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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I have to admit, TMWTGG is a guilty pleasure of mine. The whole concept of Bond being hunted by a professional killer is a great one. It's just a shame the film doesn't stay with idea for long.

This film seems to be Roger's most Flemingesque portayal of Bond. He's tougher and meaner here than in any of his other films. It doesn't suit him as well as the English gentleman with a lighter touch that he usually plays, but it's nice to see him portray the character in a different manner.

Scaramanga and Nick Nack are great villains played with the right amount of menace and comedy by Christopher Lee and Herve Villecsche, respectively.

Oh dear, Bond isn't very nice to the women in this film. He slaps Andrea around a bit and locks Goodnight in a cabinet while he gets it on with Andrea. Not very PC but it seems in character with Fleming's Bond, doing whatever he had to to complete his mission, others be damned.

I don't mind J. W. Pepper here. Certainly the film didn't need him beyond the cameo during the boat chase, but he adds some humour to the film at least.

There are some great locations, with Scaramanga's island and the slanted ship standing out as unique in the series.

The title song is definitely the worst in the series, but Barry turns it into one of his best love themes. The action cue us a bit fruity, but adds to the fun of the film, while the rest of the score is great. One of my favourites.

I like the darker tone of the film in the first and third acts but wish it had been more even throughout. Some of the one liners are the series' best.

I have to say, I enjoyed the film much more than the novel, like CR.

Last edited by IcePak (9th May 2017 03:13)

1. CR 2 OHMSS 3. TSWLM 4. TLD 5. SF 6. GE
7. FRwL 8. FYEO 9. LtK 10. TMwtGG 11. AVtaK 12.OP
13. TND 14. GF 15. DN 16. SP 17. TWiNE 18. TB
19. MR 20. LaLD 21. YOLT 22. DAD 23. QoS 24. DAF

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Theres a page with various death rumors about Bruce Lee and it claims BL was offered GG......sounds about as plausible as Presley visiting a wrestling match in Memphis  ajb007/lol

(Theres no way Cubby wouldve not talked about BL had he offered him a role , for example : "yes , we did offer him a role and Im sure he wouldve been fantastic but sadly he passed away before GG started shooting"

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

PROS
-Christopher Lee, by far the topmost PRO
-
-
-
-
-there are some other PROS
-Barry's back, and this may be his most rocknroll score, there's even wahwah guitar in the main song although it drops down in the mix far too soon ... also that rat-a-tat riff that recurs throughout the film ... and the "Goodnight Goodnight" reprise at the end is much better than the men's choir at the end of the next film
-I like Maud Adams here better than in Octopussy, both her character and her acting
-Roger actually plays it straight, really he only tells jokes when in the office
-best field office for M ever (there are some very psychedelic visuals throughout this film)

-kissing the belly dancers belly
-Andrea in the shower, you know, good girl or bad girl, Bond'd get disciplined for sexual harassment if he tried that today
-Goodnight in a nightie, which leads to...
-two women in a bed: the second doesn't know about the first, the first has to keep quiet and listen ... just looking at these last four PROs, I officially declare Roger gets into the sexiest situations of any of the Bond actors

-the Golden Gun itself, that was one of the highlights at the travelling Bond exhibit I saw a few years ago
-exotic Asian locations, some of which had been covered in Fleming's Thrilling Cities! and damn those islands at the end are nice
-the cork-screw jump: I think that stunt was much much riskier than the more famous skijump that opens the next film, the timing had to be within micro-seconds
-Scaramanga has a full fledged villains HQ, the biggest since the volcano, even though he only has one minion +Nick Nack... the last act is surprisingly science fiction-y
-I don't mind Scaramanga not knowing how his solex agitator works, he's a hitman not a scientist, and he's stolen this technology from his deceased sponsor to sell to the highest bidder
-they have a duel! so unique within the series, and so different from the formulaic military showdowns that ended almost every other Bond film from this era
-Hervé Villechaize may not be the scariest henchman ever, but he did get his own longrunning TV series playing almost the identical character, so he's better than Halle Berry
-Scaramanga's yacht ... it makes more sense it be outfitted with waterbed, hi-fi, and chilled champagne than does Stromberg's escape capsule
-I'm OK with them throwing out almost all the Fleming ... the source novel was some pretty weak stuff, and in its best moments this film's plot is more imaginative ... even the one really good bit from Fleming's book (the Manchurian Candidate style opening chapter) would not have worked here without making it a completely different film. License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Skyfall would all revisit the Fleming content not used here
... there is some Fleming aside from the names Scaramanga and Goodnight: the dialog with Goodnight over dinner is for some reason almost word for word from the novel, and so is Scaramanga's reminiscence about the elephant. I wonder if they started with a more close adaptation, then just kept replacing stuff until these two bits of dialog were all they had left?

