Man With the Golden Gun, The (1974)

Man With the Golden Gun, The (1974)

“I’ve dreamed about you setting me free.”

After being sent a golden bullet by the mistress (Maud Adams) of his would-be assassin — Francisco Scaramanga, the Man With the Golden Gun (Christopher Lee) — James Bond (Roger Moore) travels to Lebanon, Hong Kong, Macau, and an island in Thailand to hunt him down, occasionally helped by his ditzy colleague Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) and tracked by Scaramanga’s pint-sized assistant (Herve Villechaize).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Britt Ekland Films
  • Christopher Lee Films
  • James Bond Films
  • Spies

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “Ian Fleming’s last James Bond novel became one of the least interesting Bond films,” resulting in a “very labored movie, with Bond a stiff bore.”

He notes that Bond and Scaramanga’s “shootout on the [killer’s remote] island’s funhouse” — which “benefits from the presence of Scaramanga’s diminutive servant Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize)”:

— is “the only good scene in the movie, and even it has an unsatisfying finish.”

He points out that Adams and Ekland are “uninspired leading ladies”:

and that the film features “stale humor”, a “cruddy title song by Lulu”, and “dull” opening titles. He adds that there’s an “unfortunate” reprisal by Clifton James of his “unfunny redneck sheriff from Live and Let Die” — indeed, this is the lowlight of the film.

Lee comes across the best, adding some nuance and interest to a villain who’s not all that fleshed out, but at least feels authentic.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Christopher Lee as Scaramanga
  • Fine location shooting

Must See?
No; definitely feel free to skip this one.


2 thoughts on “Man With the Golden Gun, The (1974)

  1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    When I first saw this on HBO in their 1980-81 Bond season it became a favourite, but I was only 13 at the time. I still feel it’s underrated being pacy, having a great score by John Barry and I love the Lulu theme.

    The characters are colourful and Lee gets my vote as one of the best Bond villains. That said the film is let down by the Tom Mankiewicz’s writing which sets up yet another daft klutz for a leading lady in Mary Goodnight. Britt Ekland does well with what she’s given but she’s too frequently given stupid pills. Mankiewicz just can’t write strong female roles (see also Jill St. John, Jane Seymour, Gloria Hendry in prior films). Maud Adams comes off at least as an interesting, tragic character albeit in a thankless role. She would do much better in Octopussy.

  2. For Bond fans only.

    In his 4th time at bat in the series (after ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘Live and Let Die’), director Guy Hamilton does what he professionally can (as does co-star Lee) with what is ultimately a lesser entry. Overall production design is generally attractive but the film mainly suffers from too much ebb in its flow. ‘TMWTGG’ was the last of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels (completed juts before he died) and – perhaps significantly – even the author (reportedly) didn’t think much of it.

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