We were all exhausted by the election in the Rosen household so Gail deemed a night in with the kids obligatory. I was given the role of choosing a film for all. I was deliberating over the American screwball comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World when I saw Goldfinger was on ITV at 8 pm. My kids grew up on the Bonds of Brosnan and Craig. I genuinely believe that the first three Bond films of Sean Connery – Dr No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger – are as enduringly good cinema as the British ever produced.
A great film does not date provided the core elements of acting, plot and screenplay are powerful as they are here. Sean Connery’s sang froid ruthlessness was never emulated but the gallery of supporting actors – Gerd Frobe, Honor Blackman, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Oddjob, are pretty damn good too. We also had Q’s gizmos, notably the ejector sear of the Aston Martin. To lay to rest one misapprehension: Frobe may have learned English for the part but his voice was dubbed by Michael Collins.
Although my kids disagreed , these three were never bettered. The screenplay and storyline became more distant from Ian Fleming’s novels, the sponsorship became more commercially blatant, the action sequences less convincing, none matched Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger or the John Barry score. Bond was rightly singled out in the Olympic ceremony as the Best of British.