For decades I’ve been convinced that there are only two Sean Connery 007 films worth re-watching — Dr. No (’62) and From Russia With Love (’63), both directed by Terence Young. Because they’re the only two Connerys that aren’t undermined by high-tech gadgetry, silly stunts, Daffy Duck-level plotting and an attitude of smug financial arrogance on the part of the producers.

Guy Hamilton‘s Goldfinger (’64) was the film that demonstrated how the burgeoning Bond franchise had become drunk on its own fumes and begun to degenerate into foolery. The first two Bonds at least flirted with realism from time to time, but with Goldfinger the realism was more or less out the window.

For a reason I can’t quite fathom I popped in my Goldfinger Bluray last night and endured the damn thing. Okay, I watched it because it boasts a wonderfully clean and richly colored 1080p transfer. There’s no faulting the tech.

Goldfinger runs 110 minutes but feels a bit longer, mainly because it starts to descend into silliness starting with the Auric metal conversion plant sequence in Switzerland (which arrives around the 35-or 40-minute mark), and then it turns a truly ridiculous corner when the setting moves to Goldfinger’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

The instant wham-bam conversion of Honor Blackman‘s Pussy Galore from a flinty lesbian into a heterosexual James Bond ally is my favorite bit of absurdity, but compacting that black Lincoln Continental with a dead gangster in the back seat and a sizable load of gold bars in the trunk…none of it makes a lick of sense. Not to mention those Fort Knox Army troops pretending to succumb to knockout gas with absolute uniformity…arguably the dopiest display of substandard action choreography in the history of motion pictures.

What a surreal satire Goldfinger is…an unwitting lampoon of the old-school macho sexism that prevailed in late ’63 and early ’64. And yet the same basic foibles were tolerable in Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Yes, okay — the first three sequences are approvable. Bond blowing up the drug laboratory in Latin America is pretty good, and I love that moment when Connery spots an oncoming assailant in a reflection in a woman’s eye. Screwing up Goldfinger’s crooked card game in Miami Beach while seducing Shirley Eaton‘s Jill Masterson, only to discover her dead, gold-painted body the next morning. And then the golf game with Goldfinger in a British country club, complete with a gold bar wager and some last-minute golf ball switching. But then it’s off to Switzerland and it all starts to fall apart.