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Ranking the Bond Movies: #14 – The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

I really like this one. I like that it’s not a standard Bond plot. Think about it — what’s this movie about? No world domination, no nuclear warheads, no assassinations — a world-class assassin’s mistress wants out, so she brings the only man the assassin respects enough as an adversary into his path, leading to an eventual showdown between the two. That’s the plot. Sure, there’s that solar thing as an added thing, but mostly this film is about Scaramanga vs. Bond. And I really like that.

This film has problems, though. I’ll admit that. As an entire film, it’s probably not as good as The World Is Not Enough. But I really like the interplay between Scaramanga and Bond, and I like that the structure isn’t typical Bond. Or, even if it kind of is, it doesn’t feel like a regular Bond movie. And I like when things break from the norm, structurally, especially Bond.

This film is pretty much one of those solid, middle-of-the-pack Bond films. It has problems, but it also has moments of greatness, and is thoroughly entertaining throughout. It’s not bad, and it’s not in that great section, but it’s definitely in that solid section right in between.

We open on a nice beach. And a woman sunbathing.

Octopussy… what are you doing here?

And a midget carrying drinks. Wait… what?

A man comes out of the water.

He’s our Bond villain. Francisco Scaramanga.

He has three nipples.

ToykoRemix:

Just like the gypsy woman said.

More on him (not the nipples) later.

Oh, I know you do, you dirty bitch.

That’s Nick Nack, his half a manservant.

Meanwhile – a man.

Something’s up.

Scaramanga doesn’t suspect.

Great little track in.

Well clearly this man is an assassin.

What kind of freaky shit goes on in here?

TokyoRemix:

This pad is an excellent bit of post-modern style, blending metal, concrete, stone, wood, and vegetation. One of the best villain lairs there’s been in the franchise, really.

Turns out – it’s all a game. Nick Nack pays assassins to kill Scaramanga to test him.

Let’s talk about Nick Nack now, before shit goes down.

TokyoRemix:

As Scaramanga’s manservant, Nick Nack is a butler, a chef and even arbitrates duels. Scaramanga notes that Nick Nack is a Cordon Bleu, in reference to his training at the renowned hospitality and culinary arts schools. Not gonna lie, I would love to have a Nick Nack.

The best part of his character is that he’s trying to have Scaramanga killed in a playful way — he could honestly just poison the guy’s food and inherit everything, but he makes it into a game with his boss and even taunts him about it. It’s great when potentially deadly competitions are cheeky and sporting, like Bond and Jaws in MoonrakerI like to think that Scaramanga had intended on leaving his fortune to his cats, but that Nick Nack had successfully killed them.

Nick Nack doesn’t have the best ending, but he is an awesome character that we all have to love.

The Golden Gun.

It’s actually a pretty great sequence, since we don’t know who the fuck this guy is or what’s going on. For a second you think that Nick Nack is the villain. Then it’s like – oh, he’s just a badass assassin that kills other assassins for sport. Damn.

And we know who he has in his sights next.

Then boom, credit sequence. Set to Lulu’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

Actually one of the worst credit sequences in franchise history for screenshots. Maybe the worst. Every single image has credits over it. You know how annoying that is, to have to put up a screenshot with credits on it? But there’s actually no other option here.

We open with Bond entering M’s office.

M asks Bond what he knows about Scaramanga.

He’s “the Man with the Golden Gun.” He was born in a circus. Was a trick shot, then got trained by the KGB and was an assassin for them. Then he decided he wasn’t getting paid enough and went out on his own. Currently gets a million dollars per kill. And the third nipple.

TokyoRemix:

This is so Roger Moore, and I hate it. When M drops Scaramanga’s name, Bond feigns confusion or ignorance, and then says, “Ah, yes,” and recites the guy’s COMPLETE dossier without pause. How many Scaramangas do you know? If you know that much about the guy, you shouldn’t be looking confused at his name and then playing it off like, “Oh, you meant THAT Scaramanga! I thought you were talking about Jimmy Scaramanga, we play bones on Tuesdays.”

