Study Guide

Goldfinger James Bond (Sean Connery)

James Bond (Sean Connery)

Third Time's a Charm

Goldfinger marks Sean Connery's third outing as Bond, and if he didn't make every move seem cool and effortless before, he has perfected Bond's debonair air here. He seamlessly transitions from blowing up a drug den to lounging by a Miami pool to putting the moves on a gangster's girl without seeming to break a sweat.

Even though this is only the third Bond movie, we already know how he will introduce himself and how he likes his martinis. We don't need to quote him, because even if you've never seen a Bond movie, you know these famous quotes from the franchise.

But what we're starting to learn about Bond in this installment is that he has a surprisingly corny sense of humor. After electrocuting a man in a bathtub, for example, he quips:

BOND: Shocking. Positively shocking.

And after electrocuting Oddjob (seriously, stay away from Bond if any wires are around), he tells Felix:

BOND: He blew a fuse.

Did Q give Bond a Dad Joke Generator in addition to all the gadgets? The jokes help us relate to Bond. If he can tell cheesy jokes like us, we think, then maybe we can defuse a nuclear warhead, too. If you're thinking that, though, we'd suggest sticking to the jokes. We'd rather not get blown up just because you identify with Bond a bit too much. Go buy a sports car instead.

Goldhearted

Bond's jokes also help humanize this globe-trotting spy. Basically, to keep from being overwhelmed by all the violence around him, he cracks jokes. That can make Bond seem callous in a way, since he's making a joke about someone's death. But Bond is moved by some deaths—as long as the dead person didn't try and kill him first.

Even though Bond goes through women like he goes through vodka, he is surprisingly upset by Jill Masterson's death, for example. He's so upset, in fact, that M threatens to take him off the mission, worried that his emotions for Jill may overshadow his common sense. Bond, of course, assures M that he can compartmentalize his feelings until the mission is complete.

BOND: I am aware of my shortcomings. But I'm prepared to continue this assignment in the spirit you suggest if I knew what it was about, sir.

And he does, too, demonstrating the level of professionalism needed to be a superspy.

But back to Jill. Why does her death affect Bond so much? Could it be that she died while Bond was so near, and he feels guilty that he didn't stop it? Or could he—gasp—actually have had feelings for her?

Bond sees a lot to admire in Jill. Not only is she drop-dead (too soon?) gorgeous, but she's also headstrong, witty, and sexually aggressive—just like Bond himself. Bond is both romantic and playful with her, flirting like a college boy trying to show off in front of the hottest sorority sister on campus.

BOND: My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Pérignon '53 above a temperature of 38° Fahrenheit. That's as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.

Perhaps Bond was starting to fall for Jill, and her death has affected him because of what it leaves him with—uncertainty. With Jill dead, he has no way of knowing if they might have worked out.

Another way of looking at it is a colder one. It's possible that Bond could be upset simply because Goldfinger got the upper hand on him. Bond stole Jill, but Goldfinger stole her away from Bond—forever—and taunted him by painting her gold. It's Bond's own ego that is bruised in this scenario, not his heart of gold.

Whatever the reasons Bond is upset, we'd bet they wouldn't last long had Jill survived. An agent's work is never done, and Bond is the walking definition of work hard, play hard. He still has over twenty movies to go, so he's not going to settle down just yet.

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