CONS
-Sherriff Pepper's back - when this film weakens, it seems to choose all the worst aspects of the previous movie and make them even worster
-by the time we get to the Enter the Dragon stuff, the plot has long since stopped making any sense ... the killing outside the Bottoms Up club seems to be where it goes off the rails logic-wise, why did Andrea send Bond there and is it not a bit of a coincidence all that goes down?
-what is the normal use of that giant laser gun? it seems much less practical than his regular golden gun, how many times is he going to have an enemy's plane parked right in front of it? what does he do if his enemy's plane is parked somewhere else? Blofeld's space laser was a more practical weapon
-how does M get the number to Scaramanga's yacht? Bond needed to find the bullet in the belly dancer's navel just to get started, why didn't they just ring up his yacht in the first place if they had his number? was M calling every 15 minutes, on the chance 007 would pick up? what if Scaramanga or Nick Nack had picked up, wouldn't that have ruined everything?

in summary I liked this one much better than I remembered, its actually much more consistent than Live and Let Die

Last edited by caractacus potts (3rd Dec 2017 17:57)

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

caractacus potts wrote:

PROS
-Christopher Lee, by far the topmost PRO
-
-
-
-
-there are some other PROS
-Barry's back, and this may be his most rocknroll score, there's even wahwah guitar in the main song although it drops down in the mix far too soon ... also that rat-a-tat riff that recurs throughout the film ... and the "Goodnight Goodnight" reprise at the end is much better than the men's choir at the end of the next film
-I like Maud Adams here better than in Octopussy, both her character and her acting
-Roger actually plays it straight, really he only tells jokes when in the office
-best field office for M ever (there are some very psychedelic visuals throughout this film)

-kissing the belly dancers belly
-Andrea in the shower, you know, good girl or bad girl, Bond'd get disciplined for sexual harassment if he tried that today
-Goodnight in a nightie, which leads to...
-two women in a bed: the second doesn't know about the first, the first has to keep quiet and listen ... just looking at these last four PROs, I officially declare Roger gets into the sexiest situations of any of the Bond actors

-the Golden Gun itself, that was one of the highlights at the travelling Bond exhibit I saw a few years ago
-exotic Asian locations, some of which had been covered in Fleming's Thrilling Cities! and damn those islands at the end are nice
-the cork-screw jump: I think that stunt was much much riskier than the more famous skijump that opens the next film, the timing had to be within micro-seconds
-Scaramanga has a full fledged villains HQ, the biggest since the volcano, even though he only has one minion +Nick Nack... the last act is surprisingly science fiction-y
-I don't mind Scaramanga not knowing how his solex agitator works, he's a hitman not a scientist, and he's stolen this technology from his deceased sponsor to sell to the highest bidder
-they have a duel! so unique within the series, and so different from the formulaic military showdowns that ended almost every other Bond film from this era
-Hervé Villechaize may not be the scariest henchman ever, but he did get his own longrunning TV series playing almost the identical character, so he's better than Halle Berry
-Scaramanga's yacht ... it makes more sense it be outfitted with waterbed, hi-fi, and chilled champagne than does Stromberg's escape capsule
-I'm OK with them throwing out almost all the Fleming ... the source novel was some pretty weak stuff, and in its best moments this film's plot is more imaginative ... even the one really good bit from Fleming's book (the Manchurian Candidate style opening chapter) would not have worked here without making it a completely different film. License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Skyfall would all revisit the Fleming content not used here
... there is some Fleming aside from the names Scaramanga and Goodnight: the dialog with Goodnight over dinner is for some reason almost word for word from the novel, and so is Scaramanga's reminiscence about the elephant. I wonder if they started with a more close adaptation, then just kept replacing stuff until these two bits of dialog were all they had left?

