Book v. Movie (1964)

23 Jan

I’ve been on a Bond kick lately, so I decided to actually read one of Ian Fleming’s books, to see how to compared to the movie I loved so much. So I picked up Goldfinger and started reading… wow! There is no comparison.

There wasn’t a great time difference between the book (1959) and the movie (1964), so it was fascinating to see the changes they used to show the story on the big screen. First off, the plot made a hell of a lot more sense! Naturally, in a book, you’ve got plenty of time to explain what’s going on to the audience. Also, I realized later that I grew up with an “edited for television” version of the movie, that (among other things) completely skipped the beginning mission before the credits. So naturally, my opinion of these things are skewed.

Second, Bond did a LOT more spycraft in the book–he actually does spy stuff–rather than just bust into places and see what happens (which they lampshade in the later movies). The written James has a lot more time to brood, to have an inner monologue, not just be the soulless killing/sex machine that we’ve come to know and love.

They compressed a lot of the characters, which makes sense for time, but that means that Jill and Tilly Masterson are actually in the book for a lot longer. You get to know these women (and not in the way you’re thinking). Interestingly enough, Pussy Galore barely appears–Tilly is the female companion that’s dragged with Bond to the US.

Why Bond is kept alive when going into the final act still makes absolutely no sense, apart from the fact that he’s the main character. The reason that gangsters are there makes a lot more sense. And the way that Bond foils Goldfinger’s plan makes a lot more sense, although I think the movie version of G’s plan was actually better.

There’s a lot less gadgets, certainly less lovin’, and in the end, a much more solid story. Mind you, there are some dated references (because this was the late 50’s), dated terms (I had to look up “commissionaire”), and some dated attitudes (Bond has some theories on what “turns” women to becoming lesbian), but that did not distract me from the plot.

In the end, I really enjoyed Goldfinger the book, despite having watching the movie first, and that makes me very surprised. I’m gonna have to read more of Fleming’s books! Have you had a chance to read the James Bond novels? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “Book v. Movie (1964)”

  1. SRIKANTH January 23, 2021 at 9:19 am #

    That’s a fantastic movie “GOLD FINGER” ! I have the Bond movie collection in my hard drive and I see them repeatedly 👍🤝

  2. Amorina Rose January 23, 2021 at 6:37 pm #

    Movie versus book is always a hard one as it can backfire. I’ve read the book later and ranted at how much was destroyed but in this case and I think it’s as much about the actors and the persona they create with their presence and the special effects Hollywood has perfected so reading the books is a very pleasant change.

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