Goldfinger: From typewriter to screen, part I

Any creative endeavor is shaped by the choices its author or authors make. Such was the case with Goldfinger, the third James Bond film produced by Eon Productions Ltd.

In 1998, British film historian Adrian Turner wrote about the movie in a book titled Adrian Turner on Goldfinger. Turner organized his book in alphabetized subjects. One of the most interesting subjects was found under “S” — screenplay.

This is not meant to substitute for reading Turner’s book. But we wanted to proivde a few examples of why Turner’s effort is recommended reading for any 007 film fan. Turner went to Iowa City, Iowa, home of the University of Iowa and the place where 007 screen writer Richard Maibuam (Class of ’31) donated his papers.

April 30, 1963: Maibuam writes a detailed memo to Eon’s big kahunas, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The screenwriter anayzes Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel. Among his conclusions: “Not enough action for Bond in the early part and not enough love-stuff.” Maibuam also doesn’t like how Bond ally Felix Leiter materializes suddenly at the end of the novel.

In the memo, Maibuam also recommends that “the buzz saw must go” and be replaced by a laser beam. This is a reference to the climax of the novel’s second (of three) sections. Goldfinger questions a captured Bond who will be cut in two by the buzz saw. By replacing that with the laser, “This out-Flemings Fleming.” Maibuam also recommends the producers consider American character actor Victor Buono to play Goldfinger.

(Adrian Turner on Goldfinger, pages 187-190)