(Mike Note: Shit? Jimmy? That motherfucker owes me $35!)

He left this calling card in London.

“Who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?”

“Jealous husbands, outraged chefs, humiliated tailors… the list is endless!”

The bullet also came with a note, specifically for Bond. M takes Bond off his current assignment – looking for a scientist named Gibson, who is thought to have a way to solve the energy crisis the world is going through.

TokyoRemix:

Ever notice how whenever Bond’s called off another assignment at the beginning of a movie, it’s always something in England that allows him to be there immediately? Bond’s like, “But sir, I’m in the middle of something serious!” “Motherfucker, it can’t be THAT serious! You answered your phone and got here within 20 minutes. Your suit isn’t even wrinkled!” He never gets these calls when he’s in Turkey or something.

Bond is told that either he can resign or take a sabbatical and lay low for a while, since he’s no good if someone’s trying to kill him. So Bond decides to find Scaramanga first.

But not before flirting with Moneypenny.

She gives him information about Scaramanga killing 002 some years back, saying he was never officially labeled the killer because they never found the bullet. He leads her on some more.

Oh, she leads a tragic life.

TokyoRemix:

This might be the last time I really accept Lois Maxwell in this role. After this, she sort of…deflates. Or something. Anyway, the byplay between her and Moore still works here, whereas by A View to a Kill, it’s just sad.

Bond then goes to Beirut to – study.

Yeah… study.

Hey look, it’s the bullet. He actually was studying…

He goes backstage for a… private lesson.

His name is Bond. James Bond.

He mentions 002, and she shows him the bullet.

And he shows her… some other stuff.

Nice moment – normally that goes the other way.

Seriously… every goddamn time.

He swallowed the bullet. (I wanna see that deleted scene. How he gets it back.)

TokyoRemix:

I was waiting for the “bite the bullet” pun, and it never came, which was good.

Naturally he gets out of it all right.

Huh… blood. That’s kind of new for Bond.

I love how she’s worried about the bullet and not the dead guy next to her snatch.

So Bond has Q analyze the bullet. They trace its origin to Macau.

He meets the bullet maker – Lazar.

What’s with Moore and two “Bond. James Bond”’s in one movie?

Lazar’s a real craftsman. He makes really great shit. Like a gun designed and perfectly balanced for someone who only has three fingers.

Bond strong arms him into giving up information about Scaramanga.

Lazar says he delivers the bullets to the casino and that he’s never actually seen Scaramanga.

Sneaky delivery system.

That’s Andrea Anders. Scaramanga’s mistress. Our Bond Villain Chick. Not yet Octopussy.

TokyoRemix:

Maud Adams’ first of three (two official) appearances in Bond films. She’s young here, which helps. I don’t really get this character, for reasons you’ll discover soon enough. I’ll take care of my griping then, rather than give it away now. Basically, she’s just Scaramanga’s piece that he sticks it to around 4 o’clock. She gets his bullets for him, and she don’t make it through the film. Women don’t really factor into this film. It’s all about Bond, Scaramanga and Nick Nack. 

Bond follows her to Hong Kong on a hydrofoil.

TokyoRemix:

Hydrofoils are awesome, and very Bond. I wouldn’t expect to see one anymore, but this makes sense because they’re in operation in Hong Kong to this day. We see other hydrofoils in Bond, with the Disco Volante from Thunderball and Bond’s boat from Q Branch that he uses in Moonraker.

But oh… there’s our Bond girl, getting in the way. (It’s cool, though, since she ultimately does lead him to where he needs to go.)

TokyoRemix:

It’s cool that she has an MG B Mk II. It’s not a particularly amazing car, but it’s quirky, fun and British, which makes it better than the rest of the cars this movie has to offer.

Mary Goodnight. Let’s talk about her now.

TokyoRemix:

She may be dumb, but this bitch looks good in a bikini.

