'Goldfinger' is one of my favourite movies and was the first DVD disc I ever played. I put off buying a Blu-ray player until 'Goldfinger' was available on that format. So, putting that disc into my brand new Panasonic DMP-BD35 player was a much anticipated event, fraught with the possibility of either fulfilment or of bitter disappointment.
Fortunately, I was served up a large dollop of joy. The reviews of the Blu-ray releases of 'Dr. No' and 'From Russia with Love' were very positive and so it has proved to be the same for 'Goldfinger'
However, I can't agree with reviews that say "Set in the '60s but looks as if it was filmed yesterday". It simply isn't going to look as sharp as 'Bourne Ultimatum' (for example) but the Technicolor palette has never looked quite so natural - e.g. the golf match between Goldfinger & Bond. Some scenes are really quite beautiful such as the Alpine, 'Golden Girl', and 'Fort Knox' interior scenes. However the High Def format shows up flaws in the matte and model work. The soundtrack is also greatly enhanced with the title sequence looking and sounding fantastic. Most of the extras have been available on previous DVD releases and have now been enhanced for the Blu-ray release.
If you are an HD-loving, long-standing Bond fan and think 'Goldfinger' is THE essential Bond movie, just buy it.
When the "Ultimate Edition" 2DVD sets of the Bond films were finally released in July 2006, most fans couldn't believe their luck or their eyes. It didn't seem to matter which of the 20 films you bought - due to the Pristine Lowry Digital Restoration Process (frame-by-frame clean up that apparently took two years to achieve), they were all jaw dropping - simply spectacular to look at. And each was bolstered up with spiffy new 007 menus and period special features that were informative and actually worth seeing.
It should therefore come as no surprise that this 2009 BLU RAY reissue of 1964's "Goldfinger" (directed by Guy Hamilton) uses those same cleaned-up elements and extras - and is an awesome thing to behold.
To put this into an actual context - here's some examples of how revelatory the print actually is - in the pre opening-credits sequence when 007 plants his detonation devices, Connery then peels out of what is supposed to be a wetsuit, but you can clearly see it's black/blue silk outfit to offset his immaculate white tuxedo beneath (then he buttonhole's his red carnation in incredible clarity). When he comes out onto the hotel balcony in Miami and lies down beside Gill Masterson on the sun-lounge (Shirley Eaton instructing Gert Frobe via binoculars as to what the other card player is holding), on the close up of 007's face, you can clearly see applied make-up on his cheeks - it's Bond in blusher!
Or how about this... as Bond talks to Auric Goldfinger on the golf-course before they tee off, you can just about make out the dividing lines between the square turfs of grass they laid out to make the tee-off area look more lush. Then there's the deep black enamel of the AU 1 number plate on the Phantom 337 as its loaded into a transport plane bound for Geneva... Pussy Galore as Bond wakes up on the Lockheed en route to the USA - her golden blonde hair slowly coming into focus in dazzling sexy clarity... and on it goes...scene after scene of unbelievable detail - leaves in Mint Julep drinks - the two moles on the left side of Honor Blackman's face...yikes!
All the elements came together on "Goldfinger" that would set up a template for decades to come - the eye-catching opening sequence, the sexy credits and the new Bond song, the gadgets, the fearsome unkillable bad guy, the leggy molls who may or may not have your best interests at heart, the cars and gadgets, Desmond Llewelyn as the exasperated Q and Bernard Lee as the permanently frowning M. Throw in the Aston Martin DB 5 with its fantastically handy ejector seat and Harold Sakata as the Korean assassin Oddjob and his chop-your-head-off bowler hat - and you're on a winner. And then of course the film's ultimate trump card - Sean Connery - sex on legs - a man with something permanently lodged down his trousers and we're not talking about starched Y-fronts. He'll kill you, smile afterwards and then flick the bits off of his immaculately groomed Saville Row suit...
You also forget about the great one-liners - "shocking...positively shocking" as he fries the bad guy in the bath; "The President has expressed satisfaction...that makes two of us..." Bond says as he rolls off a babe and turns off the radio; "...Unfortunately he has a pressing engagement..." Goldfinger says as he dispatches Mr. Solo (one of the hoods) off to the car-crusher. It's all so bloody good - and it still makes you tingle.
Luckily the extras have survived intact too - there's a commentary from members of the cast and crew, a revealing on-set interview with a suited-and-booted Connery, the "Declassified: M16 Vault" feature which is just so enjoyable. Although I love the outer card wrap, which gives it a classy feel and a uniform look when lined up against the other titles in the series (not all are available yet), it's a real shame that there's no commemorative booklet - it would be such a sweet touch.
To sum up - when Sean Connery pulls the parachute silk over him and Honor Blackman at the end of the movie and announces "...this is no time to be saved!" - you can't help but feel that the dapper British agent has a point.
Bond 3 on BLU RAY is surely up there with the very best restorations ever done - a triumph - and that the movie is still such a blast after 35 years of endless re-watches is a testament to its durability.
