The Man With the Golden Gun
Artist: John Barry
Genre: Film Soundtrack
Year: 1988
Record Label: EMI-Manhattan

CDP-7-90619-2 (1988). Original soundtrack recording from the 1974 James Bond film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Music composed and conducted by John Barry. Stereo. CD running time: 43:18

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James Bond has been marked for death, and he'll need all of his lethal instincts and seductive charm to survive this action-packed adventure! Roger Moore once again brings inimitable style to his portrayal of the unstoppable Agent 007. Bond must find the missing "Solex Agitator," a device that will harness the sun's radiation and give awesome power to whomever possesses it. But, also vying for the prize is Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), a world-class assassin who brandishes a distinctive golden gun. When 007 discovers he is to be Scaramanga's next target, he is hurled into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, continuing the search as he evades the killer on his trail. Bond must also contend with Scaramanga's exotic lover Andrea Anders (Maud Adams), and Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize), whose small size belies his lethal abilities. Even as 007 enlists the aid of sensuous Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), he must overcome ferocious odds to survive an explosive showdown on Scaramanga's remote island. With a riveting boat pursuit, a wild automobile chase through Bangkok and Bond's stunning confrontation against an entire martial arts school, The Man With the Golden Gun delivers pull-out-the stops excitement! (Synopsis from CD WOW)

Damned Rodan's Album Review
Rating (out of 5):

Devotees of John Barry and/or James Bond film scores rarely give The Man With the Golden Gun very high marks, and it's easy to understand why. To call the title song silly is no exaggeration; Don Black's inane lyrics and Lulu's nasal whining are enough to set one's teeth on edge, and I distinctly recall squirming uneasily in my seat at age 15 when I first heard the theme in the darkened theater. Maurice Binder's title sequence, at least, attained a degree of class, with a very-nearly R-rated image of an Asian beauty writhing provocatively beneath the credits. Barry reportedly had only a month to compose the score as well as simultaneous projects that divided his attention (although similar constraints hardly adversely affected his work on Goldfinger). However, despite its relative weaknesses, The Man With the Golden Gun score delivers a few solid punches that easily outscore most other composers of James Bond film music.

After Roger Moore's reasonably successful debut as Bond in Live and Let Die, audiences no doubt hoped for an even bigger event with the subsequent film. However, the movie suffered from one of the series' most ludicrous scripts, clunky dialogue, wholly misplaced humor, and sheer predictability. Even the most spectacular stunt in the film—Bond's "borrowed" AMC Hornet speeding off a broken, twisted bridge, doing a full barrel roll over a river, and landing right-side-up on the opposite side—was spoiled by the foolish insertion of a slide whistle sound effect. What should have been an awe-inspiring feat was reduced to a groan-inducing piece of cartoon action by one of the worst decisions ever made in Bond's cinematic history. Only Christopher Lee's very straight performance as Scaramanga (and to a lesser extent Maud Adams's as his mistress Andrea) helped keep The Man With the Golden Gun out of the garbage bin it seemed so determined to fill.

On the album, "Scaramanga's Fun House" comes across as schizophrenic; its generates a somber, tense mood with woodwinds that hearken back to the Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd theme from Diamonds Are Forever and then is suddenly interrupted by a honky-tonk piano rendition of the Golden Gun theme, followed by a Chicago jazz variation. Somewhat unsettling as a stand-alone piece, it works well enough in the film as an unsuspecting hood (Marc Lawrence, who played a similar—or conceivably the same—hood in Diamonds Are Forever) wanders through Scaramanga's maze of death, complete with wax-museum-like figures of famous gunmen. A slightly faster and abbreviated version is reprised later in the film, when James Bond himself infiltrates the surreal play area.

Most of the album cuts are action themes, dominated by oriental string motifs that reflect the Hong Kong setting. Several of the tracks using high-pitched instruments have a rather sharp, tinny sound, and the shrillness of "Kung Fu Fight" and "Getting the Bullet" accentuate the action but come across as somewhat abrasive to the ears.

"Chew Me in Grisly Land" (Chu Mi being the voluptuous Chinese woman in Hai Fat's swimming pool) exhibits little of Barry's usual flair for suspense, and the whining horns that rise at the climax touch on the absurd—reflecting the silliness of Bond disabling an attacking sumo wrestler by throttling his genitals with his own jock sash. An inexplicable dixieland jazz rendition of the Golden Gun theme follows, horrendously out of place on the album.

