Moore Not Less - Gold
a romantic/adventure/thriller/disaster film (based on a novel by Wilbur
Smith) was the first picture Roger Moore starred in outside of the Bond
franchise after making his superspy bow in Live and Let Die. Some old
hands from the Bond stable were onboard to lend their experience to
Peter Hunt (director of On
Her Majesty's Secret Service) helms while Maurice Binder adds a very
Bondesque title sequence. John Glen, who served as editor, second-unit
director and full-fledged director during his long association with the
Bond series, supervised some of the mine flooding sequences in Gold.
is one of the best films Roger featured in outside of the Bond
franchise and some notable veterans were roped into proceedings with
John Gielgud and Ray Milland taking supporting roles. Susannah York is
the love interest for Rog while Bradford Dillman and Tony Beckley are
wonderfully nasty as the villains.
acclaimed composer Elmer Bernstein scored Gold and earned an Oscar
nomination with Don Black for the song Wherever Love Takes Me. The
film, somewhat controversially, was made in South Africa although some
of the mine sequences were created using sets at Pinewood.
Gold, Roger plays Rod Slater, the general supervisor of a South African
gold mine who is used as a pawn in a conspiracy to destroy the mine to
increase the value of gold stocks. Until of course he rumbles the plan
and tries to thwart it. A crooked high powered syndicate is behind the
scheme and partly led by the director of the mine operation Manfred
Steyner (Bradford Dillman).
is keeping this a secret from his wife Terry (Susannah York) and her
father Hurry (Ray Milland) - the man who owns the mine. Slater, who
Steyner hired, is to be duped into sabotaging the mine by opening an
underground quarry which - unknown to him - will flood the mine and
raise the value of the gold stocks for the businessman crooks behind
the caper. Sounds like the plot of a James Bond film!
Slater begins an affair with Terry (strange name for a woman!), Steyner
sees this as a way to keep Slater distracted and also make his revenge
on his wife's family (by destroying their business interests) all the
Gold is a solid entry in
the Roger Moore sweepstakes and enjoyably dated in the way that
seventies films unavoidably tend to be to modern eyes. It's all part of
the charm now. Lots of oversized ties and people in boardrooms with
cigars. Roger has a huge tie in one scene that almost blocks out his
Roger Moore was often criticised for being too laid-back as an actor,
Gold finds him admirably engaged as the hot-headed Slater. He says
"What the hell!" a lot when informed of fresh mining palava and also
stands up for the discriminated miners. A black miner in Apartheid
South Africa. Wow, I bet that was a fun job.
also turns smoothie to romance Susannah York. This part of the film is
the most obvious in Gold reminding the audience that their lead is now
James Bond. Gold has a snazzy opening with the Binder titles (all bold
letters and gold/mine themed bric a brac before a cityscape) and the
score by Elmer Bernstein is great stirring stuff.
makes excellent use of the South African locations too with some
sweeping aeriel views of landscapes and forests and the mine sequences
feel authentic and are competently handled by Hunt and his crew. The
film doesn't have the sweep and elegance of On Her Majesty's Secret
Service but then the budget was probably nowhere near the one Hunt had
on that film.
On this evidence
Hunt would have been perfectly capable of directing one of the Roger
Bond pictures and getting a slightly more hard edged than usual
performance out of him.
rather predictable but the conspiracy is fun with Bradford Dillman as
the slimeball baddie and Ray Milland the cranky but essentially decent
mine owner. John Gielgud could play his part as the scheming Farrell in
his sleep but he lends some gravitas and class to the film. Susannah
York isn't terribly stretched by her role as Dillman's bored,
unfufilled wife but she has a decent rapport with Roger and as far as
acting chops go is better than many of the Bond actresses he shared the
screen with in his day job.
some reason Gold has been somewhat forgotten these days (I'm sure I
read somewhere that Roger fell out with the producers and so didn't
look back on it with tremendously fond memories) but it's a perfectly
watchable and well made adventure film with elements of conspiracy and
romance. Certainly one of the better films in the long career of Sir