The 3rd official James Bond movie. Bond investigates millionaire Auric Goldfinger and discovers his plan to attack Fort Knox.
Gert Frobe spoke very little English when the movie was produced, so his lines were written out for him phonetically. His voice was later dubbed by an English actor to make the dialogue more understandable.
With the success of both Dr. No and From Russia with Love the Bond franchise was quickly something to be reckoned with. And in 1964 the world was taken over by the third film in the Bond saga, Goldfinger. The previous two films had been financial and critical successes but Goldfinger was a mega hint rarely seen before fundamentally changing pop culture of the entire worlds movie going public. To this day Goldfinger continues to pierce the heart of pop culture and considered one of the great Bond, if not, spy films of all time.
A job well done
James Bond (Sean Connery) sneaks onto a drug lords secured herione factory and sets explosive charges before entering a local bar. At the bar the explosives go off and Bond returns to his room where the mistress he was spending time with brought an assassin to kill Bond. After a quick fist fight Bond kills the assassin and leaves.
In Miami Beach Felix Leiter (Cec Linder) finds Bond relaxing and tells him about Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) who is a person of interest and Bond is ment to watch him at the hotel. Bond witnesses Goldfinger cheating at a bridge game and decides to spoil Goldfingers fun. He sneaks into Goldfingers room and finds Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) helping Goldfinger cheat with a pair of binoculars and a radio to Goldfingers ear piece. Bond forces Goldfinger to loose all the money he had won and then sleeps with Jill Masterson.
Jill Masterson painted in gold
That night Oddjob (Harold Sakata) sneaks into Bond’s room and knocks him out. When 007 wakes up he finds Jill Masterson dead on his bed and covered in gold paint.
Back in London Bond takes Jill’s death personally when M (Bernard Lee) scolds Bond since he was only suppose to watch Goldfinger. M and Bond attend a dinner meeting with Colonel Smithers who briefs them on the fact that they fear Goldfinger is smuggling his gold from country to country allowing him to make a massive profit. Do to the fact that Goldfinger is also a legitimate bouillon dealer that has cornered most of the market it is the concern of Her Majesties government that Goldfinger not partake in any illegal smuggling. It becomes Bond’s job to establish that Goldfinger is smuggling and is given a bar of Nazi gold to help him make face to face contact with Goldfinger.
Q demonstrates the Ejector seat
The next day Bond visit’s Q branch and picks up his new DB5 and given a transmitting homer device.
Bond takes his newly issued equipment and visits the golf club that Goldfinger frequents. At first the game is friendly until Bond suggests that they play for the gold bar Smithers gave him earlier. Goldfinger is incapable of resisting and ends up having his man servant Oddjob to help him cheat. Bond catches Goldfinger cheating but instead uses it against him making Goldfinger lose the bet and the gold bar. Furious Goldfinger makes Oddjob demonstrate his deadly razor hat for Bond in order to scare Bond away. As Goldfinger leaves Bond attaches the homer device onto Goldfingers car.
Bond drives in his DB5 and follows Goldfinger through the country side. Following him to the airport. Once landing in Geneva Bond continues to follow Goldfinger through the winding roads. As 007 continues to follow Goldfinger at a stop Tilly Masterson (Tania Mallet) attempts to assassinate Goldfinger but in the process nearly hits Bond. Tilly is quickly chased down by Bond who uses the DB5 to blow out her tires.
Goldfinger shows off his gold smelting factory
Dropping Tilly off at a gas station Bond resumes his hunt of Goldfinger to a large industrial complex. Sneaking up behind the complex Bond waits until dark and sneaks in hoping to find some evidence against Goldfinger. There he discovers that Goldfingers car is actually made out of the smuggled gold that he has cast as the frame of the car and then has melted down at his destination and reconstituted as gold bars. As Bond hides in the shadows he hears Goldfinger mention Operation Grand Slam to an unknown asian scientist.
Retreating back into the woods Bond finds Tilly trying to assassinate Goldfinger again. In his attempt to stop her a trip wire sets off Goldfingers guards who give chase. Bond makes a valient effort to shake them lose but in the end Tilly attempts to make a run for it and is killed by Oddjob. Caught, Bond is brought back to the complex. In an attempted escape Bond crashes his DB5 and loses conscienceness.
