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The Man with the Golden Gun

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ManWithGoldenGunNew.jpg
2003 Penguin Books paperback edition

The Man with the Golden Gun is a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming that was first published in 1965. It is also the ninth official James Bond movie and the second to star Roger Moore as Commander James Bond, British Secret Service agent 007. The Man with the Golden Gun was made by EON Productions and released in 1974. The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and was the final Bond film to be co-produced by Saltzman as his partnership with Broccoli dissolved after the film's release.

Contents

The novel

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GoldenGunNovel.jpg
1966 Pan Books paperback edition.

Plot summary

It has been nearly a year since James Bond disappeared, and was presumed dead during his mission to Japan. A man claiming to be Bond appears in London and demands to see M. After much scrutinizing and interrogation, the man is confirmed to be James Bond, but during his debriefing interview with M, Bond tries to kill him with a cyanide pistol, although the attempt fails.

MI6 learns that, after the attack on Blofeld's castle in Japan (chronicled in You Only Live Twice), Bond suffered a head injury and subsequent amnesia. After living as a Japanese fisherman for several months, Bond headed north, into the Soviet Union, to learn his true identity. While there, he was brainwashed and programmed to kill M on returning to England.

Now deprogrammed, Bond is eager to prove himself worthy of again being a secret service agent. M assigns him to Jamaica, to gain the confidence of one Francisco (Paco) "Pistols" Scaramanga, an assassin, known as "the man with the golden gun", because of his golden .45 calibre revolver. Bond is assigned to kill him, because he killed several SIS agents.

In mid-assignment, Bond, who has managed to bcome Scaramanga's temporary personal assistant under the name of Mark Hazard, learns that Scaramanga is involved with a syndicate of several American gangsters and the KGB, who are working on a number of schemes, including the destabilisation of Western interests in the Caribbean's sugar industry, running drugs into America, smuggling women from Mexico into America and launching casinos in Jamaica.

Bond kills Scaramanga during a train journey, with the assistance of Felix Leiter and his former secretary, Mary Goodnight, now assigned to the Kingston station of the Service. He and Leiter are badly wounded, but (naturally) they survive. In the final chapter, Bond is offered knighthood (KCMG, Bond already has CMG) for services past and present to Great Britain, but turns it down because of his love for anonymity.

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The controversy over the novel

The novel, The Man with the Golden Gun, has been subject to controversy and speculation since it was published in 1965, the year after Ian Fleming passed away. Since Fleming supposedly died before a final draft of his manuscript was completed, it has been speculated that the novel was edited and finished by others before its publication. Kingsley Amis has often received credit for completing or editing The Man with the Golden Gun, but this has been denied by numerous sources including biographer Andrew Lycett in his biography Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond who claims Fleming had indeed finished it and was subsequently read and only edited by Fleming's editor William Plomer. John Cork, co-author of James Bond, The Legacy (and producer of the literally dozens of documentaries produced for the Special Edition DVD releases of the Bond films a few years ago) also claims that Fleming had finished it and that he had actually seen the original non-edited typescript [1] (http://www.jamesbond.com/40th-anniversary/007legacy/question8.php), although he also admits that Amis had read it and had offered ideas that were apparently not implemented. The fact that Fleming reportedly was working on another Bond novel or short story at the time of his death (excerpts from which can be found in John Pearson's The Life of Ian Fleming and the 007forever.com (http://www.007forever.com/books/rarefleming007.html) website) add credence to the idea that Fleming felt the novel was finished before he died.

In the New Statesman after the novel's release, Amis called it "a sadly empty tale, empty of the interests and effects that for better or worse, Ian Fleming made his own."

Perhaps due to the rumors of ghostwriters and revisions, some sources have suggested that the novel was some sort of "lost" manuscript. This is not true.

Comic strip adaptation

Fleming's original novel was adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from January 10 to September 10, 1966. The adaptation was written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak, both of whom were starting long tenures with the comic strip. The strip was reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s and again in 2004.

Trivia

  • The novel makes reference to events in the short story "The Property of a Lady", which had been published in a special Sotheby's Auction House publication the previous year. This reference would have been lost on the general public, however, who would not get to read the story until it appeared in the paperback edition of Octopussy and The Living Daylights in 1967.
  • Being the last James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, this is actually the first time M's full name, Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, is ever said. In previous novels, any reference to M's name had been censored by 'dashes'.

The film

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Plot summary

The film version's title character is Francisco Scaramanga, a high-priced assassin who charges US$1 million per hit. Not surprisingly, he's known for using a golden gun and only needs one golden bullet per hit. Nothing is really known about Scaramanga in the beginning of the film except that he has a third nipple (information which Bond later uses to get in touch with Scaramanga's financer, Hai Fat); no pictures or physical descriptions of him exist.

The movie begins with a golden bullet, with "007" -- Bond's codename -- etched into its surface, being received by Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6). It is believed by Military Intelligence that Scaramanga has been hired to assassinate James Bond and has sent the bullet to intimidate his new target.

Bond's mission at this time revolves around the work of a scientist named Gibson, thought to be in possession of information crucial to solving the energy crisis by creating a virtually unlimited amount of energy using a new technique of harnessing the Sun's power. Because of the perceived threat to the agent's life, M (Bond's 'control' officer in MI-6) removes James from his current mission, and forces 007 to go on leave until the matter is resolved.

Though officially "on leave" from his duties, Bond sets out to find Scaramanga before Scaramanga finds him. By retrieving a golden bullet used to assassinate another 'Double-0 agent' sometime previously, Agent 007 is led to the man responsible for supplying Scaramanga with his unusual golden ammunition. This leads Bond to Andrea Anders, Scaramanga's mistress. She confesses that it was she who sent the golden bullet to MI6 -- to lure Bond to kill Scaramanga for her. Anders informs Bond as to where Scaramanga's plans will require him to be.

