Imagination Connoisseur, Noel Ryan, provides a detailed look at the 007 classic, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, starring Roger Moore as James Bond.
(edited for clarity)
Hello Rob and Imagination Connoisseurs!
Today, everything needs to be a Film franchise or a ‘’Universe’’. Some films in a franchise are considered great and some are seen to be lacking or weaker entries. Now, I agree that some films in franchises are poor or just not as good as some of the others however this is not always the case.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN was the ninth ‘’official’’ James bond film and the second to star Roger Moore. For the James Bond franchise, this was a turning point as it marked the last Bond film that Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman would co produce together
(Saltzman contribution often gets overlooked in my opinion).
Now, I am not going to be blind to the errors of the film as it feels a little uninspired compared to some of the previous entries and instead of innovating it jumps on the trent of the time as can be seen in the Hong Kong kung fu influence. Britt Ekland’s Mary Goodnight is a contender for “worst bond girl ever” and overall, there was just to much comedy in the script.
What annoys me a little is that people forget the great things about this film.
First off Roger Moore is a great James Bond and his performance in the film is wonderful. There is a lot of debate about who is the best portrayal of James Bond – and I can reveal now the answer is … Sean Connery.
Connery is James Bond, everyone who comes after him is doing their best, however Connery owns the role ( I’m sure the actors will disagree).
What Moore doesn’t get enough credit for is how he made the role his own. I would agree that it wasn’t until THE SPY WHO LOVED ME that he really came into his own, but Moore was really fantastic in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.
I have heard the argument that Moore feels out of place when he does things like slaps Maud Adams or kicks the car off the clif (in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY), however I have no issue with this as he is James Bond, a trained assassin and this is what he would do.
I could go on about all the great moments of Moore in the film but to keep this letter shorter, the example I will give is the scene where he visits Lazar the gunsmith and threatens to shoot him with the off balanced gun. Moore is so suave and cool in the scene but slowly turns to threatening.
Every James Bond film needs a great villain and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN happens to have the best James Bond villain, ever.
Francisco Scaramanga is played masterfully by the late great Christopher Lee and like all great villains, he is the mirror image of the hero. Scaramanga is Bond’s equal – a match in every way: whether it’s in his skill as a marksman or his impeccable taste for the finer things in life.
Also like many Bond villains, Scaramanga has a some kind of disfigurement or scar – and Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga has the greatest: a ‘superfluous papilla’ or third nipple. (Did I mention he owns his own island? Who wouldn’t want to be stranded there as its just so stunning?)
But where would Scaramanga be without the coolest movie gadget in any film: his golden gun. The golden gun made for the film is simply genius. Separately, it’s quite simple -a fountain pen, cigarette lighter, cigarette case and cufflink. But when assembled, those pieces form the magnificent and deadly golden gun. If there is one movie prop or replica I could own, it would be the Golden Gun (and, yes, they did make replicas of the gun that comes in all the separate pieces).
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN also contains one of the greatest stunts in any James Bond film. The scene where James Bond leaps over a broken bridge and spins 360 degrees in mid-air is so awesome.
Yes the scene would be better without the sound effect but still is amazing to watch.
Ok, I should come clean, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN was my first James Bond film I watched as a child. I remember it used to be on the TV here in the UK and it has a special place I’m my heart. Maybe that’s the reason I’m not as tough on the film as I should be.
And yes, so far I haven’t mentioned the words “Nick Nack” nor have I mentioned Sheriff J.W. Pepper.
Please go give THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN another watch and remember when your watching it, things could be worse, you could be watching THUNDERBALL (now that was a boring film).