Goldfinger explaining to Bond how the laser works
Awakened Bond finds himself strapped to a table about to be cut in half by Goldfingers laser. In a last ditch effort Bond tells Goldfinger that he knows everything about Operation Grand Slam and that his superiors will be after Goldfinger if anything were to happen to him. After dilberation Goldfinger agrees that it is better to keep Bond alive and knocks Bond out again.
Bond awakens for a second time on board Pussy Galore’s (Honor Blackman) jet that she flys for Goldfinger. Galore ignores Bond’s attempts to flirt and gain any information. While in the airplanes bathroom Bond freshens up and activates his personal homer device.
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore
Landing in Kentucky Galore greats her flying circus pilots as Bond is carted off to Goldfingers estate by Oddjob. Once on the estate Bond is locked in a cell as Goldfinger greets the mobsters that have been working for him in America. There he explains to the mobsters that he is planning to rob Fort Knox and with their help they can make ten times the profit they were originally going to make. As Goldfinger explains his plan Bond escapes his cell and listens in on Goldfingers briefing on Operation Grand Slam.
While one of the mobsters refuses to be a part of Goldfingers plans Bond is caught by Galore underneath the model. Outside Golare presents the escaped Bond to Goldfinger as he says good bye to the mobster that wished to leave. As Oddjob drives the mobster away Bond sneaks his personal homer device onto the mobster. Alone in the conference room Goldfinger has the remaining mobsters killed by a deadly nerve gas.
Felix Leiter detects the homer device and attempts to follow it unsure if Bond is in trouble or not. Oddjob shoots the mobster and has the car crushed causing the homer device to no longer work. Leiter decides to return to the estate and observe Goldfinger.
Goldfinger enjoys his own plan
Back on the estate Goldfinger suspects that Leiter is spying on him and brings out Bond in an attempt to lessen the suspicions of Leiter. When Bond arrives Goldfinger discusses Operation Grand Slam. The idea is not to steal anything but set off a nuclear device making America’s gold supply radioactive causing Goldfinger’s gold to be worth ten times over.
When Goldfinger leaves, Galore decides to show Bond around the estate. After some flirting Bond finally convinces Galore that Goldfinger might actually be insane.
The next day Operation Grand Slam is put into action starting with it’s first stage: gassing the entire military base that guards Fort Knox with the same deadly nerve gas. Goldfinger and his men simply drive in and cut the doors to Fort Knox’s main building with the laser that nearly cut Bond in half earlier. Once inside Goldfinger places the nuclear bomb in the gold storage room and hand cuffs Bond too it.
Oddjob lighten ups the place
Outside Leiter detects the radioactivity given off by the bomb and signals everyone to get back up. The entire base was faking being dead in order to make sure that Goldfingers bomb had actually shown up. The guards attack Goldfingers men who locks the safe with Bond and Oddjob still inside, he also strips his jacket revealing an American military uniform and escapes by helicopter.
Inside the gold vault Bond battles Oddjob finally killing him by electricution. As the guards continue to battle into the main building of Fort Knox Bond attempts to difuse the bomb himself. At the last second a nuclear scientist that Leiter had brought pulls the plug on the bomb stopping the countdown on 007.
A few hours later Bond is congratulated by Leiter who reveals that it was Galore that had told them about the assult on Fort Knox and it was she that changed the canisters of nerve gas with empty canisters. Felix tells Bond that the President wants to thank Bond personally and puts him on a plane to Washington. Once in the air it ends up that Goldfinger had hijacked the plane with Pussy Galore. Goldfinger fires his gun punching a hole in the hull sucking Goldfinger out. Pussy and Bond parachute to safety.
With the success of the previous two films producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman feel confident in the third Bond film Goldfinger and give the film the inital budget of three millions dollars, triple that of Dr. No.
One concern that Hamilton had was that Bond was quickly becoming a super man and decided to lessen Bond’s capabilities and make the threat greater in Goldfinger. As with the two previous films Richard Maibaum was once again brought in to adapt the corresponding book into a feature film. Later Paul Dehn was also brought in to work with Maibuam. It was here that it was decided to start the film off with a mini adventure that had no consequence on the rest of the film. The idea was to make the mini adventure slightly ridiculous so that the audience would understand that the rest of the film was just going to be a lot of fun and not over serious.
