Roger Moore's second outing as James Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun, cemented his place in the history of the franchise, as he anchored another rollicking, globetrotting adventure, here with a bit of a science fiction twist. The always charismatic Christopher Lee is his nemesis this time, a super-assassin who kills with golden bullets, but that's only half the secret of the title. Hervé Villechaize makes for a perfect evil sidekick, Britt Ekland and Maud Adams are two of he loveliest Bond Girls ever (they travel in pairs you know), although the return of Clifton James as southern Sheriff J.W. Pepper (from the previous film, Live and Let Die) for comic relief is a bit of a stretch, as he happens to be vacationing in the same spot in Asia just as 007 is saving the world…? Regardless, Golden Gun is great Seventies Bond.
Despite its relatively early place in the Bond catalog, The Man with the Golden Gun was not one of the titles lucky enough to receive the full 4K remaster and restoration from the original negative (it was re-mastered at 2K). Even so, this 1.85:1 transfer shows only faint grain and slight loss of image detail in backgrounds or shadow, otherwise it is enjoyably clean, stable and more colorful than I remember. The different weaves of individual garments are on full display, as are an array of complexions, right down to Bernard Lee's liver spots and Britt Ekland's freckles.
Born in mono, The Man with the Golden Gun has been reborn for Blu-ray as DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. This is not the most aggressive remix I've ever heard, there's little hard surround usage, but convincing fill in the rears in nightclubs, or for passing traffic or at a crowded kickboxing match. There is however an exquisite clarity in the airy trebles of John Barry's Asian-flavored score, or the echo inside the hallways of the wreck of the Queen Elizabeth. We're given some nice directionality during the riverboat sequence and generous bass, such as the boom when Q is testing his latest invention. And when stuff starts blowing up in Act III, as it usually does, the explosions sound pretty spectacular.
Organized into the same categories as on other Bond Blu-rays, the bonuses are plentiful, although it all appears to be ported from the special edition DVD, presented here in a mix of SD and HD quality. Two commentary tracks are provided, one from Sir Roger Moore, another from director Guy Hamilton and a sampling of the cast and crew. The Declassified: MI6 Vault section collects vintage clips, including excerpts from "The Russell Harty Show" gabfest, "On Location with The Man with the Golden Gun," "Girls Fighting" about the featured Tae Kwon Do sisters, the "American Thrill Show Stunt Film" which inspired the addition of the Astro Spiral car jump stunt to the story, now with optional commentary by stunt coordinator J. Milligan, who is also featured in the audio-only "The Road to Bond," and finally "Guy Hamilton: The Director Speaks," also audio-only.
007 Mission Control highlights "007," "Women," "Allies," "Villains," "Mission Combat Manual," "Q Branch" and "Exotic Locations" (with sub-categories as well), taking us directly to the relevant points in the movie, in full quality. Mission Dossier pairs the recent, in-depth "Inside The Man with the Golden Gun - An Original Documentary" with the series-spanning "Double-0 Stuntmen." And Ministry of Propaganda archives Theatrical, TV and Radio advertising while Image Database is a still gallery of some pretty rare photos.
Sandwiched between Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me, The Man with the Golden Gun was a key part of Roger Moore's winning streak in the mid-1970s. He looks better than ever on Blu-ray, his 5.1 channel high-resolution remix is quite enjoyable, and the ample archive of all-time great bonuses make this disc a vital addition to any Bond library.
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