The British secret service receives a golden bullet with
007's number on it. This is the calling card of Scaramanga,
"the man with the golden gun", renowned as the deadliest assassin
in the world...
Moore's second Bond movie was perhaps rushed into production
a tad too swiftly. The Bond series has, of course, repeated
itself to varying degrees since its second movie, but on this
occasion the absence of new ideas becomes particularly apparent.
For example, Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) possesses a powerful
laser, just as Goldfinger did, but he admits that "science
was never my strong point", a line transplanted almost word
for word from Charles Gray's Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever.
Also lifted from Goldfinger is Bond's announcement
that something has come up (a double entendre that would be
repeated yet again in The Spy Who Loved Me). Most obviously
of all, Sheriff J W Pepper (Clifton James) from Live and
Let Die makes a return appearance, although this is actually
a plus point, as Pepper provides some of the funniest comic
moments, particularly during the movie's signature stunt sequence
- the 360-degree bridge jump. (Bond stunts are also the subject
of this DVD's thematic documentary, Double-0-Stuntmen.)
main reason for watching this movie is the character of Scaramanga
himself, who is transformed by writers Richard Maibaum and
Tom Mankiewicz, and by the actor Christopher Lee, into a far
more memorable foe than the thug featured in Fleming's novel.
The statuesque Lee presents a villain who is a believable
threat to James Bond, almost a darker version of him, and
Scaramanga's disarming respect for 007 dramatically offsets
the villain's other guise - that of a dangerous and cold-blooded
"funhouse" training ground provides visual excitement at the
opening and closing of the film. The first instance acquaints
the audience with the danger inherent in this setting, before
Bond is placed there later on (a similar dramatic device was
used with Live and Let Die's funeral processions and
sacrifice sequences). Production designer Peter Murton and
his team also provide the ingenious sloping sets representing
the interior of the capsized cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth.
more, we find an unfortunate photographic blunder on the DVD
package. In this case, the back cover includes a publicity
still from Live and Let Die. You can tell because it
shows Madeline Smith, who played Miss Caruso in that film.
quite worthy of a gold star, then.