Bond 50: Part II – Goldfinger (1964) & Thunderball (1965)

Part2

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It’s been a while since I cracked open my Bond set. I really wanted to get into it but other things started occupying my time. Hopefully I’ll be more diligent with my ongoing review. For now, however, enjoy Part two of my 12-part series on the Bond franchise and Blu-Ray collection.

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Goldfinger (1964)

Release Date: September 17th, 1964

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writers: Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn 

Stars: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman & Gert Fröbe

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Movie

Plot:

Agent 007 investigates the villainous Goldfinger and his evil plot to take over Fort Knox, or so it seems. Along the way, Bond meets the doomed Masterson sisters and mercurial pilot Pussy Galore. He also goes up against evil henchman Oddjob and his deadly hat.

Thoughts:

Of the four non-Craig movies I’ve supposedly seen before, Goldfinger was the one I remembered the clearest. That’s not surprising since it’s a great movie and very memorable. It has the golden “skin suffocation” scene, a theme song that’s still stuck in my head, the first use of a laser in a movie, the brilliantly absurd henchman Oddjob, the very popular Pussy Galore and the unforgettable first appearance of the gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5.

Goldfinger is a bigger movie than the first two Bond movies. It’s flashier, sillier and has more at stake. I liked it a lot. Oddjob alone makes this the best of the first three Bond movies for me. Quite simply, a hulking henchman whose weapon of choice is a hat really speaks to my desire for absurdity in this spy franchise. The moment on the golf course when Goldfinger orders Oddjob to decapitate the statue, I was 100% on board. I honestly don’t see how the franchise could top such a memorable henchman.

Pussy Galore also stands out in the movie, obviously. As far as Bond girls go, I like her a little more than From Russia With Love’s Tatiana Romanova. But I still have Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder from Dr. No on a bit of a pedestal.

The climax of the movie, involving a nuke at Ft. Knox, is a lot of fun. The highlight was Bond’s showdown with Oddjob that culminated in the best way possible for the henchman to be defeated.

Something that struck me about the movie (and the franchise as a whole) was the continuity. There is no reference to SPECTRE or Blofeld in the movie, but there’s a quick line of dialogue where Bond references Jamaica (and the events of Dr. No) to Felix Leiter. For some reason, I had always been under the impression that each Bond movie was a stand-alone adventure with a steady stream of unconnected villains. I’m pleased that’s not the case.

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Blu-Ray Features

MI6 CommentaryTwo commentary tracks are on the disc.  One is by director Guy Hamilton. The other is by members of the Cast and Crew

Declassified: MI6 Vault

Sean Connery From the Set of Goldfinger (3mins 12secs) – A short video featuring Sean Connery while he was filming the movie.

Theodore Bikel Screen Test (5mins 39secs) & Tito Vandis Screen Test (4mins 13secs) – Screen tests for the Goldfinger role.

On Tour With the Aston Martin DB5 (11mins 43secs) – This is a fun and cool look at the famous car from the movie. There are a lot of interesting tidbits and footage of the car being used in premieres and publicity photos.

Honor Blackman Open-Ended Interview (3mins 53secs) – A short video of Honor Blackman answering questions about making the movie. The questions were designed so different news organizations could edit them to make it appear as if they interviewed her.

007 Mission ControlThis is a nifty little interactive chapter selection feature.

Mission Dossier

The Making of Goldfinger (26mins) – Inside look at the making of Goldfinger with interviews from many of the people involved.

The Goldfinger Phenomenon (29mins 14secs) – A look at the memorable moments and making of the film.

Original Publicity Featurette (2mins 15secs) – A brief documentary on Harold Sakata (Oddjob) and Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore).

Ministry of PropagandaTheatrical Archive, TV Broadcasts & Radio CommunicationA thorough collection of all the promotional material for Goldfinger. Includes a Sean Connery Radio Interview (11mins 50secs).

Image DatabaseA sizable gallery of pictures from the making of the movie.

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Buy the individual “Goldfinger” blu-ray here.

Screenshot_2013-04-26-15-26-02-1Thunderball (1965)

Release Date: December 22nd, 1965

Director: Terence Young

Writers: Richard Maibaum & John Hopkins

Stars: Sean ConneryClaudine Auger & Adolfo Celi

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Plot:

James Bond travels to the Bahamas after SPECTRE holds the world hostage with a pair of atomic bombs.

Thoughts:

I took a long break between Goldfinger and Thunderball. Part of the reason for the break was a lack of free time. The other reason was that I enjoyed Goldfinger so much I felt it would be unfair to this one if I watched it with Goldfinger stuck in my head. Once I saw the opening scene of Thunderball, however, my fears were quelled.

