Monday, March 29, 2010

The Interplay Between Truth and Fiction: Ian Fleming and Goldfinger

Ben Macintyre wrote an interesting piece for the London Times about the origins of Ian Fleming's fictional characters James Bond and Auric Goldfinger, and the plot of his great thriller, Goldfinger.

Fleming, seen in above photo, published Goldfinger in 1959. The original book jacket for Goldfinger is seen below:

In light of the upcoming BBC 4 radio adaptation of Goldfinger, with Ian McKellen as the gold-obsessed megalomaniac arch-criminal, Macintyre explains how Fleming came up with the name Goldfinger and the plot of the novel, which was made into a classic 1964 film with Sean Connery as James Bond and Gert Frobe as Goldfinger.

Macintyre, who is the author of the true World War II espionage story, Operation Mincement, and For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond, a book that celebrated the Fleming centenary celebration, notes that Fleming was fascinated by the interplay between truth and fiction.

"Everything I write has a precedent in truth," Fleming said.

Macintyre notes that in World War II a Nazi agent planned to rob the Bank of England, and perhaps this gave Fleming the idea of Goldfinger palns to rob Fort Knox.

You can read Macintyre's piece via the below link:

Sean Connery is seen in the above photo as James Bond in Goldfinger. Below is a photo of Gert Frobe as Goldfinger.

Below is the link to the opening credits to the film:

And below is the cover of the Signet paperback of Goldfinger in the 1960s and a great passage from Ian Fleming's thriller:

"Goldfinger's eyes were now blank, focused inwards. His voice became low, almost reverential at what he saw," Fleming wrote in Goldfinger.
Goldfinger went on to explain "Operation Grand Slam," his grand criminal enterprise, to his prisoner, James Bond.
"Man has climbed Everest and he has scraped the depths of the ocean. He has fired rockets into outer space and split the atom. He has invented, devised, created in every realm of human endeavour, and everywhere he has triumphed, broken records, achieved miracles. I said in every realm, but there is one that has been neglected, Mr. Bond. That one is the human activity loosely known as crime. The so-called criminal exploits committed by individual humans - I do not of course refer to their idiotic wars, their clumsy destruction of each other -are of miserable dimensions: little bank robberies, tiny swindles, picayune forgeries. And yet, ready to hand, a few hundred miles from here, opportunity for the greatest crime in history stands waiting. The stage is set, the gigantic prize is offered. Only the actors are missing. But the producer is at last here, Mr. Bond" - Goldfinger raised a finger and tapped his chest - "and he has chosen his cast. This very afternoon the script will be read to the leading actors. Then rehearsals will begin and, in one week, the curtain will go up for the single, the unique performance. And then will come applause, the applause for the greatest extra-legal coup of all time. And, Mr. Bond, the world will rock with that applause for centuries."
Bond asked Goldfinger if he planned to rob the end of the rainbow.

"Yes," Goldfinger nodded. "That is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to burgle fifteen billion dollars' worth of gold bullion, approximately half the supply of mined gold in the world. We are going, Mr. Bond, to take Fort Knox."

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