Posted December 3, 2010 by editor in Retrospectives
 
 

The Spy Who Loved Me


You know exactly what you are getting when you watch a Bond film. You’ll get transported through a cyclonic maelstrom of bad guys, bullets, gadgets and beautiful women; and asked to suspend your belief at the kiosk…or when you put your DVD or Blu-Ray disc in the player. But it’s how and by whom you’re taken on one of these espionage extravaganzas that makes for an enjoyable, two hours plus in the company of your favourite spy.

 

Remember George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? A fine film; a great Bond interpretation but I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why, for me, George Lazenby didn’t suit the role, just as some may prefer Sean Connery over Roger Moore.

After the release of The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974, not quite a Bond film that sets my world on fire, (you must think I’m a right old moaner) Albert Broccoli realised he needed to revive the Bond franchise. The Bond brand slightly lost its way with Bond more like a caricature of the character. Everything that had made Bond the enigmatic rogue – suave yet ruthless in dealing with death and destruction in ample portions in some of the most exotic locations in the world­ – had gone astray.

 

After over two years of putting the best of the best from all the Bond films into a melting pot, then simmering to cook with countless rewriting of the script by different writers (before Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum penned the final draft) The Spy Who Loved Me was born.

This the tenth Bond film, directed by Lewis Gilbert (the director behind You Only Live Twice and Moonraker), orchestrated this gem that never quite lives up to the high octane opening which sees Bond jumping from the arms of another conquest (a Russian spy) to ski at break neck speed down the snow covered Alps whilst being pursued by the Russian baddies. Bond takes a few of the bad guys out (leaving more death in his wake) as he descends the mountain, and all this leading up to the most famous bond moment ever, Bond ski jumping off a cliff to reveal the Union Jack on his parachute as it opens.

 

Cue the opening credits and the awesome soundtrack ‘Nobody does it better’ by Carly Simon. By this time you are all pepped up and ready for more of the thrills you’ve just experienced. But alas, not so…

Don’t get me wrong, this is Moore’s best outing as the, cold, calculating death defying 007. Bond has to track down a missing British Nuclear Submarine which has been stolen by the web handed megalomaniac Karl Stromberg (Curd Jurgens billed as Curt Jurgens) who is more than hell-bent on creating an underwater civilization by destroying the world as we know it through nuclear Armageddon (KABOOM!) . Bond’s path soon crosses with (Bond Girl) the beautiful Russian agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) who is eventually ordered to work with Bond as a Russian nuclear submarine also goes missing. East meets West and the battle of wits between Bond and Agent XXX truly ignites and the sparks of romance begins to blossom. This never looks or feels out of place amidst this spy romp.

 

Another of Bond’s iconic moments is the Lotus Esprit is racing down the hillside chased by Stromberg’s henchwoman, Naomi (Caroline Munro) in a helicopter while she shoots the Living Daylights out of the road hoping to turn Bond and the Esprit into Swiss cheese. Bond drives the Lotus off a pier, into the sea and transforms it into an underwater submersible.

 

The crème de la crème of Stromberg’s henchmen is the unforgettable ‘Jaws’ (Richard Kiel) with his teeth of steel (I bet he has a good dental plan). Even down to the vampiric way Jaws finishes his victim sets him apart from all the other villains within the Bond universe. Jaws has to be one of the most recognised, no…scratch that…the number one super villain in the universe of Bond. In this film, Bond is most definitively shaken by Jaws but never stirred. Jaws adds a relentless presence that bond cannot defeat, this all adds to the funny and edge of your seat Bond experience.

 

Bond’s darker side is well portrayed by Moore from the fight on the rooftop in Cairo where the villain is hanging on to bonds tie for dear life as he balances on the edge of a roof top and Bond gets the information from him then kills him anyway. Again, in the climatic showdown in the submersible lair when Bond coldly empties his clip ever so slowly into Stromberg shows the true dark Bond Ian Fleming created.

 

Ultimately you have here, a Bond film that is the pinnacle of Moore’s outing as 007, just as Goldfinger was to Sean Connery. This won’t disappoint and is more than worthy of your viewing time.

 

Donnie Tulloch


editor