James Bond

Starring: Sean Connery
16178DVD Z1
Certificate: PG
Available Now

While investigating an apparently straightforward case of bullion smuggling, James Bond stumbles upon an audacious plot to raid the gold depository of Fort Knox...

This was the film in which the gadgets took over. Not that you can really blame the production team for the legacy they established. As the additional documentary, The Goldfinger Phenomenon explains, the public instantly fell in love with Bond's Aston Martin DB5, with all its optional extras, and this movie saw the beginning of the 1960s phenomenon that was Bond-mania.

Remarkably, the character of James Bond is sidelined not only by the DB5 but also by Goldfinger himself (played by the wonderfully larger-than-life Gert Frobe), as 007 is held captive for most of the second half of the film. Meanwhile, the action focuses squarely on the planning and execution of the villain's raid of Fort Knox. During this time, the audience is entertained by Ken Adam's lavish sets, including those depicting the interior of the gold depository itself, and also the "rumpus room", within which Goldfinger explains the plot to his hired hoodlums and the audience (a scene that would later be virtually reused in 1985's A View to a Kill).

John Barry's incidental score, incorporating a strident military march, also helps to carry the movie forward, while the potent screen presence of Sean Connery ensures that the viewer hardly notices that Bond has taken a back seat.

Two audio commentaries reveal, among other things, some interesting lapses of continuity. Again, these are not readily apparent to the average viewer, who is carried along by the brash and bold direction of Guy Hamilton as he leaves a lasting impression on the series.

One aspect that the documentary features curiously fail to discuss is the interesting way in which the pre-credits sequence mirrors in microcosm Bond's final confrontation with the henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata) towards the end of the movie. In either case, Bond is left apparently defenceless (in the first instance, the heavy reaches for Bond's own weapon, while in the second, Oddjob reaches for the famously deadly bowler hat, which Bond has just hurled uselessly into a wall). In either case, Bond hits upon an innovative solution by electrocuting his opponent.

In addition to the more familiar extras, this DVD also includes a vintage radio interview with Connery. This "open-ended" discussion is a cunning device that allowed radio stations to insert the voices of their own disc jockeys, thus achieving the illusion of an exclusive interview with the actor. Shocking!

Richard McGinlay