007 One by One – Goldfinger

Bullz-Eye continues its look back at every James Bond film, 007 One by One, as part of our James Bond Fan Hub that we’ve created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.

The third Bond film is more than one of the most enduringly popular movies in the series and the final template for James Bond movies from that point forward. In many respects, it actually set the pattern for actions films in general. It was also perhaps the first modern-day blockbuster in that it was intended as an event as well a movie — complete with mega-bucks generating merchandizing opportunities. Sadly, it’s also the first movie in the series that Bond’s 56 year-old creator, Ian Fleming, didn’t live to see completed. He could not have conceived of how insanely popular his creation would become within months of his passing.

“Goldfinger” (1963)

The Plot

007 locks deadly horns with a mysterious millionaire known for cheating at gin rummy, golf, and the exportation of gold. That naturally turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg as James Bond discovers a diabolical plan aimed at destroying the economy of the free world and making portly Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) the world’s richest man. The aptly named, gold-obsessed supervillain’s target is, of course, Fort Knox.

The Backstory

With the back-to-back success of “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love,” the money conscious EON producing team of Harry Saltzman and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli were ready to spend what was actually pretty big money in early 1960′s movie production terms — $3 million! (The 2008 Bond entry, “Quantum of Solace,” had a reported production budget of $200 million.)

Dashing director Terrence Young, who had launched the series so ably with “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love,” smelled the cash and held out for more money. True to form, EON decided to go with a more thrifty option and brought in an accomplished journeyman director who was, nevertheless, a new hand when it came to staging elaborate action scenes, Guy Hamilton.

American writer Richard Maibum was back on board, this time with an assist from British screenwriter Paul Dehn. A very probable inspiration for the dashing English spy played by Michael Fassbender in “Inglourious Basterds,” Dehn was a former film critic and admitted World War II assassin. His next gig was, ironically, helping to adapt John le Carré’s specifically anti-Bondian espionage classic, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.”

Most importantly to the financial bottom line, Sean Connery had made himself synonymous with 007 and was also on board for another go round, though he wouldn’t appear on set until he finished off his highly dramatic starring role in Alfred Hithcock’s “Marnie.” Connery was starting to worry a little about this whole business of being typecast as a veritable superhero; he would continue to go out of his way to remind the public he could be someone other than Bond.

In any case, everyone working on the film seems to have understood what kind of opportunity “Goldfinger” represented. That bigger budget meant one thing: more — more action, more gadgets, more violence, and an extremely fast pace by the standards of its day. It was just the kind of wretched excess that could lead to a film so enormous it could launch what has to be the longest lasting and most consistently successful franchise in movie history.

The Bond Girls (Rule of 3 + 2)

Bond keeps to his usual score of three sex partners per movie. However, as befits the more lavish “Goldfinger,” we actually have five legitimate “Bond girls” this go-round. It’s just that Bond respectfully keeps his hands off of one and apparently never quite reaches home plate with another. To be specific…

Bonita (Nadia Regan) — She gets kissed while naked at the end of the pre-credit sequence, but it appears that actually doing the deed with Bond was never in the treacherous beauty’s plans, and she ends up with only a nasty bump on the head for her trouble. The adorable, Serbian-born Nadia Regan was actually on her second Bond go-round, having played a very brief kittenish role in the just-prior, “From Russia With Love,” where she was the Turkish secretary/girlfriend of Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz.)

Dink (Margaret Nolan) – This lovely bathing beauty and amateur masseuse appears to be Bond’s very temporary girlfriend during his very short vacation at Miami Beach’s ultra-lux Fontainebleau Hotel. In true super-sexist style, he dismisses her with jovial rudeness and a smart smack to the backside when his American colleague shows up. Actress and model Margaret Nolan would go on to appear in a Playboy pictorial and several entries in the “Carry On” series of British sex comedies.

Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) – Bond wastes little time in seducing the bikini clad Masterson, who has unwisely taken a job helping a certain highly suspicious gold broker cheat at gin rummy. The superspy clearly takes a liking to the spunky, frankly sexual Masterson. He is devastated when he wakes up from a clubbing-induced slumber to find her suffocated to death by being painted completely gold from head to foot. It’s a tragic death, but it gave the movie its poster and one of the most creepily memorable and iconic images in the Bond lexicon. Shirley Eaton, already a busy working actress in the British film industry, would go on to star in a number of mostly not-so-distinguished films before retiring in favor of motherhood in 1969. She came out of retirement three decades later with a memoir, Golden Girl.

