Pros and Cons: The Spy Who Loved Me

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  • heartbroken_mr_draxheartbroken_mr_drax New Zealand Posts: 2,043MI6 Agent
    Matt S wrote:
    The scene where he comforts Melina on the sled is something I can't picture any other Bond actor doing so well.
    -{ 100%
    1. TWINE 2. FYEO 3. MR 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. OHMSS 7. DN 8. OP 9. AVTAK 10. TMWTGG 11. QoS 12. GE 13. CR 14. TB 15. FRWL 16. LTK 17. GF 18. SF 19. LaLD 20. YOLT 21. TND 22. NTTD 23. DAD 24. DAF. 25. SP

    "Maybe later?"
  • Doctor KnowDoctor Know Posts: 15MI6 Agent
    How do you think TSWLM would've turned out if SPECTRE and Blofeld had been allowed to be used as the film's antagonists? Stromberg was a off brand Blofeld himself and the role would likely have been recast for Blofeld (no Pleasance, Savalas or Gray reprisals). Bond did get to kill Stromberg though. Shooting him 3x, seated. Yikes! Like it was personal or something. :))
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    I don't know if this has been discussed before, but when Roger goes to execute Stromberg, the camera cuts to Stromberg everytime he gets shot. A similar thing happened in The Man With The Golden Gun when he said that the sights are a bit off.
    Clever bit of editing to conceal Roger's flinch when firing a gun.
    a reasonable rate of return
  • hehadlotsofgutshehadlotsofguts Durham England Posts: 2,087MI6 Agent
    I don't know if this has been discussed before, but when Roger goes to execute Stromberg, the camera cuts to Stromberg everytime he gets shot. A similar thing happened in The Man With The Golden Gun when he said that the sights are a bit off.
    Clever bit of editing to conceal Roger's flinch when firing a gun.

    Roger never liked guns or explosions. He wore earplugs, when filming the big battle scene and thd destruction of Atlantis.
    Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?"

    " I don't listen to hip hop!"
  • heartbroken_mr_draxheartbroken_mr_drax New Zealand Posts: 2,043MI6 Agent
    You can also see him flinch in the gunbarrel, there's no cut in those scenes!
    1. TWINE 2. FYEO 3. MR 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. OHMSS 7. DN 8. OP 9. AVTAK 10. TMWTGG 11. QoS 12. GE 13. CR 14. TB 15. FRWL 16. LTK 17. GF 18. SF 19. LaLD 20. YOLT 21. TND 22. NTTD 23. DAD 24. DAF. 25. SP

    "Maybe later?"
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    In the Live and Let Die version of the gunbarrel he flinches before he fires the gun.
    In the Spy Who Loved Me version of the gunbarrel he flinches as the blood starts dribbling down.
    I never noticed that before.
    a reasonable rate of return
  • FiremassFiremass AlaskaPosts: 1,910MI6 Agent
    You can also see him flinch in the gunbarrel, there's no cut in those scenes!

    Kind of silly considering they probably added the gun shot noise later in post-production. Why have him fire the gun at all during the gunbarrel walk?
    My current 10 favorite:

    1. GE 2. MR 3. OP 4. TMWTGG 5. TSWLM 6. TND 7. TWINE 8.DN 9. GF 10. AVTAK
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    Firemass wrote:
    You can also see him flinch in the gunbarrel, there's no cut in those scenes!

    Kind of silly considering they probably added the gun shot noise later in post-production. Why have him fire the gun at all during the gunbarrel walk?
    Isn't that what they always did in the movies? I wish they re-recorded gunshot noises like the people in Die Hard 1 did.
    a reasonable rate of return
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,388MI6 Agent
    this was the first Bond film I saw in the theatre, so I'm biased
    I'd only ever seen fragments of Goldfinger and Diamonds.... before, on teevee
    so I assumed this is what Bond films are supposed to look like


    PROS
    -the Bond film perfected:
    in the absence of a Fleming plot, they return to the formula established in Goldfinger and the plot from the first all-original film You Only Live Twice, and various specific scenes from the first six films at least (not sure about the next three), yet they blend it all seamlessly and improve upon the originals in many cases, summing up to an idealised Bond plot-structure at an epic scale. Worked so well they remade it immediately as Moonraker, and revisited it again and again in the Brosnan era