TokyoRemix:

Mary Goodnight has the IQ of a walnut and is about as useful as Anne Frank’s drum set. She “helps” Bond, but ends up messing things up, getting trapped in the closet (chapters 12 – 17) and eventually captured. By the time she’s with Bond and Scaramanga at dinner, she’s so useless that Scaramanga says he prefers women in bikinis, so she has an excuse to just sit at the table looking good. She’s also an infernal cocktease to Bond, who on some level is like, “Whatever, honey. You can come or you could go, don’t make me no nevermind.” She’s really low on the Bond girls list.

Bond goes upstairs to Anders’ room at the hotel.

Oh… she’s in the shower.

No, no… I’ll wait.

“Good afternoon.”

Boobies.

Well she’s ready.

“Don’t mind me.”

Naturally Bond gets information out of her.

The Connery way.

“Bitch, did you not hear what I said…?”

So she tells him how he can recognize Scaramanga.

TokyoRemix:

I don’t understand — why does she threaten him when he shows up and refuse to tell him about Scaramanga until he beats her? We find out later that she sent the bullet so he’d come and protect her, so why is she telling him that he can’t protect her from Scaramanga? Wasn’t that…the whole point? “I’ll let you keep hitting me, cause there’s no way you could do the thing I went to great lengths to contact you to do for me!” Seems like a minor point, but I’m a little lost on that one.

Also, how about those smacks? Not at all Roger Moore. I like it.

“Now we can get to the fun part.”

“Bottom’s up.”

Now there’s a cut.

TokyoRemix:

You forgot the ‘n’.

Someone’s very happy right now.

TokyoRemix:

Me! Bond at an Asian strip club? He knows what you get for ten dollars.

A cigar?

Scaramanga be fucking.

Bond be waiting.

Scaramanga be prepared.

Scaramanga got a vantage point.

Turns out the target was that guy. We find out later that it’s Gibson, the solar energy guy.

So Bond gets arrested.

And taken to a boat.

And Scaramanga gets away.

With that.

On that.

Bond gets taken to the sunken RMS Queen Elizabeth, which was sunk under “mysterious circumstances.”

Bond gets away, but it’s a fruitless endeavor, because…

M’s got an office there.

TokyoRemix:

I love the idea of an office in a sunken ship, hiding in plain sight. But you gotta wonder how they get in and out all the time. Is it an ‘only at night’ kind of deal, like Crab Key in Dr. No?

Basically we find out that Gibson created something called the Solex agitator, which can basically solve the world’s energy crisis. Turns out it was stolen by Nick Nack.

Bond figures Scaramanga was hired by a man named Hai Fat. He prepares to go meet him. M makes Bond take Goodnight with him.

Here’s where Hai Fat lives. It’s straight out of Miyazaki.

TokyoRemix:

Actually, it’s straight out of Enter the Dragon. This is Bond’s Hong Kong martial arts fad film. 

Fucking nice.

Of course he did.

That’s more like it.

Meet Hai Fat.

Yeah, man!

Her name is Chu Mi. Yup.

TokyoRemix:

First an Asian strip club, now an Asian chick skinny dipping in the pool and inviting a random stranger to join? Asia got a lot more….exotic in the seven years since You Only Live Twice.

(Mike Note: Or so it seems.)

Oh, and there’s Hai Fat to ruin everything.

Really, James?

Bond pretends to be Scaramanga and gets invited to dinner.

But naturally, Scaramanga is there.

Meanwhile, on the way to dinner…

Schoolgirls.

TokyoRemix:

Oh no. I can’t. Even Bond’s not interested. You know they picked these chicks up from a street cart where they were chopping chicken heads.

The snozberries taste like snozberries.

Subtle.

I hate it when sumo wrestlers get between me and dinner.

Uhh… all right.

SERIOUSLY? AGAIN?

Motherfucker, what are you doing? Don’t kill him here.

I don’t see how this is killing.

TokyoRemix:

Thai girls, James? Phuket about it.

Where did they take him, the League of Shadows?

