Thursday, March 20, 2014

TV Bites: Goldfinger

Golden Tomato-Basil Soup w/Cheddar Goldfish Croutons

Well, I suppose you've been wondering where I've been (or not). My herniated disc problem came back and so I was laid up again for another six weeks through Christmas. Then, I've just been busy reassessing my life and since I haven't been able to get anyone interested in the Chef du Cinema book, it's just time for me to move on.

Depending on where my life takes me over the next year, I may return to publish more posts and another class here and there. But for now, it's time to take my chef's hat off and go on a new adventure and see what happens.

Since I had already written this post, here it is.

I loved James Bond as a kid. I was just the right age when Goldfinger came out and I decided then I was going to be a secret agent when I grew up. Or at least try to be as suave and cool as Sean Connery (and also throw in James Coburn in the Flint movies). I bought all the toys and used to play secret agent in my backyard. Like Dr. Who, I guess your first Bond is always the "real" Bond to you, and Connery is it for me.

So that's that. Let's get on with it....


Bond: "Do you expect me to talk?"
Goldfinger: "No, Mr. Bond... I expect you to die!"

Let's start here. Ian Fleming worked for British Naval Intelligence during World War II and used those experiences to help inform his writing of the James Bond stories, which there are 12 novels and a handful of short stories. Fleming was from a wealthy family and was infected with that particular kind of eccentricity you really only find with the Brits. He had a vacation home in Jamaica he'd designed and built himself, which he'd named "Goldeneye," and a pet octopus called "Pussy." The first few books gained some popularity and he played around with various movie companies who tried to turn his Bond character into either a movie or television vehicle.

Then in 1961, two independent producers, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman formed a partnership and optioned the rights to most of the Bond novels. Most, because a few were already sold, but not the franchise. (This creates some problems for them later with the psychedelic Casino Royale and then the disco era Never Say Never Again, also they had to work out a deal for Thunderball.) They brought together a team which included director Terence Young (who had directed a couple of films for Broccoli previously), production designer Ken Adam, and seasoned Hollywood scriptwriter Richard Maibaum (who had written the two films Broccoli & Young had made together). Maibaum had earlier written some espionage movies including the 1946 film OSS and uncredited rewrites on Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, which is why he was chosen.

Fleming was a genius, a fine novelist and a marvelous personality,” Maibaum said, “he was really writing about himself, he thought he was James Bond." But what Maibaum brought to his idea of Bond was the tongue-in-cheek humor. Fleming’s Bond, Maibaum added, "is supposed to be a sophisticate: educated, cultured, a gourmet, and having all the skills of the English gentleman – none of which Sean Connery really was. So it was kind of a joke."

In fact, according to Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton, "Cubby [Broccoli] wanted Cary Grant, who was a friend of his. Cary Grant was interested but he wanted residuals and he didn't want to be tied to a three picture deal. Then Cubby went to David Niven and it was the same thing. [Niven later appeared as one of the James Bonds in Casino Royale.] So because of the low budget they had to go with someone who was very cheap and who would sign a multi-picture contract. Harry was very hot for Sean. I don't think Cubby was quite so hot because of the Scots accent, which was very thick in those days. But Harry was backing Sean and every time some lion tamers from United Artists arrived he'd call Sean in and ask him to turn around and move about for them. Harry had the subtlety of an ape and he made Sean feel like a complete gorilla."

Other name actors who had been considered for the role included, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton and Stewart Granger.

They couldn’t afford most of the people they wanted," recalled Sean Connery. "That was the start. They were seeing people, they were advertising in the papers. Then they brought me in to see them and they wanted me.... I never got introduced to Fleming until I was well into the movie but I know he was not happy with me as the choice." Connery said. Connery considered Fleming to be a "real snob" and claimed the writer had openly remarked he felt that Connery was nothing more than "an over-developed stunt man."