    -Ken Adam's best work: the tanker interior and the villain's underwater HQ, either one of which is equal to the volcano HQ, but also minor sets like the hotel in Sardinia, and Gogol's office, and the escape capsule

    -Anya may be the sexiest Bond girl ever, physically, dress-sense, the way she moves, and the way the character does her job. In Wood's novelisation we learn she has undergone recent training in seduction and satisfaction techniques

    -must be coincidence, but this looks a lot like Star Wars which came out the same year: desert scenes near the beginning, with classical ruins, the lotus resembles Luke's landspeeder more than it does a car, Stromberg's underwater HQ with all its shiny surfaces, from which the damsel in distress must be rescued, all those subs and tankers and other mechanical toys, etc etc ... did Brocolli know what Lucas was working on?

    -Bond spends a lot of time in naval uniform, including much of the tanker sequence

    -I think both this and For Your Eyes Only borrow from Colonel Sun: in this case, Bond teams up with a sexy communist agent (whose name even has the same initials as Ariadne Alexandrou) and they first meet in a restaurant, then theres a chase scene through classical ruins (albeit Egyptian not Greek), followed by island hopping in the Mediterranean (albeit Italian not Greek)


    CONS
    -aside from Carly Simon's song, I don't like the music in this one either. The synthy disco theme is distracting during a couple of major action sequences. Hamlisch sounds like Giorgio Moroder here, hard to believe he also did The Sting soundtrack four years earlier, with all that wonderful Joplin music, but at least this proves he has range

    -some stoopid distracting jokes and musical cues

    -M's field HQ. I get that it was needed for some plot points to come together mid-film but I do not believe a second of it

    -Barbara Bach is not a good actress nor is her character is written to be as impressive as we are meant to believe. At least she doesn't claim to be a nuclear physicist. Maybe I need to rewatch Caveman with her and Ringo to get a better sense of her acting chops?


    how would this work if Stromberg were renamed Blofeld? yes Bonds final scene with him would work, maybe more satisfactorily than the end of Diamonds... , but what about the scene where Bond poses as a marine biologist? Blofeld would have to be really really really bad at recognising faces for that scene to work. No wonder he's always pressing the button to kill the next underling over during those tense meetings.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,214Chief of Staff
    in the absence of a Fleming plot, they return to the formula established in Goldfinger and the plot from the first all-original film You Only Live Twice

    YOLT isn't quite all-original, there are still bits of Fleming in there- less than the first four films, granted, and the one after, but they are there.
    various specific scenes from the first six films at least (not sure about the next three), yet they blend it all seamlessly and improve upon the originals in many cases, summing up to an idealised Bond plot-structure at an epic scale. Worked so well they remade it immediately as Moonraker, and revisited it again and again in the Brosnan era

    Absolutely.
    -Ken Adam's best work: the tanker interior and the villain's underwater HQ, either one of which is equal to the volcano HQ, but also minor sets like the hotel in Sardinia, and Gogol's office, and the escape capsule

    Again, totally agree.

    -must be coincidence, but this looks a lot like Star Wars which came out the same year: desert scenes near the beginning, with classical ruins, the lotus resembles Luke's landspeeder more than it does a car, Stromberg's underwater HQ with all its shiny surfaces, from which the damsel in distress must be rescued, all those subs and tankers and other mechanical toys, etc etc ... did Brocolli know what Lucas was working on?

    Good points
    -I think both this and For Your Eyes Only borrow from Colonel Sun: in this case, Bond teams up with a sexy communist agent (whose name even has the same initials as Ariadne Alexandrou) and they first meet in a restaurant, then theres a chase scene through classical ruins (albeit Egyptian not Greek), followed by island hopping in the Mediterranean (albeit Italian not Greek)

    Agreed, and I remember thinking this at the time!
    CONS
    -aside from Carly Simon's song, I don't like the music in this one either. The synthy disco theme is distracting during a couple of major action sequences. Hamlisch sounds like Giorgio Moroder here, hard to believe he also did The Sting soundtrack four years earlier, with all that wonderful Joplin music, but at least this proves he has range

    In the absence of John Barry, I think Hamlisch did a good job.

