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James Bond 007 film-by-film thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mr_spenalzo, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    From Russia With Love is pretty much a direct transfer of the Fleming novel, which I think makes it one of the best. Great story, great villains, pure spy stuff, nothing too silly. The battle in the train must have been great to watch in the theater back in the day.
  2. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

  3. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    The sad truth is that the series has never been taken seriously as being made of great films or for their own merits outside of the usual which actor was best, or which made the most money discussions. It is essential to understand how the tone of the series changed with the times and how gradually key production members departed. And most of all it must be understood that there is a difference between the novels and the films and only at certain times do they converge a bit.

    Once you get those down, the series makes perfect sense. I adore all of them and am ready and willing to engage in debate on even the most trivial or silly bits of everything up to 2006 which is where I check out.

    Dr. No is a masterful and taut thriller on a lowered scale. Terence Young perfectly sets the tone for the entire series, and it can be argued that the first film is the best due to it now having to follow any guidelines.
    willy and Shawn like this.
  4. Slappy9001

    Slappy9001 Forum Resident

    Kingston, PA
    In many ways, GOLDFINGER is the prototypical Bond film. It has an interesting villain with grand plans, a big scope, great locations, humor, sex and plenty of action. But to be honest I just don't like it much. I get that it is a "good" movie and started the Bond craze of the 60's, but for my tastes I have always found it to be less stylish and blunter than the first two Bond films. Connery gives his best performance as Bond, true, and there are scattered scenes that are truly outstanding--Bond on the table with the laser, Bond discovering the golden girl, the end fight with Oddjob--but there is a flatness of style evident that always turns me off. Truth be told, I feel this way about all of the Bond films that take place in the U.S. It is probably not a coincidence that Guy Hamilton directed almost all of these. I realize this is an American response--I'd rather see the Bond films set in other countries. This foreign pizazz is part of what I respond to in the Bond films...which is probably exactly what people in other countries think of the films set in the US.

    Still, I am cognizant that my objections are relatively petty. The film is widely heralded as one of the best, and for good reason. It's a compact story with clear plotlines and even clearer characters. The theme song is great, the larger budget shows on the screen with great cinematography, locations, and sets. Connery has fully settled into the role and handles the humorous aspects of the character very nicely. The increased sex and action make it more objectively "fun" to watch than the first two films. It does far more right than it does wrong and justifiably became a worldwide box office hit.

    It's just not my favorite.

    Stuff to like:
    • Bond and the laser.
    • Fight with Oddjob at the end is one of the series high points.
    • Shirley Eaton looks great in her underwear and wearing gold paint.
    • Connery was probably the most invested in the role for the film. Gone are all of the rough edges from the previous two films--here he is is machismo personified with a playful sense of humor. In fact, Connery was never more playful than in this film.
    • Gert Frobe is a great villain, even though he as dubbed by a voice actor. Or is he a great villain BECAUSE he was dubbed?
    • Grant, Oddjob, Jaws--that order. These are the greatest Bond villains.
    • The gadgets in this film are borderline ridiculous, but they are sure fun (like the Astin Martin).
    • The golf game. I love that so much time is devoted to it.
    • Good location work, though the studio-bound inserts with the actors is a drag.
    • Great sets by Ken Adam--the Fort Knox is a standout, but Goldfinger's meeting room is also great.
    • Well plotted.
    • Love the machine gun-toting old lady guard.
    • Goldfinger being sucked out of the tiny window--makes no sense but sure is fun.
    • Car crushing gag is great.
    Stuff to dislike:
    • Honor Blackman does nothing for me in this film. That isn't to say she isn't good, just that she isn't my type.
    • The organized crime leaders are caricatures right out of the BATMAN TV show.
    • The big con by the good guys at the end is pretty silly when you stop to analyze it.
    • Connery's hairpiece is obvious. Thankfully in THUNDERBALL it was toned down a few notches.
    • For all of the great looking scenes in this film--and there are quite a few--the film too often is reduced to zoom shots and basic coverage.
    • Bond "flipping" ***** Galore is, viewed all these years, pretty misogynistic.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  5. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Forum Resident

    One of my favorite lines in a Bond film that isn't delivered by Bond:

    "Do you expect me to talk?"

