Book Report: Goldfinger by Ian Fleming (1959)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but compared with reading the book, I have to remember the movie as being paced better. Maybe it wasn’t; it was, after all, a movie of the sixties.

James Bond comes into contact with Auric Goldfinger, a wealthy Brit with a lust for gold, in America, where he foils a little card game con Goldfinger ran. In Britain, Bond is tasked with finding out what Goldfinger is up to. Actually, the Bank of England suspects he’s draining the country of its gold reserve, but they can’t prove it. Bond plays a round of golf with Goldfinger and then follows him to Switzerland, gets kidnapped, and added to the plot to rob Fort Knox.

The movie’s plot differs significantly, particularly in the last plot point (the Fort Knox operation) and in pacing. The first third of the book deals with the American trip, the second with the golf game (I’ve only shot 9 holes of golf in my life, and the details of the golf game in this book go on that long–Fleming was into golf, and he shared his knowledge), and the third with the assault on Fort Knox and the denoument after that fails.

Sadly, I think the movie is better.

Also, something struck me when they were talking about Oddjob, and it wasn’t a deadly bowler: that esoteric martial art that made him so exotic and so lethal? Karate. In 1959, it made killing machines. In 2011, I’m taking my four-year-old to karate classes.

Books mentioned in this review:

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