    -Barbara Bach is not a good actress nor is her character is written to be as impressive as we are meant to believe. At least she doesn't claim to be a nuclear physicist. Maybe I need to rewatch Caveman with her and Ringo to get a better sense of her acting chops?

    Well, she's better than Ringo... but I'd put large money on her not being able to drum as well!*

    * cue jokes about Ringo's drumming! :))
  • GrindelwaldGrindelwald Posts: 1,281MI6 Agent
    Did Beckmann and Markowitz try to cheat Stromberg , is that why he shows them the penalty (his secretary killed by shark) of trying to con him , to scare would be traitors ?

    .....but then he screws them over and cancels their payments
  • zaphod99zaphod99 Posts: 1,415MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    in the absence of a Fleming plot, they return to the formula established in Goldfinger and the plot from the first all-original film You Only Live Twice

    YOLT isn't quite all-original, there are still bits of Fleming in there- less than the first four films, granted, and the one after, but they are there.
    various specific scenes from the first six films at least (not sure about the next three), yet they blend it all seamlessly and improve upon the originals in many cases, summing up to an idealised Bond plot-structure at an epic scale. Worked so well they remade it immediately as Moonraker, and revisited it again and again in the Brosnan era

    Absolutely.
    -Ken Adam's best work: the tanker interior and the villain's underwater HQ, either one of which is equal to the volcano HQ, but also minor sets like the hotel in Sardinia, and Gogol's office, and the escape capsule

    Again, totally agree.

    -must be coincidence, but this looks a lot like Star Wars which came out the same year: desert scenes near the beginning, with classical ruins, the lotus resembles Luke's landspeeder more than it does a car, Stromberg's underwater HQ with all its shiny surfaces, from which the damsel in distress must be rescued, all those subs and tankers and other mechanical toys, etc etc ... did Brocolli know what Lucas was working on?

    Good points
    -I think both this and For Your Eyes Only borrow from Colonel Sun: in this case, Bond teams up with a sexy communist agent (whose name even has the same initials as Ariadne Alexandrou) and they first meet in a restaurant, then theres a chase scene through classical ruins (albeit Egyptian not Greek), followed by island hopping in the Mediterranean (albeit Italian not Greek)

    Agreed, and I remember thinking this at the time!
    CONS
    -aside from Carly Simon's song, I don't like the music in this one either. The synthy disco theme is distracting during a couple of major action sequences. Hamlisch sounds like Giorgio Moroder here, hard to believe he also did The Sting soundtrack four years earlier, with all that wonderful Joplin music, but at least this proves he has range

    In the absence of John Barry, I think Hamlisch did a good job.

    -Barbara Bach is not a good actress nor is her character is written to be as impressive as we are meant to believe. At least she doesn't claim to be a nuclear physicist. Maybe I need to rewatch Caveman with her and Ringo to get a better sense of her acting chops?

    Well, she's better than Ringo... but I'd put large money on her not being able to drum as well!*

    * cue jokes about Ringo's drumming! :))

    In the Pasthenon of the terrible she tends out, there is some stiff competition though...
    Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Agent PurpleAgent Purple Posts: 857MI6 Agent
    After my latest viewing, this film gets a 10/10 from me. Awesome film.

    Stromberg prob wouldn't end up in my Top 5 Bond villains, but I think he does a decent enough job.
    "Hostile takeovers. Shall we?"
    New 2020 ranking (for now DAF and FYEO keep their previous placements)
    1. TLD 2. TND 3. GF 4. TSWLM 5. TWINE 6. OHMSS 7. LtK 8. TMWTGG 9. L&LD 10. YOLT 11. DAD 12. QoS 13. DN 14. GE 15. SF 16. OP 17. MR 18. AVTAK 19. TB 20. FRWL 21. CR 22. FYEO 23. DAF (SP to be included later)
    Bond actors to be re-ranked later
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,388MI6 Agent
    edited June 20

    some of our fellow agents in Britain recently saw The Spy Who Loved Me on the big screen, and in another thread were discussing just how perfect all the elements were despite the film maybe not adding up to more than the sum of its parts

    theres a long article in The Telegraph today, called Bond Done Properly, I think tied in with this very cinema showing, and it goves some background info I didnt know. The articles behind a dastardly paywall, so I may as well free the text for scholarly posterity

