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Goldfinger comes to DVDThe best Bond meets the best format

Goldfinger comes to DVD

by Jim Bray

I've always considered Goldfinger to be the best, the most entertaining Bond movie ever, so when it surfaced on DVD I was anxious to give it a try.

Goldfinger is a beautiful showcase for the new format - with the exception of its audio tracks. Don't get me wrong, the Goldfinger DVD comes with plenty of audio opportunities (English, French, and Spanish language tracks, subtitles in all three languages, and even English closed captioning for the hearing impaired - the problem isn't the technology, it's the chronology: Goldfinger was released in 1964 and is in mono sound with no surround.

That aside, MGM/UA has done a beautiful job with this film. 

Goldfinger is offered in both widescreen and "pan and scan" versions on the same side of the same disc, which is the way I prefer to see DVD's. Many titles put widescreen on one side and "square screen" on the other, which is okay, but the dual layer technology DVD's can exploit makes it possible to use the one side for both versions, so why not use it. My problem with two sided use is that the labels showing which side's which are tiny and hard to read (they put 'em on the ring around the spindle hole), whereas using only one side brings up an onscreen menu that's easy to read and to use.

Slipping the disc into the player brings up your opening menu choices of widescreen or pan and scan. A separate menu accesses the various chapters (and there are lots of choices, well laid out and displayed with screen captures) and other features - like the audio/video setup and the supplementary material.

The supplementary material is pretty much a waste of time, except for a relatively interesting featurette on the making of Goldfinger (which focuses mostly on Harold Sakata's casting as "Oddjob" and Honor Blackman's "Pussy Galore" that's okay to watch once). The other stuff, "Goldfinger unclassified" (a list of gadgets, girls, and villains on which you can click to bring up the appropriate scene from the film) and "James Bond - the History" (a couple of paragraphs outlining the genesis of Ian Fleming's hero) are little more than window dressing and don't do much to make this a real "special edition." You also get the usual theatrical trailer, which is always nice.

So other than a couple of fleeting instants, Goldfinger looks absolutely gorgeous on DVD. The colours are rich and the resolution is, as advertised, wonderful. It's a real treat to watch.

Goldfinger on DVD, from MGM/UA home video.


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Updated May 13, 2006