Goldfinger (1964)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Documentaries, Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots, Radio Interviews and much more...

"Goldfinger" has to rank as one of the most famous James Bond movies of all time – and one of the best for that matter. It is filled with gadgets and features a charming James Bond played by Sean Connery paired up against a truly memorable villain, played by the great Gert Fröbe. As part of the 007 special edition collection, MGM Home Entertainment has now re-released the film with a new transfer and plenty of extras that should make this disc the authority of all things "Goldfinger". But let’s take a closer look at that release before we jump to conclusions here.

Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) is a millionaire and gold magnate who has caught the secret service’s attention. James Bond (Sean Connery) is brought on to uncover evidence that could be used to put him in jail for gold smugglery. When Bond closes in on Goldfinger he finds out about a transaction the mogul is planning under the name "Operation Grand Slam". Without hesitation he makes Goldfinger’s personal acquaintance and learns more about this operation he is planning. Posing as a black market gold dealer himself, Bond learns that Goldfinger has plans to add value to his own gold assets, and in doing so has set his eyes on the world’s biggest gold reserve – Fort Knox! Before long however, Bond’s cover is blown and he finds himself at the mercy of the maniacal gold magnate who now starts to use Bond as a lure to ascertain uninterrupted execution of his operation. Finally, Goldfinger is involving hard-edged criminals and his own army to put Operation Grand Slam into practice, and it is up to Bond to rid the world of this madman and stop the crime of the century.

In his third appearance as James Bond in "Goldfinger", you can tell that the part of the smart and charming secret service agent fits Sean Connery like a glove. His laissez-faire attitude and the fact that he is practically unharmed by any of the events around him, bestow an aura of superiority upon him that makes Bond larger than life and has become a vital part in the film’s and the series’ success. It is also very interesting to see how the filmmakers tapped into new ideas to make this sequel work, trying not to stick to exactly the same formula that was used in the previous two films.

The same is true for Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger, who sublimates everything that makes Bond villains so singular and oftentimes unforgettable in his role. He is sordid, yet exceptionally popular. Filthy rich, yet a poor, lonely soul. He is intelligent and yet, he is a loser, and as we can see in the film’s finale, a phenomenally great one at that. Of all Bond villain, goldfinger also has some of the best dialogue lines of all times. "I don’t expect you to talk, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" is just one of the many classic lines from the film that makes Goldfinger unique and utterly menacing. His intellectual superiority makes him all the more threatening, as he never truly discounts Bond as a serious opponent but makes the mistake not to rid himself of the agent when he has the chance to. To me Goldfinger’s exit as a result of this mistake stands out as simply the most memorable scene of all Bond movies.

"Goldfinger" also sports a number of typical gadgets, most prominently 007’s new car, the Astin Martin that is also featured extensively in the documentaries included on this disc. Filled with devices that can help Bond out of any predicament, the car boasts an ejector seat, oil spilling device, rotating license plates and many more features we all could use in our own automobiles to some extent. But even apart from the car, "Goldfinger" is a treasure of ideas and creates some great scenarios where 007 has to use his wits and his muscles to get his way out of it. But also the Laser in the film is a nice addition, especially since at the time the film was made this kind of Lasergun must have had a somewhat science-fictionesque aura. After all, it was the first time ever that a real laser was showcased in a movie.

As expected, "Goldfinger" shows some signs of age, but nonetheless, the presentation found on this special edition from MGM Home Entertainment is nothing short of spectacular. The <$16x9,anamorphic> picture is presented in an approximately 1.78:1 <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratio that is slightly overmatted from the film’s original ratio of 1.66:1, without cropping any vital image information however. It is sharp and contains plenty of detail, restoring every bit of picture information from the original film. While some film grain and noise is visible in the transfer, the presentation is much better than I had expected. Color reproduction is equally good with strong colors and hues and very god definition. The black level is very good, producing very deep shadows, but without losing any of the detail within. Highlights are warm and pleasant, and help to create an overall very balanced looking image."Goldfinger" contains a 2.0 channel <$DD,Dolby Digital> language track in English and French. Just as the video quality, the quality of these audio tracks is surprisingly good. Natural sounding for the most part, the audio has a good frequency response with good low ends and clear high-ends that never appears sharp or shrill.

Once again, MGM Home Entertainment is bringing us an absolutely fantastic looking and very stylish menu system that is both very appealing, yet highly efficient. It really has a gadgety feel to it, that is highly reminiscent to the general James Bond flair, and with the nice collage of scenes and audio clips from the movie itself, it creates an atmosphere of anticipation for the movie. Once again, these are DVD menus the way they should be. Like the other 007 Special Editions, "Goldfinger" contains two separate audio <$commentary,commentary track>s. The first one features director Guy Hamilton in a very interesting track where he discusses many of the intricacies of shooting this film. It is quite surprising how vividly he seems to remember all the details about the film and the shoot – certainly much to the delight of all fans who get to listen into the commentary on this DVD. The second <$commentary,commentary track> features cast & crew members that contains some very informative exchanges that once again take you behind the scenes of the film’s production.

Two documentaries are also part of the release, the first one is a "Making Of" documentary narrated by the Avenger’s Mrs. Steed, Patrick MacNee. The featurette contains plenty of new interviews with the film’s stars and crew members, and is an exceedingly interesting piece on "Goldfinger". It nicely highlights how the filmmakers tried to extend the James Bond franchise after the initial two films, "Dr. No" and "From Russia With Love". It shows some nice behind-the scenes footage and uncovers some of the myths and mysteries surrounding the film.

The second documentary is called "The Goldfinger Phenomenon". It gives viewers a look at the machinery that helped promote the film in 1964 and eventually lead to its incredible success. Featuring excerpts from an old radio interview with Sean Connery, from a 1964 promotional film, advertising spots and other promotional materials, this 30-minute featurette is gives you the perfect scoop on the film. Every historic fact and detail you ever wanted to know about "Goldfinger" can be found in this piece. But that’s not all. The disc also boasts trailers, TV Spots, 22-minutes of radio spots, the original publicity featurette from 1964 and radio interviews with Sean Connery – all on one disc!

This special edition release of "Goldfinger" is golden. Every bit as precious as the film itself, MGM Home Entertainment have clearly gone out of their way to gather all the materials presented on this disc. It goes way beyond your average material not only in quantity, but also in the quality of these features. Valuable information is amassed on this disc that makes it a James Bond fan’s dream and earns the release a "Gold Seal Of Excellence" for a phenomenal film and a DVD job par excellence.