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Gold review
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Review of Gold

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Starring Roger Moore, 1974's Gold feels like a spin off from the Bond movies in many ways. Directed by Peter Hunt who had previously helmed On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it also involved several other crew members who had worked on the Bond franchise such as the editor John Glen. The title sequence was designed by Maurice Binder and feels very Bond-ish, as well as somewhat of a precursor to the long running soap opera Dallas. It also features a theme tune sung by Jimmy Helms which runs over the title sequence in very much the same manner as they do in Bond movies. I was half expecting him to start singing about someone who loves only Gold, though that didn't happen, possibly for copyright reasons.

Moore must have been a pretty busy man in this period as this was released just a year after his Bond debut in Live and Let Die and the same year as his second appearance as the secret agent in The Man with the Golden Gun. As Rod Slater he gets involved in the same sort of shenanigans as he does as Bond, he's somewhat of an action hero, has a romance subplot and appears in exotic locations in South Africa. They are somewhat less romanticised than the Bond settings, with much of the action taking place in and around a Gold Mine which is quite realistically portrayed.

Apparently the shoot was controversial at the time as South Africa was under the apartheid regime but the film is interesting in retrospect in terms of the story which clearly portrays the miners, who are nearly all black, as the victims of ruthless white capitalists who endanger their very lives in order to personally profit. Although Slater is clearly personally quite heroic, he is arguably outshone by the black miner 'Big King' who helps him out.

In conducting her romance with Slater, Terry Steyner, played by Susannah York has somewhat enigmatic motivations which give the character greater depth than the love interest of the Bond movies. I did feel this aspect of the script could have been developed a bit more, however.

Gold suffers from a somewhat plodding narrative and some scenes such as a long dance sequence with African performers feel like pure filler, although audiences at the time may have appreciated the somewhat National Geographic style sequence due to unfamiliarity with the setting. It does pick up towards the end, and as you would expect from people associated with the Bond franchise there are some pretty exciting action sequences which are set in the mine itself.

Overall, Gold is an interesting movie with respect to its left-leaning script, good performances throughout and unusual setting. Whilst other films have featured scenes set in mines they have usually been made on sound stages and Gold benefits a great deal from using an actual mine for shooting, which gives some scenes a feel of documentary realism. Whilst it isn't pure Gold it is certainly a fairly decent Silver.
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1 month ago on 28 August 2018 16:18




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