The 50th Anniversary of Goldfinger
MAXIM GOES UNDERCOVER WITH THE JAMES BOND CLASSIC THAT INSPIRED FIVE DECADES OF 007.
BY NICK LEFTLEY
"Blurred Lines” babe Elle Evans re-creates an iconic scene from Goldfinger. PHOTOGRAPH BY ART STREIBER
In December 1964, Goldfinger exploded into American theaters, having made its British debut three months earlier. Although it was the third of the series, Goldfinger’s style, humor, and over-the-top action established themes that the franchise would embrace for the next half century. The first time Bond ordered his martini “shaken, not stirred,” the first appearance of an Aston Martin, and the first naughtily named femme fatale (Pussy Galore) are among Goldfinger's many innovations. Read on for how Goldfinger became the Bond-iest film of them all.
THE PRE-TITLE SEQUENCE
From Russia With Love was the first to have a sequence before the opening song', but it was still tied directly to the plot, featuring Robert Shaw’s stone-cold assassin, “Red” Grant, in training as he prepares to hunt Bond. Goldfinger shifted the focus away from the movie’s main plot, with a sequence that crammed scantily clad girls, bad guys, waterfowl-based headgear, tuxedos, explosions, and a bathtub electrocution into just over four minutes of breathtaking action. This became a staple of the series, with some of Bond’s most famous moments taking place before the film really even started. Absolute classics include the Soviet chemical-weapons-plant bungee jump (Goldeneye), the Union Jack parachute-employing ski chase (The Spy Who Loved Me), and Daniel Craig’s black-and-white bathroom beatdown (Casino Royale).
THE SENSE OF HUMOR
Bond’s blase attitude toward murdering baddies really begins here, as he electrocutes a thug and casually mutters, “Shocking. Positively shocking.” (The post-kill quip would soon be synonymous with the franchise, but the first is still the best.) The entire tone of Goldfinger is far more playful than the Bond movies that came before it.
honor blackman, who played the fierce feline known as Pussy Galore, bares her claws at the Bond-girl title and dishes on Goldfinger and Sean Connery.
How does it feel to be known as one of the most famous Bond girls ever?
Let’s face it,
Pussy Galore was an interesting and powerful part, different from a lot of Bond girls. Although I hate the expression "Bond girl." To call me a Bond girl puts me in that bracket of not being a working actress. And there are so many Bond girls who were just bimbos who fell on their backs the moment they saw Sean—I don’t find it particularly flattering.
Speaking of titles, the name “Pussy Galore” created quite a stir.
I learned only last year that when the movie came to the States, it was banned. They wouldn’t distribute
it because of my character’s name! It wasn’t until they saw a picture on the front page of a newspaper of me talking to Prince Philip, the husband of the queen, and the headline above it was PRINCE AND THE PUSSY that they agreed to distribute it. Which is pretty idiotic. People took it so seriously, and a lot of the Bond stuff is really tongue-in-cheek.
What does it feel like to still be talking about Goldfinger 50 years later?
Well, everything’s changed now. It’s not Bond anymore, and it's not Ian Fleming
anymore. We’re not allowed to be politically incorrect and have somebody who will sleep with a woman and then put a bullet in her head as she leaves and have a martini, shaken not stirred. That was the character that Ian Fleming wrote, but we’ve grown out of it. Now Bond has to fall in love with people and be gentle and tender, like a normal man.
How about your favorite memories of shooting the film?
When I was first introduced to Gert Frobe [Auric Goldfinger], Guy Hamilton, the director, told us where to sit and said, "Action!” Gert was the first person to speak, and he said some foreign gibberish and
I thought, "My gosh, what is he saying?" Gert had done the famous acting ploy of getting a few lines in English together when he auditioned. His agent said he could speak English, and of course he couldn’t.
What do you remember most about Sean Connery?
He took filming and his job very seriously, but he’s got a wicked sense of humor.
We had fun working together. I have to say, it was very pleasurable. Without a doubt, he's the most handsome and sexiest man I’ve ever met.
