The Man with the Golden Gun 007
The Man with the Golden Gun ( AMC Hornet ) 1974
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) is the ninth spy film in the James Bond series and the second to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. A loose adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novel of same name, the film has Bond sent after the Solex Agitator, a device that can harness the power of the sun, while facing the assassin Francisco Scaramanga, the ‘Man with the Golden Gun’.
The cork-screw car jump was apparently conceived years before the movie went into production. Researchers at Cornell University were studying rollover collisions for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and they did a computer simulation of the barrel roll stunt used in the film. Race car driver Jay Milligan, who is the promoter of the American Thrill Show during the 1960s and 1970s with the sponsorship of the American Motors Corporation, did actually perform the barrel roll stunt, known as the Astro Spiral Jump and it debuted on January 12, 1972 at the Houston Astrodome using an AMC Javelin. Milligan was contacted by Albert R. Broccoli during an American Thrill Show performance in Hershey, Pennsylvania where he wanted the stunt performed in a James Bond film. The producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli allegedly took out patents and copyrights on the stunt as they did not wish it to appear in another movie before they had used it. The 360-degree car-spiraling jump over a canal was performed in just one take by uncredited British stuntman ‘Bumps’ Williard as 8 cameras simultaneously captured the spectacle. So potentially hazardous was nature of the stunt, divers, ambulances and cranes were on standby alert in case of any catastrophic consequences. The stunt was so rapid that the film is shown in slow motion. Williard was given a large bonus for completing the jump on the first take. Jay Milligan did actually perform the driving stunts with the AMC Hornet used in the film – AMC provided 15 vehicles used in the film (some of them where AMC Matador police cars). There were two AMC Hornets used for the spiral jump stunt and one of them is still owned by Jay Milligan – which is the backup vehicle while the other one is in a museum. The jump is also credited with being the first stunt ever to be calculated by computer modeling.
One of the main stunts in the film consisted of stunt driver ‘Bumps’ Willard (as James Bond) driving an AMC Hornet leaping a broken bridge and spinning around 360 degrees in mid-air about the longitudinal axis, doing an ‘aerial twist’; Willard successfully completed the jump on the first take. The stunt was shown in slow motion as the scene was too fast.Composer John Barry added a slide whistle sound effect over the stunt, which Broccoli kept in despite thinking that it ‘unrecouped the stunt’. Barry later regretted his decision, thinking the whistle ‘broke the golden rule’ as the stunt was ‘for what it was all worth, a truly dangerous moment, … true James Bond style’. The sound effect was described as ‘simply crass’, with one writer, Jim Smith, suggesting that the stunt ‘brings into focus the lack of excitement in the rest of the film and is spoilt by the use of ‘comedy’ sound effects.’ Eon Productions had licensed the stunt, which had been designed by Raymond McHenry; the stunt was initially conceived at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) in Buffalo, New York as a test for their powerful vehicle simulation software. After development in simulation, ramps were built and the stunt was tested at CAL’s proving ground. It toured as part of the All American Thrill Show as the Astro Spiral before it was picked up for the film. The British show Top Gear attempted to repeat the stunt in June 2008, but failed
The film saw mixed reviews, with Christopher Lee’s performance as Scaramanga, intended to be a villain of similar skill and ability to Bond, being praised; but reviewers criticised the film as a whole, particularly the comedic approach, and some critics described it as the lowest point in the canon. Although the film was profitable, it is the fourth-lowest-grossing Bond film in the series. It was also the final film to be co-produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, with Saltzman selling his 50% stake in Danjaq, LLC, the parent company of Eon Productions, after the release of the film.
The spiral ‘Javelin Jump’ was performed by a modified 1974 Hornet X: special suspension, a six cylinder engine (for reduced weight), and a centered steering wheel.
James Bond: Miss Anders… I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.
James Bond: Bond, James Bond
Francisco Scaramanga: A duel between titans… my golden gun against your Walther PPK.
James Bond: One bullet against my six?
Francisco Scaramanga: I only need one, Mr. Bond.
Francisco Scaramanga: I like a girl in a bikini. No concealed weapons.
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