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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)



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Quite possibly the weakest Bond film ever made. There wouldn't be a question except for Christopher Lee's portrayal of the villain Scaramanga, whose very name is classic. His deadly, unnerving villain notwithstanding, this is a fine example of wretched, slipshod filmmaking. After this mess, it's no wonder Bond producer Harry Saltzman wanted out, leaving Albert R. Broccoli to produce the next one, The Spy Who Loved Me, by himself. The theme song is shallow and incongruous, the Bond girls are weak and stupid (except for Maud Adams' Andrea Anders who is given too little screen time...but the loss is not regretted, for Maud Adams would return to play the title role in Octopussy some years later), and Clifton James' encore performance of J. W. Pepper is contrived and prolonged (though he did have some good lines). The plot is paper thin and badly dated, the "climactic finale" was anything but, the script makes Bond alternately nasty and cartoonish, and Roger Moore's performance is similarly awful. Nick Nack is an insidious henchman, and the scene where Bond captures him was played for its goofy humor value. Even worse are the Kung Fu wherein two young teenage girls beat up a throng of martial arts experts. Uh huh.

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