Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dee Carplane! Dee Carplane, Boss!

Even the world's most ironically well-known secret agent can't escape a good shortening here at the Deadly Doll's House. Best of all, today's 007-centric theme just can't be contained. Over at From The Depths of DVD Hell, the one and only Elwood Jones has dug up Indonesia's most valued cultural export: 2'9 Weng Weng in the ingeniously titled For Your Height Only.

I know! I almost can't believe it either! This is a wonderful world indeed.

But before you go digging into the underworld for Elwood's thoughts, let's start with the classy swagger of the always politically correct original Bond in The Man With the Golden Gun.

Quick Plot: Lounging comfortably on a private island with his lady, little person assistant, golden gun, and third nipple close by, the world's most expensive assassin aims his sights on the world's most sexually transmitted disease-riddled secret agent. 

Lord Summerile, meet Bond...James Bond.

The Man Who Would Be Count Dooku plays Scaramanga, the titular bad guy with a hunger for some mechanical doohickey that will produce expensive solar powered energy. Or something, I really never understand the actual details involved in the Bond villains' plans. The general gist is typically the same: colorful villain wants to increase personal power and/or income with dastardly plan involving high-tech gadget. Bond tries to stop this from happening while maintaining a healthy sex life and cramming in two sips of martinis a day. An exciting car/foot/plane/carplane chase goes on a few minutes too long. Villain captures Bond and sets up an elaborate yet easily foiled death plan. Bond shags whatever female is closest by and credits send us a titular hint about what wacky adventure he'll end up in next.

I don't mean to sound critical, because though I've only begun experiencing it this year, I rather enjoy Bond cinema. Knowing the formula is half of the fun, especially to see how the zeitgeist of whatever time period the film was made would (and still does) help to fill in the recipe (blacksploitation in Live and Let Die, martial arts here, for example). In this past year, I've watched my first five Bond films and while none are inching their way up my best-of list, all have given me a highly enjoyable time...even if every single one went on 10 minutes too long.

(I'm guessing most of Bond's audience doesn't mind part of the running length)

I come at Bond less intrigued by the machines than by the camp, which explains why I would have such fun with The Man With the Golden Gun. Often considered one of the worst Bond films, The Man With the Golden Gun makes a few unforgivable errors--saddling Lee with a dull takeover plan even he doesn't seem to understand or having the usually charming Moore channel Sean Connery's more misogynist leanings, to name a few--but...but...well, there's no easy way to say this:

Herve Villechaize IS dressed to kill.

Yes, I'm elated to be able to cover a Bond film for The Shortening, but I'm also just excited to have such a ridiculous character to enjoy. As Oddjob and later, Jaws have taught us, it's often the henchman who make a good (or memorable) Bond film. Director Guy Hamilton doesn't necessarily get the most out of the superb-on-paper pairing of the majestically towering Christopher Lee and the petite-but-plotting Villechaize, but both actors seem to be having fun, and for me at least, it translated well.

Not ‘well’ as in ‘good movie.’ Pff. You came to the wrong place if that’s what you expect from a film that makes me giggle. For some Bond fans, the word "carplane" is akin to a bruise. For someone like me, it's as delicious as a cheddar and monterey jack coated nacho.

High Points
Christopher Lee is in this movie. Now even when he's introduced with a closeup displaying a fake third nipple, the mere fact that CHRISTOPHER LEE IS IN THIS MOVIE will always qualify it as a high point

Low Points
The nature of Bond films is that there will always be certain tropes that age out of taste. Naturally, The Man With the Golden Gun is full of them, from Moore uncomfortably slapping a woman for information to the racist sheriff from Live and Let Die tossing out the term 'pointy brownheads' with more ease than Bond at a speed-dating event

Lessons Learned
In some cultures, a third nipple is a sign of sexual prowess

Never make a bargain with a wealthy white British man in a boat

Golden bullets make lucky belly rings

Much like a baseball playing monkey's farts, cars that can make 360º turns mid-air sound an awful lot like a good old-fashioned slide whistle