"Goldfinger" is in fact like Sophia Loren - it never ages and will always ooze sex - it's ample chest and tiny waistline will be making grown men go weak at the knees in a hundred years from now. And even if that bad guy's laser beam is getting a little too close to all of our privates these days - you can buy this Martini of a film, put on the tux, pull in the girdle - and cheer yourself up no end.
Love it. Love it. Love it.
PS: for other superb restorations on BLU RAY, see also my reviews for "The Italian Job", "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning", "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner", "The Dambusters", "Quo Vadis", "North By Northwest", "Cool Hand Luke", "The Prisoner - The Complete (UK TV) Series In High Definition", "Braveheart", "Snatch", "The African Queen" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
As is oft quoted, this movie is where all the ingredients came together. Whether this is your favourite Bond movie or not, probably depends mostly on how you appreciated the change in tone that happened with this movie. Guy Hamilton took over directing duties, and recognised the whole tongue in cheek potential of the franchise, as exemplified by the opening sequence, and ran with that. This opening sequence has Bond swim up `disguised' with a duck on his head, and run around setting charges in an extravagant Ken Adams designed set, before suavely peeling back the dry suit to reveal an immaculate white suit, flourishing a carnation for his lapel from who-knows-where, and sauntering in to seduce a lady in a bar. This mini-story within a story exemplifies all that was to come in the movie and movies to follow. Suave, funny, action packed, and of course just a little bit over the top.
Much is said of the fact that gadgets came to the fore - the Aston Martin is introduced in spectacular form, and the women are both beautiful and played by talented actresses. Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore was the first leading Bond lady who actually had previous acting experience (and at 36, the oldest actress to play a Bond lady). John Barry has also crafted a fully realised score for the movie far superior to his earlier work on Bond movies. However, two things above all make Goldfinger a success. Firstly, Sean Connery is by now completely at home with the character. His comfort in the role without yet being tired of it adds immeasurably to the charm of the movie. Secondly, the true measure of a Bond movie is in how good the villain is - and Gert Frobe makes a fantastic megalomaniac. You only have to check out the two screen tests for other actors to realise just how different the movie would have been without his exuberant style. The character, as well as key movie plotlines, rely on his bombastic enthusiasm for boasting, and Frobe makes this a believable trait.
Whether you like the comedic elements or not, the fact is that Guy Hamilton clearly got the balance right to appeal to the widest possible audience. Goldfinger was not just a hit - it was a phenomenon. This is amply demonstrated in the extras, which include all of the Special Edition extras plus various period interviews and feauturettes, including an open-ended interview with Honor Blackman, on set chat with Connery, the aforementioned screen tests and a 10 minute BBC feature on the Aston Martin touring to promote the film. Despite these additions, the best of all is still the entertaining and thorough half hour documentary and movie commentary from the Special Edition.
In reality, as a film Goldfinger does not deserve 5 stars. But this is not reality - this is entertainment. And as the most defining iconic movie of a 20th Century hero, this movie has more than enough entertainment value to override the quibbles and make this a 5 star success.
on 11 June 2001
The DVD is extraordinarily good, with two informative commentaries. The two documentaries cover similar ground, but one incorporates a fascinating glimspe at a screen test for the title role. The picture quality is excellent for such an old film, and the sound is crisp. The film has all the ingredients of Gadgets, girls and Vodkatini's. 'Goldfinger' is often sited as the best Bond, however while the film introduces all the dominant themes of the series, it lacks the humour and sense of fun in all the Seventies Bonds. People should except that Moore and Connery are brilliant Bonds, but in different ways.
on 26 February 2011
Twenty One reviews and all of the Five Star. It says it all really. So many Iconic bond momentws, the first bond car, the lazer up between the legs, the game of golf at Stoke Poges to name but a few, Probably the most famous, and probably the best bond ever
on 18 April 2011
This remastered version is excellent, the opening aerial shots of Miami are a clear and colourful as anything you would see on an episode of CSI:Miami. The picture quality is crystal clear as is the soundtrack, the title song is really vibrant (sang, as ever, in the key of LOUD by Dame Shirley Bassey!).
There is however one niggle, the remastering process is so good, it now so very very easy to pick up where shots have been superimposed, this is really apparent early in the film when the oil tanks explode, and when Sean Connery is 'outside' the hotel in Miami for his meeting with Leiter.
Apart from that, it's a top notch effort, well worth the purchase price.
Appropriately enough the first of the series to have a really imaginative use of colour, Goldfinger is in many ways the most visually sensual of the films, the unforgettable image of Shirley Eaton's golden girl reflected in a golden glow to much of Ted Moore's cinematography. It's oozing with striking and surreal imagery, from Oddjob's menacing shadow on the hotel room wall, to the little old lady with machine gun or Bond making his entry by unzipping his wetsuit to reveal an evening one underneath. Ken Adam's production design is his possibly his finest hour, genuine architecture of the imagination that is at once both fantastic and strangely credible, maintaining a sense of scale and verisimilitude by his use of ceilings on the smaller sets.
