43 Following

Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Notes on The Man With the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming

The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond) - Ian Fleming

* The thirteenth Bond book.

* Sixth appearance of Leiter.

* The last Bond novel by Ian Fleming, published posthumously. (The fourteenth and last Fleming Bond book is the anthology Octopussy.)

* Perhaps the shortest novel, it begins with a Manchurian Candidate-like opening (that, unfortunately, isn't terribly exciting) then moves into more familiar territory as Bond takes on "Pistols" Scaramanga, the head of a cooperative of criminals that includes Mob-types and a KGB agent.

* Once it gets going, it's entertaining and enjoyable, if a bit lightweight, though the final confrontation is a good one, and one that shows a real difference between the Bond of the books and the super-Bond of the films.

* Because the book was published posthumously, some controversy over whether the book was altered by someone other than Fleming's editor continues. For my money, I think that if any portion of the book isn't Fleming's, it is the last paragraph, which has a Spy Who Loved Me spin on Bond's affairs that doesn't ring true to his character.

* The ninth Bond movie (Roger Moore).

* Scaramanga, an assassin who uses a golden gun, makes the transition to the screen, but nothing else remains either of his character or of Fleming's story.

* In 2006, Entertainment Weekly said, "Ekland may have had one of the series' best bikinis, but her dopey, doltish portrayal was a turnoff as much to filmgoers as to fans of Ian Fleming's novels." The entire Bond movie series, including the Connery films, is a turnoff to fans of Ian Fleming's novels, or ought to be. Goodnight isn't playing a Fleming character any more than Bond himself is. In fact, now that virtually all connection to the books has been severed, it's actually easier to approach the films as separate entities. Dumber and sillier entities, to be sure, but enjoyable in their own right.

* Again, it's a mistake to take the films seriously. Because of their stupider aspects (one of which is that M practically works for Bond in the films, rather than the other way round), they don't--and can't--aspire to being good films, only to being good Bond films. Within that framework, this one is pretty good.

* And how can you not like a movie advocating solar power way back in 1974?