06 Oct



“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”
– Goldfinger

The Setup

With Spectre on the horizon, we have taken it upon ourselves to watch a select few Bond movies in preparation. We want to see how the older Bonds stack up to the current one, Daniel Craig (not to mention providing us with a basis to judge future Bonds), and how the the gadgets and plot have changed over the years.

We decided to start with Goldfinger, as it is arguably one of the most iconic Bond movies of all time, and it stars a young Sean Connery as Bond. Some of us had never experienced the “majesty” that is Sean Connery in his heyday and it was time to put an end to that. Plus, we came up with some pretty sweet gold food ideas for the movie.

(For a little backstory on the tweets that appear throughout this post, we handed the computer over to André, who was in rare form the night of our viewing. He was feeling “inspired” and decided to tweet Google search queries about the movie as we watched it. We hope you laugh as much as we did.)

The Food

Now, it may seem weird to just have a single dish and a single drink for this movie, but when the food and drink are as dynamite as this duo is, we found it hard to pair anything else with it. When you are going for gold, you don’t just settle for silver.

Ladyfingers seemed like a no-brainer for Goldfinger, but there was just something missing. We wanted to take this dessert to the next level, so we made a custard as well, thus creating mini dessert sandwiches, if you will. We used a softer ladyfinger recipe, instead of the crunchier kind you might find soaked in coffee for tiramisu, as we wanted it to have the right consistency for our sandwiches. We loaded up our ladyfingers with custard using our Wilson Dessert Decorator Plus, which was just a delight to use (full product review is forthcoming on Tumblr).

Finally, to really put the “gold” in Goldfinger, we shrouded each sandwich with edible gold leaf. Handling the gold leaf was easier said than done, and just in case you’re wondering what the gold tasted like, it was pretty much flavorless.

The Drinks

For each Bond movie, we plan to make a martini for obvious, Bond-related reasons. With Goldfinger, we decided to have a little bit of fun with the classic martini recipe and make a gold-flaked martini instead by swapping Vermouth for Goldschläger. It created a wonderful, warm, cinnamon martini that was surprisingly enjoyable as we consumed even more edible gold. We imagine this is exactly the kind of drink Goldfinger would drink, since his entire world revolved around the precious metal.

The Rules

Our standard rules for the Bondathon series will be:

  1. Drink whenever Bond uses a new gadget.
  2. Finish your drink whenever a woman dies.
  3. Always have a martini in hand.

The Movie

To compare these movies fairly, we will be judging each of them on five criteria: the plot, the Bond, the Bond Girls, the villain (and their henchmen), and the gadgets.

The Plot – 5/5

How entertaining was the story?

Goldfinger is about a gold smuggler who plans to destroy the largest collection of gold in the US by contaminating it with radiation in order to raise the value of his own gold. Everyone’s favorite international man of mystery travels from Miami to London to Geneva to Kentucky in order to stop Goldfinger’s wicked plan, but he is constantly thwarted by Oddjob, the silent bodyguard/caddy for Goldfinger. Auric Goldfinger himself is a sleazy kind of guy. He’s the type of man that would pay someone to spy on his opponents hand in bridge purely to win. He has an entire wardrobe inspired by the color gold, and he manages to be equal parts intimidating and pitiful, often in consecutive moments. The standout scenes in Goldfinger were definitely the Aston Martin car chase, Goldfinger shooting out of a plane window, the final hand-to-hand fight with Oddjob, and of course the 20-minute golf scene that ended with Goldfinger losing due to a technicality. While sometimes cheesy, and definitely problematic in areas of race and it’s treatment of women, Goldfinger is a pretty solid movie and fun to watch. From a story standpoint, this was one of the best Bond movies, and certainly worthy of all the awards it won in 1964.

The Bond – 3/5

How well does Bond embody the quintessential British spy? 

Sean Connery was certainly a Bond from a different time and reflected very different values than what we have now. Bond as an ideal represented a culture that valued suavity, boldness, and high-end luxury goods, like three piece suits and Aston Martins. While we were impressed with how suave Bond was, we were uncomfortable with his boldness and general lack of respect for women. Sean Connery lost four points for forcing himself on Pussy Galore, despite clearly lacking any form of consent. We were all enjoying the movie up until that scene, which is equal parts baffling, angering, and sickening. We added back a few stars for his impeccable sense of style (including a poolside romper!), striking demeanor and smile, and for being pretty talented in combat. But just to be clear, we think Bond’s treatment of Pussy Galore is despicable and unacceptable, and treatment of women like this shouldn’t really be offset by a good sense of style, which leads us to our next section…

The Bond Girls – 2/5

How did the writers and directors treat the female characters in the movie?

This is where Goldfinger really struggled. Most women in the movie just served as sex objects for Bond, and three women were killed off before the movie seemed to settle on Pussy Galore as the movie’s main Bond Girl. Pussy Galore started off as a great character with a bad name (or good depending on who you are). She was one of Goldfinger’s top aides, and had her own squad of elite female pilots. She was even resistant to Bond’s charm, but her agency was stripped when Bond forced himself on her, and then, disappointingly, she switched to Bond’s side afterwards. Pussy Galore was an object to be won over by Bond, and he was only satisfied when he had broken her down. It’s also worth noting that in the book by Ian Fleming, Pussy Galore was a lesbian and thus “immune” to Bond’s charm altogether.

