Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The (Golden) Eye of the Beholder

"Bond. James Bond."
We all know his name. And even if you haven't seen one of the dozens of films over the past 52 years to star the martini-loving (shaken - not stirred. Although, who the hell mixes a martini by stirring it. What are we, savages?), womanizing (I hope he uses protection and is tested regularly), British spy, his reputation proceeds him. Although, seriously, is there actually anyone who hasn't seen at least one Bond film? If you haven't - What is wrong with you?! If there's one film that is mentioned countlessly as the most James Bond-iest of all the James Bond films, it has to be 1964's Goldfinger. The film is not only celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but is this week's subject for the mid-season finale of Hit Me With Your Best Shot from Nathaniel at The Film Experience. The film really established the Bond formula and set the ground work for the subsequent adventures:

1. Opening Title Sequence of naked ladies:

Sure, the silhouetted lady design had been used previously the year before in From Russia With Love, but with Goldfinger, the aesthetic was perfected. What only the year before had been cheeky and fun, was now fully sexual and seductive. And with actual images projected on the woman's bodies instead of just text, the visuals pop even more setting a precedence for the future films. Bonus points for Shirley Bassey's sultry growl of a title song, "Goooolld-FIIIINNNNGGGAAAAAH!"

2. Crazy Villains and their Crazier Accessories 

The main villain of the film, Auric Goldfinger, a portly man obsessed with gold, checks off all the super villain boxes. A wardrobe that seems to consist entirely of clothes to represent his favorite thing. A hidden lair complete with penis-zapping, impossibly slow-moving lasers. A weird ability to defy logic and science by killing people with body paint. And, most importantly, an insane mute sidekick named Oddjob whose imposing stature is matched only by his deadly choice of headgear.

3. The Greatest Named Bond Girl. Ever.

Here she is, ladies and gentleman, Miss...Pussy Galore. If you can say that name without snickering, congratulations, you are way more mature than I. In a series where doctors are named Christmas Jones and tarot card readers are named Solitaire, you know that a well-named Bond girl is an essential element to the films. And although many girls have entered the running for the title of most outlandishly dirty moniker (nice try, Honey Ryder and Holly Goodhead), the honor (Blackman) is snatched up by Pussy Galore.

4. The gadgets

The two previous Bond films never used the gadgets in quite the same way that Goldfinger does and ever since they have easily become a Bond essential. The Aston Martin soon became synonymous with the spy, but I'm sure people wanted to be able to purchase the version in the film. Equipped with a license plate that changes, an ejector seat, wheel-shredding spikes, and handy oil dispenser (just to name a few features) the sports car is just what every globe-trotting, international man of mystery needs.

5. Girls, Girls, Girls

Yes, to know Bond is to know his prowess with the ladies. And the Bond Girls are all apart of the sexy fantasy of the Bond world. But in Goldfinger there's Jill Masterson , the ill-fated beauty responsible for the film's most iconic image, her sister, the gun-toting, revenge-seeking, unfortunately named Tilly, and an unnamed conquest at the beginning of the film that happens to be the subject of my Best Shot:

At some point, I'm sure all of the woman Bond has bedded have just become a faceless number, which is why I wanted to focus on this poorly-treated conquest. Just as she is about to get down and dirty with Bond, an assassin appears to take him down. But Bond notices the lumbering man's presence in the reflection of her eye. It serves as a metaphor of how Bond is constantly looking past woman, not truly getting to know them as humans, and focusing on what they reflect back to him. This time it's his love of danger that interest him more and the poor girl literally gets tossed aside as he uses her as a human shield to deflect the blows. That Bond is a cad. But the ladies still seem to love him.


  1. but i think she was in on it. since she doesn't move when she sees the attacker. But still, using her as a shield? Cold.

    1. oh, she was totally in on it. but she's just a poor girl in a latin american country trying to find a better way of life. she was gonna use the money she was paid to go to America and go to law school so she could bring a class action law suit against Bond and his continual abuse of women.