The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Thriller|
|MGM || PG - 125 minutes - $34.98 || May 12, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-09|
Writer(s): Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz (screenplay)
Theatrical Release Date: December 20, 1974
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The Man with the Golden Gun is James Bond’s ninth film and Roger Moore’s second as 007. In my Blu-ray review of Live and Let Die (coming soon), I never really enjoyed Moore’s campy or silly interpretation especially compared to Sean Connery who was much more suave. Another reason I don’t think I like about the Roger Moore era, and this is not his fault, is that movies that are not only set in the 1970s but flaunt its gaudy style of the period, never ages too well. It’s not as if a movie made during the ‘70s couldn’t still work today (see: The Godfather Parts I and II or The French Connection), but the Bond movies seem to embrace such an ugly era with shag carpeting and mirror-covered walls.
Talking about the movie itself rather than its décor, Man with the Golden Gun is actually an enjoyable James Bond adventure, but it’s not exactly one of the better of the long running franchise, in fact it’s probably in the bottom half, though nowhere near the bottom (see: Quantum of Solace and Moonraker).
This outing finds 007 in China hunting down a man named Scaramanga (an understated performance by Christopher Lee) who is the world’s foremost assassin able to hit a target with perfect precision. He also commands a high fee: $1 million per bullet... made out of gold, of course. His weapon of choice is a golden gun which can be disassembled and reassembled for easy carrying.
I didn’t have a particular issue with Roger Moore with this addition to the franchise, but he still doesn’t have that ‘look’ one expects/wants from a stylish secret agent, you know, the whole ‘woman want him, men want to be him’ motto. Who in the world wants to be Roger Moore? He doesn’t have the suave nature of a Sean Connery, the darkness of Timothy Dalton (and I guess George Lazenby), the charisma of Pierce Brosnan or the toughness of Daniel Craig. But watching him in Golden Gun, I immediately noticed the wrinkles and thought for a second this was a later James Bond movie...
Now, although Christopher Lee wasn’t exactly a memorable Bond villain — a super-accurate/brilliant assassin? Yawn —, but he does stand on his own with great screen presence. However, the spotlight arguably is put upon Herve Villechaize as Nick Nack, Scaramanga’s assistant who sets up challenges for his boss but is also a funny foe opposite Bond. This was also the breakout role for the little guy as four years later he’d be cast on the hit TV series, “Fantasy Island”.
Overall, The Man With the Golden Gun may only be a ‘middle-of-the-road’ Bond flick, it still does contain some entertainment value and, of course, some lovely ladies for the icky Roger Moore to seduce (in this case, Britt Eckland as Miss Goodnight and Maud Adams as Andrea Anders).
All features from the “Ultimate Edition” have been ported over:
M16 COMMENTARY – The first track with Director Guy Hamilton and Members of the Cast and Crew and the second with Sir Roger Moore. Both are good tracks but I found Moore’s to be the better and more interesting one.
DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT includes a clip of Roger Moore on The Russell Harty Show (3:00); behind the scenes shots with On Location with the Man with the Golden Gun (1:31) with voice over comments from Michael G. Wilson; Girls Fighting (3:32) is some dailies footage of those chicks taking on all the karate school fighters; American Thrill Show Stunt Film (5:17) is some footage of car stunts one of which is later used in the movie and has an optional commentary; Guy Hamilton: The Director Speaks (5:22) features comments from the director along with some still photos.
007 MISSION CONTROL features clips from the movie with: 007 (The Gun Barrel, Titles, Intelligence Gathering, Man of Romance, Man of Great Knowledge); Women (Saida, Andrea Anders, Goodnight, Chew Mee); Allies (M, Miss Moneypenny, Q, Lt. Hip, J.W. Pepper, Cha and Nara); Villains (Scaramanga, Nick Nack, Hai Fat, Chula, Kra); Mission Combat Manual; Q Branch and Exotic Locations.
MISSION DOSSIER has a few featurettes:
Inside the Man with the Golden Gun (31:00) which is an original documentary covering the origins of the film from the fact “The Golden Gun” was Ian Flemings’ final James Bond novel. It features some old behind-the-scenes and interview footage with Roger Moore and Christopher Lee amongst others.
Double-O Stuntmen (28:39) – This docu-featurette is about the stunt work done on the James Bond films and gives props to the stuntmen who have worked on the franchise from the first one, Bob Simmons, who actually was the first person to appear as Bond (a bit of trivia for you folks).
MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA includes Theatrical Archive (2), TV Broadcasts (2) and Radio Communication (3).
IMAGE DATABASE – Experience the world of Bond in 1974, the year The Man with the Golden Gun was first released with this renegade photo gallery.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The Man with the Golden Gun is presented in its original 1.85 theatrical aspect ratio and now for the first time in 1080p high-definition. Given the movie is now 35 years old, I was impressed with the clarity in the picture even though some scenes seemed a tad soft. But detail levels and the color palette all looked good.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track sounds very good between the theme song by Lulu and John Barry’s classic Bond score. Sound effects are a little flat but that’s to be expected for an older film but dialogue levels were clear. The Blu-ray also includes the film’s original mono track for those wanting the complete original theater experience...
The Man with the Golden Gun may not be a great Bond movie – for those of us that don’t appreciate the campier James Bond – but the Blu-ray ports over all the features from the DVD and has decent video and audio given its age.