Thunderball opens with Bond fighting a man who dressed as a woman after faking his/her death. The sequence closes with 007 flying away with a jetpack. From the very beginning I was hooked.

Terence Young returned to direct what had to be the most difficult Bond movie to film up to that point. Given the tropical setting, the movie puts an emphasis on underwater sequences and set pieces. 25% of the movie takes place underwater. That doesn’t equate to a lack of action. There’s plenty of underwater action taking place. The result is a very fun Bond movie and it’s actually quite impressive.

The movie was the biggest influence on the Austin Powers movies; so anytime something particularly ridiculous (shark feeding, henchman trap door) happened it made me laugh. The action is top notch as well. Sean Connery is great, of course, and the set pieces are as intense and well executed as ever. The climax involving two factions fighting underwater was equal parts hilarious, thrilling and inspired. I loved it.

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Blu-Ray Features

MI6 CommentaryCommentary by editor Peter Hunt, screenwriter John Hopkins and some of the crew.

Declassified: MI6 Vault

The Incredible World of James Bond – Original 1965 NBC Television Special (50mins, 54secs) – A thorough special from 1965 detailing the franchise up to Thunderball.

A Child’s Guide to Blowing Up a Motor Car – 1965 Ford Promotional Film (17mins, 9secs) – A cute tongue-in-cheek promotional video produced by Ford that features a man showing a kid around the set of Thunderball.

On Location with Ken Adam (13mins, 6secs) – Production designer Ken Adam talks about the various locations the movie was filmed in.

Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies (3mins, 54secs) – A behind the scenes look at the jetpack used in the opening scene of the movie. This actually has some pretty interesting trivia in it.

Thunderball Boat Show Reel (2mins, 51secs) – Alternate clips from the underwater battle sequence that were used in promos.

Selling Bonds – Original 1965 Television Commercials (2mins, 5secs) – A few commercials for Bond-inspired clothes and toys.

007 Mission Control – This is a nifty little interactive chapter selection feature.

Mission Dossier

The Making of Thunderball (27mins, 34secs) – This is an in-depth look at the franchise’s history up to Thunderball.

The Thunderball Phenomenon (31mins, 4secs) – Another behind the scenes look at Fleming’s work and the making of Thunderball.

The Secret History of Thunderball (3mins, 56secs) – This is a pretty interesting, brief look at different versions of scenes that appear in the film.

Ministry of PropagandaTheatrical Archive, TV Broadcasts & Radio CommunicationA thorough collection of all the promotional material for Thunderball.

Image DatabaseA sizable gallery of pictures from the making of the movie.

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Buy the individual “Thunderball” blu-ray here.

Verdict

20130426_150914I’m actually not sure if I liked Thunderball more than Goldfinger or not. Goldfinger had Oddjob and Pussy Galore. Thunderball has more standalone cheese. A henchman is fed to sharks and a SPECTRE agent’s seat shoots him before disposing of the body via a trap door under the seat at the SPECTRE conference room.

For its clear influence on Mike Myers’ Austin Powers movies alone, however, I think I’ll give the edge to Thunderball. Both are great entries in the franchise, though.

You can buy the Bond 50th Anniversary blu-ray collection here.

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The Obsessive Viewer will return in…

Bond 50: Part III – You Only Live Twice (1967) & On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

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7 responses to “Bond 50: Part II – Goldfinger (1964) & Thunderball (1965)

  1. Pingback: Bond 50: Part I – Dr. No (1962) & From Russia With Love (1963) | The Obsessive Viewer

  2. Gold finger is the best 😀

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  3. I’m glad you enjoyed Goldfinger and Thunderball. Goldfinger is such an iconic James Bond film, so many classic moments. It’s one of my personal favorites among the Sean Connery films. I have mixed feelings about Thunderball. Some of the locales are amazing and I really like the Bond girl. The rest of the film just doesn’t stand out to me as much as From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, or even Dr. No. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the next two films, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The series notably begins to go down hill after that with Diamonds Are Forever, which is one of the worst Bond films of all time.

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    • Yeah, I’m not really looking forward to Diamonds Are Forever. It’s going to be interesting going deeper in the set. I should have the next part posted sooner rather than later. Ideally from here on I’d like to post two entries per month. I don’t know how likely that is. But it’s worth a shot. Thanks for reading, btw!

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  4. Hello! Well, I just wanted to mention that Austin Powers greatest influence was YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE! That is so obvious. After YOLT, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but NOT Thunderball.

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