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Goldfinger: Special Edition

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
One of, if not the very best of the Bond series, "Goldfinger" stars Sean Connery as our favorite secret agent, tracking down a diabolical mastermind named Goldfinger who plans to take the wealth of Fort Knox for his own, with the help of his sidekick assassin, Oddjob(who was later parodied, like many other things in the way of Bond, in the "Austin Powers" series). "Goldfinger" also brought the elements of the Bond series that we all know and love to the forefront.

Again, in this film, Bond goes after Goldfinger- although he gets captured, he's able to live long enough to find out what Goldfinger is up to, and once he gets to the US, he finds that the objective is none other than Fort Knox. He's an excellent villian, and one of the reasons why this Bond film works so well; some of the later(and especially some of the newer films, like "Tomorrow Never Dies") just don't have a villian that we can fear, where the slightest bit of our subconsious thinks that maybe, our hero won't win at the end of the day. Connery as Bond is also excellent here, a perfect blend of humor, smarts and style.

Not only is "Goldfinger" high entertainment, but it's smartly written and quite a lot of fun. Connery is great as Bond, and this is a really well-produced film, with a lot of great props and even more beautiful locations.


VIDEO: This is generally a very good anamorphic transfer by MGM in "Goldfinger"'s original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Images are clear and quite crisp, although I can't quite describe them as sharp. Colors are natural and pleasing, although sometimes they seem a little bit pale in comparison then they probably originally looked. Flesh tones are generally natural and accurate as well.

There are some small problems, although the film looks pretty darn good for a film that is this many years old at this point. There is a some very slight grain and dust, and I did see an instance or two of shimmering, but not to the point that I found it terribly distracting. There are also a few small marks and noticable, but not enormously distracting scratches on the print used. Again, it's not perfect, but I was actually impressed at how clean the image looks here. I think a lot of people will be very pleased with how good "Goldfinger" looks.

SOUND: This is a pretty basic track and although it sounds thin quite a few times, the score still sounds pretty good and dialogue is generally clear throughout. I still found the track fairly easy to listen to and although it's not perfect, it's still enjoyable.

MENUS: Awesome animated menus that are similar to the "Tomorrow Never Dies" special edition menus that many have seen, where we're asked to "activate" the menus, then are taken into the full menu. When you make a choice, there is also some very cool animation. Well done.


Commentary One:On the commentary tracks for this DVD, we are greeted and lead through a wealth of information by a host. This "moderator" takes us through the large number of interviews that were put together for this as well as the second track on this DVD. This track features director Guy Hamilton, who was the director of "Goldfinger", as well as a couple of other members of the crew who were responsible for the making of the film.

This commentary track begins with Hamilton talking about the origin of the scene where bond sees the reflection of the attacker in the girl's eye, as well as the history of the opening credits up until this point and, of course, the concepts behind the opening credit sequence of "Goldfinger". It's especially interesting to hear Hamilton's thoughts about the sort of sexual politics that are involved in scenes like the opening scene in "Goldfinger".

Hamilton also talks quite a bit about the production, talking about what it was like to work with the studio and with the actors involved on various and elaborate sets(and also, where actors were filmed and rear projection was used, which is definitely interesting for fans interested in the production of this film). Hamilton also mentions a few small notes about what he had to do to achieve a certain rating, which is quite interesting to hear about a director going about working with the ratings board that many years ago.

And of course, Hamilton talks about the laser that was used in the scene where Bond almost gets cut in two, and how lasers were thought of at that time and today. Another interesting story comes later in the commentary, where Hamilton talks about working with Michael G. Wilson, who is the current producer of the Bond films about how Wilson made a rather major mistake working under Hamilton. We also hear from the moderator towards the end of the movie about a couple of bloopers that occur in the film.

Mostly though, this track focuses on the elements of the Bond series that were focused on in this picture and how they were worked with to create the style of "Goldfinger", as well as the elements that Connery brought to the role, as well as what he was like to work with. Also, there are thoughts from Desmond Llewelyn, who talks about his role providing the gadgets for Bond- his thoughts are quite fun to hear as he talks about learning the details the gadgets that he operates.

