Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's More of a Lemon Gun

In 1974 James Bond faces dangerous stereotypes, women who confirm his misogynist worldview, and Christopher Lee as The Man with the Golden Gun in a profoundly stupid, unremarkably shot film by Guy Hamilton. Along with Lee, his costar Britt Ekland from The Wicker Man also appears in the film and I can think of few more appropriate chasers than that great horror film released the previous year to relieve the taste of greasy, smug cheese left by this Bond film.

I've said before I'm not much of a fan of Bond films. It's not because Bond is a misogynist--I have nothing against a protagonist having character flaws though I imagine there's a difficulty in presenting Bond as extraordinarily clever when misogyny is a form of deep stupidity. This may partially explain why filmmakers felt compelled to make his misogyny "right" and so we end up with two of the most submissive and brainless Bond girls in this film. The coup de grace being Ekland, playing a British agent, nearly causing a nuclear explosion--without ever realising it--when her ass bumps into a button.

Her stupidity is played for laughs. Maud Adams, who plays the lover to Lee's character, is a gentle lamb led from one commanding man to another.

Even the song during the titles is bad, even worse when considering this film followed Live and Let Die. Sung by a Scottish singer named Lulu, the song is tone deaf and kind of rambling, including lyrics like, "His eye may be on you or me. Who will he bang? We shall see. Oh yeah!" I think I actually hate it more for the explicit indication we're about to watch a movie than for the clumsy innuendo.

Lee is fine, of course, as Scaramanga, the superstar assassin who charges a million dollars per kill. I'm a big fan of Tori Amos and her second album, a song from which, "Cornflake Girl," features a lyric, "And the man with the golden gun thinks he knows so much." I suppose Scaramanga seems a bit smug but I'm not exactly sure what Amos was getting at. I can certainly see why she might not have liked the film.

I can't really blame Roger Moore for the shit that Bond says and does in this film, not even the suave agent yelling in English at townspeople in a Macau alleyway in an effort to get them to understand him. From Macau, the film proceeds to parade its hazy ideas of Asia in a Bangkok where Bond encounters Sumo wrestlers and karate masters. This film makes the campy iteration of Japan portrayed in You Only Live Twice look sensitive and studied.

What else can I say? The film also features some extremely fake looking third nipples.

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