This is the mid-season finale of Hit Me With Your Best Shot, so if you haven’t been following the series that is hosted over at The Film Experience, and are interested in this sort of thing, I recommend you check it out. This week’s selection is Goldfinger, the third ever James Bond movie, directed by one Guy Hamilton, and shot by Ted Moore. I’ve never been a James Bond fan. Previous to the Daniel Craig movies, I had only seen a couple of the Pierce Brosnan ones as a child (memories of which I have very few if any at all). However, it’s not that I have anything against Bond, when I say I’m not a fan of a character I mean that I am not familiar enough with him as to have a strong opinion. I watched Goldfinger, which is widely considered one of the best Bond movies, for the first time last night, and I found it ok.
Pretty anticlimactic, huh? It didn’t convert me into a Bond fanatic, but it’s a solid action/adventure movie, and I had a pretty good time watching it, so there’s that.The two biggest things I took from my experience with Goldfinger is, first, somewhat of a surprise at realizing how accurate the many parodies about Bond’s over-the-top sexuality really are, and at the kind of shameless gender politics of the character. I’m assuming audiences back in the sixties found Sean Connery as Bond to be a very cool, sexy guy, but I thought he was kind of a douche. I find it interesting, however, that looking back at Bond from a point in time when our screens (big and small) are filled with anti-heroes, he comes out as much more unlikable and unethical than you’d ever think.
The other thing I took from Goldfinger, and the one that ended up being the criterion for my pick of the movie’s best shot, is its use of color. You seem to hear it every time, when people talk about an older movie that was filmed in color, about the lavish, luscious, or intense use of color. This, of course, is not always true. For every movie that looks as great as The Searchers, there are a bunch of much more muted ones like My Fair Lady. Goldfinger, however, does know how to pop some colors. Especially its yellows, as demonstrated in the movie’s most famous scene (when a woman is killed by being painted gold), and also at the end of a car chase that occurs roughly halfway through the movie, which ends with an exploding car. The scene takes place at night, and is mostly very dark, but ends with an incredibly intense fireball, that is so yellow it made me jump up of my seat. Action movies are all about making us feel the thrills the protagonist is feeling, and in this moment, I felt the fire.