Thursday Night Movie Club
The Man with the Golden Gun
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: 20 December 1974

Director: Guy Hamilton
Roger Moore
Christopher Lee
Britt Ekland
Maud Adams
Hervé Villechaize
Clifton James
Richard Loo
Soon-Tek Oh
Marc Lawrence
Bernard Lee
Lois Maxwell
Marne Maitland
Desmond Llewelyn
James Cossins
Yao Lin Chen
James Bond
Nick Nack
J. W. Pepper
Hai Fat
The Man with the Golden Gun movie poster The Man with the Golden Gun movie poster
Roger Moore as James Bond 007James Bond is back but nothing is new and improved, except that this movie might be sillier than its predecessor. A "sillier" Bond film? Heaven forbit!

Roger Moore returns as James Bond in The Man With the Golden Gun. James Bond doesn't really have a mission this time out. A mysterious package arrives at MI6 headquarters. The small package contains a gold bullet with "007" ethched into the side. The only assassin in the world who uses gold bullets is none other than Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) aka "The Man with the Golden Gun". Apparently, the world's #1 assasin is gunning for the world's #1 Secret Agent. Do intrigue, Hitchcockian suspense, red herrings pile up in abundance to keep the audience guessing? Heck no! This film is written for a 10-year old's mentality. Everything is simple, by the book and straight forward. Any surprises in this film are due to dozing off in the theater.

Christopher Lee as Francisco ScaramangaThe trail to Scaramanga leads 007 to Macao where all of Scaramanga's loyal assistants who would rather knuckle under to 007's threats rather than keep Scaramanga's secrets. "He'll kill me if I tell you." Bond replies, "I'll kill you if you don't." Loyalty isn't all it is cracked up to be. Does anyone in the audience really believe in Bond's convictions as played by Moore? It doesn't matter what the audience believes, the characters in the film are afraid of 007. Connery's reputation as Bond must have preceded Moore's Bond well into this film.

Bond follows the information to a night club where Scaramanga is scheduled to make an appearance. Bond stakes out the club but Scaramanga doesn't show. Bond leaves the club where Scaramanga waits outside for his prey. Instead, Scaramanga misses and hits some unfortunate chap. Highly unlikely that Scaramanga would miss. He didn't. He murdered a scientist who has ended the energy crisis by creating the "Solex Agitator", a device that converts sunlight into useable electricity. Oh boy! James Bond is now relevant to current world problems. Yeay!!!

AMC Pacer in actionDirector Guy Hamilton includes some rather goofy fight and action sequences and, for some strange reason, the reappearance of red-neck Sheriff J.W. Pepper. Pepper and actor Clifton Webb are as annoying as in Live and Let Die. The only slightly suspenseful sequence comes as Bond tries to escape from a police lieutenant who takes Bond into custody after the scientist's murder. The suspense is short-lived and is only the setup for a joke. Bond leaps from the police boat onto the sunken remains of the Queen Elizabeth only to discover the wrecked hulk is the secret headquarters for MI6's Asian branch.

Maude Adams as AndreaOf the two female characters, Maude Adams is a much better actress. She is beautiful, sexy and displays the fear Andrea has of Scaramanga. Andrea is Scaramanga's mistress, temporarily. She can be replaced with the pull of a trigger. Highly unlikely Scaramanga would waste a gold bullet to kill his mistress. It would be much cleaner to merely throw her off of his yacht.

Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight looks great in a bikini. Although the character was actually created by Ian Fleming, Goodnight's sole purpose for this film seems to be a play on words between Bond and M that ends the film. Other than that, Mary Goodnight is a bit of an airhead. She saves Bond's life by accident, not talent.

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore as James Bond 007Does the film end with an over-the-top action sequence that the audience has come to expect? No, Hamilton goes for a battle between "titans", a duel pitting the best marksmen in the world against each other in a duel. One shot and it's all over! No, Hamilton ruins what little suspense he built with Bond and Scaramanga standing back to back, and drags out the sequence with an extended cat-and-mouse chase through Scaramanga's "Fun House". By the time The Man with the Golden Gun plays out, there is no surprise when 007 loses his famous Walther PPK. Even this bit has become a staple. It's not a matter of how, but where in the movie 007 will be defenseless.

James Bond will be back! After three straight subpar outings, not many fans are anxiously awaiting his return.