CONS
-Sherriff Pepper's back - when this film weakens, it seems to choose all the worst aspects of the previous movie and make them even worster
-by the time we get to the Enter the Dragon stuff, the plot has long since stopped making any sense ... the killing outside the Bottoms Up club seems to be where it goes off the rails logic-wise, why did Andrea send Bond there and is it not a bit of a coincidence all that goes down?
-what is the normal use of that giant laser gun? it seems much less practical than his regular golden gun, how many times is he going to have an enemy's plane parked right in front of it? what does he do if his enemy's plane is parked somewhere else? Blofeld's space laser was a more practical weapon
-how does M get the number to Scaramanga's yacht? Bond needed to find the bullet in the belly dancer's navel just to get started, why didn't they just ring up his yacht in the first place if they had his number? was M calling every 15 minutes, on the chance 007 would pick up? what if Scaramanga or Nick Nack had picked up, wouldn't that have ruined everything?

in summary I liked this one much better than I remembered, its actually much more consistent than Live and Let Die

You've inspired me to rewatch this one tonight. ajb007/cheers
ajb007/martini

1. Connery 2. Moore 3. Dalton 4. Brosnan 5. Craig 6. Lazenby

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

caractacus potts wrote:

PROS
-Christopher Lee, by far the topmost PRO

Couldn't agree more with this  ajb007/martini

1.ohmss  2.cr  3.frwl  4.ltk  5.gf  6.tswlm  7.sf  8.op  9.tld  10.dn  11.lald  12.tb  13.fyeo  14.ge  15.mr  16.yolt  17.tnd  18.avtak  19.sp  20.twine  21.qos  22.tmwtgg  23.daf  24.dad

281

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

IcePak wrote:

I have to admit, TMWTGG is a guilty pleasure of mine. The whole concept of Bond being hunted by a professional killer is a great one. It's just a shame the film doesn't stay with idea for long.

True, but a Con for me is that of course Scaramanga is not really after Bond at all in the first place, so much of the film is a fool's errand, Bond being the fool, as it was Andrea who set it all up. Thus, the danger is all a bit spurious, our hero is not really in danger at all, he just thinks he is. It almost resembles early parts of OHMSS in that respect.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Napoleon Plural wrote:

True, but a Con for me is that of course Scaramanga is not really after Bond at all in the first place, so much of the film is a fool's errand, Bond being the foo

I agree....I also have the same complaint about Hitchcock's Vertigo, but that's still considered one of the greatest films of all time.

My current 10 favorite:

1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK

283

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I like the fact that many Bond films are not simple missions, but
more adventures that have the story twist in a diffrent direction  ajb007/wink

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another"

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

this is true: most films begin with M giving Bond a fairly normal assignment (find out what happened to Strangways), only to midway stumble upon a more sinister plot (diverting rockets). The strange thing is Bond almost always arrives at the villains HQ at the precise moment the villain is setting his sinister plot in motion

Scaramanga at least really does want a chance to duel with Bond, he knows who he is, he's got that convenient wax dummy of Roger Moore in the middle of his funhouse (he really should have put that away when he knew the real Bond was coming for a visit)

but can anybody explain why Andrea sends Bond to the Bottoms Up Club and why Scaramanga just happens to assassinate the scientist the very moment Bond is steps away? I must have missed something in the dialog, Bond wanted to see her deliver the bullets, and she wasn't even there ... did she know Scaramanga was planning a hit there and then?

firemass wrote:

I also have the same complaint about Hitchcock's Vertigo, but that's still considered one of the greatest films of all time

I love how most of Vertigo goes by like this strange trippy dream, but for me its spell is broken by the overcomplicated "logical" explanation at the end

285

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

To be honest , most heroes arrive at the most judicious moments  ajb007/lol
Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, etc .......

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another"

286

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I watched Key Largo (1948) last night and who should I recognize, but the gangster from TMWTGG and DAF.  ajb007/smile

My current 10 favorite:

1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK

287

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

ajb007/martini

Last edited by Grindelwald (30th Dec 2017 03:20)

288

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

This pre-title-sequence is unique and probably my favorite in the series.

It's the only time we actually get to the villain's main lair in a Pts!
Furthermore this sequence builds up the end-game between Bond and Scaramanga.
Once we arrive in that late point in the film, we already know how the fun-house works.
This adds greatly to the excitement.

It's exotic and filled with fantasy. The fun-house and Scaramanga's living space is highly fascinating and very well constructed.

The titles are typically Binder and as usual brilliant. Lulu's rather happy-go-lucky pop song is a welcome change to what came before. Love the lyrics too.

The M office sequence is great, love these two lines from Bernard Lee especially:

Bond: Who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?
M: Jealous husbands, outraged chefs, humiliated tailors. The list is endless.
and
Bond: If I found him first, sir, that might change the situation.
M: Dramatically, wouldn't you say?

I love how Bernard Lee delivers his lines!

Saida, Q & Lazar - three short but memorable scenes. She's charming and the fight is quite something, funny and Bond throws a punch and gets some too.
Saida: No! I've lost my charm!
Bond: Not from where "I'm" standing.
Q is funny and focused as ever and quite an expert on bullets it seems.
Lazar I like a lot, what little screen time can make for a memorable experience is quite astonishing.
Lazar: My relationship with a client, Mr Bond, is strictly confidential. Like a doctor. A priest with a penitent.
The way Marne Maitland delivers his line for Lazar is a joy to watch.

