Goldfinger (1964)

The first half of Goldfinger, the third movie in the James Bond franchise, is great. In fact, the first five minutes is great, even if it does not seem to have much to do with the rest of the movie. But following that opening scene, Bond (Sean Connery) is assigned to investigate Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe). He is a jeweler who buys gold legally, most of it in England, and then ships it to another country like Pakistan where he sells it for three to four times the price he paid for it. This is the great crime that requires the attention of England’s best secret agent?

Later, Bond finds out about Operation Grand Slam, Goldfinger’s plan to nuke Fort Knox, destroying the gold, and causing his own horde of the metal to skyrocket in value. Quite by accident, then, Bond’s being assigned to investigate Goldfinger turns out to be appropriate, even if serendipitously so.

Q (Desmond Llewelyn) gives Bond the famous Aston Martin with the machine guns, ejector seat, and much more, but even so, he eventually is captured by Goldfinger. The laser that almost cuts Bond in half also cuts the movie in half, the first part making it half of the greatest Bond movie ever made. Then comes the second half of the movie, the point at which it starts being silly, when Bond wakes up on the plane and a woman introduces herself as Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). In fact, this is the point at which the whole Bond franchise starts being silly, with subsequent Bond movies becoming bloated with girls, gadgets, and wisecracks, on the principle that if some is good, then more is better.

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