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GOLDFINGER
(Guy Hamilton . 1964)

“No, MrBond, I expect you to die!”

BOND 3 . GOLDFINGER

 

 

Ian Fleming’s longest book started shooting on March 13, a month before Russia’s premiere in America - where Goldfinger would be launched by the end of the year. Commander Bond was catching on!  Fleming never saw the film; he died on August 12.

“The moment we began casting,” recalled Cubby Broccoli, “we hit a problem.” It was a time when everything concerning Harry Saltzman was a problem. Or “shaken, not stirred,” heard here for the first time.

Until the UK premiere photo-headline - Prince Philip Meets Pussy - the US censors had wanted the name of Honor Blackman's Lesbian heroine changed from Pussy to Kitty Galore. “If anyone's so po-faced to take it seriously, then bad luck,” said Honor, first of three Avengers heroines to be Bond women, and, at 37, the oldest Bond Girl.

Fleming pinched the name from agent Pussy Deakin and based her on his lover Blanche Blackwell... who told him the anecdote that became his 1958 stort story, Quantum of Solace. (It had little to do with the disappointing 2008 film).

Auric Goldfinger . The inevitable Orson Welles proved inevitably too expensive. (They were paying him to be in this film - not the next one he was trying to finance!). UK director Michael Winner always stated that Welles was the perfect size for a Bond villain. Indeed, during I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname, 1967, Welles told off Winner for shooting him from below - “that’ll make me look fat.” “Orson,” said Winner, “would have looked fat if you'd shot him from a helicopter.” Welles would reurn…as Le Chffre in the dreadful 1956 Casino Royale circus. (He thought The Avengers was much better job of spoofing James Bond.

Victor Buono was a possibility on the strength of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?(Sure enough, he was the first villain in Dean Martin's copy-Bond Matt Helm trash, The Silencers, 1966). Saltzman, who had already come up with the brilliant idea of Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb in Russia, was now pushing for Theodore Bikel in the title role. The Vienna-born American folk singer and actor (Oscar-nominated for The Defiant Ones) flew into London for a dullard test. “He was,” said Broccoli, “no Goldfinger.” Nor was Greek Titos Vandis, Uncle Karras in The Exorcist,1973. (Their tests are part of the Ultimate Edition DVD).

Broccoli was more insistent about Gert Frobe, whose serial killer had impressed him in Germany's Es geschah am hellichten Tag(US: It Happened In Broad Daylight), 1958. With a red rinse and a new voice dubbed by an actor with a historic name (Michael Collins), Frobe it was. And speaking for himself  in the trailer: 

 

“Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr Bond.

It may be your last.”

 

Mr Fleming also had a witticism. When Hungarian architect Erno Goldfinger (far too modernist for Fleming's taste) threatened to go to court over the use of his name, Fleming said he'd change his villain's name to to Goldprick. (Perhaps that is where the Belgrade director Dusan Makavejev got the idea  for John Vernon's endowment in Sweet Movie, 1974).

Oddjob . Milton Reid, an all too familiar UK schlock villain, tried hard and was turned down in favour of the memorable, ever-smiling Harold Sakata. The Scottish-Mongolian Reid, who finished up in UK hardcore loops (as a non-combatant), had been a guard in Dr No and later became the Oddjobesque Sandor in The Spy Who Loved Me. He was also among Mata Bond’s attendants in Casino Royale, 1967.

Michael Wilson recalled Hamilton testing Harold Sakata for Oddjob. “Look mean, he told him. Now smile. And it was the same expression.” Hsrold was a sweet guy. He had a hole in each trosuer pocket to be able to drop ther cheating Goldfinger’s golf balls on better positions. We had a drink at the Pinewood bar, Harold paid, put the change in his pocket… clatter, clatter, the coins dropped out like golf balls all over the floor.

Felix Leiter .   Jack Lord was asked to repeat his Dr No role - named after Fleming's pals, Felix Bryce and Tommy Leiter. “Only,” said his agent, “for more money and co-star billing”! While this showed the new importance of Bond is the US - it also showed Lord the door. Character player Austin Willis was set as the new agent until Hamilton promoted another Canadian, Cec Linder, into the CIA from the dupes playing poker with Goldfinger - which is where poor Willis ended up. Leiter has never been played by the same actor twice.