TokyoRemix:

I can only imagine what Elliot Carver would do with this lot.

Asian sword fights are pretty much a win win for everybody.

I guess that means he’s next.

TokyoRemix:

Bitch, you must be out yo’ goddamn mind.

That was terrific.

And the chase is on. Well…

Nieces.

Ninja nieces.

Now the chase is on.

How the fuck do you forget Bond?

TokyoRemix:

Fail. Also, they’re letting Roger Moore be a failure on purpose to allow for an extended chase. Notice that the other Bonds, when they want to, can catch up to cars, trains, even planes taking off. This one’s like, “Aw, shit, your Chinese car has two whole cylinders, that’s too fast for me.”

Oh… to set up a boat chase. Carry on.

Oh look, he inherited a Short Round.

Really?

Bond offers the kid 20,000 of whatever his currency is if he can make the boat go faster. The kid does it. What does Bond do?

Dick.

TokyoRemix:

Make a deal with a little Thai kid, then let him drown. I approve of this.

And look who just happens to be on vacation there.

TokyoRemix:

This movie just went South.

Great line. His wife says she wants one of the carved elephants. He says, “Elephants? We’re democrats, Maybelle.”

He’s so racist.

Bond wins.

Meanwhile, in non comic relief land…

Pretty sure that’s Christopher Nolan’s production company logo.

Scaramanga basically asks Hai Fat what the fuck kind of operation he’s running, letting Bond escape. Hai Fait says, “Listen, motherfucker, you work for me.”

Oh yeah?

Now there’s a hostile takeover.

Let’s talk about Scarmanga now.

TokyoRemix:

Scaramanga is frankly the best villain Roger Moore deals with, and he’s a solid villain overall. For one, he’s a top-rate assassin with a back story and his whole plot is good. He’s in business for himself, has a sense of honor and sportsmanship we rarely see in a Bond villain, and he’s amazingly cordial for the whole movie. It’s understood that there’s going to be a showdown, and he’s confident that he’ll win it, so why not be pleasant until then? He shows Bond what’s going on with his plans, treats him to a nice meal, makes jokes with him and only gets put off slightly when Bond isn’t equally polite.

It’s refreshing to have a villain whose motivations are clear and who has a persona that can be described. With a lot of the other ones, you get the same thing — they want money, power, they’re a little insane, and they’re usually friendly for like a scene and a half before they go all out trying to have Bond killed. Scaramanga’s approach has flair. He doesn’t have to kill people with single bullets made of gold, but that’s what he does. He’s got panache. His whole attitude toward being a bad guy is basically, “I’m a straight up thug. Why shouldn’t I get paid? Kill me if you can, but I’m gonna have fun with this.”

Christopher Lee plays it perfectly, too. His little relationship with Nick Nack is just the icing on the cake. I can’t stress it enough, this guy is the reason this movie works as well as it does.

So Bond has dinner with Goodnight. Mostly flirting, and Bond waxing poetic about death and the future.

Talk about soft focus.

Basically she says she doesn’t want to fuck him once and be one of his bitches. (Yeah… okay.)

Look who’s there.

Here’s a good game to play every time Bond enters his hotel room: assassination attempt or sex?

There’s your answer.

(Didn’t you just say you weren’t going to fuck him like ten minutes ago?)

TokyoRemix:

“Why did you change your mind?”

“…I’m a ho. Didn’t you know?”

…or is it the answer?

Oh yeah, it is. Squared.

I love how Goodnight is basically the Moneypenny substitute for the film. Only Bond actually wants to fuck this one.

Anders has come to tell him he’s in grave danger. Turns out she’s the one who sent the bullet with his name on it. She wants out. And Bond’s the only one who can kill Scaramanga. Apparently Bond is Scaramanga’s obsession.

TokyoRemix:

See how that little love triangle’s playing out between Bond, Scaramanga and Nick Nack? 

(Mike Note: I just heard a Telemundo guitar flare as someone just narrowed their eyes and whispered, “Scaramanga.”)