There were other vehicles in the series, of course (who could forget Thunderball’s jet pack?), but what audiences really remember with Bond is the car. Ditching the briefly seen Bentley from the previous film, Goldfinger hooked 007 up with a gunmetal Aston Martin DB5, armed to the teeth with machine guns, smoke screens, oil slicks, bulletproof glass, revolving international license plates, tire slashers in the hubcaps, and, best of all, a passenger ejector seat. While the brand loyalties would change from time to time (BMW signed Pierce Brosnan’s Bond to a three-picture deal, starting with Goldeneye), the gimmicks came as standard, arguably peaking with the franchise’s second-most-famous ride, The Spy Who Loved Me’s Lotus Esprit S1, which turned into a submarine. But there isn’t a man alive who doesn’t wish he owned that Aston. Just ask the gentleman who bought the above ride at auction in 2010 for a cool $4.6 million.
THE NOVELTY HENCHMAN
One of the most spoofed aspects of the Bond franchise is the bad guy’s choice of chief henchman. Whereas earlier villains had generic thugs, Goldfinger introduced Oddjob, an incredibly strong manservant who famously hurls a lethal, razor-edged bowler hat. (He is still best spoofed in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery as the character Random Task.)
Subsequent films pounced on Oddjob’s popularity, giving us such memorable baddies as metal-mouthed Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker), mechanical armed Tee Hee (Live And Let Die), and the unforgettable gay-assassin couple of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd (Diamonds Are Forever).
FROM TOP: Connery’s Bond with his Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger; Jaws puts the squeeze on Roger Moore's 007 in The Spy Who Loved Me; Q test-fires a wheelchair rocket from a fake plaster cast in Goldeneye.
Goldfinger debuted what would become a much-anticipated staple: Q’s madcap laboratory. Here we see a gas-spewing parking meter, a bulletproof trenchcoat, and the tracking device in the swiveling shoe heel that was so brilliantly honored in Trainspotting. From this point on, all bets were off when it came to 007 gadgetry. Fans were treated to rocket-shooting cigarettes (You Only Live Twice), laser-firing watches (Goldeneye), and, yes, even bagpipe flamethrowers (The World Is Not Enough).
Shirley Eaton may have been on-screen for only five minutes as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger, but 50 years later her legacy still glitters.
With all that gold body paint, you starred in what may be the most expensive-looking nude scene in film history.
Yes, absolutely. [Director] Guy Hamilton was very clever. I had cones on my breasts, and I had on what we called G-strings then, and the way Guy photographed that first shot,
I look totally naked because he had the edge of a cushion in the foreground, and it covers the little string at the side of my panties.
What was it like filming such a classic scene?
I was only on set for a week, and the gold scene took a day. They did it quickly because the paint was hot, and it was terribly uncomfortable. Well, it wasn’t paint—it was this cosmetic gold with millions of gold particles in it.
How about working with Sean Connery?
He was a whole different cup of tea. Goldfinger was the one that put Bond filmson the map. I’m not playing favorites, but I think he's the ultimate: “ Bond... James Bond.”
Did you have feelings for him off screen like so many other Bond actresses? No, I don’t think so. As a person,
I didn’t. As a professional, I did.
Was there any sense of how big the movie would be?
Oh, no; it’s like a famous song, a famous play, a famous book—you don’t know about it when it happens. That all comes later, if you’re lucky.
Eatons new book, Shirley Eaton: Bond's Golden Girl: Her Reflections, is on sale now.
THE VILLAIN'S LUDICROUS DEATH SCENE
Gert Frobe’s Auric Goldfinger has one of the sillier death scenes in Bond history: sucked through a tiny airplane window after flying across the cabin like a drunken blimp. Compared with previous baddie exits-Dr. No’s creepy drowning scene and “Red” Grant’s brutal fight to the death-it seemed frivolous, but it set a trend: Michael Lonsdale’s Hugo Drax gets shot with a poisoned dart, then ejected into space (Moon raker); Jonathan Pryce’s Elliot Carver is impaled on a giant drill (Tomorrow Never Dies); and Yaphet Kotto’s Dr. Kananga is forcibly inflated to the point of explosion (Live And Let Die).
From Russia With Love’s title sequence-in which the credits are projected onto a woman’s writhing body-marked a big leap forward from Dr. No’s terrible calypso version of “Three Blind Mice,” but Welsh powerhouse Shirley Bassey’s booming rendition of John Barry’s title song told the Goldfinger audience that they were really in for something special. Fifty years on, the Goldfinger theme can still raise goose bumps (and more-it’s claimed that Bassey was able to hold that high note at the end only by taking off her bra before recording). Astonishingly, coproducer Harry Saltzman hated the song so much, it was nearly removed from the film-and it made the final cut solely due to looming release deadlines.
