There’s something weird about The Man With The Golden Gun because it doesn’t really feel like a Bond film. It’s so heavily steeped in the popular trends of the seventies, it might as well be a kung fu movie or a muscle car fetish pic. But even Bond himself seems different. He’s all bell bottoms and hang glider collars. Roger Moore’s 007 is always said to be to the lighter side of Connery’s, but in this film he slaps a lady across the face, puts another lady in the closet while he sleeps with slap-face lady, and then releases closet lady so he can immediately sleep with her. If that isn’t enough for you, he also shoves a young Thai boy in the face, right into the water just for helping him fix his boat. Even one of the most unbelievable stunts in the entire series is made weird by a slide whistle and redneck stereotype. I’m fascinated by this movie as an strange Bond curiosity.
THE YEAR: 1974
THE VILLAIN: The best thing about this movie are its bad guys. Christopher Lee plays Francisco Scaramanga and is one of the more fitting Bond villains. He’s a kind of a James Bond figure himself and so becomes an interesting adversary. Hervé Villechaize plays Nick Nack, Scaramanga’s scrappy little henchman. I don’t know how he does it, but he manages to pack some real menace into that tiny Belgian frame.
THE MUSIC: The Man With The Golden Gun performed by Lulu. John Barry has said in interviews that this is his least favorite Bond song. Many people agree with him. I do not! I LOVE this song and this score. Please consider these subtle lyrics:
‘Love is required whenever he’s hired, it comes just before the kill.’
‘His eye may be on you or me. Who will he bang? We shall see. Oh yeah!’
Lest you think that ‘oh yeah’ was me commenting on the wonderful lyrics, it wasn’t. But please allow me to do that now. Oh yeah! But look, these words are appropriate for such a ridiculous film. The movie falls hard to the silly side of my previously defined and now culturally accepted Bond film ranking spectrum.
THE GIRLS: Oh wait, did you mean THESE girls?
I love Maud Adams. Apparently, so too did the producers because they thought enough to graduate her from femme fatale in The Man With The Golden Gun to head Bond girl in Octopussy. Brit Eckland plays Bond’s secretary Mary Goodnight who is a little lost and helpless in this film. Not the case when we took this picture. She had very definite ideas about how our photo should be taken. ‘The flash on your phone MUST be to the top darling. It just MUST.’ NOTE: in real life my eyes can open.
THE GADGETS: A third nipple. That’s the gadget. A third nipple. Look it up. Celebrate it with friends.
THE PLOT: Bond receives a golden bullet with his name on it. It can only be the calling card of the famous hit man Francisco Scaramanga! Remember famous hit men? Seems like a job that would be tough to do with a public a persona. Anyway, it’s not Scaramanga that sent the bullet, it’s his mistress attempting to get Bond on the case so she can finally be free of the world renowned hit man. Before long, this otherwise interesting story has become a race to save a global energy super device called the ‘solex agitator.’ Bond and the celebrated luminary have a gentlemen’s duel in an island funhouse. Bond kills the George Clooney-level star, escapes with the girl, and puts a dwarf in a suitcase.
FACT/FUN FACT: Maud Adams will go on to play Octopussy and has an uncredited cameo in a crowd scene of A View To A kill, making her the only Bond girl to appear in three films of the series. That one may just be a fact, I don’t know if you had much fun with it.