TokyoRemix:

Also, why are we getting this now? There was that whole scene where she wouldn’t talk, but now she’s alone with him again and spills everything. What the fuck?

(Mike Note: Maybe she was playing hard to get so she could feel the magic dick in action.)

The man just falls into sex.

But first…  tell me about the Solex agitator.

Or do that. That works too.

“Bitch, stay in there and listen to us fuck.”

That could have been you.

“I’m ready to go again if you are.”

Best line in the movie: “Your turn’ll come, I promise.”

He says he’ll bang her once Anders gets him the Solex agitator and he kills Scaramanga. In that order.

“You must be good.”

“Yeah… I am.”

So Bond goes to meet Anders at a kickboxing match.

Yeah… she dead.

Great way to have the two of them meet.

Scaramanga tells a story about how when he was a boy in the circus, his best friend was an elephant whose handler mistreated him. The elephant went crazy, the handler shot the elephant. Scaramanga shot the handler.

Meanwhile, Bond spots the Solex agitator on the floor.

Sneaky. (Hip, Bond’s contact, is the peanut vendor.)

“Whatever you do, don’t lose it.” (Then why are you giving it to her?)

I love how Scaramanga handles this. He has respect for Bond, and is only looking for the Solex agitator. He hopes their paths don’t cross again, out of professional courtesy.

Don’t do it.

Don’t do it.

Don’t do it.

Don’t do it.

Oh, you stupid bitch, you did it.

You deserve everything you get.

TokyoRemix:

I love how in Thailand, you can push a screaming woman into a trunk, slam it and laugh, and nobody says SHIT.

“Bitch, where the fuck are you?”

“In a trunk. Follow the car.”

“Where the fuck are the keys?”

“Oh, I’ve got them. And, I got the Solex!”

You stupid bitch.

YES.

Oh no.

Bond car. Let’s talk about it.

TokyoRemix:

The car is the worst part of the movie. AMC Hornet, the worst piece of shit imaginable — nearly. Slow, ugly, bouncy. Piece of shit. With Pepper in it, even shittier. Then the jump with the slip horn. Ugh. The worst is the shot when he backs up. There’s the one-second pause between forward and back because it’s a shitty automatic transmission instead of a manual. This is one step above the Citroen from For Your Eyes Only. But also kind of worse because it’s SUPPOSED to be good, whereas the Citroen wasn’t.

To put it in perspective, this car in peak condition is outrun by a Prius. Bond’s DB5 from a full decade earlier had more than double the power. I’m in awe of this car’s worthlessness. Do I have anything nice to say about this miserable, execrable piece of shit? Uh…it doesn’t become invisible? Nope, that’d make it better, I lied.

“I know you!”

“Oh, no.”

Our opinions match.

Anyway, the chase is on.

“Who the fuck is this asshole?”

And of course the police are involved now.

Always. Never fails.

So that happened.

That’s pretty cool.

TokyoRemix:

Scaramanga’s AMC Matador is slightly less useless, but still useless. It looks less awful, but even in top trim, it’s slower than most of the 60s Bond cars. It doesn’t do anything amazing car-wise, and then it becomes a horrible flying monstrosity. So I don’t have much to say about it. No more flying cars, Eon. No submarine cars, no space cars, no cars that do bullshit. I’m sick of bullshit Bond cars. “I have to infiltrate Paris! Good thing my MI6 Escalade turns into a baguette!”

Safe to say that AMC is the single worst car product placement in Bond history.

(Mike Note: I’m a fan of the car turning into the plane. That’s the kind of shit that would have been awesome to me when I was a kid, and is still really cool now.)

Oh, you stupid bitch.

Yeah, how about you jump out. Maybe you’ll find Colonel Kurtz.

Meanwhile, they’re all pretty much fucked, since Scaramanga got away. But fortunately they Deux ex Machina in a solution – they pick up Goodnight’s walkie talkie signal.

So she’s there.