    ___________________________

    Bond done properly: how The Spy Who Loved Me wrote the 007 rulebook

    It ditched Fleming in favour of absurd stunts and puns. Yet it's easy to see why this was Roger Moore’s – and Alan Partridge’s – favourite

    By Tom Fordy 20 June 2022

    Rick Sylvester stood atop Mount Asgard. Doubling for Roger Moore, he was poised to ski off the sheer rock face at almost 7,000ft and deploy a Union Jack parachute – the payoff to the still-unbeaten pre-titles stunt from The Spy Who Loved Me. Second unit director John Glen offered some words of encouragement as Sylvester was about to take flight: “Don’t forget, Rick, you are James Bond.”

    “It wasn’t helpful!” laughs Sylvester. “I’m concentrating on what I have to do to survive… it was all or nothing, life or death. It was a short ski run and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got to drop the poles just as I get to the edge, fly off into space, drop the skis, get my body in the right attitude – stomach to earth, arch my back – so the chute doesn’t go between my legs.’ I’m not thinking, ‘I’m James Bond!’”

    The stunt – which cost a vertigo-inducing $250,000 – had been delayed by bad weather for a week, sending the cost higher by the day, prompting phone calls from London (“Has he done it yet?! Has it happened?!”) that piled on the pressure. Sylvester was having “second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth thoughts” about the jump. Sylvester, now 80, insists he was a novice skydiver. “I’m still a novice to this day,” he says. Modest words from the man who dangled under cinema’s most recognisable parachute.

    Certainly, the jump from Mount Asgard, as Bond escapes a band of Russians agents, is the greatest, most audacious Bond stunt of them – made all that much better, in the way that only Bond can do, by the intercut shots of Roger Moore, clearly nowhere near Asgard, before making the big jump.

    It’s also the opening gambit of a film that boasts more iconic elements per eyebrow-raise than any film in Bond history: the Union Jack parachute jump; the megalomaniac villain with an underwater base; the shark tank for dispatching peripheral characters; the metal-toothed, clumsy henchman, Jaws; the Lotus Esprit sports car-turned-submarine; the “Keeping the British end up, Sir” puns; and – of course – the clang-a-lang-a-langing of Nobody Does It Better, belted out by Carly Simon, a top five Bond song by anyone’s measure.

    It is little wonder that Alan Partridge (a long-time Roger Moore enthusiast) called The Spy Who Loved Me “the best film ever made” – just minutes before he acted out the pre-titles sequence in one of his trademark meltdowns. (“Stop getting Bond wrong!”)

    Premiering on July 7, 1977 – and back in cinemas briefly this weekend – The Spy Who Loved Me was Roger Moore’s blockbuster Bond. “The box office results were staggering,” says Matthew Field, co-author of Some Kind of Hero, the definitive book on Bond film history. “In a year in which Great Britain celebrated the Silver Jubilee, patriotism made its way into the cinemas. A million tickets were sold in the first five weeks in the UK alone. The Spy Who Loved Me took an incredible worldwide gross of $185 million. The film wasn’t just showered with financial success – the following spring it was nominated for three Academy Awards.”

    It came after the relative disappointment of The Man with The Golden Gun, which was poorly reviewed and marked a downward trajectory for Roger at the box office.

    The Spy Who Loved Me was also delayed amidst the split of producers Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, causing the financially-troubled Saltzman to sell his part of Bond to the distributor, United Artists. “The franchise needed recalibrating,” says Field. “Artistically and production-wise the tensions and intercompany wrangling between Broccoli and Saltzman had left their mark.”

