Goldfinger (1964)

UK,
109m
35mm film, “colour by Technicolor”
mono, English

A British borderline science fiction film directed by Guy Hamilton.

Plot Summary

takes on -obsessed billionaire Auric Goldfinger who plans to irradiate the US gold reserves at with a nuclear weapon, thus increasing the value of his own horde.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
© 1964 Danjaq S.A.
United Artists Pictures Inc. [opening logo] Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman present [opening credits] An Eon production [closing credits]
Released by: United Artists Corp.
Produced by: Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli
Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn
Novel: Ian Fleming [credited as “Sean Connery in Ian Fleming's Goldfinger”]
Director of Photography: Ted Moore
Editor: Peter Hunt
Music Composed & Conducted by: John Barry
Title Song Sung by: Shirley Bassey
Title Song Lyrics by: Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley
The “James Bond” Theme Written by: Monty Norman
Sound Recordists: Dudley Messenger, Gordon McCallum
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell
Make-Up: Paul Rabiger, Basil Newall
Hairdresser: Eileen Warwick
Special Effects: John Stears
Production Designed by: Ken Adam
Made on location in Switzerland and at Pinewood Studios, London, England

Cast
Sean Connery (James Bond)
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore
Gert Froebe as [Auric] Goldfinger
Shirley Eaton (Jill Masterson)
Tania Mallet (Tilly Masterson)
Harold Sakata (Odd-Job)
Bernard Lee as ‘M'
Martin Benson (Solo)
Cec Linder (Felix Leiter)
Austin Willis (Simmons)
Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny)
Bill Nagy (Midnight)
Michael Mellinger (Kisch)
Peter Cranwell (Johnny)
Nadja Regin (Bonita)
Richard Vernon (Smithers)
Burt Kwouk (Mr Ling)
Desmond Llewellyn (‘Q')
Mai Ling (Mai Lei)
Varley Thomas (Swiss gatekeeper)
Margaret Nolan (Dink)

Alternative Titles

007 ja kultasormi och Goldfinger – Finnish title
Agent 007 contra Goldfinger – Spanish title
Agente 007 Missione Goldfinger – Italian title
Dedos de oro – Spanish title
James Bond contra Goldfinger – Spanish title

Dr. No (1962)
From Russia with Love (1963)

Sequels
Thunderball (1965)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Live and Let Die (1973)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Moonraker (1979)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Octopussy (1983)
A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987)
Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006)
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Skyfall (2012)
Spectre (2015)
No Time to Die (2021)

Extracts included in
Premiere Bond: Die Another Day (2002)
Precious Images (1986)
The World of James Bond (1995)

Production Notes

With two smash hit adventures under his belt, James Bond was looking pretty well unassailable at the box office and much was riding on Eon's third 007 adventure. There was to be no room for complacency on the Eon backlot.

But things got off to a slightly rocky start. Terence Young, who had done such sterling work on both Dr. No (1962) and From Russia With Love (1963), began pre-production on Goldfinger in 1963 but decided to call it a day when he failed to persuade Saltzman and Broccoli to give him a percentage of the film's take. Young quit the project to work on The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders at Paramount, leaving Saltzman and Broccoli to find a suitable replacement. They again turned to Guy Hamilton, who had turned down the chance to direct Dr. No and who wasn't about to make that same mistake again.

With new blood in the director's chair, it was felt that a fresh perspective on the screenplay might also be valuable and Richard Maibaum called in Academy Award winner Paul Dehn who had already scooped an Oscar for his first script (Seven Days to Noon (1950), co-written with James Bernard) and who would later write the four sequels to Planet of the Apes (1968). Again, Maibaum's familiarity with and love for the Fleming originals ensured that a certain respect was maintained while adapting the screenplay, which made some changes to the original story but which kept the basic narrative and the spirit of the piece intact. Indeed some of the changes were to improve upon Fleming's original which suffered slightly from poor structure.

Also making his mark on the script was Wolf Mankowitz, now back on speaking terms with Saltzman and Broccoli who contributed one of the most film's memorable set pieces over lunch with the producers. Saltzman and Broccoli had been at a loss as to how they could dispose of a body and neither Maibaum nor Dehn were coming up with the goods. It was Mankowitz who suggested putting the corpse in the boot of a car then dropping the car into an auto-wrecker.

While the script was being finalised, United Artists started to get cold feet over the inclusion of the sexually charged name Pussy Galore – especially as she was openly lesbian in the novel, something the script was playing down. Worried UA executives wanted the name changed to Kitty and it was left to Eon's publicist, Tom Carlile, to ensure that the name stayed as it was by leaking it to the press. Fleet Street's gossip-hungry hacks did the rest and UA now felt unable to go ahead with the proposed name change.