    "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"

  6. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    I always loved the Goldfinger golf scenes particularly the "strict rules of golf" line, which I use all the time. So much of the golfing stuff is lifted verbatim from the book including the strict rules line.
  7. Somewhat Damaged

    Somewhat Damaged Forum Resident

    I was given three 2012 audiobooks for review purposes (BECAUSE MY OPINION MATTERS! :)). My review of Goldfinger read by Hugh Bonneville:

    I have issues with Ian Fleming's writing style. I find his prose to be monstrously bloated with in-depth descriptions of everything. Why say something with one sentence when you can laboriously say it with twelve. His writing is pure stodge. Many years ago I tried to read one or two of his Bond books but failed within ten pages. Recently I was given the audiobook versions of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever. I thought having them read to me might make them more bearable.

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service was so horrible and tiresome that I gave up halfway through disc one of eight. The prose was torture.

    Diamonds Are Forever started okay for the first three discs. Very plodding but not painful. I gave it a rest for a week and a half and ordered Goldfinger as I was feeling optimistic. I then resumed Diamonds Are Forever. Unfortunately I found that the book had turned into indigestible stodge once again. I barely got out of there alive. Those last three discs of six were very hard going. I even almost jumped ship on the last disc as I couldn't take it. I wanted to shout at him to stop describing everything in such needless detail and just get on with it. I'm here for the story, not for the irrelevant descriptions of gambling laws at sea.

    So I was now faced with eight discs of more misery. Goldfinger is the best Bond film in my opinion. Would that translate into a strong book? After warily ignoring it for about a month or two I decided to start it. I was not overcome with excitement.

    Diamonds Are Forever would probably have remained okay if I hadn't taken that break. Perhaps I needed to be in a specific mood to derive any enjoyment from Fleming's writing? Or perhaps that book really did nosedive in quality after the halfway point? Anyway, the lesson I learnt from that experience was that I should be as quick as possible and not take any breaks.

    I had a very pleasant surprise. It was actually...quite good. It wasn't stunningly brilliant or anything, but it was enjoyable in a plodding along amiable sort of way. The story had more of a grip on me than the other two. Also it seemed close to my memory of the film version.

    Fleming does his usual over researched, everything plus the kitchen sink, detailed descriptions. As the story was engaging I didn't mind it much this time. Sometimes he went too far, but it didn't stretch my patience anywhere near to breaking point. If I was reading it myself I might have struggled and skipped pages. As it was being read to me I found it easy enough to accept.

    He's a curios combination of the imaginative and unimaginative. His story was clever and compelling, but his prose heavy going. It's like he doesn't realise that he doesn't have to give his readers a full account of what Bond had for breakfast, or that he can compress time.

    There is a golf game. Amazingly, and bizarrely, he recounts the full thing shot for shot. Seriously. He gives us the details of what was played for the whole eighteen holes. Most, if not all, writers would have dramatised the first two holes, covered the next twelve in a paragraph or two and then dramatised the last four holes. That is all that would be needed. Fleming seems to think we need to know what clubs were used, how the balls landed and what the terrain was like for all of it. You can argue this level of detail is good. Personally I think it's more bloat than anything else, and a sign that he wasn't a strong writer.

    There is also a long drive across France into Switzerland as Bond follows Goldfinger. The whole drive, the streets, the towns, where they stop and what they eat, is described in full. Again, a few sentences could have covered pages and pages of text.

    The card game that opens the book takes up about the full length of disc one.

    As I've already said, I didn't mind it that much this time. The golf game was not exactly the most thrilling thing I've ever heard/read, but it wasn't hard going.

    The 1964 film version follows the book quite closely, with only the ending and some specific details varying from each other.

    The sexual and racial politics of the time are quite harsh to hear nowadays. It's amazing these things could be written without anyone objecting back then.

    A bit of editing to shorten bits here and there wouldn't do any harm; otherwise I think overall it was a solid story.

    Hugh Bonneville was a very good reader. His voice was void of much personality of its own which I think was a good thing. His character voices were fairly distinctive. Near the end he struggled to keep the voices separate from each other, but the book introduced too many new characters at once so I doubt many actors could have made them all stand out. The readers on the other two audiobooks range from very bad (David Tennant) to okay (Damian Lewis).

