Monday, August 29, 2016
The Man With The Golden Gun
Like LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN was directed by Guy Hamilton and written by Tom Mankiewicz, who shares credit with Bond veteran Richard Maibaum (GOLDFINGER). It looks cheap — unusual for a James Bond movie — the sets are uninviting, and most of the performances are abysmal. Sadly, what should have been the film’s most outstanding setpiece — Bond spinning an AMC Hornet lengthwise in midair — is ruined by a tasteless sound effect of a slide whistle — another indication nobody was taking this film seriously enough.
Bond (Roger Moore) opens the film minding his own business until Scaramanga’s calling card — a golden bullet — arrives at MI6 headquarters with “007” carved into it. Since nobody knows what Scaramanga looks like, Bond has his work cut out for him, but he manages to track the killer as far as Andrea Anders (Maud Adams), Scaramanga’s moll. That lead doesn’t pan out, and neither does Bond’s infiltration of the estate of Thai mobster Hai Fat (Richard Loo from all those 1940s WWII movies). At least it leads to Bond fighting a pair of sumo wrestlers (a fine idea) and then an entire karate school in an action scene inspired by the popular martial arts movies then glutting drive-ins.
In addition to Adams (later in OCTOPUSSY as a different character), Bond dallies with Britt Ekland (THE WICKER MAN) as Mary Goodnight, possibly MI6’s most inept agent. Somehow more embarrassing are FANTASY ISLAND star Herve Villechaize as a dwarf henchman ignominiously trapped in a suitcase and Clifton James, returning from LIVE AND LET DIE, as bigoted Louisiana sheriff J.W. Pepper, who is inexplicably shopping for an AMC automobile on his Bangkok vacation.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN was a major box office disappointment, grossing almost 40% less worldwide than LIVE AND LET DIE. This may have spurred producer Cubby Broccoli to up his game with the next feature, giving THE SPY WHO LOVED ME higher stakes, more scope, less comedy, and double the budget.