Sunday, 11 October 2015

007 - Goldfinger

Dramatically, Goldfinger hinges on the idea that James Bond is so charming that even his enemies can't bear to be without his company. The secret agent comes into Auric Goldfinger's orbit as a repeated annoyance - he ruins a card scam and embarrasses the criminal on his own golf course. 007 does eventually win favour with his foe by doling out oblique information at key moments, coupled with a little flattery.

Goldfinger takes a shine to Bond. Surrounded by mute henchmen and a troop of women who do very little to hide their disgust, Bond is at least someone to talk too. The secret agent is well educated in matters of sabotage, able to guess the particulars of Operation Grand Slam to Goldfinger's clear delight. Bond even manages to fluster the portly bullion thief with a well-timed compliment. There's that charm again. Follow it up with a petty snipe to keep your quarry guessing.

Bond's sexual magnetism is stressed into absurdity too. In the first fifteen minutes we see traces of four distinct seductions, each woman putty in his hands. Although it may not seem like it fifty years hence, this is actually a bit of a departure for the character. Dr. No's Bond was confident but brusque, one of his most significant conquests achieved through a kind of social hectoring. Miss Taro had to keep him in her apartment until her accomplices arrived so, in turn, she had to be seduced.

Of course, 007's irresistibility is built into the piece to justify Pussy Galore's abrupt allegiance switch. Galore overcomes an obvious, stated disinterest in men thanks to a spot of Judo. Bond hurls her about a stable until she agrees he's her physical equal. The tryst is violent, the dynamic unclear. Are Pussy's affections really won or does she simply relent when faced with a powerful, sexually aggressive man? After all, she's back piloting a private jet for the enemy not twenty minutes later. Perhaps Pussy is just a survivor who's learnt to play pliant whenever men start waving their weapons about.

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