    I might have to give On Her Majesty's Secret Service another go on the strength of Goldfinger.

    4 out of 5 stars for the audiobook.

    ADDITIONAL: I watched the film. The book is very much superior to it. For all my carping about the bloat and over the top information on everything, I appreciate it a lot more now I've seen a barebones retelling. Those great big set piece sequences lose a lot when squeezed down to only a few minutes of screen time. The golf game for example is nothing in the film compared to the book. It can't help but lose a lot when a circa fifty minute sequence is reduced to about five minutes.

    The only thing the film does better is the ending at Fort Knox, as it changes the details of what is to happen to the gold bars.

    The book has no horse racing in it while the movie has Goldfinger using stables as his base in America. The film includes a line of dialogue about a bourbon drink made with branch water. This is a reference to the racing sequence in Diamonds Are Forever, which had a digression about the drink.

    The film was rather crudely made. I can't say I saw any particular technical merit in how it was put together.

    The bit that confounded me the most is why does Goldfinger give his speech about Operation Grandslam to the gangsters? He then kills them minutes later. Why waste his breath? He also allows one of the gangsters to leave (an Italian in the book, an American in the film) only to have Oddjob kill him elsewhere.

    Also it was curious that the book has Tilly Masterton (Masterson in the film) stay in the story up to the end while the movie kills her early on (she is the sister of the woman who is killed by being painted gold). They could have deleted her character from the film and it would have made no difference apart from saving about five minutes of screen time.

    It might be sacrilegious to say this, but I would like to see a modern remake of Goldfinger that sticks closely to the novel. There is a much better film to be made from this story.

    3 out of 5 stars for the movie.

    My new review of the film:

    Goldfinger (1964)

    James Bond (Sean Connery) investigates possible gold smuggling. This is generally considered to be the best of the series and it certainly has many iconic and memorable moments. It's a good movie but I don't think it's anything remarkable nowadays. It's a little too 60s in some ways (sexism, dated special effects). Logic can be a little warped (the killing of the gangsters is overly elaborate involving giving a pointless speech and destroying a car to then have to recover gold crushed within the car). The fairly short running time works in its favour. It moves with some zip. I enjoyed it but I wouldn't call it the best of the Bond films, although it's probably the definitive one in terms of what you imagine when you think about Bond.

    Pete Puma likes this.
  8. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    I hate Craig! That too is where I checked out of new Bond. I used to think Remington Steel was not a good Bond, but Craig changed all that. I have seen each of Craig's films only once, except I have never seen Spectre, probably because Skyfall was easily the worst Bond film ever. I think I have only seen Goldeneye and Tomorrow twice each, so I will have to revisit those. But it looks like this weekend it will be Goldfinger again.

    I loved all the original books, they were like travelogues with good food.
    johnsiddique and captainsolo like this.
  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Livonia, MI
    Well, you know what they say: "Live and let die." :laugh:
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Livonia, MI
    Novel had a lot more time spent with Red Grant and Rosa Klebb, not to mention a crazy cliffhanger ending. That aside, it sticks to the novel a lot more than most Bond movies.
  11. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Atl., Ga, USA
    Goldeneye was good and I put it in top ten Bonds. And I liked him a lot as Bond. I just feel that his next three were really generic 90s Michael Bey style movies. Just truly forgettable and that's too bad, because he was capable of more.
    Mark Wilson likes this.
  12. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    Before I start, I should say that I am very new to the Bond franchise and have sort of a love/hate relationship with the series. The movies I like the best are not always the same ones that most people like. If I seem to be disparaging a well-loved classic, I’m not insulting it’s quality as a film, but only expressing my outsider opinion of it.

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get into it. It looks like we’ve gotten up to Goldfinger now?

    Dr. No
    I don’t care for this one. I accept that it’s historically significant in that it set the tone for both the Bond franchise and the spy genre as a whole, but it’s just too over-the-top and ridiculous for my taste. Honey Ryder and Dr. No are just too silly of characters for me to enjoy the equally silly plot. The film as a whole seems to ride the uncomfortable line between parody and legitimate action film, but not being enough of either to be satisfying. The action sequences also felt very primitive and not believable, though that probably has more to do with the time period than the film itself.