Hello Goodnight!
Oh isn't she just adorable. So lovely, so sweet and charming. Love her MG car too.

Bond: Goodnight, would I do that to you after two years?
Goodnight: Yes, you bloody well would!

I admit I can't get enough of her. Brit Ekland really is gorgeous.

Anders, the assassination and M & Q waiting on the Queen Elizabeth:
-interesting how cruel Bond treats Anders here, but then it's his life and I would do the same, no problems here.
-the street/alley sequence is really great, reminds me of a film noir.
-MI6 has offices everywhere, I mean seriously now!

Again Bernard Lee delivers some wonderful lines here. And so does Desmond: "Really, 007!"

Scaramanga is always one step ahead of Bond. Hai Fat is quite full of himself.
"Take Mr. Bond to school!"
Definitely a favorite sequence of mine, Moore is just fabulous.

Bond in another major speed-boat sequence.
And the incomparable J.W Pepper, the Democrat: "Get your cotton-picking schnoz out of my pants."

Hai Fat's demise. He was just too full of himself, but really. Love how Scaramanga builds his gun. Lee really delivers a high quality performance in this film.

Goodnight has the keys, and the solex too!  ha ha ha....and gets captured and she's flying to Scaramanga's island....

...but first it's J.W. Pepper again...you gotta love this guy!
"Let me talk to 'em. Hello. This is Sheriff J.W. Pepper, Louisiana State Police... and tell her I'm on a mission. I've been deputised. Right?"

"You're not thinking of...?" - and just when you think you've seen it all EoN proves you wrong and delivers yet another death defying stunt!!

Bond flying to the island is wonderful cinematography.

I love how seemingly civilized and well-cultured Scaramanga is, he is full of s**t though as Bond so nicely puts in another great villain/Bond dining sequence.

...the duel... opens an exciting and unique end-game between Bond and the villain.
Goodnight meanwhile in her bikini. A sight for sore eyes. Can't ever get enough of that.

The film ends more or less how it started. Someone gets tricked and shot in the fun-house. It's a clever piece of writing and I love Lee's facial expression when he realized he has been defeated. Probably hurting him more than knowing he'll die.

NickNack starts to grow on me, ha ha!
He is just perfect for Scaramanga and his French accent adds to the fun.
How he ends up is..... "Oh, James, you didn't!"

"It's always a pleasure to welcome someone with a mutual interest."

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I just didn’t enjoy this movie all that much. It is by far my least favourite Roger Moore bond film, and it sucks that everyone hates on A View To A Kill because that one in my opinion had a great plot, wasn’t over the top like this movie and wasn’t boring or fell flat half way through. I’d actually take AVTAK over the rest of the Moore era except for TSWLM and FYEO.

This one starts great with the pre credits sequence, bond getting his mission assigned, the flirting with Moneypenny and a decent first half up until he gets thrown into the karate school. It didn’t really recover after that, not being compelling and isn’t executed well. It’s also quite boring, silly, and has no real reward in the climax. Moore’s performance also comes off as a bit of a jerk, Mary Goodnight is also the worst Bond girl of the series and the title song is terrible. It was disappointing that Scaramanga wasn’t used to his full potential. Also didn’t like Sheriff Pepper returning and all the corny jokes. The less said about this one the better, and it’s just as bad as Diamonds Are Forever and nearly as bad as DAD and QOS.

Oh yeah and as dutchbondfan pointed out “hip is a moron”

Last edited by Wadsy (5th Jan 2018 02:22)

1. FYEO 2. OHMSS 3. TLD 4. FRWL 5. LTK 6. TSWLM 7. CR 8. OP  9. GF 10. DN 11. MR 12. SP 13. LALD 14. QOS 15. TB 16. SF 17. TMWTGG 18. GE 19. YOLT 20. AVTAK 21. TND 22. TWINE 23. DAF 24. DAD

1. Dalton 2. Connery 3. Moore 4. Craig 5. Lazenby  6. Brosnan

290

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I love TMWTGG for most of the reasons that andi gave above.

The true reason, why it still ranks so high in my list is the pure eyecandiness of the locations and Mary Goodnight that make me easily forgive all the little flaws.

TMWTGG benefits massively from the remastering to HD, too

And I am a fan of JW Pepper....

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

291

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Andi1996 wrote:

"You're not thinking of...?" - and just when you think you've seen it all EoN proves you wrong and delivers yet another death defying stunt!!

Bond flying to the island is wonderful cinematography.