Meanwhile, the cast was being assembled. Connery was back – there was never going to be any real question of that (though Connery had expressed some mild concern about playing the role for a third time) and the star was given a hefty pay rise to ensure that he stayed on the team. Connery came to Goldfinger straight off the troubled set of the Hitchcock thriller Marnie (1963), an experience he had found less than pleasurable and it was no doubt some comfort to be back on familiar ground.

Of the many memorable supporting roles in Goldfinger, the first to be filled was the controversial Pussy Galore. It was a more physically demanding role than any of the previous Bond girls and the producers were looking someone who could combine femininity with a physical presence to match Connery's. At the time there was only one real choice – but Honor Blackman was already busy elsewhere, earning plaudits and many fans as Cathy Gale, John Steed's tough, no-nonsense sidekick on TV's The Avengers (1961-1969). This didn't stop Saltzman and Broccoli, however, who simply made Blackman an offer she couldn't refuse.

On 19 September 1963, Blackman handed in her notice to The Avengers production office. The news was kept from the public until February of the following year and Blackman's farewell episode, Lobster Quadrille, contained a clever closing scene that pointed the way to her new role.

Theodore Bikel was Saltzman and Broccoli's first choice for the role of Auric Goldfinger and the Viennese actor screen-tested for the part in December 1963. It was soon clear, however, that despite the man's many talents (obvious in such films as The African Queen (1951), Blue Angel (1959) and My Fair Lady (1964)) simply wasn't right for the part. Hamilton recommended German actor Carl Gerhart (Gert) Frobe, a big star in his homeland but scarcely known elsewhere. Despite a thick and impenetrable Teutonic accent (despite best efforts to coach Frobe on set, he was dubbed in the final film by Michael Collins), Frobe was perfect for the part of Goldfinger.

With the rest of the cast falling into place, and a $3.5 million budget in his pocket, Hamilton set about filming Goldfinger, even before pre-production was complete. On 15 January 1964 he took a small crew to Miami to shoot aerial footage of the Fountainbleu Hotel seen briefly at the beginning of the film. On the 20th of the month, the tiny crew (which was basically just Hamilton, his cinematographer Ted Moore and production designer Ken Adam with a few technicians) shot scenes of Cec Linder and Austin Wills as Felix Leiter and Simmons respectively. Unfortunately, Hamilton's keenness to get going was to backfire later. When he returned to Pinewood, he found it impossible to match pick-up shots with the hastily filmed material from Miami, resulting in strange hodgepodge of footage at the start of the film that looks ill-matched and confusing.

The chase sequence, wherein Bond and Tilly Masterson drive the Aston Martin DB5 from pursuing Auric Enterprises guards was shot at Black Park, very near to the Pinewood studios complex. The sequence was completed using a stunt team before Connery himself arrived on set on 9 March to film the now famous pre-credits sequence.

By the end of March, production had shifted to Pinewood's E stage and Gert Frobe had arrived to shoot his first scene, where he has Bond strapped to a table, laser inching towards his groin, and he gets to deliver that line of dialogue, still the finest witticism in any Bond film. The sequence was more uncomfortable for Connery that he might have imagined – Hamilton found that the real laser the company had hired (Goldfinger was the first film to feature real as opposed to fictional “death rays”) wouldn't show up on film. So he planned to have one optically inserted later and to get the effect of the laser cutting through the solid gold table, he had members of the effects crew crouching beneath the table armed with an oxy-acetylene torch.

Desmond Llewlyn was back in harness as Major Boothroyd, now officially re-christened Q, and his now familiar character was created almost as an afterthought during filming. Llewelyn was called upon to do the now obligatory scene wherein Q shows off Bond's latest gimmicks and , but before filming began, Hamilton hit upon the idea of having Q less businesslike than before and more impatient with the childlike and cavalier Bond. Hamilton instructed Llewelyn to play the part as a grumpy, short-tempered and impatient man, defining a character that was to become as important to the Bond mythos as Bond himself.

During April, the production moved next door, to Pinewood's D stage, where the interiors of the Fountainbleu hotel were recreated and where the now famous scene of Bond finding Jill Masterson's gold plated body was filmed. By the end of that month, the set had been visited by an ailing Ian Fleming – it was to be the last time that the author was to see his creation made flesh. Fleming was to die at 1 am on 12 August 1964, before he had a chance to see the finished film.

It soon became clear that things were not all rosy in the 007 camp – some sort of pay dispute had been growing between Connery and Eon, the exact nature of which is still unclear. Connery was clearly upset about the amount of money that Eon were offering him, despite his recent pay rise. What happened next is slightly unclear and open to some conjecture – Connery suffered a minor back injury while filming the scene in which Odd Job knocks Bond unconscious with a karate chop. Connery was forced to rest and returned home. By the time he was back in action, some sort of deal had been struck and Connery now had a rise in his salary and had been offered five per cent of all Bond films from Goldfinger onward.