    From Russia With Love
    I like this one better than Dr. No. It is still quite silly, but not so much so that it detracts from the serious side. It also seems a lot more focused than Dr. No, which I felt spent way too much time meandering. It still has some pacing issues, but overall does a better job of moving along.

    I liked this one better than Dr. No, but I don’t get the overwhelming love for it or the general consensus that it is the best Bond film. I thought it had some serious pacing issues. IMO, the villain and the Bond girl are far less interesting than they get credit for.
  13. mr_spenalzo

    mr_spenalzo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I agree with the less-than-average-anthusiastic-about-Goldfinger...

    Remember reading a review that remarked that in this film Bond seems to think that the best way to complete the mission is by being as rude as possible to everyone he meets, including villain, girls and his own boss. Also, Bond is a bit useless here. He walks around being stylish, but doesn't really do anything, aside from getting 2 sisters killed on his watch, and getting caught by Goldfinger and Pussy a few times. The scene at the end where he's trying to defuse the bomb is typical... he knows where to look, but not what to look for, and in the end is bailed out by someone more knowledgeable than he is.

    Having said that, there are some great bits. I love the "men talk" with Dink, the gold painted lady, the music, the golf, the bits in Switzerland...
  14. bostonscoots

    bostonscoots Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    How the f**k can you judge a book - or a writer's style - from an audiobook? What next - reading lyrics from a book?

    Ok, I'm only teasing about that.

    I think Ian Fleming's a vastly underrated writer - his books do not plod. In fact, the best of them move along in what's called "The Fleming Sweep" - the hooks in the chapter that heighten tension and lead to the next. His Bond books aren't not tomes, like a Ludlum novel or anything by Tom Clancy, they're pulpy novels meant to be consumed in a short period. Fleming's background as a journalist made him entirely familiar with the attention span of an audience and as a result, his novels weren't written to be "art" but as thrillers...

    That said, another point worth debating/discussing is Fleming's level of extreme detail. Some find this tiresome, but it's important to remember these books were written during post-war Britain while rationing was still in effect. Just as Fleming intended his books to be lusty expressions of sex and violence, he also wanted to play up the fantasies of a populace that hadn't seen decent abundant food since before the war. So Fleming went all in on the food porn, describing in rich detail meals like stone crabs in Florida that were washed down with champagne (to offset the melted butter), paw paw with lime and Blue Mountain coffee in Jamaica, or most indulgently, a meal between Bond and M that lasts an entire chapter in Moonraker (Bond even throws a little speed into his champagne to keep his wits sharp).

    And then there's the golf game. Fleming's detail is a strength during this sequence because he's taking time to set up the small details - the clubs, the terrain, the different types of golf balls - that Bond will use against Goldfinger later in the game ("We are playing strict rules of golf, Goldfinger...")

    Fleming's not perfect, I willingly agree. Bond does come across as a misogynist and a snob - mostly because Fleming was a misogynist, a snob, and a bit of a racist (his dialogue for the Harlem gangsters in Live And Let Die is nothing less than blackface in print). But Fleming's earned his place in literature and pop culture by having created one of our most durable heroes, James Bond. And as I write this in 2018 they're still making Bond movies and writing Bond books...

    So James Bond will return.
  15. Rubber65

    Rubber65 Forum Resident

    Talking about Bond being a misogynist, as funny as this may sound, I can accept that Connery slaps women around in some of his Bond films. What I mean by this in terms of the time period, what the character represented and who Bond was. Now the only time you see Roger Moore slap a woman and inflict unnecessary pain by twisting her arm was Maud Adams in The Man with the golden gun. Now that just seemed out of place and not in line with Roger Moore's portrayal of Bond. I don't recall any other Bond actors slapping women around except Connery.
  16. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    Goldfinger had a great look and glowing visual atmosphere and set the template for almost all of the future Bond films. This is where Ken Adam's production designs really became central to the appeal of the films. Those set designs were almost characters unto themselves.

    One major weakness, to me, was the fact that the outdoor scenes that were supposed to be in Miami are so obviously filmed in a soundstage. It's distracting and makes it look more dated. Auric Goldfinger was one of the most memorable Bond villains, brilliantly overacted by Gert Frobe, but also acted appropriate to the material.

