Goldfinger’s 45th anniversary (cont.): Adapting the golf match

We’re about 10 days from the 45th anniversary of Goldfinger. One of the keys to the film was adapting an 18-hole golf match between James Bond and Auric Goldfinger. The golf match was one of the reasons why Goldfinger was Ian Fleming’s longest novels. Paring it down would help make the film version the shortest 007 movie until 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

The most significant change: we’re only shown the 17th and 18th holes of the match, plus what happens on the putting green of the 16th. Going into the last two holes everything is “all square,” so there’s plenty of tension for what’s to follow.

Other changes: in the novel, Goldfinger’s caddy is “an obsequious, talkative man called Foulks whom Bond had never liked.” For the film, it’s Goldfinger’s lead henchman Oddjob and the golf match is the audience’s first full look at him; earlier, we had only seen Oddjob’s hand as struck Bond down from behind and the villain’s shadow.

Also, in the novel, Bond’s caddie Hawker discovered how Goldfinger was cheating. Bond asks Hawker how he could possibly know. “Because his ball was lying under my bag of clubs, sir,” Hawker tells Bond. “Sorry sir. Had to do it after what he’s been doing to you. Wouldn’t have mentioned it, but I had to let you know he’s fixed you again.”

For the film, screenwriters Richard Maibuam and Paul Dehn have Bond discovering the cheating and making Hawker the Greek chorus telling us how smart 007 is.

Finally one line in the film, where Goldfinger says that golf “is not yet the national game of Korea,” has taken on a certain irony given the results of last month’s PGA tournament.

Anyway, see for yourself: