The Spy Who Loved Me
Bigger Bond is back again ...
The Spy Who Loved Me(1977)
Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video
After a 3 year break Roger Moore returns as top British agent James Bond. Ten years after directing You Only Live Twice Lewis Gilbert is back at the helm with thoughts that he was remaking the same movie with the plot similarities. Replace submarines for space capsules and an oil-tanker for a volcano and you do get a sense of déjà vu.
The plot has a shipping magnate Stromberg ( Curt Jurgens ) wanting to destroy the world and create an underwater civilisation. To do this he needs some nuclear submarines which he steals from the Russians & Americans. With Bond on R&R in Austria, M demands Moneypenny to "Tell him to pull out ... immediately !". He gets a silly ticker tape message on his watch and his lovely blonde pass-time tells 007 "James I need you" but our Rog replies "So does England".
A ski chase ensues, reminding us of OHMSS, with James killing off the 'spy who loved me' of the title played by Michael tv's UFO Billington as a hairy chested Russian agent Sergei. The pre-title chase ends with the famous jump off the precipice with the Union Jack parachute, cue Carly Simon's memorable song.
Enter the beauty of the movie, the lovely Barbara Bach as agent XXX - Anya Amasova who teams up with 007. She is great on the eye especially in that stunning v-neck dress but at times it's hard to believe her quick thinking & karate skills. I enjoyed the Cairo bar scene where she exchanges career details and Bond at last gets defensive about his late wife.
The villain of the movie is Jaws - no doubt after the Spielberg movie - played by the tall Richard Kiel who has many fights with our hero. One surviving falling rubble allows Moore to deliver "Egyptian builders" and another on a train similar to Bond's fight with Tee Hee at the end of Live And Let Die. After biting off a shark in a tank ( reminders of Thunderball & Live .. ) he goes on to live another day in Moonraker.
The star of the movie proves to be the little Lotus Esprit which dives to the bottom of the sea ( oops sorry that's tv's Stingray ) but proves a worthy replacement for 007's Aston Martin. In one scene it outmanoeuvres a helicopter piloted by the lovely Caroline Munroe as Stromberg's aide Naomi - alas no Pussy Galore.
Watch out for Robert Brown as Admiral Hargreaves later to take over as M in Octopussy, another appearance by George OHMSS Baker as Captain Benson, Albert Moses as the Cairo barman who will turn up in India as Sadruddin in Octopussy and Jeremy Bulloch as one of the British sub crew who dies valiantly only to reappear as Smithers in Q's lab in For Your Eyes Only and driving a taxi in Octopussy.
When I saw this Bond adventure, I thought that it was great to have 007 back but it seemed to be made up of the sum of past outings. Still enjoyable despite the moans, recommend the wide screen version for those tourist scenes in Egypt.
In 2006 MGM Home Entertainment released the James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond lookalike silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie. A regular feature tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips is a section called Exotic Locations narrated by Maud Octopussy Adams about the filming locations & their history. Purchased as part of a Roger Moore Ultimate Edition set, each movie comes within smaller disc folders and alas no eight page booklet. For this disc, new audio commentary comes from Sir Roger Moore along with director Lewis Gilbert and cast & crew. Documentaries include looking at the work of Production Designer Ken Adam, another with Roger Moore on Pinewood set answering questions. The usual Inside .. doc narrated by Patrick Macnee with Moore revealing this one as his favourite Bond movie. More home cine footage from Adam while in Sardinia during pre-production & while shooting also includes off set by the pool of Bach book reading & Roger playing backgammon with Cubby. The trailers for cinema, tv & radio are mainly the American version with Roger introducing the movie. So another much needed for the Bond archives.