    Barbara Broccoli, Cubby’s daughter and current Bond producer, called the ski jump a metaphor for her father taking the leap as solo producer. “It was double or quits,” she said. “He was going to put everything on the line and make it the best Bond film ever.”

    Cubby had always liked the The Spy Who Loved Me title, which is taken from Ian Fleming’s ninth Bond novel. Published in 1962, it’s a curious entry, narrated by a young Canadian woman (the “me” in The Spy Who Loved Me). Bond, meanwhile, doesn’t bother to show up until the final act. Even Fleming didn’t like the book and wouldn’t allow the story to be used on film – only the title. A new story had to be written, which went through various – sometimes bizarre – stages. A Clockwork Orange writer Anthony Burgess wrote a treatment about SPECTRE abducting the Pope.

    John Landis, future director of The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, was enlisted and suggested a pre-title sequence in which Bond hides from bad guys by posing as Jesus on a church crucifix. Landis soon departed the project along with Guy Hamilton. The four-time Bond director was initially hired but left over his frustrations with the Broccoli versus Saltzman delays and a potential opportunity to direct Superman. Instead, Lewis Gilbert, with the script written by Bond regular Richard Maibaum and Christopher Wood – also known as Timothy Lea, writer of the raunchy Confessions films. “Who better to write Bond?” says John Rain, host of SMERSH Pod and author of Thunderbook. “It’s a genuine no-brainer. In fact, it’s just what modern Bond is missing.”

    The last time Lewis Gilbert directed Bond, the Sean Connery-starring You Only Live Twice, the Bond series tipped over into self-parody, with the cat-stroking, Dr. Evil-like Blofeld in his hollowed-out volcano base – the blueprint for every Bond spoof since.

    The Spy Who Loved Me was also set to Blofeld and his devious syndicate, SPECTRE, but the film was hit by a plagiarism case from Kevin McClory, who had collaborated with Ian Fleming on the story that became Thunderball. McClory owned the film rights to both Blofeld and SPECTRE and waged a lengthy battle to produce his own Bond film, which led to the rogue, “unofficial” Bond film, Never Say Never Again in 1983.

    In the interim, Blofeld and SPECTRE had to be scrubbed from The Spy Who Loved Me. Blofeld became Karl Stromberg (played by Curd Jürgens), a web-fingered industrialist and all-round fish lover. From the serene belly of his underwater base (well, serene aside from him feeding people to sharks) Stromberg plans to create a new underwater civilisation, by swallowing up nuclear submarines (one British sub, one Russian sub) in his supertanker and using the nukes to start a war.

    Though Kevin McClory quibbled over elements lifted from Thunderball, it’s really a rerun of You Only Live Twice, swapping rockets and outer space for submarines and the sea.

    For the final battle of You Only Live Twice, set designer Ken Adam created Blofeld’s magnificent volcano base. For a similar showdown in The Spy Who Loved Me, Adam built the just-as-magnificent supertanker – a cold, steely, shimmering interior. “I let myself go really wild,” said Adam. The supertanker set was so big that a new stage had to be built at Pinewood Studios – the famous 007 stage. For exterior shots, effects man Derek Meddings built miniatures, including a scaled-down 65ft supertanker – so convincing that it fooled a real-life supertanker captain at a preview screening.

    The Spy Who Loved Me is, for the most part, formulaic stuff. But it broke interesting ground by pairing Moore’s Bond with a female equivalent: KGB agent Anya Amasova – codename XXX – played by Barbara Bach. Forced to join forces to track down Stromberg, Bond and Anya play a game of sexually-fraught one-upmanship. But when Anya learns that Bond killed her former lover, also a KGB agent, Anya pledges to kill Bond once their mission is complete.

    John Glen, editor and second unit director, recalled that Moore and Bach “didn’t get on terribly well” in real life. Bach didn’t appreciate Roger’s schoolboy japery.

    “I always remember Roger walking across the desert,” Glen told me in a 2018 interview. “As he was walking a few steps behind Barbara Bach – she's in this beautiful dress, he’s in the dinner suit – he slowly loosened his trousers and they dropped round his ankles. Everyone was falling about. She looked round and didn’t laugh. She thought it was a bit schoolboy. He was like that, Roger.”

