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The Man with the Golden Gun

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

December. 20,1974
| Adventure Action Thriller

Cool government operative James Bond searches for a stolen invention that can turn the sun's heat into a destructive weapon. He soon crosses paths with the menacing Francisco Scaramanga, a hitman so skilled he has a seven-figure working fee. Bond then joins forces with the swimsuit-clad Mary Goodnight, and together they track Scaramanga to a Thai tropical isle hideout where the killer-for-hire lures the slick spy into a deadly maze for a final duel.


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The Roger Moore Bond era came in for a fair bit of criticism; not only did he have to compete with Sean Connery's interpretation of the superspy, but, by adding more wry humour to the franchise, people saw his films as too comic to be believable. 'The Man With the Golden Gun' is Moore's second outing and I think it's possibly the film that bridges the gap between dark and comic, incorporating elements of both, but never leaning directly towards either.For a start we have no hollowed-out lair for a Persian cat-stroking super villain to reside in. Instead, we simply have a rival hit-man who has his sights set on being the best in the world. Of course that means removing one 007 in the process. So it's far more of a simple premise when compared to the typical plans for world domination that Bond has to thwart on a day to day basis. Christopher Lee plays the rival hit-man, Scaramanga, with typical charm and menace, making him almost appear as Bond's 'dark side.' There's plenty of near misses between the two in what could be described as a 'cat and mouse' type affair until the inevitable climax.So, the plot is simple and deadly in nature, but it wouldn't be a Roger Moore Bond film without humour. As I mentioned, the jokes never really detract from the obvious danger Bond is in at all times. Scaramanga's primary henchman 'Knick-knack' may be small in stature, but more than makes up for his lack of size in terms of brutality and mischief (sometimes so much so you could be mistaken for watching a David Lynch film as the 'arena' set during the duel is pretty psychedelic – and, when you mix it with a cheeky but mysterious dwarf, you have a precursor to Twin Peaks if ever I saw one!). The jokes hit the mark and about the 'silliest' the film gets is the return of Sheriff JW Pepper who some people will most likely find irritating and detracting from the overall story (however, I really enjoyed his over-the-topness!).So, combine the darkness of the Connery era with some Moore humour and you have a winning combination. Naturally, you also have the beautiful locations, exciting chase scenes and Britt Ekland as the obligatory Bond girl. But if you don't want to get quite as silly as Bond making Tarzan noises while swinging through a jungle (Octopussy), yet don't want quit the levels of brutality displayed by Connery when he strangles a woman with her own bikini (Diamonds Are Forever) then this is a perfect in between Bond film that should entertain all.


I enjoy this particular entry about on the same level as Moore's previous Bond flick "Live and Let Die", some intriguing elements but the final product comes out to be above average. Once again Moore is fantastic and having the awesome Christopher Lee as the villain is genius casting. I also liked how this film played around with the idea of having Scaramanga being an evil-version of Bond. It's just a shame that Lee is criminally underutilized and the plot takes a few too many detours (Ex. The really pointless martial arts tournament sequence). Thankfully, the Roger Moore era of the Bond franchise is about to finally take off in the next entry "The Spy Who Loved Me"!!


This second outing for Roger Moore's Bond is a slightly bloated, overlong film packed with far too much in the way of exposition and dialogue and far too little in the way of any decent action, aside from one major car chase occurring about halfway through. The silly antics are spoiled by grievous mistakes (the jaw-dropping comedy sound effect during the 360 degree car jump totally ruining the excitement of the moment, turning a truly memorable and dangerous stunt into nothing more than a juvenile cartoonish joke) and some ill-judged attempts at humour which feel out of place and unnecessary. The plot itself is rather good and offers one of the most interesting villains in the whole Bond series, a man akin to Bond yet on the opposite side of the good/evil spectrum.Once again there are some nice locations to look at, Macau and Thailand here being the main setting for the action. Some kung fu antics and a minor martial arts tournament-style battle enliven the otherwise leaden pacing about halfway through, a sequence followed by a fun speedboat chase and the welcome reappearance of Sheriff J.W. Pepper from LIVE AND LET DIE, a racist red neck caricature so overdone that it's unbelievable! Unfortunately as the film slowly moves towards the finale, any excitement and inventiveness seems to have gone out of the window, instead we see director Guy Hamilton rehashing moments of brilliance from GOLDFINGER and others. The finale, taking place in a carnival fun house, is a severe letdown and highly anticlimactic. The theme tune by Lulu is also one of the worst I've heard.The casting offers up some nice choices; Christopher Lee as the villainous Scaramanga is excellent in the part, fleshing out his character no end and making him a highly interesting contrast to Bond; unfortunately his midget henchman Nick Nack (as played by the slightly seedy Herve Villechaize) is more annoying than menacing and has far too much screen time. Lois Maxwell returns for a cameo as Moneypenny, Bernard Lee has a little more (welcome) screen time than previously and it's good to have Desmond Llewellyn back as Q, even if it is for only a short period. Minor but familiar players include Soon-Tek Oh as Lieutenant Hip, James Cossins as British agent Colthorpe and Marne Maitland as one of Bond's contacts. Glamour content comes from Britt Ekland, saddled with a rather boring character and much more fun in THE WICKER MAN, and the truly gorgeous Maud Adams as a femme fatale. Being a major Roger Moore fan, I found his performance to be spot on once more. Worth a watch for fans of the series but generally a minor disappointment even when compared to films that I love but others dislike, such as A VIEW TO A KILL.


I like Roger Moore as an actor who has a refined and amiable performance as proved in his Pre- Bond film career. The previous Bond Film he did Live and Let Die demonstrated that he was capable of playing Bond to the same epic level as Sean Connery had done. However this film though enjoyable as it is and should not be treated with antipathy is the beginning of the end of the classic Bond films in which it diverts away from its original sources in to a meaning of it's own. However in context to the review I will start with the Good points of this film first:-The lead cast is good with Roger Moore, Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee who play their acting roles well with good character representation. The character of Nic Nak is especially grasping and intriguing as a villainous sidekick. The music by Lulu and opening titles are good. These major strengths make the film an overall success. Now the downside: - As a stated this unlike the previous Bond is when it starts to decline with Roger Moore who proved despite being a good actor was a good Bond but did not upheld it in his later films. The story lines begin to become cheesy and corny that becomes a pseudo-Bond film away from the original spirit and style of the classic novels as previously it had been scrupulously adapted to film and this deterrent spoilt the film brand. The story line of the Man with the Golden Gun should of been autonomously the later film Licence to Kill made 15 years later one film to much was used. This later film is the closest to this films original source content which would also of ensured standards of authenticity.