 

Richard Maibaum never liked using Leiter.

“They hired older and fatter men

to make Bond look younger and handsome.”

 

Indeed, from hereon, Leiter was a different actor every outing; David Hedison, only, played him twice.

Jill Masterson  (actually Masterton - only Adrian Turner caught Richard Maibaum's typo). Shirley Anne Field passed. Then, statuesque, 41-23-37, actress Magaret Nolan (modelling nude as  Vickie Kennedy) was seen. She supremely passed all tit-tests and Saltzman made her Dink. Hardly a promotion as that meant not so much one line as one word (“Hello!”). Maggie still went the Masterson route (and in more memorable fashion than Shirley Eaton's Jill) as the gold-painted body in Robert Brownjohn's erotic credits - the shooting of which remains among my pleasures of London's swinging 60s. (Brownjohn died in 1970). Jill was Tania Mallet's first/last movie; she had also been seen for Russia's Tatiana.

After the first two movies where the leading ladies had to be dubbed (by the same woman), now it was the men causing problems… The team had been assured (agents are like that) that Gert Froebe spoke English.He arrived a week before shooting. At his first meeting with the director, Frobe said:“Mr Hamilton, I look forward to verking vit you.” So, said Guy, how’s the hotel? “Mr Hamilton, I look forward to verking vit you.”

“The actual film, to film, was sexy,” said the golden Shirley Eaton,winning a big leap from Carry OnGarbage.“But this was entirelynew.It was grown up sexuality. Sean and I just fell into our natural sexuality without any rumpy-pumpy and I think that’s what made it so exciting.”

The most important casting change was behind the camera... Guy Hamilton, not Terence Young. Hamilton had been on the Dr No list of potential directors. “A lot of people turned it down, and so did I,” he told Leo Verswijver of Filmtalk.org. “Things came up and I couldn’t go to Jamaica. When I was asked to do Goldfinger – the script was very good - I said, Yes. But I saw two problems: there was a danger that Bond would become a sort of a Superman. You’ve got to get the best villains in the world, because Bond is going to get as good as his villains. Another thing, the script was too AmericaniSed, so I had to make sure all the English scenes became more English. I liked the idea of an intellectual villain. A Bond villain has to be intellectual equal and a worthy opponent of Bond, because he always has a certain scheme in mind and is able to talk about it intelligently. He can’t be a thug, for all the thuggery he has other people to deal with.”

Young had already helped polish the script, by Richard Maibaum and ex-film critic Paul Dehn. Maibaum cleaned up the Fleming books and created the one-liners (“Shocking, positively shocking”) and, of course,: Goldfinger’s all time classic: “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

Maibaum didn’t rate Dehn’s first draft.. “Bond emerges as a real horse’s ass. First he is helpless in Oddjob’s hands, then he is bounced around by Pussy. This isn’t Sean Connery, it’s Bob Hope.” (Between Dr No and Russia, Broccoli produced the only non-Bond Eon production - the comedy Call Me Bwana. With Bob Hope).

 

“Remove the exotic touches,” said Sean, 

and what haveyou got..?

A dull, prosaic English policeman.”

 

Goldfinger happened to be   the first film  ever seen by a young Irish kid of ten,  newly arrived  in London. He loved the naked lady and Oddjob.  He never thought much about Bond.

“I wish I could remember more of the story, but I think Pink Floyd sort of got in the way, there! [Laugh]. I saw Goldfinger one weekend and Lawrence of Arabia the next. So the seed was sown for the movies, because I'd never seen anything like either one. I was just blown away. Actually, it was Oddjob that captured my imagination in that film, he and Shirley Eaton covered in gold paint. And the fight sequence at the end in Fort Knox, where all the money in the world was. The gold bars. The music. It was just kind of visceral. You could feel it. I was hooked on movies ever since. And that was the start of my movie education, so to speak, and I started going to the movies every weekend. The films of Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen were big influences, as well.”

The kid getting high on Connery in the white tuxedo he had first sported in Woman of Straw, 1963, was...  Pierce Brosnan.

 






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