Why stir when you can shake? Test your Bond knowledge and revisit "Goldfinger" as we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the film's U.S. release.
Although the release of "Goldfinger" coincided with Beatlemania, James Bond is not a fan. Drinking Dom Perignon '53 above 38 degrees, he tells Bond Girl Jill Masterson, is "as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs." The Fab Four didn't hold a grudge, however. Paul McCartney created the title song for "Live and Let Die" (1973), and Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach, a Bond Girl in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977).
James Bond's creator initially opposed the casting of Sean Connery, a working-class Scotsman, as 007. According to the recent biography "Ian Fleming," the author favored David Niven or Roger Moore for the role — and both played Bond in later movies. (Niven led an all-star cast in the 1967 spoof "Casino Royale," which included Woody Allen as 007's nephew Jimmy.)
Ian Fleming named arch villain Auric Goldfinger after his neighbor Erno Goldfinger, an architect whose aesthetic he couldn't stand. The real Goldfinger promptly threatened to sue. Under pressure from his publisher, Fleming offered to change the name of the character and the title of his novel to "Goldprick." In the end, his publisher covered Erno Goldfinger's legal expenses and gave him six copies of the book.
Nadja Regin played Bonita, the soapy double agent who steps out of the bathtub to kiss James Bond in an attempt to set him up (which fails when Bond sees the reflection of an attacker in her eye). In 1980, the Serbian actress co-founded Honeyglen Publishing Ltd., a small London-based book publisher devoted to philosophy, history and literary fiction.
Shirley Bassey, whose biggest single was the title song from "Goldfinger," was once romantically involved with John Barry, the composer of scores for a dozen James Bond movies. Barry played the instrumental track for her before the lyrics were written. Bassey said the music gave her "goose pimples."
Bond's customized Aston Martin DB-5 is what car porn looked like in 1964. Equipped with a radarscope, revolving license plates, pop-out machine guns and tire-shredding hubcaps (inspired by one of the chariots in "Ben Hur"), it became the movie's most talked-about prop. The bulletproof vehicle also had a slew of defensive devices, from an oil-slick sprayer to a passenger ejector seat.
Shirley Eaton played Jill Masterson, who dies from "epidermal suffocation" after being painted in gold. According to the Daily Mail, it took makeup artist Paul Rabafer an hour and a half to apply the paint. As Eaton later recalled, "He was as impersonal about gilding me as if he was painting a ham."
Although "death by paint" is a Fleming invention, the makeup artist left a section of Shirley Eaton's abdomen unpainted just to be safe. Even so, a rumor that Eaton died during the filming of "Goldfinger" grew into an urban legend. In fact, she quit acting in 1969 to focus on raising her children. Eaton's autobiography "Golden Girl" was published in 1999.
Tania Mallet, a well-known model, was offered just 50 pounds (less than $100) a week to play Tilly Masterson. It's a substantial part: To avenge the death of her sister, Tilly tries to shoot Goldfinger with a hunting rifle and gets in a wild car chase before Goldfinger's henchman Oddjob kills her. For this, Mallet negotiated a weekly paycheck of 150 pounds, a fraction of what she earned as a model.
Oddjob's lethal hat was a classic bowler with a chakram — a traditional Indian throwing weapon — in its brim. Made by Lock & Co. Hatters, a London-based company founded in 1676, it was put up for auction at Christie's in 1998. The hat sold for more than $100,000.
Orson Welles was an early choice to play Auric Goldfinger, but the film's producers decided they couldn't afford him.
"Goldfinger" was banned in Israel after Gert Fröbe, the German actor who played the title character, admitted he had belonged to the Nazi Party. In fact, he'd joined the party at age 16 and quit in 1937, after which he hid Jews from the Gestapo. The ban was lifted when one of them, Mario Blumenau, gave the Israeli embassy in Vienna an affidavit asserting that Fröbe had saved his and his mother's life.
The sound of the Lincoln Continental in the car compactor is actually a recording of beer cans being crushed.
In the novel, Pussy Galore leads a gang of lesbian trapeze performers turned cat burglars. In the movie she's played by Honor Blackman, previously of "The Avengers" and, at 39, the oldest Bond Girl (though there are unconfirmed reports that Penelope Cruz, 40, will costar in the next 007 movie). James Bond's response when Miss Galore tells him her full name: "I must be dreaming."
Margaret Nolan, who appeared with the Beatles in "A Hard Days Night," was the golden girl in the credits but lost the part of Jill Masterson to Shirley Eaton. She got a much smaller role instead: Dink, a blonde who gives Bond a massage in a brief scene by the pool at Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel.
In 1964, Fort Knox housed some $15 billion in gold bullion. Since Goldfinger's diabolical plan — code named Operation Grand Slam — involves detonating a nuclear bomb inside Fort Knox, the movie's production crew asked permission to shoot there. They got the go-ahead to film on the army base but not in the gold repository, which was then recreated at Pinewood Studios in England.
The crew also received permission to shoot Pussy Galore's Flying Circus at Fort Knox, provided that the planes flew higher than 3,000 feet. When this proved unworkable, the planes were filmed flying at roughly 500 feet. As director Guy Hamilton told the British film magazine Empire, "The military went absolutely ape."
This is how many seconds are left on the clock when the bomb inside Fort Knox is deactivated. But the visual gag was added after the scene was shot. Originally the clock was supposed to stop at 00:03 — and that explains Sean Connery's incongruous line: "Three more ticks and Mr. Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot."
Fans of "Goldfinger" include two legendary directors: Federico Fellini, who showed up at the premiere of the movie in Rome ("This is one of those films that make cinema move forward," he said), and Steven Spielberg, who later bought an Aston Martin ("The only reason why I have it is because of James Bond").
"Goldfinger" was listed in the "Guiness Book of World Records" as the fastest-grossing movie ever, but Ian Fleming — seen here with Sean Connery — never got to see the finished film or its success. He died on August 12, 1964, a month and five days before its London premiere.
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