But Connery has also admitted, "Before I got the part, I might have agreed" with those who didn't think he was the right actor to play Bond. "If you had asked any casting director who would be the sort of man to cast as Bond, an Eton-bred Englishman, the last person into the box would have been me, a working-class Scotsman."

"The only real difficulty I found in playing Bond," Connery stated elsewhere, "was that I had to start from scratch. Not even Ian Fleming knew much about Bond. He has no mother. He has no father. He doesn't come from anywhere and he hadn't been anywhere when he became 007. He was born, kerplump, 33 years old. Bond is very much for breaking the rules. He enjoys freedom that the normal person doesn't get. He likes to eat. Likes to drink. Likes his girls. He is rather cruel, sadistic. He takes in a big percentage of the fantasies of lots of people."

The first two films, Dr. No and From Russian With Love, were made on pretty low budgets, but began to catch on with audiences. This brand of intense action, exotic locations mixed with humor and a mature seuxality was not something that had really been seen on the screen before. Though, a lot of the idea for this was inspired by Hitchcock's North by Northwest (a previous Chef du Cinema pick!). The two films had been successful enough for United Artists to triple the budget for the next Bond picture, Goldfinger.

The idea for Goldfinger began for Fleming after a meeting with gold broker in 1956. The name of the story's villain, Auric Goldfinger, was appropriated from a Hungarian-born British architect named Ernö Goldfinger. The legend goes that the real life Goldfinger and fictional character shared some characteristics and the real Goldfinger threatened to sue. Fleming then offered to change the name of the character to "Goldprick." That was the end of the threats.

As Goldfinger started to become a movie, Maibaum began working on the script (which we'll get to in a minute), director Terence Young was given the old heave-ho after demanding a share of the profits and replaced by Guy Hamilton (who would go on to direct three more Bonds). Ken Adam returned to the franchise after not being able to work on From Russia With Love because Stanley Kubrick had been so impressed with his work on Dr. No that he had hired him to work on Dr. Strangelove and so bowed out of From Russia. English writer Paul Dehn was brought in later for rewrites and also to add some "Brit-icisms" into the script.

As he dove into Goldfinger, Maibaum wrote in a memo: "Whereas Dr. No was a mystery (a man is killed, who did it? – and why?), and Russia was a straight suspense story (we know almost all of the plot against Bond and want to see how he foils it), Goldfinger is what I call 'a duel.' Bond versus Goldfinger. It is not, I repeat not, a story about a robbery, although the Fort Knox heist is the most important section of the book and will be treated as such in the film. Usually in films where robbing a Brinks truck or looting the Bank of England... the planning occupies the first several reels and they are done in almost documentary style. This is not what we should do with Goldfinger because it is both old stuff and doesn't properly tell our story – the clash between two supermen, Bond and Goldfinger."

There were other things that also needed work arounds in transposing Goldfinger from book to screen. Though the later Bond films pretty much scrapped Fleming's plots except for minor details, in those early days they tried to keep some of the book's plot, as the current Daniel Craig reboot has.

The first and biggest problem was Goldfinger's plan to rob Fort Knox. There was no irradiating the gold with a nuclear bomb in the book. It was just going to be a straightforward robbery, which was ridiculous. Fleming hadn't thought it out because he didn't need to. In the book, Bond stops Goldfinger before carrying out his plan. And why was it so ridiculous? As Connery's Bond says in the movie after Goldfinger explains his robbery to the Mafia guys (which is one of the most memorable, but also the most superfluous scene in the movie - why does Goldfinger bother to tell them all that when he's going to then immediately kill them? Answer: Because we in the audience and Bond need to hear it.): "Fifteen billion dollars in gold bullion weighs ten thousand, five hundred tons. Sixty men would take twelve days to load it onto two hundred trucks. Now, at the most, you're going to have two hours before the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines move in and make you put it back."

