18/01/2012

BlogalongaBond Week: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)


After the surprisingly good OHMSS I'm afraid we're back in Moore territory with this loose adaptation of the novel of the same name. This was intended to follow You Only Live Twice with a 42-year old Moore replacing Connery but because war broke out in Cambodia it was postponed and the producers decided to capitalise on the 1973 energy crisis instead, with several references shoe-horned in for a bit of social commentary amongst the dippy agents and midget butlers.

It's obvious that martial arts became popular during pre-production as the action was changed from Jamaica to the Far East and there are plenty of implausible fight sequences in which Moore beats up men young and limber enough to be his grandchildren. Where TMWTGG excels is with Christopher Lee as the ludicrously named villain, Scaramanga, who was intended to be just as sophisticated and skilled as Bond while also treating women with less respect than a doormat.


Scaramanga's dead-eyed and fed up sex slave, Maud Adams (Andrea Anders), is bad enough but at least she shows a hint of an interesting character that our esteemed leader has already brilliantly dissected himself. Where it gets genuinely offensive is when Bond throws his useless sidekick Agent Goodnight (Britt Eckland) in a wardrobe just as he's about to get into her knickers and proceeds to shag Adams while she tries to get comfortable among his Saville Row suits. Instead of losing her rag for being such a bastard she eventually gives it up to him as well. I'm amazed feminists didn't storm the premiere.


Despite all that, Lee and Moore have a genuine chemistry and their brief relationship actually feels well-thought out, but since the people who control this franchise are their own worst enemy, they just couldn't resist cocking it up with some terrible attempts at comedy. Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) was bad enough in Live and Let Die but they just had to bring him back and ruin an amazing car stunt with his fat lip and annoying voice. For why?


Don't even get me started on that fucking whistle. Despite its many problems and the fact that I nodded off and missed Bond meet a lady named 'Chew Mi', TMWTGG is still a much better more entertaining film than Moore's other efforts.

Tomorrow: For Your Eyes Only