|Bond will soon discover that Goldfinger
does not like to lose at cards,
especially when he’s been cheating.
There are spoilers in here, so if you haven’t seen this film – and why haven’t you? – just watch the clip.
At the beginning of the movie Goldfinger, the third film in the James Bond franchise, Goldfinger is cheating at cards by having Jill Masterson spy on his opponent’s cards with binoculars from a hotel room, and relaying the information to him via a listening device in his ear. James Bond, who’s just gotten word from his superiors that he must watch Goldfinger, forces Goldfinger to stop his card cheating scam, and then tells Goldfinger to lose at cards or he’ll be arrested. Goldfinger is not happy. Masterson is impressed by his poise, and sleeps with Bond. Goldfinger retaliates, and, in an iconic scene, she’s revealed naked, completely covered in gold paint, and dead. This sets up both a professional and a personal vendetta by Bond.
Notice Bond’s not-so subtle scam for getting into Goldfinger’s hotel room.
But first, read some excerpts from Ian Fleming’s novel, where Bond has been asked by Mr. Du Pont to discover how Goldfinger is cheating him. We find that Bond (and Fleming) knew a bit about the methods of card sharks:
Bond dropped the paper on the floor and sat down and slowly ate his breakfast and thought about Mr Du Pont and Mr Goldfinger.
His thoughts were inconclusive. Mr Du Pont was either a much worse player than he thought, which seemed unlikely on Bond’s reading of his tough, shrewd character, or else Goldfinger was a cheat. If Goldfinger cheated at cards, although he didn’t need the money, it was certain that he had also made himself rich by cheating or sharp practice on a much bigger scale. Bond was interested in big crooks. He looked forward to his first sight of Goldfinger. He also looked forward to penetrating Goldfinger’s highly successful and, on the face of it, highly mysterious method of fleecing Mr Du Pont. It was going to be a most entertaining day. Idly Bond waited for it to get under way.
Mr Du Pont called to Goldfinger who was coming across the roof towards the card table. With his clothes on – a comfortably fitting dark blue suit, a white shirt open at the neck – Goldfinger cut an almost passable figure. But there was no disguise for the great brown and red football of a head and the flesh-coloured hearing aid plugged into the left ear was not an improvement. Mr Du Pont sat with his back to the hotel. Goldfinger took the seat opposite and cut the cards. Du Pont won the cut, pushed the other pack over to Goldfinger, tapped them to show they were already shuffled and he couldn’t bother to cut, and Goldfinger began the deal.
Bond sauntered over and took a chair at Mr Du Pont’s elbow. He sat back, relaxed. He made a show of folding his paper to the sports page and watched the deal.
Somehow Bond had expected it, but this was no card-sharp. Goldfinger dealt quickly and efficiently, but with no hint of the Mechanic’s Grip, those vital three fingers curled round the long edge of the cards and the index finger at the outside short upper edge – the grip that means you are armed for dealing Bottoms or Seconds. And he wore no signet ring for pricking the cards, no surgical tape round a finger for marking them.
Bond said, ‘Don’t you cut for seats? I often find a change of seat helps the luck. Hostage to fortune and so on.’
Goldfinger paused in his deal. He bent his gaze gravely on Bond. ‘Unfortunately, Mr Bond, that is not possible or I could not play. As I explained to Mr Du Pont at our first game, I suffer from an obscure complaint – agoraphobia – the fear of open spaces. I cannot bear the open horizon. I must sit and face the hotel.’ The deal continued.
Bond got up. ‘Well, I think I’ll stretch my legs for a bit. See what’s going on in the pool.’
Bond turned and looked back down the roof towards the two Canasta players beneath the cliff of the hotel. So Goldfinger liked to face the hotel. Or was it that he liked Mr Du Pont to have his back to it? And why? Now, what was the number of Goldfinger’s suite? No 200, the Hawaii Suite. Bond’s on the top floor was 1200. So, all things being equal, Goldfinger’s would be directly below Bond’s, on the second floor, twenty yards or so above the roof of the Cabana Club – twenty yards from the card table. Bond counted down. He closely examined the frontage that should be Goldfinger’s. Nothing. An empty sun balcony. An open door into the dark interior of the suite. Bond measured distances, angles. Yes, that’s how it might be. That’s how it must be! Clever Mr Goldfinger!