Goldfinger is the 7th novel written by Ian Fleming in the James Bond series and published on March 23rd, 1959. Goldfinger immediately follows Dr. No, however there is no connection between the two novels. The title character is based on the name of Fleming's next-door neighbor Erno Goldfinger, but due to the settlement resulting from an impending court case, the name was permanently changed to "Auric" for both the novel and the film. Fleming supposedly considered naming the title character "Goldprick", but decided against it. It would have been interesting to see how the relationship between "Goldprick" and "***** Galore" turned out, but Fleming opted for the more traditional Jewish-German name of "Goldfinger " in the end. Fleming's own obsession with gold is reflected in his writing of many of the Bond novel on a gold-plated typewriter at his home in Jamaica, which he named "Goldeneye".
Bond is tasked with figuring out who is leaking gold out of the England and causing a potential economic recession. Bond discovers that Auric Goldfinger, a small time pawn-broker who over time amassed millions in gold is secretly working for SMERSH and is responsible for smuggling gold throughout the world. In fact, Goldfinger is SMERSH's treasurer and responsible for a majority of the agency's funding. Bond's adventures take him from Miami, to England, and then ultimately to Fort Knox as he tries to foil Goldfinger's plan to steal the American gold depository. With the unexpected help of the ex-acrobat and gangster ***** Galore, Bond and Felix Leiter expose Goldfinger's scheme and maintain the integrity of the world's financial market.
- The card game on top of the Cabana Club
- Smithers’ description of gold
- The golf game
- Bond’s investigation of Reculver
- Oddjobs demonstrations
- The buzzsaw
- The meeting with gangsters
- Raid on Fort Knox
- Goldfinger kidnaps Bond
- Plane crash
We meet Bond at the beginning of Goldfinger as he’s waiting on a flight out of Miami airport for London. Bond is reflecting on his latest assignment in Mexico. Bond was sent to Mexico to shut down a heroin smuggling operation by fire-bombing the production facility (owned by a man named Blackwell) and killing the courier (a “big Mexican”). As Bond finishes his story, he finds out that his flight has been delayed. Bond decides to get drunk but is interrupted by a man named Mr. Junius Du Pont, who he met at the Baccarat table during his assignment in Montenegro in 1951 (described in the novel Casino Royale
). Du Pont buys Bond a bourbon on the rocks and then asks Bond to help with a problem. Bond agrees, so Du Pont offers to pay for Bond’s accommodations while in Miami and the two head to “Bill’s on the Beach”, a restaurant where they proceed to eat mounds of stone crabs and drink “vodka martini[s] with a slice of lime”. At dinner, Du Pont gives Bond the details of his proposition.
Du Pont tells Bond that he’s lost twenty-five thousand dollars to a man named Auric Goldfinger over the past week playing two-handed canasta. Bond suggests that Du Pont is being cheated, and Du Pont agrees. Since Du Pont witnessed Bond break down LeChiffre at the “Casino Royale”, he figures that Bond is the perfect person to figure out exactly how Goldfinger is cheating him. Du Pont gives a bit of background to Goldfinger. He’s supposedly the “richest man in England”, making his money by trading gold. Given this fact, Du Pont can’t figure out why Goldfinger would cheat him for a paltry 25k. Du Pont agrees to pay Bond ten thousand dollars to figure out how Goldfinger is cheating him. Bond agrees to sit in on their morning and afternoon games the following day, but says that he must catch his plane to London in forty-eight hours. Du Pont agrees and the two leave for the hotel that Du Pont owns in Miami.
The following morning, Bond gives Du Pont his cover story: he’s a Canadian stock trader who’s trying to sell Du Pont stocks in a Canadian natural gas company and his flight leaves for New York the following day. He’s joining them for the game because he’s bored and doesn’t have anything else to do, even though he doesn’t know how to play cards. Bond asks for a pass key to Goldfinger’s room so that he can search for the usual tools of the card sharp’s trade (marked cards, the “Short Arm Delivery apparatus”, etc.). Du Pont agrees that the cover is a good one, arranges for Bond to be given a pass key, and the two proceed to the rooftop of the Cabana Club, the restaurant connected to Du Pont’s hotel where the card game habitually occurs.
Goldfinger is waiting on the rooftop, he’s introduced to Bond, but mispronounces Bond’s name as “Mr. Bomb”. Goldfinger apologizes and says that he must wear a hearing aid because he doesn’t hear well. Goldfinger and Du Pont begin playing cards. Goldfinger insists that he sit facing the hotel because he suffers from agoraphobia (the fear of open spaces). Bond watches Goldfinger secretly, feigning indifference while reading the paper. Bond doesn’t see Goldfinger cheating through any of the usually means, but finds his agoraphobia suspicious. While the two are playing, Bond walks around the top of the club terrace so that he is able to see through Goldfinger’s perspective. Since he knows the room number of Goldfinger’s suite, he calculates where Goldfinger’s room is and sees that the suite door is open, with a perfect angle on Du Pont’s cards. Goldfinger and Du Pont break for lunch, and Bond tells Du Pont of his suspicion. Du Pont tells Bond that Goldfinger always travels with his secretary, but that she always stays in his suite during their games. Bond tells Du Pont that he’s going to investigate Goldfinger’s room during their afternoon card session, and Du Pont agrees to tell Goldfinger that Bond got bored watching the card game and went in to town.