Like on Licence To Kill, the moderator does an excellent job here, filling in the gaps between the commentary wonderfully, with facts and thoughts on the history of the series that I found quite informative.

Although there are a few more members of the cast that join director Guy Hamilton, there are still a couple of pauses on this track that are noticable. Interesting though, was the fact that more of this commentary seems to be matched-up to the on-screen action. Still, the information that is provided here is quite excellent and informative and always the best track, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Commentary Two: This commentary track includes commentary from many members of the crew, including effects supervisors Cliff Culley and stuntman George Leech, who start the commentary by talking about the explosion that opens the film. Leech also turns up again to talk about being very directly involved with one of Q's inventions. Again, with this commentary there seems to be more scenes where the commentators are talking in general about the action that is currently playing on-screen.

We're also treated to a few tidbits of information from composer John Barry, who shares his viewpoint about the film and the elements of "Goldfinger" that he used to build his concepts and ideas for the music of the film, and who he worked with to write the music itself.

Other facts that we learn about on this track are more details on Bond's Aston Martin, as well as the history of the car and its popularity; the memories of production designer Peter Lamont, as well as comments from special effects technicians Joe Fitt and Burt Luxford, who worked on quite a few of the early James Bond pictures.

There are also a few noticable pauses between comments on this commentary track, but it is still quite an entertaining and informative track and a treat for fans of 007. Out of the two commentaries though, I think I enjoyed the first track a little more than the second track and found the first had a little more to offer in terms of Bond info.

Still Gallery:: This gallery is also separated into sections(12), so that pictures are more organized and easier to sort through. Like the other Bond special editions, this disc provides quite a number of great pictures to look through, and each section is introduced with a text message about the contents that you are about to see. The sections included on "Goldfinger" are as follows: The Filmmakers, Portraits, Pre-Credits, The Fountainbleu, Bond and Jill, M's Office, Dinner With Colonel Smithers, Stoke Poges, Andermatt, The Laser Table, Honored With Honor, The Flying Circus.

Trailer/TV Spots: The trailer for the film is included, as well as three TV ads for "Goldfinger". It's a lot of fun to see these, especially the old TV spots.

Radio Ads/Interviews: Although just listening to audio material while nothing happens onscreen isn't really something that I find terribly enjoyable, the radio material that is included on this disc is something that many fans of the film will very likely enjoy as an addition on this DVD. "Goldfinger" not only includes radio interviews with Sean Connery, but also 22 minutes of radio spots for the film. The radio interviews were taped statements from Connery that were provided to radio stations so that interviewers could seem to have an interview with Connery. On this DVD, there is a moderator provided to ask the questions, then we are allowed to hear Connery's taped answer. I found it to be a suprisingly interesting supplement to listen to.

The Making Of Goldfinger: This is a documentary narrated by Patrick MacNee. "The Making Of Goldfinger" takes a look back at how all of the "Bond" elements came together so well in this picture. It also takes a look at the history of the concept for the film as well as the history of Bond leading up to this film. There are interviews with Connery as well as the rest of the crew that were involved in the movie. We hear stories and facts from many of the people who were involved in this film, as well as quite a bit of nice production info. The documentary also goes into the details about the Aston Martin that Bond uses, and how it was prepared for the movie,and the effects that were put together for the car and how they were built. This is quite a long documentary and definitely an informative one.

The Goldfinger Phenomenon: This documentary takes a look at how the popularity of "Goldfinger" has exploded and still remains one of the most(if not the most) popular Bond films ever. What I really liked about this documentary was taking a look at the film's marketing campaign. We learn quite a few nice tidbits about how this film was brought to audiences and it's really interesting to see how a film like this was marketed years ago. The documentary also takes a look at the Bond "style" that was particularly strong in the film as well as some production info. There are clips from the movie, some promotional footage as well as interviews with the stars and crew who worked on this production.

Also: The trailer for the "Tomorrow Never Dies" game, a short booklet as well as the original promotional featurette for the movie.
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