Director Guy Hamilton
Another one of Hamilton’s big contributions to Goldfinger and the Bond franchise as a whole was the relationship between Q and James Bond. At first Desmond Llewelyn acted as if his character had respect for Bond but Hamilton had a different idea. He told Llewelyn that Q doesn’t respect Bond at all because he has always disrespected Q’s work and breaks his gadgets all the time.
Ken Adams returned for the third Bond and helped design Bond’s car the DB5. At first the company Aston Martin was very skeptical of not only lending the car’s to the production team but having the cars in the movie at all. John Stears, the special effects supervisor, explained to them, in a general sense, what they wanted to do with the DB5 without explaining what it would take to pull such things off. Convinced Aston Martin lends the studio the prototype of the DB 2161.
Putting together the car
The first order of business was to install the ejector seat. It was John Stears that took the saw blade to the prototype of the rare and expensive car. At the time there were no electronic devices to make the rest of the gadgets in the vechile work and most of them were rigged up with pneumatics.
The oil slick seen in the film was done for real with a large tank in the trunk of the car. However the tank had to be taken out in order to make room for the bullet proof shield.
It was Guy Hamilton that came up with the idea of the revolving number plate since he was having a lot of problems with parking tickets at the time.
Hidden weapons cache
The tire slashing mechanism on the DB5 was actually built onto the final car but created on set. Both the DB5 and the car Tilly Masterson drove were made out of fiberglass and the shoots were achieved as thus. Putting an actual ejector seat into the DB5 was in practical so the effect was pulled off with compressed air and a dummy.
Within six weeks Bond’s DB5 supercar was complete with a variety of gadgets that were used in the film and many that were not.
In December 1963 casting for Goldfinger was in full tilt. Theodore Bikel had a screen test but eventually didn’t get the part. But it was Broccoli that saw Gert Frobe in a German film were he was playing a child molester. Broccoli brought the idea to Hamilton who that he would be perfect for the part. Hamilton asked if Frobe spoke english to which Broccoli said that he had spoken with Frobe agent who said that he could indeed speak english. When Hamilton met Frobe on set for the first time Frobe greeted Hamilton in english but upon further inquiry Hamilton discovered that Frobe didn’t speak a word of english.
They continued filming however at Hamilton calmed the producers after they watched the daily rushes and told them that they would over dub all the dialogue of Goldfinger. In order to sync the dub later Hamilton told Frobe to speak quickly so that voice actor Michael Collins could easily sync his speach with the lips of Frobe.
For the role of Pussy Galore Hamilton wanted Honor Blackman who had just finished a very successful run on the TV show The Avengers. Blackman already had all the skills need to play the role including a knowledge of Judo.
On a Saturday Guy Hamilton was watching wrestling on TV and the villain of the match was played by Harold Sakata. Sakata was the first Hawaiian to get a silver medal at the Olympics and fit the role of Oddjob perfectly. Although Sakata was a kind man he was extremely strong and didn’t realize he was suppose to pull his punches and actually laid Connery out cold at the refrigerator scene.
Another villain role to cast was that of Kisch which was played by Michael Mellinger. At first Mellinger thought he was in a play in London until his agent called him and told Mellinger that he got a role in the new Bond film. Mellinger brought a camera on set and filmed a lot of behind the scenes footage.
Blue prints for the fake Fort Knox
The most thought about set in the film Goldfinger was Fort Knox. Orginally the final battle was to take place at the gates of Fort Knox however Broccoli insisted that the villain should actually enter the gold vault of the famous depository. Writer Maibaum and set designer Ken Adams agreed but others did not arguing that no one knew the inside of the building that held all the gold.
Peter Lamont was hired to create some blueprints for the interior of Fort Knox. Lamont’s first attempt was a much more realistic approach to what would be inside the vault, but Broccoli was not satisfied. Broccoli wanted the vault room to be a massive cathedral filled to the top with gold bricks.
Colonel Rooshon was a friend of Cubby Broccoli’s and was able to allow set designer Ken Adams to fly over the actual Fort Knox. However he was not allowed near the premises and certainly not allowed inside any of the buildings. With the designs ready to go the set, interior and exterior, was built on the back lot of Pinewood Studio’s.
Fort Knox being built on Pinewood Studios
Built on Pinewood Studio’s E stage was the infamous laser room. At first a real laser was brought in and worked perfectly until they lit the room for the film. The real laser disappeared in the luminance of the stage lights and John Stears was brought in to create a fake laser to be used instead. The laser seen in the final film was created using an optical effect and a blowtorch that was used from under the table to create the burning effect.
