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Monday, November 12, 2012

Goldfinger

Release of Skyfall upon the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise reminds that sometime in 1965 -- probably on a Saturday afternoon -- my late friend Dan and I went to see a movie. At the time I didn't care much for movies because the ones I had seen were either sappy (Bambi) or scary (The Wizard of Oz). Also, like a lot of boys then and now, I was challenged to fix my attention onto anything for two entire hours. But we went anyway. It was the first movie that I saw without an adult.

To use a modern term, I was blown away by what I saw and heard: Goldfinger. It was exotic, it was exciting, and it was simply the coolest thing I had ever seen. Of course, as a ten year-old I didn't grasp all the innuendos, especially the subtle references to Pussy Galore's sexual preference. (The novel is much clearer that she was a lesbian character.) But even a boy whose testosterone levels are just beginning to rise can appreciate a shapely, naked, gold-painted female on a bed.

The messages went beyond sex, however. From the outset, the Bond franchise was forward-looking. Bond was global without losing his national identity; that's how the world is today. Bond was high-tech without losing interest in traditional pleasures; that's how the world is today. Fabulously wealthy people aren't satisfied with the money they have, so they cook up unfair or illegal schemes to increase their wealth. Only 15 years later, the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market: life imitating art.

I don't know how many times I've seen Goldfinger -- enough to have memorized the script. Happily I've realized a few elements of it. I played with lasers in university. I have a coin collection that includes some gold. I've driven in the Swiss mountains.

No Aston Martin DB5 or Dom PĂ©rignon '53 yet, but there's always next year.