Andi, I really enjoy reading your reviews and can tell how much you are enjoying the films.  ajb007/martini  ajb007/smile

My current 10 favorite:

1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK

292

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Higgins wrote:

I love TMWTGG for most of the reasons that andi gave above.

The true reason, why it still ranks so high in my list is the pure eyecandiness of the locations and Mary Goodnight that make me easily forgive all the little flaws.

TMWTGG benefits massively from the remastering to HD, too

And I am a fan of JW Pepper....


You were not kidding about the remastering job... Wow it is a stunningly beautiful film.

This is a clear leap forward from DAF and LALD in terms of cinematography. I'd say it's even on par with Moonraker.


I've watched TMWTGG twice in the past couple months and it has skyrocketed up the charts on my personal ranking.


Pros:

- Roger looks his best here and delivers a great hard edged, mean spirited and witty performance as 007. 

- Every character in every minor role absolutely kills it. From Lazaar's family to 20,000 baht to Oh a Surprise, everyone feels authentic and delivers an inspired performance.

- So many classic scenes and villains, I simply cannot imagine the Bond series existing without this film.

- Locations are gorgeous and interesting. I feel like I am there.

- No big battle scene at the end, unlike many other films that came before and after: GF, TB, YOLT, OHMSS, DAF, TSWLM, and MR



Cons:

- Bond is too knowledgeable

My current 10 favorite:

1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK

293

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

When seeing TMWTGG in the cinema in 1974, I appreciated how John Barry brought his distinctive 'Bond sound' to the movie. Incredible though it may seem, I remember complaining the year before at the age of *nine* - to friends in the school playground - that the music in the George Martin-scored LALD hadn't sounded 'the same' (as in the Barry-scored DAF, or as in GF and TB which I'd recently seen in double bills in the cinema with DN). I was already a John Barry fan and could tell the difference between his work and George Martin's (or Monty Norman's). So in TMWTGG it wasn't just Bond who was back; it was Barry, too!

Today I recognise that the main title song of TMWTGG is rather confused (as though Barry must have thought that it was somehow necessary after LALD to introduce a jarring funk-rock guitar to the mix) and that the relatively rushed composition of the incidental score does occasionally wane; but I do love the romantic instrumental of the main theme, with its soaring strings, the section of Thai stylings in 'Hip's Trip', the wistful piano closing Andrea's theme, and the rag-time riff that's included on the soundtrack album in full. As someone mentioned previously in this thread, the TMWTGG score is significant, too, for introducing the symphonic arrangement of The James Bond Theme, to which Barry returned in all of his remaining Bond films. Also, 'Scaramanga's Fun House' stands out, not just as a suspenseful, eerie Bond piece but possibly as a taste of what it might have been like had Barry scored for Christopher Lee as Dracula himself in Hammer horror...

As a young boy, it was a big deal to see Christopher Lee in the cinema playing a villain almost as spooky as Dracula. Lee's Dracula was himself an X-rated taboo for a boy of my age, and all the more beguiling for that; I recall having been scared and thrilled a couple of years earlier by a billboard poster for 'Scars Of Dracula', a trailer for 'Scars' that I'd seen in the cinema, and a creepy clip from the same movie broadcast on children's magazine programme 'Magpie' (because its presenter Jenny Hanley had starred in 'Scars', enjoying a leading part after her minor role in OHMSS). So seeing Christopher Lee play a Dracula type of villain in a Bond movie was about the best thing imaginable to me.

By the time TMWTGG hit the cinema, Christopher Lee had finally wound up his stint as Hammer's Dracula - only just - but it's interesting to note how his road to Bond had been prepared in his last outings as the suave Count. There are certain parallels between scenes in 1973's 'The Satanic Rites of Dracula' and 1971's DAF (i.e. Bond confronting a Blofeld who is posing as Willard Whyte in The Whyte House / Van Helsing confronting a Dracula who is posing as the reclusive  D. D. Denham in his tower-block office), and it's certainly possible to pick out Mike Vickers' use of Barry-esque 'Bond sound' elements in his incidental score for moments of jeopardy in 'Dracula AD 1972'. (See: https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/52169/jo … e-vickers/ ) Stepping down as the suave Dracula in the early seventies, Christopher Lee had been as much a Bond-villain-in-waiting as he'd ever been.