    The film’s more sympathetic Russians were inspired by thawing relations – and because The Man with The Golden Gun had gone down a storm with Russian officials. Director Lewis Gilbert, meanwhile, considered Anya to be a thoroughly modern Bond girl. “Women’s lib would be very proud of her,” said Gilbert at the time. That is, until Anya decides that she fancies Bond too much to kill him – so she sleeps with him instead.

    ___________________

    (character limit exceeded, to be cont'd)

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,388MI6 Agent

    (Telegraph article cont'd)

    ______________

    The idea for the film’s big money set piece – the Union Jack parachute jump – came from Cubby Broccoli’s stepson (and now Bond producer), Michael Wilson. “Michael was apparently on an aeroplane to England,” said John Glen. “He picked up a magazine and saw an advert for Canadian Club – a shot of Rick Sylvester coming off Mount Asgard.”

    Sylvester had invented what he called “the ski parachute jump” and performed it three times off the 7,600ft El Capitan in Yosemite. For the Canadian Club advert, they had to superimpose a picture from one of Sylvester’s El Capitan jumps. He’d attempted Mount Asgard – a double-peaked mountain on Baffin Island, in the northernmost territory of Canada – but they couldn’t get the helicopter to land there. Trading off the edict that nobody does it better, Bond sent Sylvester flying off Mount Asgard for real.

    Sylvester received a call from Cubby Broccoli himself. “This is London calling. I’m Cubby Broccoli, like the vegetable, the producer of the Bond films … we’re wondering if you’d be interested in performing your jump in the next Bond film.”

    There was some doubt about the $250,000 cost. But, after Sylvester and the crew took a reconnaissance flight, the images of Sylvester at the top of Mount Asgard were so impressive that Cubby signed off.

    There were just three cameras: one placed on a helicopter for the master shot; one side-on at the cliff edge; and one on a ledge just below. The cameraman on the ledge was a Canadian – there to fill a Canadian labour quota – and deeply unhappy about being perched 7,000ft up. “We told him that with modern climbing ropes there’s no way you could generate enough force to break the rope,” laughs Sylvester. “He said, ‘I want six ropes tied to me!’ I think if he’d understood the nature of the job when he signed on, he might not have done it.”

    Production coordinator René Dupont reassured Sylvester. “He took me aside the first day and said a very comforting thing,” says Sylvester. “He said, ‘Rick, if you don’t think it’s safe, don't do it. Forget about the expense.’”

    Sylvester felt pressure as calls from London came in – “I was the one who suggested the location,” he says – and the helicopter flew out daily to check conditions. Sylvester admits he got “superstitious” about it. “This wasn’t for adventure, it was for filthy lucre!” he says. “As the bad weather persisted, I was secretly getting quite scared and rooting against the project, hoping I wouldn’t have to do it. I said I would because the piper had to be paid.”

    Finally, the helicopter came back and said the weather was right – the jump was on. “I thought, ‘What the f–––?! It was the worst weather yet!” Sylvester says. There were no words of reassurance from Dupont this time. “I thought, ‘Boy, René has sure changed his stance here…’” laughs Sylvester.

    When they got there, the weather was indeed clear. Making the jump, Sylvester had trouble getting into a stable position. “I dropped below the range of the camera on that helicopter,” he says. “That was meant to be the master shot. The cameraman on the edge of the cliff said, ‘I think I got it!’ The film was sent to the lab in Montreal. We were all under a lot of pressure waiting for the results. It came back with ‘It’s good enough!’”

    John Glen believes the success of the sequence, which he directed as head of the second unit, is what led him to become overall director just two films later. “You could say when Rick Sylvester went off the precipice, he took my career with him!” Glen said.

    “It’s been called the greatest stunt in cinematic history,” says Sylvester. “I don’t even consider myself a stuntman. The only two stunts I did were for Bond movies [the other was a daring rock climb in For Your Eyes Only]. Talk about starting at the top. Where do you go?”

