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All Hallow’s Lee – THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Posted on Oct 14, 2015 by | 0 comments

It’s an honor getting the Bat Signal from Matt Gamble about contributing to WHERE THE LONG TAIL ENDS’ “All Hallow’s Lee”.  This month is going to be a real treat soaking in all the Lee love from all the various perspectives.

Okay so first off, I have to admit that although I’m a Christopher Lee fan…I’m not a huge one. So admittedly, I haven’t seen his entire filmography (unlike my best friend who’s totally into Lee and has, in fact, pretty much watched all of his films….particularly his Hammer ones).

I’m a big fan of THE WICKER MAN (which freaked the hell outta me). When I reviewed the list of films Matt sent as options we could talk about, it soon became apparent that it was high on the list of the other contributors as well (i.e. it wasn’t available to discuss). So I chose THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Why you ask? Well, growing up as a kid I was a huge Roger Moore fan. I know I know, most people think Moore is the worst James Bond — and he very well could be. But Moore was my first Bond (you always love your first, right?). And before I dove into the Connery years, I first consumed all the Roger Moore films (pre-MOONRAKER, which was the first Bond film I ever saw).

MPW-19431

I believe I’ve seen GOLDEN GUN twice…maaaybe three times during my lifetime. And that’s saying a lot because when you’re a kid, you’ll watch shit and love it over and over again. Case in point, during the summer of ’83 I watched FOR YOUR EYES ONLY every single day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

For 3 months in a row.

Yeah, my parents definitely loved me for putting up with that.

But even back then, GOLDEN GUN didn’t really appeal to me. So I’m curious how it’ll hold up (since I’m all growed up now and wearing big boy pants). And just for reference, I think my favorite Bond actor would now rank something like this:

1) Connery/Craig

2) Lazenby

3) Moore/Brosnan

4) Dalton

Instead of a more traditional review, I thought it’d be fun to do a running commentary for this. I will jot down my thoughts as the film plays. I’m now pushing play on my Blu-ray player (viva physical media!).

Here we go.

There’s the UA logo I love. But it’s updated now so it doesn’t have that creepy piano pinging version from the 70s that I dig.  (Follow up note: this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5tqnBXd89I)

Ahhh, never get tired of seeing the opening gun barrel sequence.

Opening sequence. The plane! The plane! Sorry, had to do that. Man I had a HUGE CRUSH on Maud Adams. Three nipples is kinda gross. Was this PG?

This might be one of the only Bond films where the opening bumper already features the main villain. Don’t quote me on that.

Lee in the track suit looks P.I.M.P. And of course the assassin waits to fire his gun and kill him. So tired of the “I’m going to kill you” — DRAMATIC PAUSE —  which allows the victim to survive/get away.

You can tell all these mannequin “practice targets” (the ones in Scaramanga’s shooting gallery) are real people just trying to hold very still. So fake. Takes you right out of the film.

One of the worst opening songs for a Bond film. Lulu (who is that?) ain’t no Shirley Bassey. However, this opening title sequence by Maruice Binder looks great on Blu-ray!

Opening exposition with M….mind wandering to what the follow up film to this one was….THE SPY WHO LOVED ME?

Awful dub job for the dancer girl. Who allowed this?? There must be a story behind that actress and why her voice was replaced.  Sudden thoughts of SINGING IN THE RAIN come to mind. “yes yes yes” …. “no…no……no”

During the dressing room fight, I saw the crew reflection in the mirror. Sadly I look for these kinds of things.

Did I mention Maud Adams is gorgeous in this film? No? Ok remind me to later.

Damn, Bond is really rough with Maud. I don’t know her character’s name yet. But not liking seeing him hit her and throw her around.

Hey it’s that Asian guy that was in a lot of films during ths 70s/80s! (Follow up note: this guy)

Oh no, he’s dubbed too! What is it with the dubbing of these supporting actors? I guess they’re just being cast for their face or name? But not their voice? The mystery continues…

Jesus, and now Lee uses his gun to poke and prod Maud Adams on her body and mouth? I’m all for exploitation films, but this stuff seems out of place for a Bond movie.

