Food & Adventures

Thursday 8 March 2018

Project Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun

"Ours is the loneliest profession, Mr. Bond."

Of all the Roger Moore films in the James Bond franchise I remember The Man With The Golden Gun most fondly. I thinks it's because Christopher Lee is one of my favourite actors, as a kid I had only seen him as Dracula so seeing him portray the gentleman assassin Francisco Scaramanga was a delight.

Roger Moore returns as James Bond for his second film, Christopher Lee plays the titular Man with the Golden Gun. Britt Ekland and Maud Adams are the Bond Girls as Mary Goodnight and Andrea Anders repectively. Bernard Lee returns as M along with Desmond Llewellyn as Q and Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny

I didn't find out until recently that the production of this film was fraught with trouble and the breakdown in the relationship between the two main producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman almost led to this being the final Bond movie in the Eon franchise.

The film starts with the Scaramanga relaxing on the beach with his associate Andrea Anders when a man who appears to be a Mafia hitman is shown in by Scramanga's diminutive valet Nick-Nack as he has seemingly hired the killer to 'off' his boss. The hitman works his way through an elaborate 'fun house' of obstacles until he tracks down Scaramanga but it's the man with the golden gun who gets in the killer shot. We see a waxwork of Bond at the end of the fun house as the title song begins. The song 'The Man with the Golden Gun' by Lulu is not one that immediately springs to mind when thinking of a classic Bond theme but it is a catchy tune full of innuendo that fits the film well (Personally I wish the producers went with their original idea and used the Alice Cooper song of the same name).

When the film resumes Bond has been summoned by M (who is joined by recurring character Chief of Staff Bill Tanner for the first time). Bond is told that MI6 has been sent a golden bullet with 007 etched into it and that Scaramanga plans to kill Bond. Chasing a lead Bond heads to Beirut and hooks up with a belly dancer who is using one of Scaramanga's old bullets as a navel jewel. Bond is on his knees smooching the woman's abdomen when he's attacked (obvs) and swallows the bullet. After retrieving the bullet (yuk) and having it examined by Q he is directed towards a bespoke weapons maker in Macau.

In Macau Bonds meets Mary Goodnight who also works for MI6 and she assists him while he's there. Bond also tries (albeit half-heatedly) to seduce Goodnight. Bond finds the weapons maker and follows him to a casino where Andrea Anders picks up some golden bullets from him. Back at Anders' room Bond slaps her around a bit (Bond is still a bit of a bastard then) until she gives Bond some details about Scaramanga. After Scaramanga takes a shot at Bond but kills someone else Bond is picked up by the police and something seems off. The copper actually works for MI6 and takes Bond to see M who is on a secret base inside a sunken ship (believable, right?). Turns out the bloke killed by Scaramanga was the real target as he was an expert on Solar Power.

Still on the trail of Scaramanga, now in Bangkok Bond poses as the man with the golden gun in order to get close to a man called Hai Fat who is a Thai businessman who (unbeknownst to bond) works with Scaramanga inevitably Bond is subdued and taken to a Kung-Fu style compound (because, why not? Kung-Fu movies were big at the time). There is a fight to the death between two combatants before everyone goes after Bond. Bond escapes after a short boat chase that involves the return of Sheriff JW Pepper from the previous film. Scaramanga decides that Hai Fat is no longer needed and kills him taking over his solar power business (see there is a point to all of this).

Still trying to find Scaramaga Bond nicks a car that happens to be occupied by JW Pepper and the pair chase Scaramanga and Nick-Nack all around Bangkok including the famous car flip stunt over a river. Scaramanga escapes after converting his car into a plane and heads to his secret Island in Communist Chinese waters.

Bond follows Scaramanga and the pair meet and trade pleasantries and over dinner decide to face each other in a duel on the beach but this is a ruse as Scaramanga lures Bond into his Fun House type obstacle course from the opening scene. Bond outsmarts Scaramanga and kills him before he and Goodnight destroy Scaramanga's solar weapons plant before the pair leave. But, they are attacked by Nick-Nack but Bond gets him out of the way so he and Goodnight can finally get down to a bit of nookie.

I think I'm coming around to Roger Moore as Bond, maybe my childhood memories of his films were seen through whatever the opposite of rose-tinted glasses are. That being said a few elements reminded my why I thought the Moore's films were sub-par compared to Sean Connery's films. However, I enjoyed The Man With The Golden Gun enough to be looking forward to the next film.

Project Bond will return with The Spy Who Loved Me.

Well, that's all for now.



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