    The jump changed Bond history. “It set the benchmark by which all future Bond openers would be judged,” says Matthew Field. “Before Spy, the films didn't really feature audacious pre-title sequences – they were smaller in scope. After this, the filmmakers have been continuously challenged with coming up with a stunt or sequence that tops Sylvester’s leap into the unknown.”

    The henchman, meanwhile, was already a Bond formula standard – established by Red Grant in From Russia with Love, and turned into a gimmick, like one of Bond’s gadgets come-to-life, by the hat-throwing Oddjob in Goldfinger. But The Spy Who Loved Me saw the henchman overshadow the real villain. Quite literally: the 7’2”, metal-toothed Jaws – played by Richard Kiel – was so massive that Lewis Gilbert got a neck ache from looking up at him.

    Jaws was one of the few elements carried over from Fleming’s book – based loosely on Sol Horror, a gangster with metal-capped teeth. Will Sampson (the Native American actor from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and David Prowse (Darth Vader himself) were also in the running. Richard Kiel recalled his reaction to first hearing the pitch for the character: “Oh no, this is absurd, this is ridiculous.” (Just wait until Jaws falls in love with a pigtailed sweetheart in outer space – yes, really.)

    Summing up the frolics of the Roger Moore era, Jaws is a cumbersome, klutz of a baddie – good at biting people to death (even winning a biting contest with a tiger shark at one point) but also prone to dropping rocks on his toe. He’s frightening, too – see him murdering one helpless chap at the Egyptian Pyramids. “Jaws is not just an iconic baddie but one of the most recognisable characters of the entire series,” says Field. “The moment he revealed those metal teeth he put the fear of God into audiences. Richard Kiel didn’t utter a single line in the entire film. His physical presence alone was so incredibly powerful.”

    The teeth – painfully uncomfortable for Kiel – were designed by Katharina Kubrick. Her father, Stanley Kubrick, also played a small role. Kubrick was asked to help light the supertanker set. He agreed and made some covert suggestions.

    By this time, 15 years into the Bond series, the producers were also looking to modernise Bond’s car. Hearing about a potential upgrade, the marketing manager of Lotus Cars parked the all-new Lotus Esprit near Pinewood Studios. Sure enough, the Bond producers soon called Lotus. The company only had one car to give production, so the Lotus chairman had to donate his car too.

    On dry land, the Lotus Esprit proved tricky to manoeuvre for chase sequences. Bond seems quite comfortable behind the wheel, though: he manages to speed away from an enemy helicopter and flirt with the pilot (played by Caroline Munro). For the underwater scenes – in which the Esprit sprouts fins and turns into an especially stylish submarine – they used shells off the Lotus production line and fibre glass models. A real submarine manufacturer helped convert one of the cars, which was manned by divers.

    The Lotus Esprit S1, Field says, “left Connery’s Aston Martin DB5 in the dust”. In 2013, Elon Musk bought the car for £616,000 and vowed to upgrade it, so the car could transform into a submarine for real.

    If The Spy Who Loved Me is built on a raft of iconic Bondian touches, most crucial is 007 himself. The Spy Who Loved Me is, unquestionably, Roger Moore’s greatest moment in the role.

    Moore was at ease with the requisite charm and flamboyance from the get-go, but there’s more to his James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me: his rooftop punch-up with a toad-like heavy, who Rodge sends plummeting to his death without a second’s hesitation; or a moment of prickliness at the mention of his dead wife, Tracy – flashes of the pensive, darker Bond that would occasionally glint beneath Rodge’s fabulous eyebrows.

    In a later scene, when Anya challenges Bond about killing her lover and promises to kill him, Rodge delivers a series-best performance. “In our business, Anya, people get killed,” says Bond. “We both know that. So did he.” All business on the surface, but a deep remorse simmering beneath.

    “Roger was a much better actor than he ever gave himself credit for,” said John Glen. “I would have to constantly reassure him.”

    Roger Moore surely took the words of encouragement that were offered to Rick Sylvester on Mount Asgard. As deliriously daft and saucy as Rodge sometimes was, Roger Moore is James Bond. See him speeding across the water on a jet ski, off to save the girl and kill the baddie, while the Bond theme kicks in. The moment is undeniable.