May found Hamilton and his main unit decamping top nearby Stoke Poges club to shoot the Bond and Goldfinger's game. It was during this time that Connery, who had been introduced to golf by Terence Young while making Dr. No, cemented his love affair with the game that was to last through the rest of his life.

As the production began to wind down, the crew staged the huge battle sequences inside Ken Adam's extraordinarily realised Fort Knox set. The production had been refused permission to use the real Fort Knox, though Adam was allowed to have a look around the outside of the building thanks to the intervention of Robert Kennedy. Adam's extravagant sets bear no resemblance at all to the real thing but provided a spectacular backdrop for action director Frank Ernst's beautifully choreographed mayhem. During the shoot, Harold Sakata was badly burned when he tried to retrieve Odd Job's steel-rimmed bowler from an electrified gate. Sakata, a true professional, completed the scene even though the flying sparks left him in great agony. After nineteen weeks, production finally came to an end on 11 July after five days in Andermatt, Switzerland.

Post production work involved the usual editing, sound, music and special effects chores, but also saw Hamilton, Moore and Broccoli heading back to the States for some last minute shooting of establishing footage for the Fort Knox sequence. The crew breached the gold repository's 5,000 ft no fly zone and had to pay the 500 soldiers who rushed in from from a nearby army base to investigate, $20 and a bottle of beer each to act as fainting extras! The scene also marked the first appearance in the Bond history of Broccoli's stepson Michael G. Wilson, then a law student, who was called in to act as an assistant director. Wilson was to play an increasingly pivotal role in Bond's big screen career, eventually taking over the reins completely after Broccoli's death in 1986.

Goldfinger was more or less complete when Saltzman insisted on one last change. He asked Peter Hunt to re-edit the scene where Bond halts the countdown on Goldfinger's nuclear warhead – originally, it was stopped with the counter at 003, but Saltzman just couldn't resist stopping the countdown at 007. Sadly, this does lead to a continuity error – Bond still says “Three more ticks and Mr Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot.”

Finally, Goldfinger was ready and was unveiled to an eager public at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on Thursday 17 September 1964. It was a chaotic affair, with Kinematograph Weekly reporting on 24 September that “5,000 fans fought the police outside the Odeon Theatre. In the near riots, the massive glass door of the theatre was shattered and police reinforcements had to be sent for.” Honor Blackman, one of the many stars attending the premiere (though Connery was busy elsewhere, filming The Hill (1964) in Spain), was nearly swept off her feet by the over-enthusiastic crowds and had to be rescued by the police.

Blackman embarked on a tour of Rank Premiere Showcase cinemas in and around London the week after the premiere and similar scenes of Bondmania ensued here and across the country when the Goldfinger road show moved on tour the country, calling at Leicester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow throughout October.

Inevitably, Goldfinger again shattered box office records, even outstripping the success of From Russia With Love. So great was the demand for Bond that United Artists re-issued Dr. No, resulting in what Kinematograph Weekly on 15 October hailed as “staggering figures” at the box office.

The success was repeated in the States when the film opened there on 21 December 1964, quickly becoming the fastest earning film made to that date. Bond was clearly here to stay and his influence was to spread across the world – soon cinemas were awash with from the States, Italy, Spain and even from the UK.

References

Periodicals

  • The Daily Cinema no.8869 (29-30 January 1964) p.9 – illustrated note (Wrestler Togo for ‘Goldfinger')
  • The Daily Cinema no.8873 (7-8 February 1964) p.8 – note (Production-wise)
  • DVD Review no.15 (2000) pp.58-59 – illustrated DVD review (UK reviews by PM)
  • The Hollywood Reporter 12 April 1982 p.9 – interview with Albert Broccoli by Robert Osborne

Books

  • 101 Greatest Films of Mystery & Suspense by Otto Penzler pp.155-157
  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.231
  • Escape Velocity by Bradley Schauer p.102
  • The Espionage Filmography: United States Releases, 1898 through 1999 by Paul Mavis pp.128-129
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.171-172
  • The Incredible World of 007 (2nd edition) by Lee Pfeiffer pp.28-35, 146, 156 – illustrated article
  • The International Spy Guide 001 by Richard Rhys Davies p.377 – illustrated credits, note
  • Kiss Kiss Bang! Bang!: The Unofficial James Bond Film Companion by Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn pp.30-43 – illustrated article, review, credits
  • Movies of the 60s by Jürgen Müller pp.242-247 – illustrated review (by PLB [Petra Lange-Berndt])
  • Nuclear Movies: A Filmography by Mick Broderick p.66
  • by Walt Lee p.169 – credits
  • Sean Connery by Robert Tanitch pp.58-62 – illustrated article

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide March 2018 p.42 – illustrated listing