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Todd Carmichael (“Dangerous Grounds”)

If you’re a regular viewer of the National Geographic Channel, then you might be familiar with Todd Carmichael for his Antarctic travelogue, “Race to the Bottom of the Earth,” but if you’re a connoisseur of all things caffeinated, then it’s more likely that you’ll know him for La Colombe, a business endeavor which has allowed the entrepreneur to dedicate his life to finding, selling, and – in a few select cities around the world – serving up some of the world’s best coffees. Now, Travel Channel is giving Carmichael the opportunity to show their viewers just how hard he’s willing to work to provide people with the beans to make the finest possible cup o’ joe.

Carmichael chatted with Bullz-Eye about the origins of his series – the cleverly-titled “Dangerous Grounds,” which debuts on November 5 at 10 PM – and how his coffee-hunting adventures have changed since he’s had to start traveling with a cameraman by his side, also offering up a few suggestions of where casual coffee fans can start the process of expanding their palate to more unique tastes. By the way, for the record, Carmichael admitted to being “a little juiced up on caffeine” during our conversation, having just come off a lengthy coffee-tasting session, but as someone who’s perpetually hopped up on caffeine myself, he sounded perfectly normal to me.

Bullz-Eye: First of all, I was able to check out the first episode of “Dangerous Grounds” before our chat, and I really enjoyed it.

Todd Carmichael: Oh, great! That was Haiti, right?

BE: Yep, sure was.

TC: Oh, excellent. Yeah, that was a great adventure.

BE: Well, to jump way back to the very beginning, when did your love of / addiction to caffeine first begin?

TC: [Laughs.] Oh, you know, it’s just like any other addiction: it’s hard to tell the actual moment. But I definitely really remember the first time I said, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do.” But I did it for a different purpose. I was 15 years old, and I was just one of these obsessed little distance runners. It was really distance running that got me to college, to the University of Washington. And I read this article in Runner’s World Magazine at the time, and there was a guy named Bill Rogers, he was kind of like the reigning champion of the Boston Marathon, and he wrote an article about his use of caffeine and coffee and how it affected his running. And, you know, at that time, everyone kind of thought of coffee as a dangerous thing, as if it was like cigarettes or something like that. Needless to say, the next morning I brewed my very first pot…and drank the whole thing. [Laughs.] And I haven’t really stopped doing that since.

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Blu Tuesday: Time Travel, Fantasy Girls and Dirty Politics

Movie fans have plenty to look forward to this week with plenty of great titles arriving on Blu-ray. And it’s not just limited to the films featured below, either, because Criterion is releasing the horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby” for the first time on the format, and Universal’s “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” is finally coming to stores.

“Safety Not Guaranteed”

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is an amalgamation of everything that’s great about independent filmmaking – from its hugely original script to its wonderful cast of characters – but the one thing that it does better than anything else is create a cinematic experience that’s rich in both comedy and emotion. A lot of movies have tried to juggle the two in the past, but Colin Trevorrow’s directorial debut is one of those rare few that actually pulls it off. Though it can technically be described as a time travel movie, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is more about the characters’ relationships than the veracity of its sci-fi premise, and that’s thanks to Derek Connolly’s excellent script and the fantastic cast. All four actors click really well as a group, but they also deliver some great individual performances, especially Aubrey Plaza, who proves that she can do more than spout witty one-liners and mug for the camera. Though the movie didn’t enjoy as much success in theaters as it did on the festival circuit, it’s hands down one of the funniest and most sincere films I’ve seen all year.

Blu-ray Highlight: It’s not much, but “A Movie Making Mission” provides some good insight into the making of the film, with interviews from director Colin Trevorrow and the cast discussing the movie’s origin, shooting certain scenes and the time machine.

“The Campaign”

It’s been a while since Will Ferrell starred in a comedy that really made me laugh, and Zach Galifianakis isn’t as funny as his popularity would suggest, but “The Campaign” is better than I expected, even if it never fully takes advantage of its promising setup. The movie walks a fine line between silly and stupid, and although it veers into the latter far too often, it’s no surprise why director Jay Roach cast the two comedians, because they excel at playing these types of buffoonish characters. The film’s real MVP, however, is Dylan McDermott, who does more with a single look or line of dialogue than what Ferrell and Galifianakis are able to achieve in an entire scene. The duo still earns its share of laughs with their usual shtick, but while the movie’s goofball tone is successful to some degree, “The Campaign” would have worked even better as an edgier, darker comedy in the same vein as Alexander Payne’s “Election.” Roach has even had some success in recent years with the HBO election dramas “Recount” and “Game Change,” so it seems strange that he was afraid to push any boundaries here, because it was a big missed opportunity.