It's also the one that set the Bond formula in stone, something that would later become more a hindrance than a help to the series before something more radical was attempted with Casino Royale. Aside from establishing the trend for irrelevant but enjoyable pretitle sequences, it is from here on that the gadgets begin to assume a more prominent role. However, unlike most of the Roger Moore efforts, they are no match for Bond's own wits - even the famed Aston Martin DB5 does not save him. After putting it through its paces, he is left to his own initiative.
There is no getting away from the overtly sexist approach here ("Dink, say goodbye to Felix - man talk."). Even Blackman's villainy seems inextricably linked to her lesbianism ("You can turn off the charm, I'm immune") but one good one from Bond and she's on the side of the angels.
As with all Bond films, many of the cast are dubbed - in this case, Frobe was dubbed by actor Michael Collins. Regardless, his Auric Goldfinger is easily the best of the Bond super-villains, and comes equipped with the best line in the series as Bond, strapped down in front of the laser beam (in the novel it was a chainsaw), asks if he expects him to talk: "No Mr Bond, I expect you to die." And for possibly the only time in the series, you think that maybe Bond really has had it. Incredibly enjoyable and one of the best-paced entries in the series, it's not hard to see why this is many people's favorite Bond film. It may be formulaic, but then the formula still worked wonders.
While all the extras from the original single-disc release have been carried over, there are not as many new features as you might expect on this repackaged two-disc Ultimate Edition. Most interesting are Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis' screen tests as Goldfinger, but there are also somewhat awkwardly presented archive interviews with Connery and Honor Blackman as well as a featurette about the Aston Martin DB5, though perhaps the most enjoyable remain the radio spots from the original release.
on 22 January 2003
This Quite simply is the best James Bond film of all time. An excellent actor plays goldfinger, with an even more excellent voice over. Oddjob is probably the most memorable henchman ever, and then connery is at his peak. Add to that one of the best plots of all time and the finale is fantastic. And then we cant forgot the 3 gorgeous bond women, pussy galore and the master's twins Jill and Tilly. Please buy this film
on 15 November 2002
FILM - Goldfinger is by some way the best of the James Bond films. Satisfied that the concept was popular, the filmmakers have here taken risks in every respect. So we don't know what Fort Knox looks like - we'll make it up. So our villain doesn't speak English - we'll dub his voice. And so on. Connery is superb as James Bond - he oozes style, and charms his way through the picture. The score by John Barry is incredibly stylish - a deserved smash hit. The set designs by Ken Adam set the template for all the future Bonds. Guy Hamilton's direction is much faster paced than Terence Young's - and introduces the theme through all four of his Bonds whereby after the main scam had been frustrated, Bond would have to suffer a subsidiary attack - here by Goldfinger in an aeroplane. It reduces the predictability of the film superbly.
In fact, everyone involved in this production seems to have hit top gear. It's hard to define why it gels so well, but perhaps you shouldn't try and analyse magic.
DVD PRESENTATION - You can't fault it - a wonderful print.
DVD EXTRAS - Very good, but you do wonder whether the two documentaries about Goldfinger could not better have been placed into one. The production stills are still too small to be seen in any detail on a normal TV screen.
Every '007' fan will no doubt have their favourite 'Bond' movie, this in truth is mine, a good reason to invest
in this collectable 'Steel-Book' release.
In this one we see our hero pitted against the ruthless 'Auric Goldfinger' (Gert Frobe) who has his favourite
commodity 'Gold' held in vaults all around the World, 'James'(Sean Connery) has to discover what 'Goldfinger'
is up to.
'James' has an early introduction to 'Goldfinger's' side-kick 'OddJob' (Harold Sakata) and his steel-rimmed
bowler-hat, during a game of golf between 'Auric' and 'James' - OddJob' turns out to be an inventive 'Caddy'
~ their paths will cross again.
'James' follows 'Goldfinger' to Geneva where his new toy awaits him, the gadget-filled Aston-Martin (not that
he'll be driving it for long)
Setting out to discover 'Goldfinger's' master plan will land 'James' in a heap load of trouble very quickly,
fortunately he'd overheard part of a conversation at the tycoons warehouse, three words that will save his
life, 'Operation Grand-Slam'
In captivity he has his first encounter with 'Goldfinger's' personal pilot, 'Pussy Galore' (Honor Blackman)
Though the three word phrase had kept him alive 'James' still has no idea what Operation Grand Slam is, until,
after outsmarting his Guard James finds himself below a room where 'Goldfinger' was, with pride, boasting to
his associates who had already committed their investment, his plans to disable 'Fort Knox' sending the price
of Gold sky high, the knowledge of the plan however wasn't going to be allowed much beyond the room, all the
investors die with the knowledge remaining safe, other than the fact that '007' had heard enough, unless he can
get the message out to 'Agent Felix' (Cec Linder) 'James' could be the only person that stands between 'Goldfinger'
achieving his plans or being foiled.
With the usual array of superb one-liners, Beautiful women, great action sequences, the film all these years down
the line hasn't lost it's appeal, of course 'Shirley Basseys's' song of the same name grace's proceedings.
The film has a pretty good picture and sound upgrade.
A superb Collectable,as collectors of 'Steel-Book' movies will know, these issues are only available for a short time,
waiting will only see the price considerably increase.