The fourth and final Bond film directed by Guy Hamilton, The Man with the Golden Gun is everything that was 1974: oil crisises and martial arts films. It was seen by some — at the time — as a low point in the series. And it also marks the last Bond film co-produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, as Saltzman would sell his half of Danjaq, LLC, the parent company of Eon Productions, after the release of the film. As a result, this would be the last Bond film for three years until The Spy Who Loved Me.
The part of Scaramanga, the killer other side of the coin to Bond, was offered to Jack Palance, but he turned it down. Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming’s step-cousin (Fleming had suggested him for the role of Dr. No), would be the man to take the role.
He’s a killer paid $1 million dollars per hit. Supposedly, he’s coming after Bond, but only to throw him off the trail of a MacGuffin called the Solex Agitator. Along the way, Herve Villechaize show up as Scaramanga’s miniature henchman Nick Nack, Maud Adams makes her first Bond girl appearance as the villain’s mistress Andrea Anders, Britt Eklund shows up as Mary Goodnight and Sheriff J.W. Pepper comes back.
When I saw this as a kid, I always thought that Bond defeated his nemesis way too easily. I still feel that way. It’s filled with ridiculousness, a low body count and plenty of moments that Moore didn’t agree with, like pushing the kid into the water and threatening to nreak Anders’ arms.
The theme song by Lulu is alright, but I kind of love that Alice Cooper wanted to do it. His Bond theme is on his album Muscle of Love.
The car stunt is great if you turn the sound off to avoid the comedy whistle. And Lee is a good baddie, but it’s a low point for Bond for sure.
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