James Bond: The Goldfinger Story


A month before Ian Fleming’s fatal heart attack in August, 1964, the author paid a “royal visit” to the set of Goldfinger (his seventh James Bond novel, but the third to be filmed), where he posed for pictures with star Sean Connery. The film’s budget was $4 million and took the crew to Miami, Kentucky and Switzerland, although thanks to back-projection Connery never left the country.

By the time British director Guy Hamilton came on board, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli had already cast German actor Gert Frobe as the eponymous villain, having been assured by Frobe’s agent that he could speak English. He couldn’t, and had to be dubbed. Frobe’s later admission that he had been a member of the Nazi party from 1934 until the war caused Goldfinger to be banned in Israel.

Controversy of a different kind was averted by toning down the lesbianism of the character Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), which is overt in Fleming’s book but more subtle in the film – and of course she is “won over” by Bond.

Long-serving Bond production designer Ken Adam was asked by Broccoli to create a “cathedral of gold” for the interior of Fort Knox, where the film climaxes. Denied entry to the real US gold reserve, Adam used his imagination. However, when Goldfinger was released, United Artists still received letters asking how the production had managed to get access.

And, although people assume the girl in the famous credit sequence is gold-covered actress Shirley Eaton, it is in fact one-time glamour model Margaret Nolan, who went on to become an occasional supporting player in the Carry On series.