So Bond flies into completely no-go waters on a double secret probation type mission.

TokyoRemix:

Flying in Delta formation, I take it?

(Mike Note: Just like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.)

Of course he’s spotted, because Scaramanga’s got the Chinese air force monitoring his island, like a boss. But he’s like, “Fuck it. Let him come.”

TokyoRemix:

I’m amazed the Chinese Air Force was that on top of things in the 1970s. Thought their radar array would have been like 12 knockoff Dixie cups on a piece of cardboard.

So Bond goes to the island, which – I wanna live on an island like that.

You think they’re gonna have Nick Nack shout, “Boss! De plane, de plane!”?

How great is it he shows up unannounced and they’re expecting him? That’s boss status.

But uh oh – a gun.

Look at that. I love Scaramanga.

What the fuck is he wearing?

I love this – Scaramanga’s like, “We’ll never have this opportunity again, so let’s hang out and talk shop.” How fucking great is it that he’s like, “I’m a professional, you’re a professional – let’s hang out, talk about shit, then we’ll go shoot each other”?

He’s so excited. I love it. I also love how he’s like, “Oh, Godnight’s around here somewhere. It’s not like she can go anywhere, so I let her do what she wants.” That’s how you know this motherfucker’s got shit on lockdown.

Motherfucker’s got his own solar energy station. Converting solar energy to electricity.

Basically his plan is to sell it to countries. Not a terrible plan. I mean, obviously the downside is the weaponization of it, but honestly, he’s not so much of a Bond villain. Really he’s just an assassin who happens to be in Bond’s path because of his mistress.

TokyoRemix:

If the bullet hadn’t showed up, we’d have a slightly different plot with Bond eventually tracking down Gibson and finding out that Scaramanga had killed him. No need for the Maud Adams character. Don’t know which way I’d prefer.

Weaponiz… yeah.

Good… morning?

I love it – Scaramanga makes perfect sense in his arguments. Honestly, if all he did was keep at his million dollars a hit lifestyle, he’d totally be good forever. Or just fucking retire.

Business time.

“A duel between titans… my golden gun against your Walther PPK. Each of us with a 50/50 chance.”

“Six bullets against your one.”

“I only need one.”

Another great moment – Bond accepts the duel… but after he finishes lunch. That’s the mark of a real badass. Always eat the food first.

“Girl, you got a fat ass.”

Duel time.

Why bother using words?

Twenty paces… and on twenty…

Scaramanga’s gone.

“Am I gonna have to take this shit, or are you gonna give it up willingly?”

Sacaramanga’s back in his fun house.

Waiting.

Bond wastes three bullets by this time.

He finds the edge of the set.

How do you lose your gun??

I love how early Bond films were liberal with the light coloring. More of this.

This is actually a really tense sequence. I like it a lot.

Nice. (But how’d he get his gun back?)

There’s also a great moment after this where Nick Nack comes up, like, “Good shooting,” and Bond is like, “I’ve never killed a midget before, but there’s a first time for everything.”

TokyoRemix:

Just keeping track. In this movie, Bond slapped the absolute shit out of a woman, tried to drown a Thai kid and threatened to shoot a midget in the face. I’ll give credit where credit’s due.

There’s always an absolute zero temperature vat there.

“Wait here. I’ll take care of the maintenance man.”

“I already did. I laid him out cold.”

“You did?”

“Yes.”

“There’s more to you than meets the eye, Goodnight.”

TokyoRemix:

She’s a Transformer too?! Does she transform into something less retarded?

Also, I can’t believe someone other than Roger Moore got to speak one of those puns. I also can’t believe that with him overplaying the bad ones, they completely underplay a pretty good one.

Well that’s probably not good.

Apparently the dead dude’s body temperature will raise the temperature of the shit and make the whole place explode. Really just sounds like an excuse to have the place explode to me.

Gotta get that fuckin thing first, now don’t we?

Wouldn’t it be funny if his gun went off and shot him in the fucking face? (Or even Goodnight in the face?)

