just triggered something here though. Who’s idea it was for Henderson to screw up Bond’s drink order, and gave him a “stirred, not shaken,” order. It’s a dumb joke, I don’t like it. Makes me shake my head every time. On the whole I don’t like it how everyone knows Bond’s favourite drink but still, the scene would have been better if Henderson just handed Bond a drink, and said “drink this.”
    Moving on…)

    You Only Live Twice plunges you into the landscape and day-to-day life of Japanese culture, sometimes it works to great effect, and other times just comes off a little ignorant. And although I’m a fan of some of the more politically incorrect sequences from the 60’s, the scene where Bond and Tanaka are washed by the girls is just kind of weird, and the cheesily (I’m creating words now, so watch out) used phrase Bond spits, “Japanese proverbs say, bird never lay nest in bare tree,” which is a rare cringe-worthy Roger Moore type moment for myself.

    The cinematography looks great, and always makes me think that one day I’ll have to pay a visit to Japan. Despite being something a travelogue for myself, the plot is definitely the most outlandish in the series at that point. To faking his death to travel to Japan, where he will investigate the kidnapping of space shuttles, while doing so he will discover that SPECTRE’s lair is hidden inside a volcano, become a certified ninja after taking the course, and yeah Bond has surgery to make him look Japanese. (Turning Japanese, I’m turning Japanese on the inside…) And while this is certainly one of the most grandiose of the Bonds, it also makes for a wildly entertaining movie, despite another major detractor.

    Blofeld sucks. When I tried to put a face on the man I’d only seen the outline of from From Russia With Love and Thunderball, it wasn’t Mr. Loomis’ face. (Low blow…probably) Blofeld is supposed to be a big, intimidating man, isn’t he? That’s what I kind of envisioned (and believed after reading the books.) And here we get a small man, a guy who looks small in his chair. Was his weird eye supposed to make him look more evil. It just made me stare at him and say, “Wow, that’s a weird eye.” His voice too is just awful. It sounds like an angry cartoon character, “Kill Bond now.” Speak like a real human being Blofeld, for all our sakes. When Blofeld stands next to Bond he just looks tiny. It’s bad man. Too bad actually. And the way he butchers the execution is not believable. This man wanted Bond dead years ago. (Let his death be a particularly unpleasant one.) What’s the point of killing Osato in front of Bond? I’m sure he was thrilled to learn the “price of failure.” Then his annoying voice again, “Goodbye Mr. Bond.” What a joke! I wanted something a little less whimsical for this part of the film, but this was not to be had.

    Makes me think that Robert Shaw should have been asked to play Blofeld, instead of Red Grant, so we could get a convincing actor in the most important villain in the series. Luckily there was Telly Savales for OHMSS.

    The smaller cast of villains has a small bright spot in Karin Dor as Helga Brandt. Fitting into the red-haired femme fatale role that Fiona Volpe started the picture before, Bond is again able to seduce her, while narrowly escaping death. (This includes one of the final tracks on Connery’s Forgettable Scenes album, the helicopter escape, which involves the softest landing in the history of aerodynamics. Helga does look pretty good with all that parachuting equipment on though…) It’s too bad she is killed as well, but it was only inevitable after the ****-up she had. (I mean who didn’t see the old bridge breaking up, leading to the piranha death.)

    Without Helga, the villainy would be less interesting, Osato is another meh character, and Hans is just a heavy. (I guess at SPECTRE island they specialized on big, blonde haired assassins.)

    So, the villain sucks, Bond girls just meh, Connery’s having an off night, and there really isn’t that good a character to watch left. How am I going to give this a favourable score, because of the tremendous action scenes, that’s how. Whether you want to talk about the hand-to-hand combat scenes with Bond against Hans or even the one at Osato’s office. These are supremely entertaining. Then we up it a bit. Let’s put Bond in a portable helicopter and have him try and outmanoeuvre real ones. Bloody excellent, and with the Bond theme pumping in the background, it’s hard not to enjoy. Then it even gets better yet. That gorgeous set that Ken Adam masterminded is his best work yet. Clocking in at about the same budget of Dr. No, that set would play host to one of the best final battle scenes in all the Bonds. The ninja’s dynamiting the barrier and then swooping in, (minus Tarzan yell) is too good, and just the scale of the battle is truly amazing! Now if they had written some good characters and made a better casting choice, you are looking at a true top-flight Bond picture.

    When I began doing my preliminary writings on both Thunderball and You Only Live Twice (now I’m making myself out to be a bloody real writer) I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities. Disappointing villain, some lacklustre supporting cast, some boring bits, but some thrilling sequences of their own which rate highly on the scale overall in Bond. I now view them as Bond movies that are kind of one in the same. But one doing on thing better than the other.

    A couple of finer notes. While Bond is posing as the astronaut, if not caught he would actually being going into space, and probably dying as the result. We know of the automatic self-destruction button that Bond used to save the day, but that could have easily been used against him, if Bond had actually gotten his way.

    Turning Connery Japanese is the least convincing job ever done by a makeup team in a movie. He looks ridiculous and his whenever he speaks, he’s speaking in a SCOTTISH accent! C’mon, let’s get serious here.

    While Bond poses as Mr. Fisher is Osato’s office, Osato cleverly (not really) makes reference to Bond taking a risk, then re-directs it by saying smoking is very bad for the chest. Then here comes Helga with Bond’s drink, “Mr. Osato believes in a heavy chest.” With the camera angle looking up at her so that we get a good look at hers. Lewis Gilbert definitely makes his mark with a little thing here…

    Overall, You Only Live Twice isn’t just a phrase that contradicts a popular hash tag on Twitter, it’s a very entertaining movie. And although Connery would be gone for the next one, we still haven’t resolved the conflict between Bond and Blofeld (not that we ever really did, in the next couple). So that means we’re do for the Bond of all Bonds, to dig truly into his character, and not just his façade. Bond is going to fall in to love and get married, for real this time.

    7/10
  • FiremassFiremass AlaskaPosts: 1,910MI6 Agent
    So that means we’re do for the Bond of all Bonds, to dig truly into his character, and not just his façade. Bond is going to fall in to love and get married, for real this time.

    Fans like to pretend that OHMSS digs deep into the Bond character, but there's nothing really there. Same ol' one-liners, womanizing, snobbery, and knowledge of rare butterflies. If Bond actually gave a damn about Tracy, he wouldn't have slept with 10+ bimbos at Blofeld's clinic. Aside from the wedding sequence at the end, how much screen time is actually devoted to this character development?

    I like OHMSS, but it's nowhere near being "The Bond of all Bonds" a title which should be reserved for either Goldfinger or The Spy Who Loved Me.
    My current 10 favorite:

    1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK
  • AlphaOmegaSinAlphaOmegaSin EnglandPosts: 10,924MI6 Agent
    Well, Bond does look pretty anguished when he's holding Tracie's Corpse -{
    1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I don't think anyone pretends to like ohmss, surely it's a case of
    You do or you don't. :D I can love it and Moonraker but for different
    Reasons. :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
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