And let’s quickly address “fridging,” an element that is heavily present in this movie as well as other Bond films. Fridging is a plot device used to provide a reason for the male protagonist to seek revenge, or to propel them forward in the story. Usually, it appears in media when the protagonist happens upon the gruesome death of a close friend and has a moment of clarity on what their end goal is. The name itself was coined by writer Gail Simone, and references a scene in Green Lantern #54, where Green Lantern returns home to find his girlfriend dead in the refrigerator. Simone and her friends developed a list of fictional women who were “killed, maimed, or de-powered” as a means to move the male character’s story forward. In Goldfinger, Bond awakes from being knocked out by Oddjob to what has become a famous scene in pop culture and is the glorification of a dead woman: Jill Masterson (played by Shirley Eaton) lying dead on the bed covered head-to-toe in gold paint. This is the moment in which he decides that he is going to go after Auric Goldfinger (there is even a mention of the specific moment, something along the lines of, “It’s not personal, is it Bond?”). About thirty minutes later in the film, we get the fridging of another woman, Jill’s sister, to push Bond’s story arc even further.

Yes, this movie is a product of it’s time and many will say that and move past the issues present in the film. But, if we’re being honest, times haven’t changed as much as you would hope. Fridging is still a oft-used plot device as a means to giving male characters a reason to pursue a villain, and there is no shortage of mistreatment and unfair portrayals of women in film and media. We can appreciate the nostalgic charm in other areas of the movie, but let’s not forget its shortcomings or forget that the foundation laid by movies like these has contributed to an ongoing battle for women in cinema.

The Villain – 5/5

How much did you love to hate the bad guy and their henchman?

Auric Goldfinger was, at times, one of the best Bond villains and yet one of the least intimidating. He was so bad he even killed all of the other bad guys. He has one of the most memorable lines of all time: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die,” which you will still hear referenced today, 51 years later. His evil smuggling empire spanned across continents, and he was so confident in himself that, after capturing Bond, he began to confide in him and take him places. But in other scenes, he seemed pitiful and almost at odds with the more menacing sides of his personality, which was probably a little embarrassing for his henchman. Perhaps Goldfinger found his way into a lot of money by pure chance and surrounded himself with enough smart people to make it work, although he himself tends to be cowardly or illogical. It’s an interesting mixture for a Bond villain, and perhaps that makes him more memorable.

Goldfinger was backed up by Oddjob, who was an even better villain. Oddjob never spoke throughout the whole movie, but was nevertheless intimidating, whether it be with his weaponized bowling hat, which could be thrown like a boomerang and slice through marble like butter, or his super-human strength. Oddjob was able to throw Bond around like a new rope toy presented to a rottweiler puppy. We would be very interested in taking a martial arts lesson from Oddjob, had he not been electrocuted.

The Gadgets – 5/5

How cool were Q’s inventions?

The shining star of the gadgets in this movie was definitely the Aston Martin. Outfitted with smoke, oil, spikes, a GPS, and ejector seat, the Aston Martin was the quintessential Bond car. This was the car that set the “gold” standard for what spy cars had to come equipped with for years to come. The movie also had lasers that cut through metal, sleeping gas crop dusters, weaponized bowler hats, and a few other inventions, but let’s be honest. It’s all about the car.

The Reviews

Andre: 20 carats. Rampant misogyny aside, I really enjoyed Goldfinger. Sean Connery was a lot of fun to watch, and may be my favorite Bond, just because he was always in control of every situation he was in and because he was smooth as ice. I liked the tricked-out Aston Martin a whole lot, and thought the bad guys in the movie, and how they interacted with Bond, were excellent. I’m still looking for that perfect Oddjob mobile wallpaper.

Leanna: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The more movies I watch, the more sensitive I become to their treatment of female characters. When I think of the Bond movies I’ve seen over the years, one of major themes it conjures for me is objectification of women, and Goldfinger was no exception. In fact, it largely paved the way for that type of writing. We’ve said plenty about that already, and I think our position is clear, but I’m going to give you one last thought as you continue your way across the Internet, dear reader. When is James Bond going to be played by a woman? Bond has been played by a man for over 50 years, and despite his impressive resume of thwarted villains, there’s one giant misogynistic blemish covering it up for me. I’d love to turn the series on its head and see Bond rise again in the form of a strong, independent, cunning woman who can take the films to new heights.

Ben: 50%. While the movie had a strong plot, a complex and interesting villain, and a visual style I found myself enjoying, it is hard to say I really enjoyed it. From the unsettling moments dealing with the protagonist of the film, to the general ease of fridging the movie showcased, to the racism present towards the Asian characters that we didn’t even have time to get to (they are shown to be subservient to the white characters, their deaths were on occasion used for humor, and they are dressed in horribly stereotyped garb), this movie was problematic in a lot of areas that I can’t excuse. Goldfinger, you have some work to do. (I would also like to add my vote in favor of seeing James Bond played by a woman. Please.)