Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Man with the Golden Gun

This is another DVD watched because I was inspired by the James Bond blogathon -Licensed To Blog: The James Blog-A-Thon.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) is Roger Moore's 2nd entry in the James Bond film series. Christopher Lee co-stars, and he is the best thing about this movie. Not exactly filled with excitement, this one.

Sean Connery is still my favorite Bond, and Lazenby is still my 2nd favorite in the films watched for this blogathon. That puts Roger Moore third of 3. There are several reasons for my preferences. The treatment of the women is one factor. I get the impression that Connery's Bond really likes women -all of them- and enjoys their company. I think of Lazenby's Bond as tolerating women and making use of them as he needs them, which is more in line with what I remember from reading the 1st book. I'm not sure Moore's Bond really likes women, perhaps is not even attracted to them, and only responds to their advances when he can't avoid it. Why they advance is puzzling. The last scene felt obligatory.

I've mentioned Connery's charm; Moore has no charm. He's stiff but without gravitas or seriousness. I guess I might say he lacks the best of both Connery and Lazenby but has no redeeming strength to attract me. I remember liking Moore in The Saint, but that was so long ago. I wonder how I would feel about those shows now.

Another reason for my preference is that, although I enjoy Connery's light touch and humor, Moore seems too light. Too much comedy, almost slapstick. How he can be too stiff on the one hand and too comedic on the other is something I'm still trying to figure out.

I am looking at how the women come across, thinking I would see a difference through time, and I do see a difference. If anything, the women seem more passive and less competent the more recent the movie. In this one we get Miss Goodnight, who is sent along to keep an eye on Bond but whose sole purpose seems to be to mess things up, flirt with Bond and pout. (sigh)

We don't even get a single exploding car -a flying car and an exploding sea plane, but it's just not the same.

NPR has an audio interview with Moore in which he discusses his new book on his experiences with James Bond.

The BBC review calls it "An ugly, cold-hearted, and occasionally ridiculous film which is plausibly the worst of the franchise. "

The New York Times review closes by advising us that "if you enjoyed the early Bond films as much as I did, you'd better skip this one."

Moria reviewed this film, calling it "surprisingly dull".


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