I do have a problem with how the character of Nick Nack is represented in TMWTGG. The way in which Herve Villechaize's midget identity is 'othered' as comic / weird in the film is insensitive; how he's costumed like a mini Oddjob, and how Barry's smoothly vaudeville score for his skirmish with Bond aboard Scaramanga's junk in the coda references the circus freak shows of a previous age. Sad to say, Nick Nack's representation belongs in the same tradition as Tod Browning's 'Freaks' (1932). One wonders how repeated casting as characters of this type might have affected Herve Villechaize's mental health over time or that of other actors with dwarfism. Add to this J. W. Pepper's racist jibes at the expense of Thais, and TMWTGG starts to feel as 'wrong' as some of the worst British situation comedies of the time, making comic capital out of ethnic difference. Phuyuck!?

Possibly because it mesmerised me at the age of ten, in 1974, I have an abiding fondness for TMWTGG despite its issues and limitations. I saw it on the big screen again in a faded original print at London's BFI Southbank a few years ago, and I look forward to enjoying it later this year when it's screened at The Prince Charles Cinema, hopefully in a restored version. For some reason that I can't remember, my mother wouldn't let me go and see it for a second time in a double bill with LALD, in 1975 or 1976 (I think I may have been 'grounded' at the time!): I keep promising myself that particular 'double bill' on bluray discs at home and will probably treat myself to it soon!

Last edited by Shady Tree (13th Jan 2020 21:57)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I feel like we have a case of presentism here. TMWTGG is delightfully dated and "wrong" by today's standards. It's so obvious, there's no point sitting in your own living being all offended by it.   

Seeing Roger slap Maud around or push that little kid in the river is so against the grain of his Bond, it puts a sadistic grin on my face.
I love it! (Full knowing it's wrong)

My current 10 favorite:

1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK

295

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Firemass wrote:

I feel like we have a case of presentism here. TMWTGG is delightfully dated and "wrong" by today's standards. It's so obvious, there's no point sitting in your own living being all offended by it.   

Seeing Roger slap Maud around or push that little kid in the river is so against the grain of his Bond, it puts a sadistic grin on my face.
I love it! (Full knowing it's wrong)

I enjoy Bond aesthetically but the 'wrongness' of aspects of representation in some of the films creates for me a sense of remoteness, a distance from the films, meaning that my original experience of uncritical immersive engagement is no longer available. If I belonged to one of the groups 'othered' by the content I probably would have been offended even then, let alone now.

Last edited by Shady Tree (31st May 2019 21:57)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

296

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I set myself up yesterday evening for that 'home entertainment' viewing of LALD back-to-back with TMWTGG that I'd promised myself, having missed the double bill screening in the cinema as a kid. So how do the films compare? LALD is the breezier of the two by far, with zippier action sequences, an entertaining range of henchmen and Roger Moore acting as Bond as well as he ever did.

By the way, LALD would also make for an interesting double bill with LTK. Both films deal with drugs crime, and both use the 'same' Leiter (David Hedison) but in very different ways: Hedison's Leiter shares scenes with J W Pepper and Franz Sanchez, two characters who couldn't be further apart in terms of the style and tone of Bond films they represent.

Meanwhile, LALD and TMWTGG do sit closely next to each other as neighbouring Bonds, with some fine detail of similarity (such as the farcical business of hiding Miss Caruso and Mary Goodnight in bedroom cupboards) to more substantial similarities of strategy (appropriating popular contemporary cinema genres to the Bond formula: blaxploitation and kung fu, respectively.  Both trends reflected cultural aspects of identity politics in ways which weren't as true, later on, of the 'Star Wars' vogue assimilated to MR. For example, fly sub-villain Adam of LALD and martial artist Chula of TMWTGG each appears interestingly identity-conscious, proudly performing his masculinity/ethnicity against Moore's "honky"/farang Bond. The gag in TMWTGG in which Bond abuses martial arts protocol by felling opponent Flashman during his ceremonial bow is sort of re-played by Tarantino - controversially - in 2019's 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' when Brad Pitt's Cliff pooh-poohs the proud martial artistry of Mike Moh's Bruce Lee by telling him he's no more than a dancer and slamming him against Zoe Bell's car. Cliff's insult recalls Scaramanga's sarcastic question for Hai Fat: is it *ballet* they teach, at that martial arts school of his?)

Regarding the casting of Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, I commented, before, on parallels between early 70s Bond and scenes in latter day Hammer Dracula. I'd forgotten to mention that in 'The Satanic Rites of Dracula' (1973) Lee gets some very 'Bond villain' lines. Posing as a wealthy industrialist, the Count tells his nemesis Van Helsing, in a thick, 'foreign' accent (sounding like DAF's Professor Doctor Metz) that "I've been expecting you" (a line which was already becoming a cliche in Bond) and, "You are an interfering man, Professor..."  In turn, Lee's Dracula clearly bleeds into Scaramanga's persona. When questioning the duplicitous Andrea following her secret assignation with Bond, Scaramanga lies impassively on his bed as Dracula lies in his coffin, eyes closed and hands clasped over his chest, sinister in his awareness of the moves his foes are making against him, his dark brown pyjamas replacing Dracula's cape.

