**Excellent Bond film.** Superior Bond film with Christopher Lee as an assassin who sets his sights on Sir Roger Moore. Big mistake! A fast moving entry from Guy Hamilton that has lovely locations, incredible stunts - (The car flip has yet to be bettered) sexy ladies, a great theme tune, the return of the hilarious Sheriff J W Pepper and of course the legendary Sir Roger Moore as James Bond. If only the bland 2006 reboot were as entertaining.
“The plane, the plane” Agent 007 (Roger Moore) learns that he’s on the hit list of the world's most expensive assassin, Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). Traveling from Beirut to Macau, China, to Bangkok, Thailand, he aims to confront the assassin while recovering sensitive solar cell equipment. Hervé Villechaize is on hand as Scaramanga’s little assistant, Nick Nack. “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974) was Moore’s second outing as Bond. He did 7 films for the franchise in 13 years from 1973-1985. Moore’s stint is my favorite run in the series with all seven films being kinetic, amusing, scenic and just all-around entertaining. There’s not one clunker in the bunch and they were all profitable at the box office, but this one kinda got lost between the cracks of “Live and Let Die” (1973) and “The Spy who Loved Me” (1977). Director Guy Hamilton made three prior Bond films, “Live and Let Die,” “Diamonds are Forever” (1971) and “Goldfinger” (1964), and wanted 007 to be more rough around the edges in this movie, like he is in Ian Fleming’s book. As such, Moore's acting seems more "tough” here than his other Bond entrees; for instance, the way he treats Andrea (Maud Adams) in the arm twisting scene. But Moore didn't like playing the character this way and toned it down for the rest of his installments. There’s picturesque Asian globetrotting, with the Thailand islands being particularly scenic (standing in for “Red Chinese waters”). On the female front, there’s Agent Mary Goodnight played by Britt Ekland, who looks great in a floral bikini during the last reel. There’s also the aforementioned Adams as Andrea and a cameo by Chew Mee. Memorable moments include an entertaining martial arts academy sequence; the amusing return of redneck Sheriff JW Pepper (Clifton James), who’s vacationing in Bangkok with his wife; a great car-jumping stunt; and Scaramanga’s secret solar power plant operation. The film runs 2 hours, 5 minutes and was shot in Thailand (Phang Nga Bay and Bangkok) and Hong Kong/ Macau, with additional work done in England. GRADE: B
You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don't you admit it? The Man with the Golden Gun is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz from the Ian Fleming novel. It stars Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Herve Villechaize, Soon-Taik-Oh, Richard Loo and Clifton James. Music is scored by John Barry and cinematography by Ted Moore & Oswald Morris. Bond 9 and 007 is distracted from his pursuit of the Solex Agitator when it appears he has been targeted for death by famous assassin Francisco Scaramanga. This would be the last Bond movie to be produced by the partnership of Broccoli and Saltzman, the latter of which was the one to leave. Perhaps they fought about what direction Moore's Bond should be taking? Because The Man with the Golden Gun is not a fitting film for them to part on, their fall out most likely impacting on why this is a pretty unadventurous entry in the James Bond franchise. The film plays more as a slapstick comedy than an action adventure. The script is uninspired, with the characters of Mary Goodnight (Ekland) and Sheriff Pepper (James) reaching new lows for Bond allies, while some of the situations that arise are just bizarre and lazy. The latter statement of which applies big time to the weak finale. However, even average Bond films have value somewhere in the mix. Here there's some grit in Moore's performance and Lee's Scaramanga is one of the series' most interesting villains. Maud Adams is given a good character to work from, her Andrea Anders is intriguing and very much a live wire in the plot, it's a good performance that would see Adams rewarded with the lead lady role in Octopussy (1983). Villechaize's Nick Nack, Scaramanga's right hand man/helper is a unique villain, though this is spoilt somewhat by a daft final confrontation with Bond. There's a brilliant car stunt performed by Bumps Willard, done in one take, it alone deserved to be in a better film. Elsewhere. Barry is back on musical score duties, providing an Oriental tinted arrangement. Sadly Lulu's title theme song is instantly forgettable and lyrically feels like it was written in 5 minutes. Locations are sumptuous, with Macau, Hong Kong and Thailand put to great use by the team, and the gadgetry is kept to minimum which allows us to enjoy the one or two inventive modes of transport used within the piece. The box office was $98 million, a considerable take for sure but still some $63 million down on the previous Bond adventure. With critics and fans considering the film a let down, questions were again raised as to if Bond was loosing his appeal? With Saltzman, Hamilton and Mankiewicz bowing out of the franchise, would there be a turnaround in Bond's fortunes? Would Moore finally get a script and film to test him? 6.5/10
Sometimes a film is more than just what you see on the screen. I will always recall this fondly as it was the first film I ever saw in a cinema that wasn't a cartoon - and I really enjoyed it. This time "007" receives a rather intriguing golden bullet through the post. After some detective work he concludes that he is a target of he eponymous character - "Scaramanger" (Christopher Lee) who charges $1m per hit. Why, though? Off to Hong Kong he goes, and soon his own dangers are intertwined with a perilous search for a "solex" - a revolutionary gadget that can convert solar energy into electricity. Of course the ending is never in doubt, but Guy Hamilton makes the most of an on-form Roger Moore with plenty of action. There is also enough light-heartedness - not least the canal urchin with his teak elephant and "bloody tourist" and some engaging - if very of their time - interventions from Clifton James returning in his role as the imbecilic sheriff "J.W. Pepper". We have two "Bond" girls - Britt Ekland as the light and fluffy "Goodnight" with Maud Adams ("Miss Anders") the unloved and unhappy girlfriend of the gunman who tries to help "Bond" stay alive, and of course there is the legend that is "Nick Nack" (Hervé Villechaize) who at three foot tall, provides much of the menace and a fair degree of the humour throughout. The scenarios give the photography a chance to shine - beautiful Thai locations, some kick boxing and a fun river boat chase before an suitably pyrotechnic denouement. One of my favourite Bond films - well paced and with a strong baddie. Under-rated, I think - well worth a watch.
I write this with the understanding that I am not supposed to like it. It's one of the movies that, in serious Bond fandom, you aren't supposed to like. And, that is because, yeah, the script sort of really sucks... and I'm not going to defend it. They could have done a far better job. However, it's still a fun movie. It's Moore era silly Bond and one of the big reasons people don't like this is because the Moore Era silliness went a little bit too far didn't it? Think Pigeons. But, I laughed. I laughed up until the end when it started trying to be an actual 007 movie again instead of a spoof of a 007 movie... and that's where it lost me. It doesn't really deserve 10 stars, but I do 10 or 1 in a thumbs up watch it, or thumbs down don't watch it kind of vote with little in between. And it certainly doesn't deserve 1 star, because it is watchable and entertaining. Just realize that the people that hate it in the 007 fandom have good reason to hate it... and the people that don't, well, it's still a fun and entertaining movie to watch and one that you probably shouldn't skip in the franchise.
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