'The Man With The Golden Gun' revisited

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With 'Quantum of Solace' due to hit our screens soon, we take a daily look back at the 21 official Bond films. Day 9: ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974, Guy Hamilton)

Villain: Francisco ScaramangaAt stake: Bond’s life!Candy: Britt Ekland as Mary GoodnightGizmo: Fake nippleTheme Song: ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ by LuluQuote: 'You’ll be the death of me yet, Nick Nack!'Moore’s back for his second outing in this lazy, rather lacklustre jaunt that’s remembered by many for nothing other than a single eye-popping stunt and Christopher Lee’s third nipple.Lee plays the world’s deadliest hired gun, Francisco Scaramanga. Charging a cool million per hit, he’s already made his pile, but when the contract on Bond’s life comes his way he sees an opportunity to paint his masterpiece.

It’s a neat idea, but one that is wholly scuppered by a weak and tired script that fails dismally in its lofty ‘Carry On…’ aspirations and in an over-reliance on ambling travelogue. Lee brings some gravity to the tense finale, but Moore ably undercuts the drama by indulging his much-beloved schoolboy humour to a wearying degree.

The few set-pieces are fairly spectacular but are so clumsily shoe-horned into the ongoing plot that the film starts to resemble one of those ‘World’s Greatest Stunts’ programmes that ITV trot out on torpid Bank Holiday teatimes. The most memorable of these involves Bond flipping his car through 360 degrees whilst jumping it across a river. It remains one of the most astonishing practical stunts in the movies, but it’s couched in no kind of narrative wit and stands out from the action rather than adding to it.

The one unalloyed treat is Hervé Villechaize as Scaramanga’s diminutive butler-cum-attack dog Nick Nack: creepier than Goldfinger’s Oddjob and possessed of a fulsome charm that shames ‘Live and Let Die’s Baron Samedi, the little man is the film’s high point.

James Bond will return in… ‘The Spy Who Loved Me

Read our original review of 'The Man With The Golden Gun'

Author: Adam Lee Davies



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