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James Bond battles cunning international smugglers intent on infiltrating Fort Knox.
For more about Goldfinger and the Goldfinger Blu-ray release, see the Goldfinger Blu-ray Review
Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata, Tania Mallet
Director: Guy Hamilton
» See full cast & crew
Goldfinger Blu-ray Review
The most iconic James Bond movie of them all
Reviewed by Ben Williams, April 7, 2009
The James Bond series, and the titular character, had already been well established with audiences in Dr. No and From Russia with Love, by the time Goldfinger was released in 1963. Although the previous two films had been warmly greeted by film lovers, Goldfinger was a game-changer for the Bond franchise. The film was a sure-fire blockbuster that catapulted James Bond to a stratospheric level of success and acclaim, ensuring that more films would follow. Sean Connery was, perhaps, the greatest benefactor of the success of Goldfinger. He was suddenly an overnight superstar and was quickly elevated to the enviable position of being able to pick and choose his roles while naming his paycheck. Goldfinger remains, to this day, the perennial choice amongst critics and fans as the finest Bond adventure to ever grace the screen. Like a fine wine, the film gets better with age, showcasing the best that Bond can be. Goldfinger is an absolute film classic and is an essential piece to any serious Blu- ray collection.
Goldfinger finds everyone's favorite secret agent, James Bond (Sean Connery), on the trail of Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), a high ranking criminal who makes his living smuggling gold across the world's most secure borders. As Bond investigates Goldfinger's underworld connections and ingratiates himself with the criminal, he uncovers startling information that might connect this simple smuggler to a plot to detonate a nuclear device on American soil. Bond's investigation will cost several of his beautiful female companions their lives; Goldfinger's ruthless tactics and his deadly manservant Oddjob (Harold Sakata) spare no one. As Goldfinger sets his sights on Ft. Knox, Bond encounters Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), a ruthless American crime lord who works as Goldfinger's personal pilot. She might just hold the key to Bond's success, but time is running out for 007. Can Bond save the day, stop Goldfinger and get the girl?
Goldfinger pretty much has it all. Gadgets a plenty, Bond's original Aston Martin DB5, stunning Bond girls, the best Bond girl name in the history of the franchise, M, Q, impeccable Bond fashion, the wittiest of one-liners and an efficient and thoroughly enjoyable plot. The film is the prototype by which all subsequent Bond films would be judged. Some might argue that Goldfinger is the finest of the Bond films and I'd be hard pressed to disagree. It's simply so enjoyable and so full of all the things that make a great Bond film, that only the most fervent Bond detractors could fail to be swayed by its many charms. Goldfinger also represents Sean Connery at his peak in the role of James Bond. He had showed considerable progress in embodying the character in the previous two films; in Goldfinger, however, Connery, quite simply, is James Bond.
Goldfinger plays like a highlight reel of famous Bond scenes and lines. Bond strapped to a table with a laser threatening his nether regions? Check. Bond wearing his signature grey three-piece suit? Check. "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" Check. It's all here. Several readers recently asked me which Bond film I would recommend as the best introduction to the Connery era. Some might argue that going in sequence with the films might be the appropriate method, though I believe that Goldfinger is the best introduction to the style, wit and effortless entertainment of these initial Bond adventures. It simply doesn't get much better than Goldfinger.
It's an amazing time for Blu-ray aficionados; films that took years to find their way to DVD, are now landing in the possession of serious film fans around the world on Blu-ray in half the time. Goldfinger might not initially seem like such an important, landmark Blu- ray release; given the film's historic cultural significance and the impact it has had on audiences over the years, however, Goldfinger represents a serious commitment from the studios to deliver their best and most important films to Blu-ray. That's a fantastic thing for those of us who crave this kind of content; it ensures that we can count on a steady stream of top notch Blu-ray releases for years to come. Goldfinger is an absolute classic; a film that I'm thrilled to own on Blu-ray. Highly recommened.
Goldfinger Blu-ray, Video Quality
Lowry Digital was charged with performing a full digital restoration on Goldfinger; the film had started showing its age after more than 40 years and was in serious need of some repair and clean up. Lowry responded to the task by delivering a pristine new master of Goldfinger that looks completely stunning on Blu-ray. The film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.67:1 has been preserved with this release, and has been delivered in 1080p utilizing the AVC Mpeg-4 compression scheme. It's fair to say, at this point, that many James Bond fans have probably never seen Goldfinger look anywhere near this perfect. This is a amazingly beautiful transfer.
MGM has avoided any and all digital artifacts with this release; banding, edge enhancement, noise and the over application of digital noise reduction are all conspicuously absent. Goldfinger features a warm, vintage color palette that perfectly accents the film's sixties setting. Color fidelity is exceptional throughout the film and remains stable from start to finish. Detail is also remarkably rendered; Bond's intricate Saville Row attire reveals fine fabric details and all the telltale hallmarks of his carefully hand-tailored wardrobe. Black levels can be shallow at times, but remain consistent with the film techniques of the era.
