Goldfinger: from typewriter to screen, conclusion

Our final installment looking at UK film historian Adrian Turner’s examination of how the screenplay to Goldfinger came together.

February 3, 1964: Sean Connery now weighs in on the Goldfinger screenplay. “No longer the hunk who came cheap, Connery had become an international star…and he wanted to ensure the film suited his own interests,” Turner wrote in his 1998 book on the film.

Connery attends a meeting with producer Albert R. Broccoli and screenwriter Richard Maibuam, despite the fact that Paul Dehn wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay. Turner quotes from Maibuam’s notes of the meeting:

“Connery feels tone of script all wrong. Wants serious approach with humor interjected subtly as in other films…Connery is very much against Pussy bouncing him around….He feels Bond is overshadowed completely by Goldfinger throughout.”

Shortly thereafter: Paul Dehn now crafts a second draft, which becomes the shooting script for the film. Dehn incorporates suggestions of Broccoli, his partner Harry Saltzman, Connery, director Guy Hamilton and Maibuam. The latter suggests a tweak that is used. Dehn’s first draft had Bond remarking that someone had a “crush” on Mr. Solo (Springer in earlier drafts, which was in line with Ian Fleming’s novel) when the gangster is killed. It’s Maibaum who suggests Goldfinger saying he needs to arrange to have his gold separated from the late Mr. Solo. Bond replies that Solo had “a pressing engagement.”

September 1964: On the day of Goldfinger’s world premier, Dehn sends Maibuam a cable: “Congratulations on Goldfinger am proud to have collaborated with you.”

(Adrian Turner on Goldfinger, page 206-208, 50)


Goldfinger: from typewriter to screen Part III

We continue our look at British film historian Adrian Turner’s examination of how the Goldfinger screenplay evolved.

Late 1963: Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decide Richard Maibuam’s script needs work. Guy Hamilton is now aboard as director. The producers also “sensed that they needed a fresh mind” to work on the screenplay. Thus, Paul Dehn is hired.

December 23, 1964: Dehn delivers his first draft screenplay. His pre-credits sequence is similar to what we’d see in the final film. In this version, though, Bond has a fake dead dog on his head as he swims underwater. Later, Dehn brings back the Aston Martin, dispensing with the Bentley of Maibuam’s later versions. Dehn also cuts out the Bond-Goldfinger dinner (from the novel and Maibuam’s script), tightening things up by having Oddjob demonstrate the deadly qualities of his hat outside the golf club.

Dehn’s first draft had its own weaknesses, Turner wrote in his 1998 book. The Dehn draft concludes with “arch theatricality,” the film historian opines. Bond breakes the fourth wall and “sees audience,” according to Dehn’s stage directions. Curtains (!) then fall over Bond and Pussy for a moment and then are raised to reveal the couple “alone in a stupendous clinch.” The curtains fall again and we’re told the title of the next 007 film adventure.

Early 1964: Maibaum, after having been sent a copy of Dehn’s draft, sends a memo to Saltzman. Maibuam compliments some of the script but warns, “I’m concerned about the overall tone of the script. It tends to get very Englishy now and then, coy, arch, self-consciously toungue-in-cheek.” Bond, Maibuam wrote, “is just a patsy, and a comic one at that. Parts of the script sound as if it were written for Bob Hope and not Sean Connery.”

(Adrian Turner on Goldfinger, pages 197-204)