THE DOOMED LOVE INTEREST
Audiences were in for several surprises with Goldfinger, perhaps none bigger than the fate of Shirley Eaton’s Jill Masterson, whom Bond utterly fails to save from a terrible death (skin suffocation after a liberal dousing with gold paint). In many films to follow, viewers could be sure that whichever lady Bond charmed first was bound for a grisly end, whether it was Gloria Hendry’s Rosie Carver (shot by a remote-controlled scarecrow gun turret, Live And Let Die), Corinne Clery’s Corinne Dufour (savaged by dogs, Moonraker), or Akiko Wakabayashi’s Aki (poisoned in her sleep, You Only Live Twice). Only the underrated, George Lazenby-starring On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would have the guts to kill off its true leading lady, Diana Rigg’s Teresa di Vicenzo.
LICENSE TO THRILL
ELLE EVANS HAS GONE FROM SEXINGUP THE “BLURRED LINES” VIDEO TO CHANNELING GOLDFINGERS DUELING BOND BABES.
Shirley Eaton’s golden corpse (right) after being killed by the villainous henchman Oddjob.
Elle Evans (opposite page) re-creates Honor Blackman’s famous “roll in the hay” scene from Goldfinger (far right).
"A BOND GIRL IS
untouchable, powerful, versatile. You can’t fuck with this person.”
Elle Evans is schooling me on what makes a Bond girl and why the role is so coveted.
“She can go from being a flight attendant to kicking your ass to sniping you off the top of a moving train.”
Any other day, you’d recognize Evans as the costar of a little music video called “Blurred Lines.” Today, that project she did with Alan Thicke’s son is all but forgotten as this model turned actress helps us pay homage to two of the best-known Bond girls to grace the silver screen: Pussy Galore, one of Bond’s founding femme fatales, and Jill Masterson, the woman in gold and the de facto mascot of the Bond franchise.
"The gold was rubbing off on everything. Even when I was getting painted, I was resting my hands on the wall and when I took my hands down, there were gold handprints.
I stupidly tried to wipe it off and ended up just wiping it around.” The nuisance was a small price to pay for the chance to relive cinematic history. “Who on Earth would say no? To any opportunity involving James Bond, let alone re-creating the most iconic shots from the entire franchise!”
Besides, showing the world that you can pull off “Bond girl” is a smart move for any up-and -coming actress.
Three years after Evans left her small-town Southern upbringing to move to Los Angeles, the world already knows her, ahem, face from ' Blurred Lines.” Still, she’s confident that unlike the golden girl she’s honoring here, she will be remembered for more than a few minutes of sexy screen time. In the past year, Evans has appeared on Two and a Half Men and in two videos from Beyonce’s landmark secret album, wrapped her first feature film, and-most notably-sent in an audition tape for a role in the next Bond film.
When Evans isn’t training with her acting coach, taking meetings, or going on auditions, this hustler is visualizing her dream role, Bond or not. “It might not be the easiest, but I want my breakout role to be not the hot girl. Think of Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I wanna be the crazy, deranged killer.” Hollywood, are you listening?
PHOTOGRAPH BY ART STREIBER
STYLIST, ZOE GLASSNER FOR CELESTINE AGENCY; HAIR BY ENZO ANGILERI FOR CLOUTIER REMIX; MAKEUP, FRANCESCA TOLOT FOR CLOUTIER REMIX USING CHANEL;
MANICURE, TRACEY SUTTER FOR CLOUTIER REMIX USING AZATURE BLACK DIAMOND NAIL LACQUER IN GOLD; SET DESIGNER, WALTER BARNETT AT OPUS BEAUTY. OPPOSITE PAGE BRA, VICTORIA'S SECRET; TOP, REFORMATION; PANTS, RALPH LAUREN BLUE LABEL. OPENING PAGE; THONG, SUSAN HOLMES SWIMWEAR.
[Source: Maxim Magazine USA, September 2014, Volume 18 Number 7, P. 55-61. Copyright © 2014 Maxim Media Inc. MAXIM ® is a registered trademark owned by Maxim Media Inc. All rights reserved.]