    Lewis Gilbert’s previous Bond had been good fodder for spoofing, but The Spy Who Love Me, while playing along the lines of the same formula, is something else. Its great trick is updating the Bondian elements – all iconic in their own right. There is, as Carly Simon sings, some kind of magic.

    “It’s a film so gloriously heavy on the magic that it ticks every single possible Bond box imaginable,” says John Rain. “It’s the blueprint of how you do Bond properly.”

    “It is no secret The Spy Who Loved Me was Roger Moore’s favourite Bond movie,” says Matthew Field. “While I am a great admirer of all of his 007 pictures, I can see why he thought this. It was the first of his outings to give the series a new identity.”

    As Roger Moore would surely agree, few Bond films did it better.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,980MI6 Agent

    Great article @caractacus potts Thanks for posting

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,737MI6 Agent

    I struggle with Cons for this one! Maybe agree that Stromberg isn’t the strongest; and I must say I’m not sure Atlantis is the best design. Rather in order to sell the model you need something recognisable to scale it, but as it’s a totally original design you can’t work out how bit it’s supposed to be, so the model ends up looking just like a model. The only clue is a tiny helicopter, but by the time you’ve spotted it it’s too late.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,214Chief of Staff

    Thanks, @caractacus potts !

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,737MI6 Agent

    That's a good piece, thank you for sharing: I'm glad that article acknowledges how good Roger Moore was in it. I had no idea Jaws' teeth were designed by Katharina Kubrick either! 😊

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 2,585MI6 Agent

    Thank you @caractacus potts

    I adore TSWLM and feel its only negative is the protracted and a little boring stand-off in the tanker towards the end.

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,737MI6 Agent
    edited June 21

    Yeah I'm never a massive fan of the 'stuntmen on trampolines' big battle climaxes, although at least this one has an interesting bit with the defusing of the detonator.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,737MI6 Agent

    Here is that advert which caught the imagination of Michael Wilson:


    https://twitter.com/trevorbaxendale/status/1539202617779408896?s=20&t=slQfF6w0o8rjhsceZB3tIw

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,388MI6 Agent

    glad you all enjoyed the article. hopefully the Telegraph police don't come after me for posting the whole thing, but it was so good I thought itd be a shame to leave it unread behind their paywall. (@Barbel if its a problem I can edit it down to a few select quotes)

    I started reading it, assuming it would be short shallow and full of errors like most online articles I see about Bond. But it just kept going and going and going, and not only did I not spot obvious errors, it turned out to be full of behind the scenes info I did not know, and probably new to a few of you too. Yeh, I never new Kubrick's daughter designed the teeth either. I also never knew John Landis proposed to film Bond in a Jesus on the cross pose! I cant imagine Cubby would have let that happen, but imagine the audacity in proposing such a scene! Well his subversive talents were probably better applied to Animal House but just try to imagine his unmade version of this film (e.g.: Bond has dinner with the villain, and fills his cheeks with mashed potatoes as the villain lectures him, then interrupts to say "try to guess what I am now!")

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,214Chief of Staff

    I think we can run this as is, cp. If there's complaints I'll let you know.

    One thing the excellent article doesn't mention is the sad reason why Kubrick gave an uncredited assist with lighting the tanker set, which is that director of photography Claude Renoir was losing his eyesight, struggling with the huge set, and would soon have to retire (I'm pretty sure this was his last movie). Kubrick was asked to tactfully come in at night when Renoir wouldn't be there.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,634MI6 Agent
    edited June 22

    As a side note, I love that Alan Partridge scene referenced in the Telegraph article, the one where Alan waxes lyrical about the TSWLM PTS after fuming at the others at his Bond marathon for "getting Bond wrong". The irony is that Alan himself seems to have got TSWLM and AVTAK mixed up, when he mentions Roger necking with Fiona Fullerton: surely he means Sue Vanner!

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,737MI6 Agent

    Doesn't he get the colour of the baddies' ski outfits wrong too? Although it's while since I've seen it, I may be getting Partridge wrong there 😊

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