Unbeknownst to Bond, that location is that of Scaramanga's next 'hit', the target of which is Gibson, the solar energy scientist from Bond's previous mission. The hit takes place in order to steal the "solex agitator" -- a critical component of Gibson's solar energy device. It is now Bond's mission to retrieve the solex agitator and duel it out with Scaramanga before Scaramanga can sell the device to the highest criminal bidder or use it for his own nefarious plans.

Cast & characters

This is the first of three movies to either star or have a cameo by Maud Adams. In 1983 she plays a different character, Octopussy, in the film of the same name. She would later have a cameo in the Bond movie A View to a Kill. This is also the second movie with Clifton James playing the role of Sheriff J.W. Pepper. He first appeared in Live and Let Die.

Crew

Soundtrack

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Original The Man With the Golden Gun soundtrack cover

The theme tune, "The Man with the Golden Gun", was performed by Lulu and the lyrics to the song were written by Don Black. Alice Cooper claims his song The Man With The Golden Gun was to be used by the producers of the film until it was dropped for Lulu's song instead. Cooper's song appears on his album Muscle of Love.

The soundtrack was composed by Bond veteran John Barry. At the time, it was Barry's seventh Bond movie.

Track listing

  1. Main Title - The Man With The Golden Gun
  2. Scaramanga's Fun House
  3. Chew Me In Grisly Land
  4. The Man With The Golden Gun
  5. Getting The Bullet
  6. Goodnight Goodnight
  7. Let's Go Get Them
  8. Hip's Trip
  9. Kung Fu Fight
  10. In Search Of Scaramanga's
  11. Return To Scaramanga's
  12. End Title - The Man With The Golden Gun

Vehicles & gadgets

  • AMC Hornet Sportabout 'hatchback' - Bond steals this car in Bangkok, Thailand, unknowing that Sheriff J.W. Pepper is in it, planning to test drive it. A great stunt in the film takes place using the UNIVAC computer-calculated 'Calspan Spiral', permitting a fantastic feat of automotive acrobatics, until that time considered physically impossible.
  • Car Plane - During a car chase, Scaramanga's car disappears in a shed for some time. When it emerges it has wings attached, allowing it to fly away. The vehicle is an extrapolation of the last of the Taylor Aerocar's, then undergoing experimentation in the USA.
  • The Golden Gun - Scaramanga's weapon of choice, it could fire a 4.2 caliber golden bullet specially made for the gun. The gun also separated into a gold cigarette lighter, a gold cigarette case, a gold cuff link, and a gold pen so as to avoid detection.

Locations

Film Locations

One of the more interesting locations is the use of a derelict cruise liner, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, as a top-secret MI6 base in Hong Kong harbor.

Shooting locations

See also

Trivia

  • The film references the then-recent 1973 energy crisis. Britain had not yet fully overcome the crisis when the film was released.
  • Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming's cousin, was Fleming's choice for the role of Dr. Julius No in the film Dr. No. According to Bond film historians, Lee also was considered for the role of James Bond.
  • In the video game GoldenEye 007, and subsequent James Bond games (including Agent Under Fire, Nightfire, and GoldenEye: Rogue Agent), the Golden Gun counts as an instant kill, reflecting that the villain Francisco Scaramanga never missed.
  • This was the final film produced by the Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman partnership. Although it did well at the box office, it was a financial disappointment in comparison to previous Bond films. It nearly ended the James Bond film series, as the Broccoli and Saltzman partnership broke up after its release, and legalities over the Bond property delayed production of the next Bond. The three-year interval, between this film and The Spy Who Loved Me, was the longest in the series' to date until 1989.
  • This film was criticised that, in addition to production faults, it is the most sexist story in the series, with James Bond's assistant, Mary Goodnight, a stereotypical blonde buffoon who is useless to him. On the other hand, when Bond is fleeing an enemy dojo, chased by martial artists, he offers to protect two girls who were being menaced by them, only to have them demonstrate their superior fighting skill by easily thrashing Bond's pursuers (this scene is generally criticised for being silly, unfunny, and unrealistic).
  • Although her performance is undistinguished, Mary Goodnight is a recurring character in several Fleming Bond novels, even appearing in lieu of Miss Moneypenny; in the novels, Goodnight is Bond's secretary.
  • Broccoli and Saltzman originally intended The Man with the Golden Gun as the film to follow You Only Live Twice, in 1969, but production was cancelled, because it was to have been filmed in Cambodia, and the outbreak of war in the region made filming impractical. Roger Moore was invited to be Bond in the 1969 version.
  • The cork-screwing car jump was proposed several years before. The producers took out copyrights and patents on the stunt in order to prevent it being used before they could integrate to a James Bond film; the jump was planned using computer modelling.
  • The scenes featuring the island hideout of Scaramaga were filmed in Phang Nga province in Thailand, north of the city of Phuket. One of the islands seen in the film is known as the "Nail" island (or Ko Khao Tapoo) - in the film, this island houses the solar panels. Scaramanga's hideout is actually Ko Kow-Phing-Khan - both islands are now tourists attractions. The "nail" island seen in the film is known by locals as James Bond Island in all tourist literature. The site was extremely hard hit by a tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
  • Marc Lawrence, who plays the gangster shot dead by Scaramanga at the start of the film, played a similar character in Diamonds Are Forever, although this film does not indicate whether Lawrence is playing the same character.

External links

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de:Der Mann mit dem goldenen Colt

sv:Mannen med den gyllene pistolen sv:Mannen med den gyllene pistolen (bok)

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