First of all, let’s hear it for the Lafayette! An old-fashioned (1924) theater with a big (46 foot) screen, one thousand seats, a balcony, and a live Wurlitzer player! That’s the environment in which to see classic films.
Second, the movie itself. I’m committed to grabbing every opportunity to see Bond on the big screen. Seeing it brought back memories of the first (and only other) time I saw it in a theater; in 1970! Despite having seen Goldfinger many times since then, many of the sensations I experienced as a child have not recurred from watching it on DVD or television broadcast. The chill of fear when the soldiers of Fort Knox fall, seemingly to their deaths, the terror and fascination of Odd Job, seemingly unbeatable, both human and superhuman, and the suave sex appeal of Sean Connery; all of these flooded back like sense memories.
At the same time, it is very clear why hardcore fans often dislike the movie. Goldfinger is very much about the machinery. The lavish close-ups on the car, its gadgetry and weaponry, on the car-crusher, and on the nuclear device, all make it clear that these are the true sex objects of the film, not Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus. For the first time in a Bond film, character and espionage must take a back seat to gadgets and humor.
And of course, the company! Always a pleasure to meet up with other Bond fans. After the film, a bunch of us went out to lunch, including Gary Firuta and his extremely tolerant wife Sue, Joe a.ka. “Head of Section“, Nelson of the Lafayette Theater, and a number of other charming movie fans and collectors. We ate at the delightful Marcello’s; I had a busy evening ahead of me and drank coffee, while most of the gang drank martinis or wine. But the salads were exquisite, the soup was perfection, the main courses were robust, and the desserts were very pretty (I didn’t have one, but they looked damn good).