So far I’m bored. There are no real stakes. We know Bond will live. And this whole story hinges on the plot that there is someone out there trying to kill Bond. Nothing else is at risk. So this mission is actually more of a selfish one. Find the killer before he kills Bond. Meh.

Ok so this Lazar character and this Asian detective both had intro scenes where they were dubbed by a completely other voice. Then their subsequent scene is in the actor’s native voice. Very odd.

Ah ok, now we get the major plot (with global stakes) component introduced. There is a biggerplan going on. That makes sense. Otherwise, the film wouldn’t be able to sustain the Bond assassination plot.

Miss Chew Mee? Really?

Ok finally a nice moment of suspense. Mr. Fat knows Bond is lying. And still invites him to dinner. Bond is heading into certain danger. Nicely done. I’m scared for him.

Okay, not scared anymore. Really? Sumo wrestlers to kill Bond? And of course they don’t kill him when they first had the chance.

This whole dojo sequence is a snooze fest.

The WORST PART of LIVE AND LET DIE just showed up during the boat chase.

Scaramanga is a badass. I wish he had a better storyline to inhabit.

Wow Maud Adams looks amazing in that back dress. I think her hair might’ve been darker in OCTOPUSSY. Her hair seems much lighter in this one.

I think Roger Moore just did a duck face during his seduction scene.

Maud’s death scene is the one thing I clearly remember from my viewing years ago. Something so chilling about her vacant stare.

Sheriff J.W. Pepper is back. And this makes me sad. Still, nothing like a good ol’ fashioned car chase with real vehicles. Real stunts and crashes. No CG here boys.

Everything wrong with the tone during entire Roger Moore Bond era is encapsulated in this one sequence.  While the stunt is great, WTF is with that fucking flute??!

And now a car with plane wings? Ummm…ok.

Miss Goodnight is one of the worst Bond girls ever.

Now Bond is heading off to Scaramanga’s secret headquarters. Good god are we in the third act yet?

And again, Scaramanga doesn’t kill Bond when he has the chance. Maybe he’ll just bore him to death by talking to him?

Lee is so damn charming. I just wish he had more to do other than explain his plans for world domination to Bond. At least he’s giving Bond a run for his money in the class dept….I even think his blue outfit (with white shoes) outclasses Bond. That’s hard to do. They should’ve done a GQ cover with them both.

Who the hell did Scaramanga hire to build is HUGE secret base/solar power plant and huge laser gun?

Now they’re havinglunch. Another chance for Scaramanaga to kill Bond. He even pulls out a gun on him. Buuuuttt……nope. I’ll keep talking to you Mr. Bond.

I didn’t know Jesse Jackson was in this.

jessejackson

I always did like Bond’s Walter PPK. Had a cap gun (with a working clip) just like it as a kid. Man, having one like that now would get a child killed. It looked so real.

There they are again. The major inherent flaw in the film.. The actors trying to pose as mannequins. It doesn’t work. At all. I see them moving. I’m totally engrossed in watching them try to stay still, rather than paying attention to what’s happening.

Such an anti-climatic ending to Scaramanga.

Oh boy, the writing for the Goodnight character…so…bad.

Ok the suspsese with the cloud covering the sun bit is effective. Love it. Visually creating danger for Bond. Bravo.

Hey, my 5.1 surround sounds pretty sweet during the secret base explosions.

Was this film a hit at the box office? I’m sure glad it didn’t kill the franchise because I do love some of the Moore films that followed. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MOONRAKER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and OCTOPUSSY all hold a fond place in my heart. They are my childhood.

Wow, that was like watching that one bad episode of the TV season when you absolutely love the show.

 

Filmmaker. Physical media hoarder. Directed 6 features including a musical. My latest: UNNERVED (supernatural/thriller) coming soon.

www.grking.com     @grking

 

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