The 9th film in the James Bond series also proved to be something of a low point. In Roger Moore’s second outing as the super spy, Bond is assigned to track down and kill the assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), who, at the same time, wishes to be the one to kill James Bond (thus proving his prowess as a killer). This is the final (of four) Bond film to be directed by Guy Hamilton (who previously directed Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds are Forever (1971) and Live and Let Die (1973).
The gags are corny, the humor is slightly out of place, and the climactic duel between Scaramanga and Bond? Well…it was nothing to write home about (there really isn’t much of a duel, Scaramanga barely gets the chance to hunt Bond before the latter turns the tables and quickly kills Scaramanga.) I do like Scaramanga’s henchman though, Nick Nack, played by Hervé Villechaize (better known to television audiences as Tattoo from Fantasy Island.)
Property of Eon Productions
John Barry returned to write the score and the title song (though he only had three weeks to do so). Due to this lack of time, this score is considered one of the weakest in the entire series, and the title song was not well received either (it remains the only Bond theme not to chart as a single in the U.S. or the U.K). Performed by the Scottish singer Lulu, the song was derided for being overloaded with sexual innuendo and “stupid” lyrics.
The sequence takes place mostly as a series of reflections in a pool of water. We see the titular golden gun several times, and then the scene jumps rather suddenly to the silhouette of a woman dancing in front of a fountain of sparks. I’ve tried very hard to find something positive to say about this sequence, but it really doesn’t work for me. To this day, The Man with the Golden Gun is considered to be, if not terrible, then a particularly weak movie. Thankfully, the franchise only went up from here (or this might have been the end of James Bond).
Credit to Art of the Title
Next time: it only goes up from here in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)-Bex
Check out the rest of the “Introducing James Bond” series here
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