Goldfinger’s 45th anniversary (cont.): “That buzz saw must go”

We’ve previously written about British film historian Adrian Turner’s research into the writing of the film version of Goldfinger. One of the film’s most iconic scenes had its origin with the sentence, “That buzz saw must go.” It was followed by this observation: “It’s the oldest device in cheap melodrama.”

That was part of a memo by screenwriter Richard Maibuam, who described a sequence in Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel where Bond was nearly cut in two by, you guessed it, a buzz saw. “I am dreaming up a machine that utilizes the new laser beam. It was featured in Life magazine,” the memo reads, according to Turner’s 1998 book about the making of Goldfinger.

Another problem with the novel’s sequence is the reason Goldfinger spares Bond’s life. He decides to hire our hero as his secretary. Both Maibuam, and Paul Dehn, who would write the later drafts, felt this simply didn’t work. Both men labored to come up with a semi-plausible explanation why Goldfinger didn’t just kill Bond on the spot. Decades before Austin Powers jokes (“Just shoot him!”), both screenwriters were sweating bullets on how to solve the problem.

In the end, Dehn’s final version has Bond pulling a bluff under the most difficult of conditions.

2 Responses

  1. […] For those who’ve seen the movie but not read Ian Flkeming’s 1959 novel, expect a few surprises. The BBC kept some aspects that were altered for the 1964 film version. […]

  2. […] Knox’s gold (to make his own more valuable) rather than stealing it. Screenwriter Maibuam felt the novel’s buzz saw corny and a cliche, so the laser beat was introduced instead. The Maibuam-Paul Dehn script also has Goldfinger in an […]

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