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March 25, 2009
Goldfinger Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
196518/3/2009FoxGuy Hamilton
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1PGSean Connery

THE MOVIE
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Sean Connery is back as Bond in Goldfinger.

We've started to get quite a collection of Blu-Ray discs here at Futuregamez.net and we've seen everything from utterly brilliant to quite dismal. One of the great pleasures of reviewing these discs of late has been the stunning quality of the James Bond titles. Indeed as the third movie released Goldfinger was a commercial hit and adjusted for inflation this movie remains the second highest grossing movie behind Thunderball.

Special agent 007 (Sean Connery) has just come face to face with one of the most notorious villains of all time. And now he'll have to outwit and outgun this powerful tycoon to prevent him from cashing in on a devious scheme to raid Fort Knox - and obliterate the world economy!

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Oddjob, doesn't talk but kicks ass.
As the third James Bond movie Goldfinger is one of the franchises highlights. There are some brilliant one liners from James Bond ("Shocking"), the villains ("No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.") and even the girls ("You can turn off the charm. I'm immune.") in the movie.

This was the first movie that four time Bond director Guy Hamilton had control of and the direction really is impressive. The pacing is good from the opening scene with James Bond stealthily setting off an explosive, to the car chase, and the final battle at Fort Knox. Sets are well designed, and the acting all round is very good with special mention to Goldfinger played by German actor Gert Fröbe.

This is one of my favourite James Bond movies and one in which I feel Sean Connery was at his very best. Who will ever forget Pussy Galore? Who can ever forget the laser? This is a classic.

VIDEO
Goldfinger comes to Blu-Ray in the rather unusual ratio of 1.66:1 which was the intended aspect ratio for the film in Europe upon release. What this means, is that on a HDTV you will notice small borders on the left and right of the image. This is quite normal, and the borders are quite small so those who dislike pixels not being used on their screen should be able to cope. The film has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at 1080p and is free of compression artifacts.

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Auric Goldfinger is played by Gert Fröbe.
As with the other James Bond movies this film has come directly from the original camera negatives and has undergone significant restoration at Lowry's labs using the John Lowry process. The print is absolutely pristine and you could think that it was a recently filmed picture were it not for the slightly subdued colours. Having said that, the body painted in gold near the start of the picture between 16:45 and 17:45 is so vibrant and realistic it almost jumps off the screen at you. There are some other great moments too including the footage around the Swiss Alps and the climactic battle at Fort Knox. Detail is impressive from start to finish with no glaring issues to be found on this disc.

AUDIO
When Goldfinger was released in cinemas it was presented with mono sound. As with all discs in this James Bond series we have been given a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which has seen the original soundtrack remixed to make use of surround sound channels and the sub woofer. As with other discs remixed in a similar fashion this isn't as clear or lively as modern day blockbusters, but we doubt that Goldfinger has ever sounded this good - and for a movie now well over 40 years old it's a remarkable achievement.

One disappointment I have with this disc is that the original English Mono soundtrack isn't included. Why would I want this when there is a wonderful DTS-HD Master Audio track included you ask? Well for the sake of history and historical accuracy. I would love to hear how this disc sounded in its original theatrical release. Surely a 1 channel soundtrack couldn’t have taken up too much space on this 50GB Dual layer disc - by our count perhaps 200MB or so.

Other languages on this disc include German and French DTS tracks encoded at 768kbps, and a Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448kbps. Naturally as you go down in bitrate the quality seems to decrease slightly, however this isn't too noticeable on this disc due to the original source material. Subtitles are provided in 12 different languages on this disc and sampling the English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing track demonstrated its accuracy to dialogue on screen.

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It's Pussy Galore... of course!
EXTRAS
All the extras on this disc have been seen on the Ultimate Edition DVD's, however some extras here, including the main featurettes have been upgraded to High Definition video.

Audio Commentary featuring Director Guy Hamilton: Goldfinger's director offers some good insights into the making of this movie. For fans, this is well worth a listen.

Audio Commentary featuring Cast and Crew: This second audio commentary is a little more interesting as it pulls information from a variety of people associated with the movie.

Sean Connery From the Set of Goldfinger (3:12): A short promotional BBC interview with Sean Connery on the set of Goldfinger. Not the best quality, brief, but interesting.

Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis Screen Tests (9:52/HD): Two screen tests for the role of Goldfinger, which ultimately went to Gert Fröbe instead. Interesting to see the alternatives though.

On Tour with the Aston Martin DB5 (11:43/HD): James Bond's latest car gets a promotional piece which looks at what impact this film had on sales for Aston Martin. Plenty of footage of the car being used around the world for promotions, including 'upgrades' such as the radar not seen in the film.

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James Bond always gets his girl!
Honor Blackman Open-Ended Interview (3:58): Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore, is interviewed for TV stations.

Mission Control (HD): As with previous discs this featurette allows you to pick a topic such as the women, locations or villains, and then a key word or scene and jump directly to that part of the movie to have a look.

Mission Dossier: The Making of Goldfinger (26:00/HD): Presented in High Definition this is the feature making of documentary produced for these DVD and Blu-Ray releases. The content is impressive with plenty of production details. We did find, however, that this was a little short with the majority of other discs containing a similar documentary running 30-45 minutes. Still, it's impressive and worth a look.

Mission Dossier: The Goldfinger Phenomenon (29:14/HD): Another detailed look at the release of Goldfinger, this time focusing on the marketing and hype surrounding the movie. Plenty of behind the scenes photos are footage are available here and it this is well worth your time.

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The final battle at Fort Knox...
Mission Dossier: Original Publicity Featurette (2:15): A brief publicity video with a look at some of the actors in the movie and rehearsals.

Original Theatrical Trailer (3:08/HD): Poor sound quality but this trailer sells the movie quite well.

TV Broadcasts (1:46): Three TV spots are presented here, quality isn't very good, but interesting to see how these were advertised on TV.

Image Database: The name says it all really with dozens of still images from the production of the movie split up into eight different categories. No audio or text to detail what you're seeing disappoints.

Radio Communications (30:58): Almost over the top what we have here are 34 snippets which were used to promote the movies. There is a lot here with some great 'interviews' with Sean Connery.

OVERALL
Goldfinger is widely regarded as one of the best movies in the James Bond franchise, and we can't disagree. There are some great characters, some great set pieces, and some great dialogue. This transfer is superb and there are tonnes of extras here to check out. A classic Bond, superbly presented.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
8.5/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
7/10
THE EXTRAS
9/10
OVERALL
8.5/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.