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The Man with the Golden Gun

April 4, 2013

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Actors: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland

christopher-lee.jpg (320×198)

Synopsis: James Bond (Roger Moore) seems to be next on the list of famed hitman, Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). Armed with this information, Bond plans to intercept Scaramanga in South East Asia….

Review: This is one of the real Bond curios and arguably the most passable Roger Moore entrant to the entire series. There is still a huge amount of Moore-era naffness to contend with though – the awful puns, some lame and cheesy action sequences, and the return of Sheriff J.W. Pepper – but there are a lot of eccentric elements to The Man with the Golden Gun that are actually rather endearing.

The “hall of mirrors” shootout scenes in Scaramanga’s lair are imaginative and atmospheric, and the villain/henchman double-act of Scaramanga and his midget assistant, Nick Nack, is ingenious. What I like about Scaramanga – apart from the obvious fact that Christopher Lee is a great actor who doesn’t ham up his character’s malevolent tendencies – is that he’s quite an urbane gent and not hugely fussed about topping Bond. The plot actually has a couple of nice macguffins (spoiler alert) as not only is Scaramanga not immediately interested in assassinating Bond, but the energy instrument that Bond initially searches for fades from significance, and through accident as much as anything more determinate, these elements return to the fore in the narrative climax.

Sadly, The Man with the Golden Gun features perhaps the worst Bond girl ever, Britt Ekland’s ‘comically’ named Mary Goodnight, and Roger Moore continues to prove why I consider him to be the weakest incarnation of Bond. Where the likes of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig exude a certain type of rugged masculinity, Moore seems almost pathetic in comparison, with his thin, plummy voice. Worst of all, his interaction with women, rather than seeming convincingly sexy, transmits as more than a tad slimy and pervy, particularly in a scene where he beds both Goodnight and Andrea Anders while they are in the same hotel room. (April 2013)

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