The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) / Action-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG violence and sexual innuendo
Running Time: 125 min.
Cast: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Herve Villechaize
Director: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz
Review published April 21, 2003
Francisco Scaramanga (Lee) is the world's leading assassin, pulling in a million dollars per killing. He loves the kill as much as the money, thinking it an art-form, as evidenced by his use of gold plated bullets and a self-fashioned piece of weaponry, the Golden Gun. He knocks off a leading solar scientist and steals a device which allows him the power to harness solar energy, thus potentially making him the richest man in the world. Bond is sent to take him out, which is just what Scaramanga wants, because killing the world's most renowned spy would be his ultimate masterpiece of assassination.
After his hit-and-miss debut in LIVE AND LET DIE, Roger Moore gets another crack at the 007 franchise in this second outing. The result is a vast improvement in story, aided by colorful characters and funnier setups. Moore is still a bit stiff, but is serviceable as Bond, while by contrast Christopher Lee makes for a terrific Bond villain. A catchy theme song, Herve Villechaize providing comic relief as Scaramanga's diminutive sidekick, and a simple but fun plot.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is probably the most underappreciated of the Bond adventures. Yes, it is a bunch of nonsense and a bit on the long side, but still great entertainment from beginning to end.
©2003 Vince Leo