I like that she’s just in a bikini and it makes perfect sense.

Bitch, what the fuck do you do?

Oh no.

Deux ex cloud.

Only, he thinks it’s her. Oh god.

“Bitch, what the fuck is wrong with you? I’ll never forgive you for this.”

So they get out, and this happens:

And they get away on the pirate ship.

TokyoRemix:

Nothing tickles a girl’s sex hole like a ride on a Chinese junk.

And they fuck.

Apparently she doesn’t care one bit that he kicked her out of bed to fuck another chick and made her listen.

Of course.

TokyoRemix:

Look at his little fingers! And also, this shot, which is amazing out of context:

Really? Bond vs. a midget sequence?

TokyoRemix:

I love how he lets her think he threw a midget over the side, and how she’s cool enough with it to resume sex in less than five seconds.

THERE’S GLASS ON THE BED!

“Goodnight? Goodnight!”

“Goodnight, sir.”

Final Thoughts on The Man with the Golden Gun:

Tokyo Remix:

This is a clear second best for Roger Moore, as far as I’m concerned. Scaramanga and Nick Nack are brilliant, and Bond isn’t horrible, either. I’d say fix Goodnight — tall order there — and fix or eliminate Maud Adams’ character, and you’ve got a shot at a really solid film, provided you tweak a few other things. The cars have to go. We need better cars here. JW Pepper is wrong here (he’s really wrong anywhere, but we’ll let it slide for Live and Let Die) and so are the ridiculous kung fu action scenes. The sparring matches Bond did were cool, but I don’t need Chinese girls karate chopping all over the place. 

This movie sure isn’t perfect, but it might have become the second Roger Moore film I’m willing to just put on randomly. I liked it a lot more this time around than I ever did before.

My Final Thoughts:

Not being a Bond purist, and as just a fan of the series, I really like this one. I don’t see the shitty cars and don’t notice the obvious kung fu craze (though I do see an overly long kung fu scene that makes little sense and is kind of uninteresting outside of him kicking that dude in the face and adopting the typical American, “I’m gonna beat the fucking shit out of you” stance as he fights) — mostly I’m able to ignore the bad parts and only remember the good parts. Since when I’m watching it, I don’t get upset at stuff. I just enjoy the film. So I think about this and I remember Scaramanga and his whole storyline — and it makes me enjoy this more than I probably should. Objectively, The World Is Not Enough is a better film than this. As a whole. It’s a better film. But Scaramanga is so entertaining to me that I’d totally want to watch this before I’d want to watch The World Is Not Enough. So that’s why I put it higher. In a pure quality sense, I agree with TokyoRemix that The World Is Not Enough is better. I just — to me, you can’t put a price on what Scaramanga brings to this movie.

Plus there are all the little things, like the office on the ship — I’d much prefer putting up with that karate/boat chase in order to see Scaramanga and watch the great sets in this movie. That’s what it comes down to for me. I’d rather them show me great sets and great old-school Technicolor (though it’s the 70s, so it’s probably Eastman Color, right?) than watch action scene after action scene. It’s a difference between watching a movie and watching a movie. This is the ‘dinner jacket’ of watching a movie. I’d rather rank the film I watch for the sets and atmosphere and stuff higher than the one I can watch on a random afternoon when I want to see a Bond movie. But that’s just me. Either way, I think we can all agree that on the whole, this is a well above average Bond movie.

– – – – –

Official Bond Number: #9

Release Date: December 18, 1974

Run Time: 125 minutes

Budget: $7 million

Box Office: $21 million domestically, $97.6 million worldwide

Title Song: “The Man with the Golden Gun,” by Lulu

Music By: John Barry

Based On: “The Man with the Golden Gun,” by Ian Fleming

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz

First Lines: “Nick Nack! Tabasco!” “Right away, Monsieur Scaramanga.”

Last Lines: “Bond? Bond, are you there? Goodnight?” “She’s just coming, sir.” “Goodnight? Goodnight? Goodnight!” “Good night, sir.”

