There are two significant elements of The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) which reflect the times. One such element was the oil crisis of 1973, during which time countries were researching alternate sources of energy, e.g. solar. The other notable aspect of the movie is the focus on martial arts. The previous year, Bruce Lee starred in his first American film, Enter the Dragon, which sparked a U.S. interest in martial arts films (such as Lee's earlier Hong Kong films). Interestingly, Enter the Dragon has been accused of adding Bond ingredients into the plot. For example, the movie's main villain, Han (Shih Kien), has his own private island and a deadly artificial hand (a la Dr. No), and even cradles and strokes a cat (a la Blofeld). However, The Man with the Golden Gun is clearly inspired by the success of the Bruce Lee film, and Scaramanga's room of mirrors is undoubtedly a take on a similar sequence with Lee and Shih.
It is additionally worth noting that the aforementioned plot points were not taken from author and Bond creator Ian Fleming's novel of the same name. In fact, aside from the title, the villain's name, and the character of Mary Goodnight (who was actually Bond's secretary in a few of the books), the majority of the story was written strictly for the big screen. Fleming's novel was published posthumously in 1965 and differs drastically from other Bond books. There has been speculation that The Man with the Golden Gun was incomplete at the time of Fleming's death and was subsequently completed by one or more other authors.
After the release of The Man with the Golden Gun, producer Harry Saltzman, reportedly due to financial turmoil, sold his half of the rights to Danjaq, LLC (then Danjaq, S.A.), the parent company of EON Productions. His wife died from cancer shortly afterwards, and Saltzman largely stayed out of the movie industry, co-producing two films based on the life of Vaslav Nijinsky (Nijinsky in 1980 and Time of the Gypsies in 1988). Albert "Cubby" Broccoli founded Danjaq and EON Productions with Saltzman (Danjaq was a combination of their wives' names, Dana Broccoli and Jacqueline Saltzman), but it was the latter man who initially secured the film rights to the James Bond character. (Broccoli had tried a few years earlier, but the deal fell through when Broccoli's then partner, Irving Allen, met with Ian Fleming in London -- as Broccoli cared for his sickly wife in the U.S. -- and supposedly told the author that his books were not "good enough for television.")
In honor of Paul's weekly Trivia Time, here's a trivia question for anyone interested: What four distinct components are assembled to form Scaramanga's golden gun? (Hint: Each piece has its own function prior to assembly.)
I would love to hear what everyone thinks of Roger Moore's second go-round as Bond, James Bond. Even if you aren't fond of the film, I'd like to hear your thoughts on why you aren't a fan.
Bond Is Forever will return next month with GoldenEye (1995).