"The whole business about Ft. Knox, and the changes we had to make that Mr. Fleming never figured out - that it would take you two weeks to take the gold out of Ft. Knox," recalled Maibaum. "So how do you not take anything away? How do you break into Ft. Knox and not take anything away? And why? It took some doing. And of course, when Bond hears it, he figures it out in ten seconds. That shows you how smart Bond is. It took us weeks to figure it out how we're going to get over this story impossibility, you see."

Another big issue was that in the book, Pussy Galore, Goldfinger's femme fatale sidekick, is quite obviously a lesbian... as are her female underlings... as was also the Tilly Masterson character (who in the book begins a relationship with Pussy). Maibaum noted that he felt he had kept Pussy technically a lesbian, but "but played it as 'man-hating,' a perfectly acceptable, recognizable proclivity." (I'll note, regrettably, as such were the times.)

Guy Hamilton had this to say: "Because of the censorship in those days you had to box clever. You wanted to suggest it, but you couldn't say that Bond is making a statement about lesbianism or anything like that. We're not going to stop and get heavy about that. Anybody who thinks that she's a dyke, terrific, because it's much more fun when Bond, shall we say, turns her around and makes her see the light of day. And for those who can appreciate that, goody-goody. For the kids, on we go. This was one of the great things with the double-entendres. Every now and then they'd say, 'You can't say that.' But I felt if an 11 year old understands 'as long as the collars and cuffs match,' he's a dirty little bugger and what are you going to do about it? Believe me, 90 percent of the 11 year olds it will go sailing over their heads and they'll take it not as a double entendres but as a straight statement. If the dirty little bugger understands, he's in advance of his years and you can't protect him. And that was always my attitude to these things. You don't smirk at it, you just throw them away. And if they get it, they get it." Adding elsewhere of the scene in the barn, "I think this is one of the trickiest scenes in the movie. How to go from dyke to sexpot to heroine in the best of two falls, one submission, one roll in the hay. I suppose it comes off."

Honor Blackman who played the role said, "It didn’t really occur to me that I was playing this domineering lesbian.... I guess I must have known what Pussy was at the back of my mind. The girls in her flying school all had strangely androgynous names. I didn’t try for anything when playing her, but you can’t help being a bit butch when you’re running around with guns."

Of course, just having a character named Pussy Galore was enough to make the censors upset. "I seem to remember there was a nervousness on the part of the producers over the fortunate choice of name," Hamilton said. "I took the view that Fleming had named her thus, one million readers had read it in print, so the censors were really trying to close the stable door long after the horse had left. But I think it was Tom Carlysle [the publicity person on the film] who settled the issue by getting published a picture of Prince Phillip and Honor Blackman with the charming caption, 'Pussy & the Prince.'" In fact, when the film was released many reviewers in the States shied away from using her full name, either referring to her as "Miss Galore" or simply, "Pussy."

Honor Blackman is considered still perhaps the most memorable of all the "Bond girls," and as opposed to most of the others who have played 007's love interests Blackman was already a well known actress before her role. Most memorably, she played against Patrick Macnee in the first two seasons of the television series The Avengers. On the series, she often demonstrated her judo training and it is said that Broccoli and Saltzman had the judo scene in the barn written specifically to entice her to take the role of Pussy.

Actor Victor Buono was Richard Maibaum's choice for the role of Goldfinger, but the producers had seen German actor Gert Fröbe in the German film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight) where Fröbe played a child molestor. "I thought he was rather splendid," said Hamilton. "And on being assured that his English was more than adequate, he was signed up. As it transpired, it was adequate to say, 'Good morning' and 'Goodbye,' and that was about it. Dear Gert worked very hard and learned his part by rote with the aid of a dialog coach, but it was obvious we'd have to revoice him." They wound up using the voice of British actor Michael Collins who had a menacing way with a Germanic sounding accent.

Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata, who plays Odd Job, was from Hawaii originally and got into pro wrestling. He won an Olympic silver medal in London in 1948 for weightlifting, He was appearing on television in the UK on a Saturday afternoon wrestling show, as Tosh Togo, when Guy Hamilton spotted him. Sakada, at first, didn't want to be in the movie because he didn't want to have it seen that Connery could just beat him up. But Hamilton promised they would make him a formidable opponent.

