This month marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Goldfinger, the most iconic Bond film and still often used as a benchmark for the series. To celebrate the film’s half centenary The James Bond Dossier is dedicating September to a series of articles about the third 007 adventure.
The third 007 outing premiered in at the Odeon Leicester Square on 17th September 1964 and while the beginnings of the 007 template can be seen in Dr No and From Russia With Love, it was Goldfinger in which it was truly forged. Whether or not Goldfinger is the best Bond film is a moot point, but the fact that it created such an impression on the cinema going public that remains today says it all.
The first time I saw Goldfinger was on British television in the 1970s (3rd November 1976 to be exact). Prior to that I had seen The Man With The Golden Gun on the big screen (in August 1975 – although premiering in December 1974, back then it took months before provincial cinemas showed films), followed by Dr No and From Russia With Love on television.
I was fully committed to Bond fandom, and already owned the Corgi Aston Martin DB5 and a 007-branded toy gun. As an avid reader Ian Fleming’s books had caught my interest too, something only flamed by seeing these three films.
But then came along Goldfinger, with that song by Shirley Bassey, the exciting John Barry score, a gold-painted girl, and the quips – “Shocking… positively shocking” – although I couldn’t imagine why my mum glanced so disapprovingly at dad when he mentioned the Bond Girl by name.
Most important for me was the appearance of that Aston Martin on the screen, with the machine guns, tyre slashers and ejector seat, just like I owned in miniature.
For collectors there is also the release of the Steelbook version of Goldfinger on Blu-Ray, available in the UK from 22nd September.
But whether or not you upgrade your Bond film collection or not, I urge you to settle down in front of your TV at some time this month with your DVD player loaded and spend a couple of hours celebrating the third James Bond film.