Guy Hamilton setting up a shot
The filming of Goldfinger started on January 20th 1964 and proceed smoothly throughout the year. Shirley Eaton was painted from head to toe for her infamous scene. A doctor was always on set to make sure she was physically all right and Hamilton was always very watchful of the actress during the shooting of the famous scene.
It wasn’t until August did time become an issue, especially since the final action sequence in Fort Knox had yet to be finished.
Hamilton and a cameraman took a another flight over the bunkers of Fort Knox and filmed whatever they could of the complex. Down on the ground they had a sargent and a full squad that they took around and made them fall down in a vareity of ways to make it look like they were being hit by Auric Goldfingers nerve gas.
With only three weeks left until the opening of the film all that was left was the dubbing and music. John Barry once again scored the film in record time receiving scene and scoring them directly from the editor’s booth.
There was only one last second change suggested by producter Harry Saltzman. The nuclear bomb countdown should stop at 007 giving the film it’s biggest laugh.
Photographers shooting Shirley Eaton
Tom Carlyle was hired to oversee the advertising of Goldfinger. His first idea to generate buzz around the film is to invite the press to the set during the shooting of Shirley Eaton’s death scene. This single erotic image spreads across the globe and is printed on magazine covers everywhere.
However the thrust of the marketing campaign is actually Sean Connery who is a massive star even before the release of Goldfinger. A radio interview with Connery is set to every radio station in the english speaking world in order to relieve the paparazzi from hounding this once private man.
In the time leading up to the film short behind the scene featurette’s are filmed and release on American television as well as a slew of commercials.
A major concern about advertising Goldfinger was the name Pussy Galore which was nearly changed to Kitty Galore. The final name is never printed on anything designed for children.
Robert Brownjohn, graphic designer, who designed the main title sequence of the film also designs much of the advertising material created for Goldfinger. Brownjohn cleverly cuts up images created for Dr. No and creates some of the iconic images that are now associated with Goldfinger. An alternate version of the poster was also created and now goes for over fifteen thousand dollars.
Other promotional materials that feature any of the women of Goldfinger were retouched before released to the press in order to hide any risque parts of the women.
Carlyle’s team is also given the DB5 from the film in which they take and showcase around the world. The DB5 becomes an instant classic and sells millions of toys and is still a favorite amongst car enthusiasts. It was Corgi Toys that made the toy cars and even made a mini Aston Martin for Prince Charles. For thirty years Corgi Toys continued to make Aston Martin toy cars including a 30th Anniversy gold plated car of which only 7,500 were made.
Reception and Explosion of Bond Culture
On September the 17th 1964 Saltzman and Broccoli put together an elaborate premier for the third Bond film. Outised the Odeon Theater the streets were packed with nearly five thousand fans.
Goldfinger breaks records immediately on its opening weekend in the UK. American audiences wait anxiously while the film has sneak screenings in major cities like Washington D.C., Miami, New Orleans, and Los Angeles to which is finally released on December 21st 1964. Again audiences filled every single theater Goldfinger was showing at. Across the world Bond is a bigger hit than ever before and breaks nearly every record in the books. Within two weeks Goldfinger makes back it’s entire production cost.
The success of Goldfinger launches a merchandising explosion based on the franchise. From toy cars to trading cars to books and music nearly everyone had something that was labeled 007. Years later this would create a collecting culture around the merchandise of James Bond. At the time there were James Bond dress shoes of which the box alone is worth four hundred dollars.
Out of the film also came the hit single “Goldfinger” written by John Barry and sang by Shirley Bassey. The album went gold.
After the release of Goldfinger parody films and TV shows began to spring up making the film responsible for hundreds of other pieces of media without being directly associated with them.
Over the subsequent years Goldfinger was continually re released usually with double features with Dr. No and From Russia with Love.
Goldfinger’s imagery and story elements have lasted in pop culture ever since it’s release. All the way from The Beverly Hillbillies to The Mythbusters Goldfinger has remained in the public consciousness. One of the major references that makes it's way into other pieces of media is the line "No Mr. Bond. I expect you to die." Other popular references is the laser scene and Jill Masterson's dead gold painted body. Even the most recent Bond film Quantum of Solace paid homage to the classic death scene.