In fact, Connery objected to some of that. Hamilton recalled that Connery thought Odd Job crushing the golf ball at the golf course was "ridiculous [because] nobody could squash a golf ball." Hamilton responded, "[T]hat's the whole point. 'You know you and Odd Job are going to meet somewhere later in the picture and there's got to be a confrontation between the pair of you. Look at the way he smirks at you. You know that mutha. And I want to say you are going to be in trouble because this is a guy who can squash golf balls, so you can imagine what he can do if he ever lays one hand on you. You're going to be in real trouble."

After Goldfinger, Sakada continued wrestling, acting, and even doing his Odd Job character now and again, such as in these TV commercials for Vicks Formula 44.

While the first two Bond films set up the character of Bond and the whole action/romance/danger/humor side of things, Goldfinger introduced several new things that would become trademarks of Bond films. This was the first of the series to introduce the prelude scene, in which a little short piece that doesn't relate to the main story begins the movie. It was the also the first to start introducing the gadgets into the movie. Some, even Connery, have noted that all the gadgets began to diminish the more mano-a-mano, animal nature of 007 and made him dependent on the high-tech gadgetry. (Another thing the Daniel Craig reboot having been rolling back, thankfully, imho.) We can also credit director Guy Hamilton with introducing the always humorous business when Bond goes to visit Q. Desmond Llewelyn, who plays Q (which stands for Quartermaster, fyi), recalled Hamilton came up to him before his scene and said, "Just ignore him!' I was puzzled by that because this was James Bond. Buy Guy was adamant and said, 'You don't like this man because he doesn't treat your gadgets with the respect they deserve. They always end up getting smashed. So you hate him.' The penny dropped and I've played Q like that ever since."

The whole pre-production crew sat around and came up with ideas of gadgets to include in the Aston Martin DB5. "I had just been given a parking ticket," recalled Hamilton, "and as I watched the smug little meter maid walk away from my ancient Bentley, I fantasized revolving number plates." And so that became a feature of the DB5. Hamilton also said that is was his 12 year old son who came up with the idea for the ejector seat.

Many people think the production had actually gotten to film inside of Fort Knox (see Background & Context for more on Fort Knox), but it all sprang from the mind of production designer Ken Adam. That was because they weren't allowed to see what the real inside of the Depository looked like. But Adam said, "In the end, I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted."

Finally, the filming of the invasion of Fort Knox was literally shot within a few weeks of the film hitting the theaters. Hamilton and his crew flew to the US and had gotten permission to film over the military base at Fort Knox. The experience became yet one more of Hamilton's amusing tales. First he flew around on an airplane shooting from above, as if from Pussy's Flying Circus planes. Then, they had to have ground shots of the soldiers passing out and such. So, Hamilton explained, "We'd got a squad and we ran these soldiers around, setting them up. I explained to them, 'What you do is when I blow the whistle one, you all look up. When I blow the whistle twice, you all fall down dead.' They thought this was silliest thing that they had ever been asked to do in their born days. But, we said you're all going to get $10 and a beer. So for $10 and a beer, they were in."

For the aerial scenes of the Flying Circus planes, the production had hired a bunch of crop-dusting pilots. They could fly all right, but, as Hamilton recollected, "We'd bought from Woolworth's the most terrible blond wigs for them [to wear]. So up in the air we go and they're sitting there with cigars in their mouths but they wouldn't wear the wigs because they looked idiotic. We're screaming to get on their goddamned wigs. I think if you look carefully, you can occasionally see a cigar in the mouth of one of the pilots passing by."

The "golden" girl in the opening title sequence is not Shirley Eaton, who played Jill Masterson who gets painted gold, but rather it was Margaret Nolan, who plays Dink, the girl with Connery by the Miami pool he slaps on the derrière. Oh, and as opposed to some rumors people believe, both women didn't get any kind of paint poison or any illness from being painted.