The Short Facts of Life
According to Herve Villechaize.'s IMDB trivia page, the actor once "shared a room" with Matthew Bright. Yes, THE Matthew Bright who directed the dwarfs-have-big-hearts cult classic Tiptoes

Mind =

Bond fans probably dislike The Man With the Golden Gun because, you know, it's not that good. People like me, on the other hand, who generally measure Bond cinema by how many people get eaten by sharks might find themselves having a surprisingly good time. No, people are sadly NOT eaten by sharks in this outing, but we are treated to Christopher Lee speaking, carplanes flying, and Asian schoolgirls asskicking. Make no mistake: this is lower tier Bond to be sure, but sometimes, fun things come in small suitcases.

Just ask Matthew Bright's former roommate.


  1. Yay! Weng Wen...Wait, this is a Man With the Golden Gun review? *mind blown*

    I'm a HUGE Bond fan, and for the most part, I don't see why this one gets such a bad wrap. Especially with Nick Nack, best Bond villain/henchman EVER!

    As for Bond films being long, I always enjoy that aspect. I like it when lots happens in them over a long time, unlike the recent Quantum of Solace, which felt an hour long, and had barely any plot!
    I do find Bond films to be boring when they're on tv though, thanks to adbreaks stretching out the length to three hours or so and Thunderball definitely did feel overlong to me, adbreaks or not.

    As for Sheriff Pepper, he's awesome! "Now ah know you! You're that secret agent! That English secret agent from England!" haha! And I love/hate the flying car

    Naturally, I love this movie so much, that of COURSE I remember what Scaramanga's evil plan was! It was...err...?... haha! Yep, I've seen this several times, and most recently just a few months ago, but for the life of me, I can't remember what Dracula's evil plan was! haha!

  2. If a movie is fun, I'm fine with a long running length. My problem is that the bond films tend to drag during the climaxes, where you get the same beats of a gun/car/plane/whatever chase that repeat so many times that the movie kind of loses its momentum.

    The plan had something to do with...um...stealing the sun? OR was that Mr. Burns? I can't remember!


  3. Thanks again for the chance to cross blog on this :)

    For myself this one gets ranked lower down my list of favourite Bonds, yet at the same time I can't belive that I forgot about the flying car! For my money the best Bond is either "You Only Live Twice" for it's volcano lair and Ninja action or "Goldeneye" which is bad ass no matter which version you choose, seeing how originally it was supposed to be Bond Vs. his mentor who would have been played by Anthony Hopkins!!

    Still the Bond I want to see is one as directed by David Lynch, complete with a backward speaking villian, Dwarfs, red rooms and dreams sequences, so with that wishlist I guess this film is a step closer to that dream happening.

  4. I haven't seen either of your faves yet, but I'll get there! Love me some volcanoes and ninjas.

    I'll take a Bond as directed by Lynch. Except for the fact that it would probably be 9 hours long. On second thought, I will not take a Bond film directed by David Lynch.

  5. I'm catching up on your blog and had to comment here on how groovy it was to find a Bond film reviewed here. I have two parallel lists for Roger Moore Bond films - The ones that are ranked by being good as movies (with "Spy who loved me" at the top) and the ones that are baaaad/good, where "Live and Let Die" is my fave followed by "Golden Gun". LALD was the first Bond movie I saw so you can imagine how its voodoo imagery and metal claw hands imprinted themselves indelibly on my young psyche. To this day I'm still disappointed when a Bond movie doesn't have someone with a claw hand.

  6. This past year has been my first foray into Bond, so now I've seen about 8 or so from different eras. My boyfriend is a huge fan, so he's been strategically programming them for me based on what my taste. So far, Roger Moore is EASILY my favorite Bond, and a lot of that is probably because his films were made in that era that knew how to have fun with itself. Of the ones I've seen, Live and Let Die is probably my favorite. Although I also liked the one with sharks. Because come on! SHARKS!