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#242. Sean Connery

Chances are, much like my post about Morgan Freeman, you are now reading this in your head with the voice of Sean Connery. Of course, part of this may be due to the “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketch from Saturday Night Live, wherein Darrell Hammond portrays Sean Connery as an ornery, recurring contestant. Regardless of this parody, Sean Connery’s distinctive voice has made him an easily recognizable actor in the multitude of films he has made. Of course, in his nearly sixty years of acting, his career can be simply divided into two different camps, both spanning the same amount of years. The first camp is that of the young and suave man of action, whereas the second camp is that of an experienced legend. This week’s two films examine the dichotomy of Sean Connery’s career.

GoldfingerGoldfinger
Year: 1964
Rating: Approved
Length: 110 minutes / 1.83 hours

From his first, uncredited role in 1954’s Lilacs in the Spring, Sean Connery’s acting career slowly built steam as he gained more notable roles. In 1962, just a year after landing the lead role in Macbeth (1961), Connery’s career would take off with the first film adaptation of one of Ian Fleming’s novels, Dr. No. As the main protagonist, Sean Connery’s successful portrayal of British secret agent, James Bond, would launch him into a number of lead roles. Unfortunately, the Bond films are mostly what he is known for during this period. Following Dr. No, he would come back to the role five more times. From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), and Diamonds Are Forever (1971) rounded out the first set of Bond films for Connery until 1983 when he put on the tux one last time for the fittingly titled Never Say Never Again.

Considered by many to be not only Sean Connery’s best portrayal of James Bond, but the best Bond film ever made, Goldfinger follows agent 007 as he attempts to thwart the megalomaniacal plans of the eponymous Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe). Bond is up against more than just an industrial cutting laser, but Goldfinger’s minions as well. The weaponized hat-throwing Oddjob (Harold Sakata) and the acrobatic pilot Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) are helping Goldfinger to accomplish his plan to irradiate all the gold in Fort Knox. While Bond is able to subdue Oddjob and convince Pussy to defect, the atomic bomb in the maximum-security vault is steadily ticking away. In a last moment disarming, Bond is able to escape unscathed. On his way to the White House, he is ambushed by Goldfinger in mid-air, resulting in a dramatic and final fight for the two opponents.

HighlanderHighlander
Year: 1986
Rating: R
Length: 116 minutes / 1.93 hours

In 1983, with his last Bond film behind him, Sean Connery had been acting for 29 years. While the end of his career was 29 years in the future, he still had quite a few choice roles yet to complete. His first and only Academy Award came for his supporting role in The Untouchables (1987), but most people will remember him from such films as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), and The Rock (1996). Unfortunately, with a number of disappointing films like The Avengers (1998) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), and Sir Billi (2012) rounding out the end of his career, he didn’t get the grand send-off he deserved. Still, one of the films that began the second half of his career is still considered one of his greatest. This film, and its sequel five years later, was none other than Highlander (1986).

For numerous centuries, a group of immortal men have been battling to the death. Despite their inability to die from the ravages of time, there is only a single way for them to end their lives: be decapitated by another immortal, or be the last one standing. In 16th century Scotland, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is informed by Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez (Sean Connery) that they are both members of this immortal society. Ramírez then takes it upon himself to train Connor in the art of sword-fighting while also teaching Connor about the rules that go along with being an immortal. An immortal of pure evil, Kurgan (Clancy Brown), kills Ramírez, thus leading up to a climactic showdown between himself and Connor. Of course, this final battle would take centuries to finally happen, cumulating in a 1985 showdown.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 classic Connery roles

Bacon #: 2 (The Untouchables / Robert DeNiro -> Sleepers / Kevin Bacon)

 

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One response to “#242. Sean Connery

  1. Pingback: End of Act Five | Cinema Connections

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