James Bond novel/film comparisons-The Man With The Golden Gun

The Man With The Golden Gun was Ian Fleming’s final Bond novel (although there was another posthumous book of short stories, Octopussy/The Living Daylights), pitting the agent against the killer Scaramanga, whose trademark is a gold pistol. Like many of the early Bonds, this was adapted into a film, although with several differences.

In the novel, Bond has been brainwashed by the KGB and nearly kills M when he returns. Instead of firing 007, M instead sends him on a new mission to take out Scaramanga. Bond travels to the Caribbean (a frequent setting of Fleming’s novels), and, using the alias of Mark Hazard, works his way into Scaramanga’s organization-which is attempting to smuggle drugs-rom the inside, with the help of his secretary, Mary Goodnight (Pretty much the novel version of Moneypenny; Moneypenny is still in the novels but has a far smaller role), before revealing himself and taking him out. He also gets a lot of help from Felix, who does not appear in the film adaptation. Mary Goodnight, in the film, does appear, but she’s played more for comic relief than anything else really.

The film version is somewhat different-most of the action is set in Hong Kong and Thailand  (an attempt to capitalize on the growing Martial arts craze of the time), and Scaramanga is shown to be far more wealthy and skilled, able to kill with one shot from his Golden Gun-which is a custom weapon in the film, as opposed to simply being a gold plated .45 revolver in the novel. He also has plans that involve the theft of a”Solex agitator”; although Bond initially assumes himself to be Scaramanga’s target (a ruse set up by Scaramanga’s girlfriend).

There are a few similarities-Scaramanga’s physical description for the most part matches the novel, if not his personality; his backstory about growing up in the circus and his first kill being a man who shot his favorite Elephant is pretty much the same.

However, Bond’s working his way to the heart of Scaramanga’s plans is actually something more prominently adapted in the film “Licence to Kill”, in which Bond quits MI6 in order to pursue a personal vendetta against Franz Sanchez, the man who ordered a hit on Felix Leiter, maiming Felix and having his wife killed. Like the novel Bond, Bond poses as a freelance hitman, working his way to get close to Franz (whose name is similar to Scaramanga’s-Francisco) until he can finally take him out, although in this case, he’s operating without official orders. Like the novel Scaramanga, Sanchez also has a drug smuggling operation going on, that Bond is able to totally destroy in the film’s final chase scene (It’s assumed that getting rid of Sanchez and his plans put Bond back in M’s good graces, as he’s back on active duty in Goldeneye). The central American setting of the film is also somewhat similar to that of TMWTGG’s novel as well.

The final battle between Bond and Scaramanga is also fairly brutal, like the one in Licence to Kill, which ends with both men injured but Bond ultimately gaining the upper hand-in the novel Bond shoots him several times; wheres in Licence to Kill Bond manages to immolate the gasoline-soaked Sanchez using a wedding present from the Leiters-a lighter.

The battle at the end of the film has Bond instead use Scaramanga’s “fun house” practice range against him, by dodging the house’s security cameras and posing as his own wax figure to take him out.

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