In the book, there is no laser beam. Instead, Goldfinger ties Bond to one of those moving buzzsaw devices, which Richard Maibaum noted at the time, was "the oldest device in cheap melodrama. It's comic by now." So he had seen an article in Life magazine about lasers and contacted researchers at MIT about it. "What's interesting about the laser beam," explained Guy Hamilton, "is at that time the only thing we knew about the laser is that you could point it to the moon, it had no uses whatsoever. There was talk about eventually using it in the medical profession to use it for eye operations, but it had no known use. So when we read about it and we thought we can obviously cut Bond's testicles off. That's the best use we could have for a laser. So this was wonderful nonsense."

One of my favorite moments in the film is the little old lady at the gate to Goldfinger's factory. Shortly after the film was released Hamilton was in Hollywood and Hitchcock invited him to lunch. They talked about mutual friends, but, as Hamilton explained, "[Hitchcock] never mentioned Goldfinger, but suddenly at the end, he said, 'That little old lady who opens the gate and then later she's got the machine gun. I liked that. I wished I'd done it.' And it's the nicest thing Hitchcock ever said to me."

One last bit of trivia. When they rescue Bond from the ticking atomic bomb, we see it was switched off at 007 seconds, but Bond says: "Three more ticks and Mr. Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot." That's because when they shot the sequence the device was switched off at 3 seconds, as Bond says. But then Harry Saltzman suggested they reshoot the close-up of the controller to show it stopped at "Double-0" 7 seconds, but then didn't loop Connery's line to reflect that.

As you probably know, the movie was a huge success. The world went Bond crazy and spawned a million other secret agent/spy action movies. Connery would do two more Bonds before walking away from the series.


So, let's talk a little bit about Fort Knox. Fort Knox, according to Wikipedia, "is a United States Army post in Kentucky south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown. The 109,000 acre (170 mi.sq, 441 km.sq) base covers parts of Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade counties." Soldiers have been doing what soldiers do in and around the area since Civil War times when both Northern and Confederate troops camped there. During World War I, the area was used as an Army training facility and eventually became a permanent one. It was named in 1918 after Henry Knox, a one time bookstore owner with an interest in military history, who rose to become chief artillery officer of the Continental Army under General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and later served as the first US Secretary of War. Besides his military knowledge, Knox was mostly known back home in Philadelphia for his girth - he weighed 300 pounds - and died at the age of 55 choking on a chicken bone.

Skipping ahead to 1933, America was in the throes of the Great Depression. Newly elected President Franklin D Roosevelt and his "brain trust" felt they needed to get a hold on fixing the country's economy. One of the first things he did when getting in office was to sign an executive order "'forbidding the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States.' The order criminalized the possession of monetary gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation." The thinking was that one of the main reasons the country was stuck in the depression was that people were sitting on their gold, thus not fueling the economic engine to help get them out of the depression. FDR wanted to inflate the currency but couldn't do that unless the government had all the gold and could set its own price for it. (P.S. - The people were exchanging their gold for cash, they weren't just giving it up, mind you). So now the government could print more money and get people working and businesses producing again. Okay, this is a very simplified version, but let's move on.

But what to do with all that bright and shiny gold? You couldn't just keep in the banks, especially with all the notorious bank robbers and gangsters of the era, like Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson - all killed during 1934. Plus, Europe was descending into war and there was fear of foreign terrorists. So the government decided to build the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox which was completed in December 1936. For the next six months, railroad cars delivered all the nation's gold to its new home. Although it's located on an Army base, the Depository is under the control of the United States Mint. The Mint were also the folks in charge of melting all the gold into bars. Each gold bar weighed about 27 pounds.