Last edited by Shady Tree (1st Jan 2020 10:11)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I enjoy Shady Tree's posts on this film, and of course the whole 'professor pretending to work for Dracula but actually looking to expose him' plot seems to be the basis for Bond as Sir Hilary Bray in Fleming's OHMSS. The film didn't quite exploit this Hammer horror vibe, as it is remarkably un-eerie and Blofeld is played by an American.
Both TSWLM and MR has its horror tropes, however.

As for Golden Gun, it's not one of my faves and imo was generally the worst until others like NSNA came along.
For all that, I can see where S Tree is coming from. Because if you were a kid in the early 1970s, this would have been a great movie. I mean, what other films came out that year? That you would actually enjoy.
Just to see a big widescreen Bond film in glorious colour would have been three steps up from a miserable Sat eve viewing in front of a 21-in black and white telly.
Plus, it wouldn't have been homework, that makes it even better. Homework, which might some days fly by if you were on top of your game, would also represent an hour plus of humiliating futility.
Instead, you get two hours or more including ads and trailers and supporting feature in a dark cinema with an ice cream!
Moore looking still young, and if you were old enough to appreciate it, the erotic delights of Chew-Me and Maud Adams in the shower.
Again, all in lush and sumptuous colour!

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

Thanks, Napoleon Plural. Having just seen TMWTGG again on the big screen in London's Prince Charles Cinema, I have a few other observations to make. One point worth considering is that, like LALD, TMWTGG was filmed in a smaller aspect ratio than several of the Bond films that came before, and all the ones since. While this doesn't detract much from the cinema magic (and subsequently helped pan-and-scan for the small screen), it does represent a sort of down-scaling from previous standards of Bondian spectacle.

Bernard Lee has a little more to do as M in TMWTGG than had been typical, but he looks rather ashen and even slightly shaky at times. I'm not sure whether this reflects the irascibility of the character, which is more marked than usual, or ill health on the part of the actor. Moore's Bond seems occasionally to get quite cross himself, exasperated with the limitations of his liaison/ back-up team (Hip's ineptitude as well as Goodnight's).

During the escape from Hai Fat's martial arts school, Hip's failure to wait till Bond has had a chance to get in the car alongside his nieces before he drives away is often mentioned by critics as a groan-inducing example of implausibility. In effect, Bond's wing man has just left him in the lurch. Earlier, in the briefing on the shipwreck, Bond seems genuinely annoyed with Hip for not having shared with him till that point that they're on the same side. (By comparison, Connery's Bond is far more cordial with Aki in YOLT when he realises, after she's lured him to Tanaka's base, that they're indeed on the same team.) The 'reveal' in TMWTGG that it's M who's stationed aboard the shipwreck, rather than a new significant character like Tanaka, is disappointing and anti-climactic, from a dramatic point of view, as this is now the second briefing we're going to get from an irritable M, within a short space of time, making it feel as if TMWTGG is having difficulties getting properly started.

During dinner with Bond, Mary Goodnight briefly looks as if she might transcend type, proving herself more than simply the latest "Bond bird" (as the tabloid press used to dub 007's leading ladies). She rejects Bond's clumsy come-on, telling him that she refuses to be just another of his "passing fancies". Her relatively emancipated rebuttal here seems celebrated by background clapping (provided by other diners, actually in appreciation of dancers at the restaurant but timed as if to applaud Goodnight's self-respecting stance). It therefore seems particularly undermining of any notion of female autonomy when, moments later, Goodnight is seen in Bond's room wearing a seductive nightie, confessing that she's too "weak" to keep up her "hard-to-get act".

After Bond's encounter with Scaramanga in the Muay Thai stadium, Hip's blunder in losing both Goodnight and the Solex Agitator makes Bond cross with him; Hip looks silly, flailing around in his peanut vendor's cap. To add insult to injury, Hip is supplanted as 007's assistant for the ensuing chase by a comic grotesque with Bond-film pedigree, the "deputised" JW Pepper. Hip has no further contribution to make, perhaps the least effective of any of Bond's allies. In DAF, Connery's Bond was much more sanguine with Leiter  when the CIA lost track of Tiffany Case and the diamonds: "Felix, don't tell me you've lost her!"