    Count me as one who never found Honor Blackman to very interesting in this role, but she got Connery to exclaim "Poossy!" so I'll hand that to her.
  17. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
  18. JAuz

    JAuz Forum Resident

    That is true, you can see that during the card game and it's noticeable.

    However, the opening shot of the Fountainebleau from what must be a helicopter and includes a man jumping off the diving board is gorgeous!
  19. junk

    junk Hellion

    St. Louis
    Bond misogynist? Bond loves women and....clearly treats them as they deserve to be treated...
  20. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

    Goldfinger ranks high on my Bond favorites list. maybe number 1. it's so iconic. the theme song is great. Jill Masterson is so well...yeah. Goldfinger and Oddjob make for a great villain combo.
    i think there's at least a little cheese in every Bond film (well at least until super serious Daniel Craig came along). when they sprayed the gas over Fort Knox - the way everyone fell down came off as pretty cheesy to me. i can't help roll my eyes during that scene.
    all in all, a very entertaining spy flick. love it.
    rufus t firefly likes this.
  21. Somewhat Damaged

    Somewhat Damaged Forum Resident

    Yeah, I hated that. On a related note:

    From a later Bond review: ‘One thought I had: why did filmmakers keep using rear projection to insert actors into stunt scenes. Clearly the technology simply didn't work. Has one shot ever looked right and fooled an audience? It's a crap technology that never convinced and should have been abandoned very early and yet filmmakers kept using it for many decades despite how awful it was. All the Bond movies suffer from too much ****ty rear projection.’

    Seriously WHY did they keep using a technology that DID NOT WORK? For DECADES! I understand it was cheaper, safer and easier to put a lead actor into a dangerous scene or an exotic location this way but it DIDN’T WORK and it mars many, many movies. It probably dates movies more than most elements.
    Frederick Mars likes this.
  22. mr_spenalzo

    mr_spenalzo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It doesn't bother me, to be honest, especially considering the reasons you mention being fairly persuasive... if they cut all the scenes with rear projection from my favourite films there'd be a lot less to enjoy.
    vzok likes this.
  23. Spoils Alfred Hitchcock movies for me as well. Normally any scenes in cars suffer badly. From memory I think there is a really bad back projection scene in Spy Who Loved Me - when the sub surfaces and Bond is on the tower?
  24. Somewhat Damaged

    Somewhat Damaged Forum Resident

    What annoys me the most is when they film a proper action scene with proper stunts done on proper locations, but they cut in two or three brief close ups of Roger Moore with terrible back projection. The shots could have been faked so much better with real elements (out of focus if needed) that mostly matches the main footage. How much would it cost to build a tiny section of an arctic tundra or to go to a ski lodge for Roger Moore’s close ups for the opening pre-credit sequence in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)? If I as a viewer cringe in pain when I see them, then how does someone who spent months or years making the movie or scene feel when they flash up on the screen. No one can be happy with the results. It’s a strange place to scrimp and save money when they’ve just spent X millions doing a big action scene.

    ‘when the sub surfaces and Bond is on the tower?’

    The shot in The Spy Who Loved Me I can’t stop flashing back to is a profile 2.35:1 widescreen shot of Moore looking back over his shoulder as he’s being chased in the pre-credit sequence. It looks terrible and could have been so easily cut in the edit without doing any damage.

    Greta Gerwig in a recent interview said that the director of Modern Women (good movie if a little slight) gave her advice on her directorial debut: film all the wide shots first and do the close ups last. If there's a problem and they need to do re-shoots months later, the close ups can be faked on different locations/sets, even if you have to resort to using shallow focus.

    NOTE: Modern Women is on UK Amazon Prime for ‘free’.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
    Frederick Mars likes this.
  25. I totally agree that it seems a strange way to save a few pounds / dollars out of the production budget. As a viewer it always pulls me out of the moment and spoils the illusion that up until that point has been created. Why didn't they use front projection as per Kubrick's 2001? I am also left wondering what the rear projection looked like in the cinema - its been a long time since I have seen any of the early Bonds on the big screen. Does DVD / TV show up the flaws in the rear screen process more than 35mm projection? I can't see this being the case but just a thought.

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