In addition to storing gold, according to Wikipedia, "[d]uring World War II, the depository held the original U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. It held the reserves of European countries and key documents from Western history," like the Magna Carta. Also, "it held the Crown of St. Stephen, part of the Hungarian crown jewels, given to American soldiers to prevent them from falling into Soviet hands." In addition, "[d]uring World War II and into the Cold War, until the invention of different types of synthetic painkillers, a supply of processed morphine and opium was kept in the Depository as a hedge against the United States being cut off from the sources of supply of raw opium."

Now the way things work there at Fort Knox, not even the President of the United States is allowed in. Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton noted it appeared to be a safeguard "to stop the President from going in and helping himself to the gold bars and what have you. So it's sort of a traditional thing."

No one from the public other than FDR, who made an inspection trip in 1943, has been inside before or since, except in 1974. What happened then was a Washington attorney and former head of the American Gold Association, Dr. Peter Beter, published a book in 1973, Conspiracy Against the Dollar: The Spirit of the New Imperialism, in which he "alleged that world events were controlled by three secret factions: the Rockefeller family, the 'Bolshevik-Zionist axis,' and the Kremlin" and that Fort Knox was a big hoax and there was no gold to be found there. (I should note that shortly thereafter, Mr. Beter began spouting beliefs that "[s]everal important public figures such as David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and Jimmy Carter are actually dead, and are being impersonated by organic 'robotoids.'") However, the robotoids in Congress at the time figured it was a worthy distraction from them actually doing their jobs so they ranted and raved until the Treasury relented and opened the door to Fort Knox for the only time before or since to a group of Congressmen and reporters. And guess what? They verified the place was indeed filled with gold bars. Case closed.

Inside Fort Knox - 1974

For their recreation of Fort Knox, Guy Hamilton, Ken Adam, Cubby Broccoli and a couple of others from the production were given a tour of the exterior, thanks to the fact that the man in charge of the Fort happened to be actor Zero Mostel's brother-in-law. But they were told not to take any pictures. "But we needed the reference stills to even represent the front of Fort Knox," Hamilton recalled. "So we were loaded with cameras and were going 'click, click, click' and the guy was saying, 'You're not allowed to take photographs.' And Cubby would say, 'Oh, I'm sorry. Did you hear what he's saying?' And Ken Adam would go behind him and go 'click, click, click,' and got the reference stills." They then built a full-sized replica of the exterior at Pinewood Studios in England. As far as the interior, Ken Adam had free reign to create whatever he wanted, since nobody knew what it actually looked like inside. The miniature Fort Knox replica Adam designed which Goldfinger uses to explain his plan to the mobsters is now at Fort Knox on display for visitors.


Well, let's talk about the menu. Immediately upon deciding to do this film, I knew I wanted to do an "all-gold" menu. That's going to be fun. So I made a mental list of all the golden or yellow foods I could think of and then pieced together a menu. I think if Mr. Goldfinger was to show up at the class, he would certainly enjoy the menu. Though, he might have been pissed he couldn't order mint julips to accompany his meal.

I've written before about tomatoes (for my Charade class), but as for the golden variety, their history date back to the earliest of times. In fact, according to these folks, yellow tomatoes were the first tomato variety to be domesticated. "Wild tomatoes are native to the Andean highlands of Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Though exact domestication dates are unknown.... [t]hey were originally cultivated by the Aztecs of Central Mexico. Natural mutations and breeding led to the development of tomatoes of other colors and of course, thousands of new varieties."

And you might know that the tomato, whose name we use comes from the Aztec word for it, "tomatl." In Italy, it was dubbed "pomi d'oro" or "pomidoro" - aka the "golden apple." This suggests that the first tomatoes they got to know were those of the yellow variety.

According to the MythBusters Blog: "Probably Jewish merchants introduced the fruit [back to America], probably because they were widely engaged in trade and because most were of Spanish or Portuguese descent and so were familiar with tomatoes from the 1500s. [Thomas] Jefferson only enters into the story because he wrote that a Jewish friend, Dr. John DeSequeyra, introduced the tomato to Virginia sometime after his arrival in Williamsburg in 1745. This seems to be true. " And Jefferson did grow tomatoes on his farm. But no single American is known to have been the first to have introduced them in the colonies.

