“Bond, James Bond…” Nobody could quite deliver this line and play the character of the famous British spy like Sean Connery, who sadly passed away earlier this morning at the age of 90, as reported by The New York Times and numerous other media outlets. While the Scottish actor has had a long and successful career and starred in many great movies, I think it’s fair to say it’s the role as the original James Bond, which largely defines his legacy. Other decent actors like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan followed him, but in my humble opinion, Connery was the best Bond. He was just a cool and handsome cat!
The first Bond picture I watched sometime during my early teenage years in Germany was Goldfinger. If I recall it correctly, it was at a movie theater in Bonn. I’ve watched it many times on TV thereafter, and it remains my favorite Bond picture to this day. In addition to Connery and the legendary silver Aston Martin DB 5, I think the film features one of the best bad guys, Mr. Goldfinger, played by German actor Gert Fröbe. And then, of course, there’s the above amazing performance of Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey, which happens to be my favorite Bond theme song.
Goldfinger and the picture’s score were composed in 1964 by John Barry, who also wrote the scores for 1o other Bond movies between 1963 and 1987, and countless other pictures and TV films for that matter. He also created the lyrics of the track, together with Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. Last but not least, it was Barry as well who suggested that powerhouse vocalist Shirley Bassey should sing the track – what a brilliant choice!
Bassey went on to perform the theme songs for two additional Bond pictures: Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979). Now Dame Shirley Bassey, she is 83 years old and, according to this recent Vogue story, still “as fabulous as ever.” While the Bond movies have had some pretty decent theme songs over the decades, which I previously covered here, nothing quite beats Goldfinger.
Sources: Wikipedia; The New York Times; Vogue; YouTube