The resonant, slithering horns that presage the action in "Getting the Bullet" adequately complement the scene of Bond seducing the dancer Saida in Beirut, where he hopes to acquire the golden bullet that adorns her navel—a memento of her ill-fated affair with one of Bond's colleagues whom Scaramanga murdered. "You really do have a...magnificent abdomen," Bond quips, as he attempts to kiss his way to her little charm and retrieve it with his teeth. Just as he succeeds, he is set upon by a number of thugs, to the accompaniment of a series of staccato horn bursts; not ineffective, but pallid in comparison to "This Never Happened to the Other Fellow" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, or the elevator fight music from Diamonds Are Forever.

"Let's Go Get 'Em" features an acceptable orchestration of the Bond theme, nicely punctuated by heavy bass beats but spoiled by that confounded, previously mentioned slide whistle that accompanies the car stunt. However, both here and in the gunbarrel opening sequence, Barry uses the full orchestra to play Vic Flick's customary guitar licks, a somewhat disappointing trend that would continue through the remainder of Barry's scores. The Bond theme segués into an instrumental rendition of the main title, making "Let's Go Get 'Em" the best track on the album, if one can ignore the break for the silly sound effect. Only slightly less effective, "Hip's Trip" features a repetitive but atmospheric theme with heavy percussion and snapping horns, interpolating bits of the Bond theme itself.

"In Search of Scaramanga's Island" at last brings us a full-bodied orchestral piece with high suspense and an elegant arrangement of the title theme. The rising action music as Bond attempts to disarm Scaramanga's "ultimate golden gun" is reminiscent of Barry's better moments in Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever.

None of the individual tracks on The Man With the Golden Gun capture the grandeur of the orient as well as the music of You Only Live Twice, but at the same time, the score is somewhat underrated. Even a marginally inspired Barry soundtrack rises head and shoulders above some of the lesser scores that would soon become manifest in the James Bond series.


Film Credits
Producers: Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman (Eon Productions, Ltd.)
Associate Producer: Charles Orme  
Director: Guy Hamilton
Assistant Director: Derek Cracknell
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum & Tom Mankiewicz (based on the novel by Ian Fleming)
Cinematography: Ted Moore, Oswald Morris
Film Editors: Raymond Poulton, John Shirley
Production Design: Peter Murton
Art Direction: John Graysmark, Peter Lamont
Title Designer: Maurice Binder
Music: John Barry; Monty Norman (James Bond Theme); Don Black (Title Song Lyrics)
Title Song Sung by Lulu
Film Running Time: 125 minutes

James Bond: Roger Moore
Francisco Scaramanga: Christopher Lee
Mary Goodnight: Britt Ekland
Andrea Anders: Maud Adams
Nick Nack: Hervé Villechaize
Sheriff J. W. Pepper: Clifton James
Hai Fat: Richard Loo
Lieutenant Hip: Soon-Taik Oh
Rodney: Marc Lawrence
M: Bernard Lee
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Lazar: Marne Maitland
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Colthorpe: James Cossins
Chula: Chan Yiu Lam
Saida: Carmen du Sautoy
Frazier: Gerald James
Naval Lieutenant: Michael Osborne
Communications Officer: Michael Fleming
Gibson: Gordon Everett
Bill Tanner: Michael Goodliffe
Bottoms Up Waitress: Keiko Mari
Nara, Hip's Niece #1: Cheung Cheun Nam
Hip's Niece #2: Joie Pacharintraporn

CD Tracks

1.  Main Title: The Man With the Golden Gun (2:36)
2.  Scaramanga's Fun House (4:40)
3.  Chew Me in Grisly Land (4:02)
4.  The Man With the Golden Gun (Jazz Version) (2:33)
5.  Getting the Bullet (2:46)
6.  Goodnight, Goodnight (5:25)

  7.  Let's Go Get 'Em (3:45)
  8.  Hip's Trip (3:22)
  9.  Kung Fu Fight (1:58)
10.  In Search of Scaramanga's Island (2:32)
11.  Return to Scaramanga's Fun House (6:30)
12.  End Title: The Man With the Golden Gun (3:06)


The Man With the Golden Gun

Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Lulu

He has a powerful weapon.
He charges a million a shot,
An assassin that's second to none,
The man with the golden gun.

Lurking in some darkened doorway,
Or crouched on a roof top somewhere,
In the next room, or this very one
The man with the golden gun.

Love is required whenever he's hired;
It comes just before the kill.
No one can catch him, no hit man can match him
For his million dollar skill.

One golden shot means another poor victim
Has come to a glittering end.
For a price, he'll erase anyone.
The man with the golden gun.

His eye may be on you or me.
Who will he bang?
We shall see.

Love is required whenever he's hired;
It comes just before the kill.
No-one can catch him, no hit man can match him
For his million dollar skill.

One golden shot means another poor victim
Has come to a glittering end.
If you want to get rid of someone,
The man with the golden gun
Will get it done.
He'll shoot anyone
With his golden gun.