Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Only now does it occur to me... THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Only now does it occur to me...  that if William Castle had ever directed a James Bond film, it definitely should have been THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.



What would the gimmick have been?  Flying skeletons?  A full-on working fun house in the lobby?  13 GHOSTS-style Scare-o-manga-vision?   A free novelty rubber nipple with admission? (Christopher Lee's character Scaramanga has a notable extra nipple.) Something to do with a gang of little people at the theater?

Of course, with the latter, I'm alluding to the irrepressible Hervé Villechaize (FANTASY ISLAND, FORBIDDEN ZONE), whose measured performance as "Nick Nack" reaches levels of subtlety previously reached in a Bond movie only by Bruce Glover in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.  I'm going to choose to believe that the incongruous beauty of a little person in a Bond flick is what sparked the imagination of the makers of FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY, the first of many glorious Weng Weng Agent 00 movies from the 1980s.

As far as Bond flicks from the Moore era go, this is one of– if not the– best.  I have some fond memories from childhood of seeing this on TV, and though that may color my opinion, it's got a taut storyline, a great villain in Christopher Lee's titular assassin,

those great "Dark Carnival" sets on Lee's private island, a solid 70s Bond girl in Britt Ekland (best known for THE WICKER MAN and being Peter Sellers' wife)

and it even has Bond doing an embarrassing  loop-de-loop bridge jump like something out of a DUKES OF HAZZARD episode or a Burt Reynolds movie, complete with a slide whistle sound effect.  Whew!

[Also, despite the fine opening song collaboration between John Barry and Lulu, I can't help but think Alice Cooper's unused title track would have been a nicer (and more rockin') fit.  That is all.]

2 comments:

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Sean,

SO great to see some love here for this film. Moore is almost universally derided each and every time Bond is brought up by the media. Of course, they all walk around responding like lemmings with the same old trained responses.

But yes, this is a fine Moore film. Ekland is off the charts and rivaled maybe by Barbara Bach. She sleighs me.

But, I also have to tell you that I am a slave to the classic songs of LuLu, Shirley BAssey and others. They are irreplaceable.

Great thoughts on this 007 stud classic.

Sean Gill said...

Thanks for the comments, SFF–  I've been revisiting the old Moore Bonds and I really find them holding up. And I do like the Lulu classic here, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for Alice Cooper. And I do love that A-Ha and Duran Duran managed to jump on the wagon in the 80s.