After lunch, Bond enters Goldfinger’s suite and finds that Goldfinger’s secretary, Jill Masterton, is using binoculars and a microphone hooked up to Goldfinger’s “hearing aid” to relay Du Pont’s cards to Goldfinger. After talking to Masterton for a few moments and figuring out that Goldfinger pays her to help him cheat and to be seen with him, Bond takes control of the microphone and instructs Goldfinger to write a check to Du Pont for the amount he cheated Du Pont out of, apologize for cheating him, and then book Bond a ticket on a train (complete with caviar sandwiches and Champagne) for New York the following day, or Bond would deliver incriminating evidence to the FBI and Scotland Yard. Bond also says that he’s taking Masterton “hostage”, in case Goldfinger gets any silly ideas.
A week later, we meet back up with Bond in London as he’s assigned to “night duty” sifting through files and doing administrative work. Bond reminisces about the train ride to New York with Masterton. He recalls having a wonderful time, eating the sandwiches and drinking the Champagne… and making love. Once in New York, Bond gave Masterton the ten thousand dollars Du Pont paid him, and they parted with a passionate kiss. As Bond’s nostalgia fades, he’s called to M’s office.
M tells Bond that Smithers, the head of the British Bank’s research department, needs assistance investigating large amounts of gold that are leaking out of England. Bond suggests that the culprit might be Goldfinger, so M sends Bond to talk to Smithers. Smithers gives a lengthy account of the history of gold, and tells Bond that the situation is dire because the British economy is based on gold reserves, and with a leak, inflation could wreak havoc on the economy. He tells of how gold is untraceable and of how its value differs from country to country. So a smuggler can take gold from one country, melt it down into bars, take it to another country, and sell it for profit. Smithers also tells Bond that he’s already on to Goldfinger, but doesn’t have any idea how he’s smuggling the gold out of England. They have seen some of Goldfinger’s bars, and each are marked with a “z”. Bond reports back to M and M informs him that some of the “z”-marked bars have been found on captured SMERSH agents, which places the investigation squarely on the shoulders of MI6.
Bond decides that he’s going to try and gain Goldfinger’s trust, so that he’ll employ him. He’s planning to tell Goldfinger that he’s not happy with his current employment at Universal Exports, and that he’s looking for work in Canada (consistent with his cover the last time they met). Bond heads out in his MI6-issued Aston Martin DB III towards Sandwich. During his last visit with Goldfinger, he found out that Goldfinger was planning to play golf that week at some links in Sandwich, which turns out to be the course where Bond learned to play golf. Bond meets up with Alfred, his old golf pro and asks if he can set up a match with Goldfinger. Alfred is scheduled to play against Goldfinger since none of the other club members want to play with him. Bond tells Alfred to relay to Goldfinger that he stopped by unexpectedly to have a club serviced. Goldfinger arrives, and Alfred sets up the match.
As they play, Bond tells his cover story to Goldfinger while Goldfinger cheats (moving a ball that has fallen in a bad spot, coughing while Bond is hitting). After a string of cheats, Hawker, Bond’s caddy, notices that Goldfinger is playing with a different ball than they started out with because as Goldfinger was searching for a lost ball, Hawker had Bond’s golf bag sitting on it. Goldfinger was playing with a #1 and Bond switched it for a #7. As they play the final green, Bond misses on purpose, giving Goldfinger the “win”. As they’re collecting the balls and Bond is about to congratulate Goldfinger, Bond announces that Goldfinger played the wrong ball and consequently loses the hole and the match. Goldfinger is furious.
Bond returns to his hotel room to find an invitation from Goldfinger to meet for dinner that evening at his estate at Reculver. Goldfinger and his Korean manservant Oddjob meet Bond when he arrives at Reculver. Just as Bond arrives, Goldfinger tells Bond that he has to head into town to take care of some urgent business with the magistrate, and that Bond is welcome to wait at Reculver until he returns shortly. Once Goldfinger left, Bond decided to look around the estate. As Bond is poking around the various rooms, he finds a room that contains a 16mm movie recorder that wired to cameras around the estate. Knowing that Goldfinger was testing him, Bond shreds the film and leaves the door cracked open, hoping that Goldfinger will think that his cat destroyed the film. Bond hurries back to the waiting room, and is back in place just as Goldfinger arrives. Goldfinger finds the cat and offers it to Oddjob as something to eat. Oddjob then demonstrates for bond his emense strength and his razor rimmed bowler hat on Goldfinger's wooden fire place and starcase railing. They then sit down to dinner and eat shrimp curry and white wine. Goldfinger tells Bond that Oddjob is one of the only three men in the world to own a black belt in karate. Bond finishes his dinner and leaves, he calls his office in London and reports back, the man who answered the phone informs bond he is in truble with M because Goldfinger had sent him the money he won at the game of golf in dollars. Goldfinger then Boards a plane to Switzerland where his Rolls Royce is melted down into bars of gold and he makes several dead drops on his journey. Bond follows his using his Homer tracking device. Bond takes one of the bars of gold Goldfinger has left under a bridge whilst he was having a picnic.
MORE TO COME
| Differences between the film and the novel:|
- In the novel Goldfingers Rolls Royce was made from white gold, in the film it is made from pure yellow gold.
- Bond is interrogated with a buzzsaw in the novel, not a laser as in the film.
- Goldfinger's plan in the novel involves stealing the gold, while in the film, his plan is to make the gold radioactive.
- ***** Galore is a gangster in the novel, not the leader of a flying circus, as in the film. She's also much more overtly a lesbian in the novel.
| Key Passages and Commentary:|