Blu-ray Highlight: There’s nothing of note worth discussing, but the two-disc effort does include an extended cut of the film, a handful of deleted scenes and a gag reel.

“Ruby Sparks”

It’s been six years since Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ directorial debut “Little Miss Sunshine” took Hollywood by storm, and people were beginning to wonder whether the filmmaking duo would end up becoming just another one-hit wonder. The dreaded second album syndrome is something that haunts artists working in any medium, so it’s curious that Dayton and Faris decided to approach the subject head-on by making a film about that very thing. It may seem a bit presumptuous of Zoe Kazan to write the movie with herself and long-time boyfriend Paul Dano in mind for the lead roles, but it’s evident pretty early on that the two actors have great chemistry. Dano continues to impress in his second outing with Dayton and Faris, while Kazan, although solid as the title character, deserves more kudos for her debut screenplay, creating a charming and mostly original love story that doesn’t always go in the direction you’re expecting. Though it was only inevitable that “Ruby Sparks” would be compared to “Little Miss Sunshine,” the movie is a clever but flawed Woody Allen-esque comedy that proves that its directors aren’t just a one-trick pony.

Blu-ray Highlight: Fox’s Blu-ray release is a pretty disappointing affair. Although the bonus material includes five featurettes on a variety of topics like the story, the cast and filming in Los Angeles, they’re so brief that it feels like little more than an afterthought.

  

Product Review: Schick Xtreme 3 Eco

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/hpc/detail-page/c26-B006DR2BTC-1-l.jpg

The Schick Xtreme 3 Eco is a temporary/disposable razor, but it works with the effectiveness and feel of any full-time blade. Made from recycled plastic hangers and available in a four pack via packaging of 100% post-consumer recycled paper, the Xtreme 3 is light and straightforward.

It’s a disposable razor, but it’s a long way from what you normally expect from a disposable razor. The main thing I expect whenever I hear the term “disposable razor” is a certain level of cheapness, something similar to this – just a stiff piece of lightweight plastic with a shard of metal used to scrape the whiskers off your face when you’re in a hurry visiting the in-laws or on that business trip. Expecting anything but agony from a disposable blade is foolhardy.

The Xtreme 3 Eco’s handle is contoured to fit your hand, so you can actually negotiate the terrain of your face comfortably, rather than a non-contoured handle that makes you adjust your shaving style to it. Another surprising feature was the fact that the triple blade set up flex and pivot based on the amount of pressure you apply to it. Generally speaking, that type of a blade isn’t available in disposable form.

I really couldn’t get over how it didn’t just bend, but the whole surface of the blades adjusted themselves when in use. I sat there like an idiot for several minutes pressing the blades with my finger from different angles; I was mesmerized.

Located just above the triple blade setup is the Comfort Strip. The Comfort Strip delivers the ingredients Vitamin E and Aloe to your skin immediately after being gone over by the triple blades, which seriously reduces irritation.

One small thing I liked in particular was the razor cover. Most disposable blades that I have encountered usually have a cheap plastic slidey thing to cover the blade when not in use. But the Extreme 3 had a cover that could only be removed if you pinched both ends at the same time – it was almost like a clamp, which is great if you’ve got this in the bottom of a loosely fitting gym bag, or if you have a curious four-year-old.

The Schick Xtreme 3 Eco is a great disposable razor. Based on your amount of beardage, and if you’re only using it at irregular intervals, you can get at least 25 quality shaves out of it.

For ordering information, click here.

  

Bond Girls in Bikinis

There are plenty of reasons to watch the James Bond films, but the Bond girls definitely keep many fans coming back. There have been many of iconic moments over the years involving these beautiful women, and many of them naturally involve bikinis.

In putting together the slideshow above, choosing the first image presented a tough call. We decided to go with the incomparable Halle Berry who looks absolutely flawless in this orange bikini from “Die Another Day.” She barely edged out the stunning Ursula Andress who started it all as Honey Ryder in the first Bond film, “Dr. No.” Andress set the standard for all future Bond babes with her memorable scene as she emerged from the sea.

The third photo has Claudine Auger in another beach scene from “Thunderball,” and then we have a promo shot from “The Man with the Golden Gun” with Maud Adams and Britt Ekland hanging out with Roger Moore.

In pic #5 we have the lovely Izabella Scorupco from “GoldenEye” striking a pose, and then Caterina Murino riding a horse from “Casino Royale.” Jill St. John lounges around in her bikini in “Diamonds are Forever” and we finish up with Shirley Eaton from “Goldfinger” before she meets her demise from a coat of gold paint.

As a bonus, here’s Roger Moore in a promo shot from “For Your Eyes Only.” It’s good to be Bond!

  

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