Goodnight, meanwhile, is presented as little more than an attractive ditz, despite her best efforts. After she "lays out cold" Scaramanga's security man by knocking him into the liquid helium, inducing "prompt criticality", Bond is annoyed with her: "Don't you believe in signs?" Is it too much to read a subtext into this line, connecting it with a sexist trope of the 70s about incompetent women drivers unable to make sense of road traffic signs?

Goodnight is highly decorative but absolutely clueless. During the climactic action scene aboard the oil rig in DAF, Connery's Bond became comically exasperated with Tiffany when she mishandled a machine gun ("Shoot 'em!") and fell into the sea, but in TMWTGG the comedy of Goodnight's corresponding ditziness around the solar control panel, when Moore's Bond is in danger of being lasered, is offset by a genuine flare-up of temper on Bond's part as he yells at her to press every damn button on the console to try and override the laser. Moore's Bond was never again as riled as this. By contrast, in a similar situation in LTK, when Dalton's Bond shouts at Pam Bouvier to "Turn the bloody machine off!" his respect for the professionalism of his woman companion isn't (by that stage) fundamentally in question: but in that case we've moved forward to the late 80s!

True, TMWTGG lacks a big battle sequence of the sort which gives other Bond films memorable climaxes (e.g. TB, YOLT, OHMSS, TSWLM and MR) but, in the final act, the film is definitely lifted by the pleasure and enthusiasm with which Scaramanga welcomes Bond to his island and shows him around: the dramatic focus shifts to Lee's and Moore's interactions. If plot exposition about the villain's purpose and oil rig location as written by Tom Mankiewicz for the final act of DAF was rather dreary in performance, Mankiewicz's equivalent screenplay here is realised with considerably more gusto as Scaramanga boasts of his island facility and reveals all, amusingly deferring to Bond's superior technological knowledge along the way. The barbed dialogue between Scaramanga and Bond over lunch is a highlight of the film. Lee is clearly having a great time and, to a large extent, he takes the audience with him.

The final funhouse sequence mirrors the pre-credits sequence rather too closely, but the clever twist in the tale, with Bond besting Scaramanga by impersonating his own mannequin, was quite thrilling in 1974; certainly fans of Hammer Dracula always appreciated a quirky Christopher Lee death scene. Subsequent familiarity with the film denudes the effect of this twist, and admittedly the lack of action sequencing is lazy and disappointing in failing to suggest how Bond manages to get into a position to replace the mannequin from the tight spot he was in atop the scaffolding having accidentally alerted Scaramanga by dropping his gun.

It's worth remembering that, back in the seventies, ghost trains with simple mechanical tricks, lurid, looping lighting, animated waxworks displays and halls of mirrors were stock-in-trade at seaside fun fairs, spooking and confounding kids with their inventiveness: these elements in Scaramanga's funhouse were pleasurably relatable. Kung Fu fans might also have recalled the hall-of-mirrors setting for the climactic face-off in 'Enter The Dragon'.

It struck me when viewing TMWTGG again in the PCC this week that although the background theme of the energy crisis in the 1970s, giving the film its original topicality, is now a matter of history, the whole question of energy sourcing (solar power over fossil fuels) has new urgency today as we face a climate emergency. The film gains a curiously new form of currency when Bond remarks that those with vested interests in oil might pay Scaramanga to keep solar power off the market: "The thought had occurred to me," Scaramanga replies.

Last edited by Shady Tree (1st Jan 2020 16:49)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

PDJamesBond wrote:

To me, the penny whistle playing over the car flip perfectly sums up the movie - it borders on awesome but constantly defeats itself with silliness.

In defence of John Barry's oft-derided use of the penny whistle, it matches JW's blatantly comic yelping during the reaction shot in the interior of the car immediately after the corkscrew stunt. No other musical effect against the car flip would have worked as well, coming directly before JW's OTT yelping. (Nor, arguably, would a choice for no music at all have worked as well, adjacent to this reaction by JW).

Similarly, in the scene aboard Scaramanga's junk when Nick Nack is spotted by Goodnight with a knife in his mouth, about to dive onto the bed from a hatch in the roof, John Barry ends his romantic musical piece on a high, sustained note, pitched to segue into Goodnight's shrill scream: Barry is 'problem solving' again, this time around Goodnight's comic reaction, and bravely trying to work with the movie's offbeat tone.

Last edited by Shady Tree (10th Feb 2020 19:20)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

300

Re: Pros and Cons: The Man with the Golden Gun

I love THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Sure it's not perfect but there's enough good in it to give me a warm glow. In fact I feel this way about all the '70s Bonds. Others are better in many ways but these are MY Bonds. They speak to me in a way the others don't. It's an age thing.