- This page is for the James Bond novel and film; see Goldfinger (band) for the band, Ernö Goldfinger for the architect. Goldfinger was the seventh novel by Ian Fleming featuring superspy James Bond, and was first published in 1959. It was later made into a film starring Sean Connery, released in 1964 as the third installment the James Bond film series. It is possibly the most famous of all the Bond movies.
1963 edition by Pan Books.
The eponymous villain of the novel is Auric Goldfinger, the world's top gold smuggler (the name was inspired by the name of architect Ernö Goldfinger). Goldfinger is working for the Russian spy agency SMERSH and intends to finance the organization's schemes by stealing all the gold in Fort Knox. Bond, along with the amusingly named Pussy Galore, a pilot in Goldfinger's employ, work to prevent Goldfinger from carrying out his plan, which involves killing all the soldiers stationed at Fort Knox with a toxin.
Fleming's novel comes closest to Bond films in terms of gadgetry. Bond is given an Aston Martin DB3 with lethal accessories, as well as a homing device similar to that seen in the movie.
Fleming also contributed to the original draft for the television series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., in which one of the heroes was named "Napoleon Solo". The name originally came from the novel: Napoleon Solo is one of the crime bosses Goldfinger invites to participate in his scheme to steal the gold from Fort Knox. The character also appears in the film, referred to only as Mr. Solo (coincidentally a working title for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.); he exits the film due to "a pressing engagement."
Comic strip adaptation
Fleming's original novel was adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1961. The adaptation was written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky.
The movie version follows the basic plot of Fleming's novel fairly closely. In the film version, Bond discovers a sinister plot by Auric Goldfinger and his organization and the forces of communist China to apparently steal all the gold from the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. It is later revealed that it is not Goldfinger's intention to steal the gold, but to destroy it by detonating a nuclear bomb within Fort Knox, contaminating the United States gold reserve and thereby dramatically increasing the value of his own gold.
The most famous scene in the film — arguably the most famous scene in any Bond film — is the one in which Goldfinger has the recalcitrant Bond tied down in the path of a laser beam:
- Bond: "Do you expect me to talk?"
- Goldfinger: "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die."
This scene differs from a corresponding scene in the novel (where Goldfinger used a buzz saw, not a laser, and spared Bond not because of his claimed knowledge of "Operation Grand Slam" but in acceptance of Bond's offer to work for Goldfinger!).
In the book, Bond was issued with a car with few modifications like revolving license plates. The film greatly expands on the idea with the spy getting an Aston Martin packed with special functions like forward machine guns, oil slick, smokescreen, bullet-proof shield, telescoping tire slashers and most famously, a passenger ejector seat for the removal of unwanted passengers. The popularity of this car in the film led to the increasing inclusion of spectacular gadgetry including other special vehicles.
In addition, Goldfinger set the tone for how future Bond films would be introduced prior to the opening credits -- with a teaser sequence showing Bond in the midst of a mission which may or may not have any connection to the main plot of the movie. (A teaser sequence was used in the previous Bond film, From Russia with Love, but it didn't feature the real James Bond in action.)
Cast & characters
Original Goldfinger soundtrack cover
Goldfinger is the first of three Bond films with a theme sung by Shirley Bassey. Though she only performed three out of numerous Bond film themes, her style has become a trademark of Bond themes. Bond veteran John Barry would compose the soundtrack. His second credited Bond film.
- Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
- Into Miami
- Alpine Drive / Auric's Factory
- Oddjob's Pressing Engagement
- Bond Back In Action Again
- Teasing The Korean
- Gassing The Gangsters
- Goldfinger - (instrumental version)
- Dawn Raid On Fort Knox
- The Arrival Of The Bomb And Count Down
- Death Of Goldfinger, The End Titles
- Golden Girl
- Death Of Tilley
- The Laser Beam
- Pussy Galore's Flying Circus
Vehicles & gadgets
- Aston Martin DB5 - The most famous Bond car of all, this was his very first in the films. It came with all the usual Q refinements that have been copied from movie to movie including bulletproof front and rear panels, oil slick, smoke screen, machine guns, rotating licence plates, and most famously the passenger ejector seat. The ejector seat would be used again the film Die Another Day in a Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. While being the most recognized Bond car, it's actually only been featured in four films (Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, and a small appearance in Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Homing beacon - Bond is given two homing beacons from Q-branch. The first is larger and used when Bond tracks the villain, Auric Goldfinger, to his base. The second is smaller and allows MI6 to know where Bond is. He hides it in a secret compartment in the heel of his shoe.
Though Bond films are not known for technical accuracy, but rather outlandish but plausible action, one incident in this film bears mentioning.
In one scene, a girl is killed by "skin suffocation." She was painted with gold and died due to her skin being unable to "breathe." According to an urban legend, the idea was based on a real Swiss fashion model who painted herself and died of asphyxiation.
While this is a plausible-sounding explanation for this unusual method of killing someone, it has been argued whether or not it is truly possible.
Humans, being mammals, achieve respiration via their mouths and nostrils. The only animals which breathe through their "skin" are some insects. If it were, in fact, true that people breathed in some necessary auxiliary fashion through their skin, it would be impossible for people to engage in extended baths, mud baths, scuba diving and indeed body painting - activities which require extended covering of the skin. If one did try to murder someone via gilding, the person would probably die, but only after a prolonged period, and not in the manner given in the movie. The person would die of heat stroke. The gold paint would clog the pores and prevent perspiration rendering the body unable to provide proper heat regulation. Dying in this fashion, however, would take several days and is a very inefficient manner of terminating someone.
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