– – – – –

Cast:

Roger Moore, as James Bond
Bernard Lee, as M
Desmond Llewelyn, as Q
Lois Maxwell, as Miss Moneypenny
Britt Ekland, as Mary Goodnight
Christopher Lee, as Francisco Scaramanga
Maud Adams, as Andrea Anders
Hervé Villechaize, as Nick Nack
Clifton James, as J.W. Pepper
Richard Loo, as Hai Fat
Soon-Tek Oh, as Hip
Marc Lawrence as Rodney
Marne Maitland, as Lazar
Yao Lin Chen, as Chula
Carmen Du Sautoy, as Saida
– – – – –

Bond Villain:

  • Francisco Scaramanga

Bond Girl:

  • Mary Goodnight

Secondary Villain:

  • None

Secondary Bond Girl:

  • Andrea Anders

Bond Villain Chick:

  • None

Henchmen:

  • Nick Nack

Allies:

  • Hip
  • Chula and Saida

Other Important Characters:

  • Sheriff J.W. Pepper (not really an ally, since he’s more comic relief than anything)
  • Hai Fat (not really a henchman)
  • Lazar

– – – – –

Locations:

  • Thailand
  • London
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Macau
  • Hong Kong

– – – – –

Cars:

  • AMC Hornet (Bond)
  • AMC Matador coupe (Scaramanga)
  • MC MGB (Goodnight)
  • Ford Thunderbird (Scaramanga)
  • Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (hotel car)
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom (M)

– – – – –

Gadgets:

  • The Golden Gun
    • a pen is the barrel, a cigarette lighter is the firing chamber, a cigarette case is the handle and a cuff link is the trigger. It uses special gold bullets and can only fire one at a time.
  • Solex Agitator — it does shit. Works the solar laser gun thing.
  • The AMC Matador that turns into an airplane.
  • A fake nipple?

– – – – –

Trivia:

  • Christopher Lee is Ian Fleming’s cousin. Fleming originally offered Lee the title role in Dr. No.
  • They originally offered Scaramanga to Jack Palance.
  • In the novels, Goodnight is recurring, and actually acts as Bond’s assistant. Apparently they auditioned Britt Ekland for Andrea Anders, but once they saw her in a bikini, they gave her Goodnight.
  • The dude who played the gangster at the beginning was also in Diamonds Are Forever as one of the hulking mob guys who work for Slumber Inc.
  • Title translations: (Brazil) 007 Against the Man with the Golden Gun, (Germany) The Man with the Golden Colt, (Finland) 007 and the Golden Gun, (China) 007 Versus the Golden Gun.
  • “The Man with the Golden Gun” was the last novel written by Ian Fleming.
  • It was on this movie that the partnership between Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli fell apart.
  • The corkscrew jump was performed in one take. It happened so quickly that they show it in slow motion in the film.
  • They originally intended for this film to follow up You Only Live Twice. (Man… wouldn’tit have been great if Connery played in this story?) They scrapped the plan because of Vietnam and the fact that they’d have shot in Cambodia.
  • This is the last Bond film to be shot in 1.85:1 ratio.
  • This was one of the lowest-grossing Bond films ever. The low grosses of the film, combined with the falling out between Broccoli and Saltzman almost made this the final Bond film, and is the reason why The Spy Who Loved Me wouldn’t be out for another three years after this film.
  • Nick Nack is the first henchman in the franchise to get captured and not killed.
  • Guy Hamilton wanted to make Bond closer to Fleming’s Bond, which is why there’s that scene in the film with him twisting Andrea’s arm and threatening to break it.

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2 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

  2. KingMan

    Actually, the scene where Bond threatened to shot Nick Nack occurred during, not after, the duel.

    Another bit of trivia: Alice Cooper wrote his own “Man With The Golden Gun” theme and was considered for the film. Instead, they went with the one Lulu sang while Cooper put his version on the Muscle Of Love album.

    February 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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