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)

TO BE CONTINUED