But before I wrap this all up, there's one other dish I was going to serve in class that we need to discuss - the non-golden Oven-Roasted Broccoli.

(The rest of the class menu was to be: the soup, then a Golden Beet Carpaccio & Burrata Salad w/Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette, Grilled Yellowtail w/Golden Rice-Carrot Pilaf, Oven-Roasted Broccoli, Pumpkin Cake with Ginger-Cream Filling.)

While the film's co-producer, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, is noted for creating the mythic figure of James Bond, he had a personal myth that has been told in many versions and probably has no truth to it whatsoever. This myth is his connection to his namesake vegetable.

In their 1996 obituary of the producer, the New York Times, wrote: "Broccoli was born in in 1909, the son of immigrants from Calabria.... The family was in the vegetable business, and Mr. Broccoli said one of his uncles brought the first broccoli seeds into the United States in the 1870's."

Then, in his Los Angeles Times obituary, it was written that: "[Broccoli's father] and his brother emigrated to Long Island from Calabria at the turn of the century. According to research done in Florence by Broccoli's wife of 30 years, Dana, the brothers were descended from the Broccolis of Carrera, who first crossed two Italian vegetables, cauliflower and rabe, to produce the dark green, thick-stalked vegetable that took their name and eventually supported them in the United States. Giovanni's brother started a broccoli farm on Long Island, and soon all of Giovanni's family worked for him."

Neither obit mentions the other's historical tidbit. And if you need proof that the Internet is filled with bad information written by idiots, according to, the film producer apparently "invented" the vegetable himself, perhaps between making movies.

But, according to The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, which carries a bit more credibility for me: "Although its origins are lost to history, broccoli has long been associated with Italy.... [American] Colonists introduced broccoli to the United States in the early eighteenth century," appearing in American cookbooks as early as 1747. And, broccoli was also planted in good ol' Thomas Jefferson's garden.

Nevertheless, I've chosen to honor Mr. Broccoli's myth by preparing his namesake vegetable as part of the meal.

And one last thing. Guy Hamilton noted that Harry Saltzman, Broccoli's producing partner, had been destitute in Paris after World War II. When he achieved success in the movie business, once a week he's fly to Paris and buy lunch for all those folks who had been kind to him and helped him out then. So as we head into the Thanksgiving season, let us take note of Saltzman's actions and reflect on those who may have been there to help through any rough time you've had and how we can return their kindness in some way.

So that's it! As always, cook, eat, watch & enjoy!

Golden Tomato-Basil Soup w/Cheddar Goldfish Croutons
Click Here for Printer-Friendly Version

Serves 6

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 1/2 pounds gold or yellow tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup sherry
5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2-4 basil leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
salt & pepper, to taste

Cheddar Goldfish Crackers, for topping

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat, add the onion, pepper, celery and garlic, and a pinch of salt, and sauté until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, stir, and continue to cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Then add the wine and sherry allow alcohol to cook out for about 3 minutes, then add chicken stock and thyme. Bring to boil, then back to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender, adding basil leaves, until smooth. Return to same pot. Add cream, adding salt & pepper to taste. Warm soup to a gentle simmer, then remove from heat.

Serve topped with a few goldfish crackers floating in each bowl.

Goldfinger Screenplay, by Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn (PDF)
My Favorite Bond Film: Goldfinger, by Anne Billson @ The Guardian UK
The James Bond Wikia Page
Happy 100th Birthday, Mr. Goldfinger, by Heiko Baumann @
MI6 - Bond Fan Site
Goldfinger, An Appreciation, by Mike Vincitore @ Her Majesty's Secret Servant
Sean Connery Fan Site
Official Ft. Knox Site

Goldfinger (Special Edition) DVD
James Bond DVD Collection (the first 22 films)
James Bond Books, by Ian Fleming
Adrian Turner on Goldfinger (Bloomsbury Movie Guides), by Adrian Turner

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