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Cinema: Knocking Off Fort Knox

3 minute read

Goldfinger. A grey sports car spirals lazily up an Alp. Looks like any other Aston Martin? Look again. This rod has bulletproof windows, and can change license plates at the flick of a switch. Its radioscope tracks a bugged automobile 240 km. away. From vents in the rear it releases a smokescreen and an oil slick. From ports in the grille it protrudes a pair of machine guns. What’s more, the rear axle of the chariot is armed with bladed hub caps that telescopically extend to chew up the rubber of an overtaking vehicle. And if the driver should decide to ditch an obstreperous passenger, he need only press a button: the roof glides back and the jump seat violently ejects the jerk.

Tn the driver’s seat, it goes without saying, sits that gadget-gaga gumshoe, Tames Bond (Sean Connery). “Ta-ta,” he chortles as he charges full throttle into his latest caper. Poor James. Little does he know that he is about to encounter the grand master of all master criminals, “the most evil genius he has ever faced”: Auric Goldfinger.

Gold is the operative syllable. Goldfinger is a modern Midas who owns a solid-gold revolver, a solid-gold Rolls-Royce, and a gold-plated girl friend. He is reputedly a “bullionaire,” but still he wants more gold; he wants all the gold in the world. To get it, Goldfinger has assembled a ghastly crew of criminal specialists. Among them: Oddjob (Harold Sakata), a Korean karatist whose hands are so strong he can crush a golf ball between thumb and forefinger; and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), the person who flies lead plane in Goldfinger’s private air force. With their assistance, Goldfinger intends to execute a criminal masterpiece. “Tomorrow,” he blandly announces, “we will knock off Fort Knox.”

A bit much? Yes, but it’s meant to be. Like Doctor No and From Russia with Love, the two previous Bond bombshells, this picture is a thriller exuberantly travestied. No doubt Goldfinger’s formula for box-office gold contains entirely too much brass, but who cares? In scene after scene Director Guy Hamilton has contrived some hilariously horrible sight gags. Item: a gangster Goldfingered for liquidation is taken for a ride to the nearest junkyard, where car and contents are seized by a giant claw, dropped into a mighty mangle and ruthlessly crushed into a small square bale of bloody metal. “Ah, yes!” Goldfinger graciously explains when somebody wonders where the gangster is. “He had a pressing engagement.”

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