One area where the relative picture quality suffers lies in the use of optical composites in the film's special effects sequences. Referencing the photograph included below this paragraph, viewers will notice a drop-off in detail and sharpness when effects elements have been combined into the shot. It can occasionally be a bit distracting. Notice how much less crisp this particular image is in reference to the remainder of the screenshots. As this scene plays out, the camera switches between shots containing the offending laser beam and shots where the laser isn't in the frame. Quality changes dramatically between these cuts, with the laser scenes appearing muddy and soft and those without the effect appearing crisp and perfectly realized. It's all an unfortunate side effect of the compositing techniques of the day and shouldn't reflect negatively on the transfer or the presentation on the whole. This is simply a part of Goldfinger that will remain inconsistent, regardless of restoration.
Ultimately, Goldfinger represents the finest of the vintage James Bond restorations and is a stellar example of what can be accomplished when older films are given the care and attention necessary to make the leap to high definition. Goldfinger is highly recommended.
Goldfinger Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Goldfinger was originally presented theatrically with a monaural soundtrack that has been faithfully reproduced on Blu-ray courtesy of a lossy Dolby Digital option. While there are certainly those who will revel in the nostalgia of this original track, most will be more inclined to sample the extensively remixed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that has been included with this Blu-ray edition. Those responsible for this mix should be commended; the track serves as a wonderful surround update that manages to increase the relative fidelity of the audio elements, while giving the film a much-needed aural boost.
Regardless, there are still source-related limitations present in Goldfinger. The film is now 45 years old and the recording technology of the day was relatively primitive in comparison to the advanced digital techniques used today. As such, one can easily detect hiss and compromised sections of the soundtrack that will probably never sound any better than they do here. What's left, is a remarkable sonic achievement that manages to maintain the feel of the original mono track, while adding much needed bass and surround elements to the presentation. Goldfinger doesn't sound like a modern-day action film, by any means, but it does sound remarkably fresh and lively. Highly recommended!
Goldfinger Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
- Feature-length audio commentary with director Guy Hamilton
- Feature-length audio commentary with Sean Connery and various cast and crew members.
- "The Making of Goldfinger"
- "The Goldfinger Phenomenon"
- "On Tour with the Aston Martin"
- 1963 Promotional Film
- Screen Tests
- "Honor Blackman Open-Ended Interview"
- Image Database
- Theatrical Trailer
- Original television advertisements
- Radio promos
- Audio-only interview with Sean Connery
As with all of the Bond releases, Goldfinger is jam-packed with a vast array of special features that are bound to keep every Bond fan enamored for hours. MGM has assembled two distinct commentary tracks that are worth a listen. I preferred the cast and crew track, despite the fact that excised material from unrelated interviews with the participants was used to create the track. All three featurettes go into great detail on the cult of Goldfinger and the massive surge of popularity the film has experienced over the past 40+ years. I was particularly taken by the "On Tour with the Aston Martin" short; it's a nice aside that delves into the history of the iconic car. The film's theatrical trailer, a slew of still photos, radio interviews and promotional pieces round out the set and add a great amount of vintage flair to the supplements. Goldfinger isn't the most feature- packed of the Bond discs thus released, though what has been included is of extremely high quality and replay value. Quality wins out over quantity with the Blu-ray release of Goldfinger.
Goldfinger Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Forty-five years after the film's theatrical release, Goldfinger remains the defining representation of James Bond. The film introduced so many of the elements that have embodied the character over the years, that it serves as a primer for understanding James Bond, while being the perfect first Bond film for any prospective Bond fan. Goldfinger finds Sean Connery at his absolute best; he's charming, witty and utterly convincing as the globetrotting secret agent. MGM has given Goldfinger a fantastic restoration, courtesy of the fine folks at Lowry Digital, while audio has been beefed up and effectively remixed. The film's supplements offer solid entertainment and excellent behind- the-scenes details. Goldfinger is an essential Blu-ray for fans of the Bond franchise and the perfect film for those wishing to experience the intrigue and wit contained within the world of James Bond. Highly recommended!
Goldfinger: Other Editions
Blu-ray bundles with Goldfinger (3 bundles)
Goldfinger Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - March 24th - March 24, 2009
While arguably one of the most popular film series in history, some fans felt that the James Bond films had recently drifted too far from the series' explosive beginings under the helm of Sean Connery. But when 'Casino Royale' was released with fast-rising ...
• Bond Wave Two Detailed - January 20, 2009
MGM Home Entertainment in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced the special features for the upcoming James Bond Blu-ray titles 'Moonraker', 'The World is Not Enough', and 'Goldfinger', which are due to hit store shelves on March 24th. ...
• Never Say Never Again Added to Bond Release List - January 20, 2009
MGM Home Entertainment in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced that they will bring 'Never Say Never Again' to Blu-ray on March 24th, day-and-date with the DVD re-release. Technical specs have yet to be announced at this time, but ...
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