Monday, August 30, 2010
Movie of the Week
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)
Starring- Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curt Jurgens, Richard Kiel
Freed from an often tense relationship with his co-producer Harry Saltzman, Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli took sole command of the 007 franchise following the lackluster performance of The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974. It took three years for Bond to return to the big screen, but Broccoli proved to everyone that the wait was well worth it. The Spy Who Loved Me proved to be the high watermark for Roger Moore's tenure as 007. Aside from having a compelling Cold War era plot, the film boasts amazing Ken Adam sets, beautiful women, lush locales and perhaps the greatest stunt ever shot.
Following the disappearance of British and Russian nuclear submarines, Bond is recalled to England to find out what happened, but not before a fabulous ski chase that ends with 007 jumping off a cliff and deploying a Union Jack parachute. The trail leads Bond to Cairo where he meets up with gorgeous Russian agent, XXX (Barbara Bach) who is after the same information as our James. They are menaced among the pyramids by a giant mute with metal teeth named Jaws who works for shipping magnate, Carl Stromberg, a webbed fingered madman who has hijacked the submarines in an attempt to set off World War III. Its a typical Bond plot that has echoes of earlier films in the series, but it is executed so well that you don't really mind.
Roger Moore perfectly inhabits the role of 007 in this, his third outing, by deftly balancing the action with his trademark wit. Many view this as his best Bond film (I disagree) because it nicely illustrates what Moore brought to the role- one liners, charm and the ability to show cruelty- when necessary. In addition to Moore's performance, Spy boasts a strong, interesting villain in the form of older, German actor, Curt Jurgens. Jurgens is not a physical match for 007 in the mold of Christopher Lee, but he is menacing and gets off some classic lines. Jaws is an iconic Bond villain, and unlike in Moonraker, he is sort of scary in this movie. Barbara Bach impresses in the looks category, but she leaves a bit to be desired as a thespian. With that said, she's much better than some other Bond girls. I'm looking at you, Tanya Roberts.
The Spy Who Loved Me proved Moore's viability as 007, that fans still loved the series and most importantly that Cubby Broccoli was the right man to lead the franchise. Not many men could have put something so big on their back and made it work, but Broccoli did and this film was the glossy, action packed result of his labors. Nobody did it better.
Things to watch for-
Rick Sylvester makes the greatest ski jump- EVER
Jaws vs. Bond in a train compartment
The Lotus takes a swim
The Liparus set that required the largest sound stage ever to be built
Carly Simon's classic theme song
"Bond, what do you think you're doing?"
"Keeping the British end up, sir."