Summer in our Nation’s Capitol is long and hot and squishy and hot and suffocating and sultry and hot. Also, it’s been known to get a little warm on occasion, those occasions being July and August. But the sticky season is not without its pleasures. Screen on the Green, the beloved outdoor film series on the National Mall, returns next month to showcase another eclectic menu of classic flicks on four consecutive Monday evenings. Herewith, a primer on this year’s slate.
Films begin at dusk on the field between 4th and 7th Streets.
The third time was the charm for the James Bond franchise, which had scored with two prior outings starring Sean Connery as the ur-agent on her majesty’s secret service, but which exploded into a global phenomenon with this, the film that provided its most iconic images, heavies and beauties. Recall, whether you’ve seen the film or not, the gold-painted female corpse. The passenger-expelling Aston Martin. The hat-throwing, golf ball-crushing assassin, Oddjob, And, villainess-or-is-she Ms. — hey, can we say this in the newspaper? — Pussy Galore.
Geek Alert (niche): Honor Blackman quit the great British spy show The Avengers to take the part of Ms. Galore. Geek Alert (broad): Goldfinger is also the picture in which 007, in a rare lapse of taste, disses The Beatles. Who, to be fair, didn’t make their best records until after this movie came out.
Notable film critics like Roger Ebert and my dad say this adventure, wherein 007 must foil a conspiracy to rob the U.S. gold repository at Fort Knox, is the best of the 20-odd Bond flicks, an honor I reserve for its immediate predecessor, “From Russia with Love.” But with its morbid one-liners, rapid-fire (for the time) cutting, and fake endings, “Goldfinger” was the template blockbuster action films would follow for the next 40 years, seldom with more amusing results. And any movie that can make a golf game — between Connery and Gert Frobe as the titular villain — seem exciting is clearly operating on a higher level. (July 12.)