Sean Connery’s third outing as James Bond, 1964’s Goldfinger, saw him foil a gold magnate’s plot to radiate the Fort Knox reserve with a nuclear bomb. Alive with action and gadgets, the film entered the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest grossing film of all time.
Here are 11 things you didn’t know about the film…
1) Connery wore a toupee for the first time
Sean Connery had started to lose his hair when he was just 21, so by the time filming commenced on Goldfinger, Connery’s fair was pretty thin up top. Therefore, he started to wear a toupee, and this carried on throughout the remaining Bond films that Connery appeared in.
2) Orson Welles was considered for the role of Auric Goldfinger
For the part of the titular villain Auric Goldfinger, the producers were highly interested in casting iconic actor and director Orson Welles. However, he was much too expensive, and the role went to Gert Frobe. Once Frobe had landed the part, he started to demand a higher pay. In the end, what the producers were paying Frobe wasn’t far off what Welles had wanted to play the role.
3) The famous laser was almost a buzzsaw
One of the most iconic James Bond moments of all time occurs in Goldfinger, where 007 is strapped to a table, and Goldfinger’s laser slowly cuts up between his legs. In the novel, it’s actually a buzzsaw that inches towards Bond’s crotch! The producers changed it for the film because buzzsaws had been done countless times before, whereas lasers were a rarity in movies.
4) The 3D map is displayed in Fort Knox
When Goldfinger is explaining Operation Grand Slam to his associates, he uses a large 3D model of the facility, which is mapped out on the floor. But after filming wrapped up, what happened to that detailed, and highly accurate model map? Well, it found a fitting home, and is on display in Fort Knox itself, where it is a permanent exhibit.
5) Goldfinger’s voice was dubbed over
As expensive as he was, Gert Frobe couldn’t actually speak much English, and when the producers came to look at the finished cuts, they realised that it wasn’t very easy to understand what Auric Goldfinger was saying. Enter Michael Collins; an English actor who was brought in to dub all of Frobe’s lines; quite seamlessly!
6) Michael Caine heard the Goldfinger score before anyone else
John Barry is the treasured composer behind many of the James Bond scores. He actually had a house guest at the time of composing the score for Goldfinger; none other than Sir Michael Caine.
Having been kicked out of his former flat, Caine approached his friend John Barry, and asked if he could stay there for a few nights. Barry agreed and, one morning, he performed the score he’d just completed for Goldfinger to Caine, and asked him what he thought.
7) The Avengers and Fort Knox
Before starring in Goldfinger as iconic Bond girl Pussy Galore, Honor Blackman was a regular on hit British TV show The Avengers, which also focused around British Intelligence. When the role came up in the new 007 picture, Blackman quit her part as Catherine Gale on The Avengers. Years later, the series paid tribute to this, by featuring a postcard from the character. It was sent from Fort Knox.
8) Connery didn’t take off his wedding ring
Out of respect to his marriage to actress Diane Cilento, Connery didn’t want to take off his wedding ring during the production. Of course, Bond doesn’t marry until 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and so the ring would have looked a little out of place.
9) Goldfinger wears yellow or gold throughout the film
Whether it’s the yellow number whilst he’s playing cards, his mustard golf cardigan, the golden lapels on his dinner jacket, or the checkered waistcoat he wears whilst explaining Operation Grand Slam, Auric Goldfinger sports a yellow or golden accessory in each scene throughout the film. Towards the end, when he’s dressed in military attire, he’s holding a golden gun (years before Scaramanga).
10) There’s a reason Oddjob can’t speak
Oddjob – who is up there with Jaws in the list of legendary Bond henchmen – doesn’t have any dialect in the film. Instead, he utters, ‘ah-ah’ and grunts. Although the reason for Oddjob’s lack of speech is absent in the film, Ian Fleming’s novel does explain the muteness; the henchman has a cleft palette.
11) Shirley Bassey nearly fainted whilst singing the opening theme
To make sure the theme song was perfectly in time with the opening sequence of the film, Shirley Bassey sang the recorded version whilst watching the sequence on a screen. She hit the high note too soon, however, and had to hold it whilst the opening sequence continued. It went on for so long, in fact, that the singer almost blacked out. Bassey went on to record the theme songs for Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker.
There you have it – 11 things you might not have known about Goldfinger!
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