The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974, UK)

The Man with the Golden Gun is the ninth entry into the James Bond franchise, and Roger Moore's second out. If anyone had any doubts about the direction the franchise was going to take with Roger Moore following Live and Let DieThe Man with the Golden Gun secured his reputation as the more charming and silly James Bond. As with most Roger Moore films of the 1970s, each Bond was picking up popular cultural waves of the time and using these as a springboard. In Live and Let Die, it was the blaxploitation movie, while in The Man with the Golden Gun it is the Hong Kong action movie. Much of the action of The Man with the Golden Gun takes place in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, Roger Moore does not have the physicality necessary for these martial arts combat scenes, but there is an amazing scene where he defends himself by giving a sumo wrestler a wedgie.

The settings are one of the best things about this Bond entry (including the famous Thai "James Bond Island"), as well as Christopher Lee. Lee, who was at this point most known for playing Dracula in the Hammer Horror films, is an excellent choice for Francisco Scaramanga, a Joker-like figure who has a small male henchman named Nick Nack (played by Herve Villechaize, later of Fantasy Island fame). Unfortunately, our Bond girls are rather weak here, including Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight, Bond's assistant. She is by far one of the most poorly written Bond girls. It seemed that Bond's popularity was starting to wane at this time, and this film almost put the franchise in jeopardy, though it was salvaged with the film's follow up - The Spy Who Loved Me, in 1977. Also a weak point - the film's unmemorable theme song.



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