April 24, 2000

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
MGM Home Entertainment

125 mins. · PG
16x9 · 1.78:1

Format
DVD

Audio
E

Subtitles
French, Spanish

Extras
Commentary track, 2 Documentaries, Photo Gallery, Trailers and TV Spots, Booklet

Starring
Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(1974)

After making his first appearance as James Bond in "Live And Let Die" Roger Moore came back to play the smart secret service agent in 1974 in "The Man With The Golden Gun." Starring opposite of horror legend Cristopher Lee, Roger Moore is entangled in a web of events that take him to exotic locations and into the arms of more beautiful women.

James Bond (Roger Moore) receives a cryptic message - a golden bullet that carries his number, 007. To the secret agent, this message is a clear warning however, telling him that Scaramanga (Cristopher Lee) has set his sights on him as a target. Scaramanga is a highly paid assassin, known for his distinctive golden gun and many rumors surround the enigmatic man. No one has ever seen Scaramanga - and lived - and James is soon on his way trying to find out how he could close in on the hitman before he gets the better of him. But somehow many of the clues don’t make much sense and it turns out the bullet was a lure. Not by Scaramanga to trap him, but by someone else who just wanted to attract attention to the real plans of the assassin.

"The Man With The Golden Gun" once again takes Bond to beautiful locations across the world and this time blends a lot of Asian influences in the film. Placing part of the story in Macau and utilizing martial arts as one of the film’s elements, the movie has a nice touch that sets it clearly apart from the rest of the series. Personally I found it very reminiscent in look and feel to many of Bruce Lee’s films. The great cast makes it an enjoyable and entertaining experience while Christopher Lee makes for a very strong antagonist. With his cold eyes, the scrawny appearance and his deliberate delivery, Lee is more than a worthy opponent for James Bond, wielding one of the most intricate custom guns of movie history.

MGM Home Entertainment is presenting "The Man With The Golden Gun" in a widescreen aspect ratio that has been letterboxed at what appears to be a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is highly detailed and enhanced for 16x9 television sets. Unfortunately the source print used for this transfer exhibits quite some blemishes and speckles that have not been cleaned up for this DVD release. As a result, dust and scratches are present almost through the entire presentation. The transfer features some great colors, rendering hues powerful and clear while always maintaining a natural looking color balance. The blacks are deep without losing detail. The disc does not show any signs of compression artifacts, giving the film a beautifully sharp and colorful look.

The disc contains a Dolby Digital Stereo audio track in English. While the music presentation on this audio track is rich and good sounding, dialogues come across a bit thin, due to the material’s age. Fortunately no distortion is evident in the transfer, giving the film a good sounding presentation.

The disc features a stunningly beautiful menu, like all other films from the series. Filled with atmospheric colors and beautifully arranged animation, the menu on this release stands out as a gorgeous enrichment of the overall presentation.

As supplements this DVD also contains a commentary track that features director Guy Hamilton and a number of additional crew members, as well as actors Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland and Maud Adams. Prepared like all other Bond commentaries in the form of edited interviews that are strung together over the running length of the movie, the commentaries give quite some insight into the film’s production with its thoughts, ideas and anecdotes.

A new 35-minute documentary takes you behind the scenes of the production, featuring a lot of valuable information about how the movie came about. It contains new interviews with cast and crew members, including Roger Moore, who happily share their memories about many of the film’s aspects. You will be surprised how many locations had been considered for the shoot of this particular film and for how long it had been in the planning stage before it actually took shape in 1974.

"Double-O Stuntmen" is another featurette found on the DVD. With great pictures and behind-the-scenes footage you get to see some of the magic that make the Bond movies so special. Learn more about the people who risk their lives in the daring performances that thrill audiences. Featuring interviews with many of the crew members and the stuntmen involved in the production of these films, the featurette covers all Bond movies, including the very first television version of "Casino Royale." It gives viewers a great chance to see some of the greatest stunts from all movies accumulated with commentary and explanation form the people who did it.
Theatrical trailers, television and radio spots round this release off together with a great photo gallery that shows cast portraits, behind-the-scenes pictures, location photos and much, much more.

As expected, "The Man With The Golden Gun" is another feature-rich DVD in the James Bond Collection that well deserves a "Gold Seal Of Excellence." The movie’s presentation is very good - although a clean-up of the print would have been welcome - and the features that come with the disc are a labor of love. Covering a different aspect of the Bond phenomenon with each release, the documentaries cover more than just the movie in question but also help to build a coherent picture of the entire series of films.

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