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'For Your Eyes Only' starts the tenure of John Glen at the helm of the Bond
series. He had worked previously on many of the Bond movies but during the
eighties he directed all 5 Bond movies, and with the exception of 'A View To
A Kill', they are up there with the best of the whole series. Certainly 'For
Your Eyes Only' and the follow up, 'Octopussy' are the best of the Moore
years, and I don't think it would be overstating it to say that Glen may
have single handedly saved the franchise.
By the end of the 1970s Bond had turned from Ian Fleming's masterspy into an entirely comic book creation, culminating in the preposterous shenanigans of 'Moonraker' in 1979. At the start of a new decade a new style is clearly apparent, with a back to basics story that actually involves some spying, and a genuine threat to world peace. It's pushing it to say that the story is believable, but it is realistically told and is certainly a more adult affair than the previous efforts.
The film starts with the final nail in the coffin for Blofeld. After years of legal wrangling over who had the rights to the character the filmmakers decided to show that they didn't need him anyway and unceremoniously dumped him once and for all. We are also immediately put in the mood for a far more serious Bond when he visits his late wife's grave, an unusual moment, not least because the movies rarely referenced previous actors in the role. Here we are reminded that Moore wasn't playing Bond at the time of his marriage. That serious tone pervades throughout the movie, with less wisecracking than usual, and a subdued villain, at odds with the expected megalomaniac we are used to. But the film is all the better for it. There are some fantastic action set-pieces including a chase in a Citroen 2CV, and a ski chase that tops even that of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', along with a tense finale that is literally a cliffhanger. Bond is actually forced to use his wits, and much of the action and escapes are less contrived than one would expect. It's also good to see (after 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'Moonraker') that the filmmakers have tried to get back to Fleming's Bond, with many ideas lifted from the original stories. The scene with Bond and Melina dragged behind the speedboat, for example, is taken directly from the novel of 'Live And Let Die', and many characters appear in Fleming's short story of the same name.
Add to the mix a fine cast, notably Carole Bouquet as another strong character in the list of 'Bond women', and you have a satisfying and thrilling entry in the series.
After 1979's sci-fi cartoon called Moonraker, Albert Broccoli and the
rest of the James Bond producers decided to change the pace for Roger
Moore's fifth adventure. This included firing incumbent director Lewis
Gilbert and writing a more believable plot, to begin with. The second
item on the agenda was to write a script which curbed Roger Moore's
obsessive tendencies to pile on the jokes. Add a few good villains and
allies, and voila! a classic James Bond adventure there is. All right,
maybe it was not that simple.
This time around, Bond is sent to investigate the murder of one Timothy Havelock, who was working to salvage the wreckage of a spy boat carrying a vital command system called A.T.A.C. Bond's investigation leads him to believe that the Russians are also trying to recover the system, and may be using one Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) to carry out their dirty work. Aiding Bond is the beautiful sharpshooter Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) and an old acquaintance of Kristatos's named Milos Columbo (Topol).
As good as it is, 'For Your Eyes Only' starts out terribly. The pre-title sequence involves an attempt on James Bond's life by a bald guy in a wheelchair with a white cat (I wonder who that could be?). The scene is campy and don't get me started on the remark about the delicatessen in stainless steel (obviously put in there at the request of some actor). I understand why the sequence was filmed, but that does not make it good. Thankfully it would not be a barometer on the rest of the movie!
It may not be among the very best in the series, but believe me when I say that the difference in tone between this and the goofy 'Moonraker' is like day compared to night. It is easily the preeminent Roger Moore Bond film, and is well worth watching in every area. The villain is not trying to kill a majority of the human race for some outlandish purpose. There are no extravagant weapons or billionaire lunatics, no silly motives or doomsday schemes. Instead, we have a lean adventure that a Bond fan can actually enjoy. There are many outstanding qualities about this film, mixed in with a few notable negatives.
Any list of what went right with this film has to begin with Roger Moore. After two mediocre performances, he really nails down the part here. He is courageous, commanding, tough, and, most importantly, serious, thanks to new director John Glen (who apparently had to do some prying to slow down Moore's humor blitz).
Another BIG breath of fresh air is provided by the villains and allies, who are also treated seriously and given unusual depth of character. Julian Glover is exceptional as the ruthless and deceptive Kristatos. It is villains like this that help make the Bond series so great, and Glover is excellent indeed. No wonder Steven Spielberg cast him for Indiana Jones! In Topol, most famous for his work in 'Fiddler on the Roof', we get a terrific ally who has a great chemistry with Bond. I imagine I am not the only person who found him to be much like Kerim Bey in the great 'From Russia With Love'.
Then there is the matter of the women, who both bring good and bad qualities to the table. Carole Bouquet is somewhat wooden as female lead, Melina, but can also hold her own when the heat is on, which makes her the best Bond girl in some time. Lynn-Holly Johnson provides a lovable portrayal as Bibi Dahl, a figure skater who gets the hots for Bond (don't get me started on the age difference). Her bubble headed character makes for some humorous moments and is used to make the character of Kristatos stronger. Dahl is also enrapturing to look at, but I find her ditzy part a little too over the top, but not to the point of weakening the final product.
Unfortunately, there are a few items that bug me about this film. The first is Bill Conti's soundtrack. While it would be terrific literature for an up-tempo jazz band, it really clashes with the action more than anything. Another weakness is Roger Moore's lack of talent for fight choreography, which detracts from the action slightly. The last is Eric Kriegler (John Wyman), another invincible Oddjob rip-off that at one point picks up a motorcycle and hurls it at a fleeing Bond (!).
This is all forgivable, however, because the action, from the mountainside ski chase to the climax atop a rock cliff, is of very high standards. The absurdity of the previous chapter is shed, and we get a highly entertaining adventure that appeals to fans and non-fans alike. I can certainly live with all of the flaws any day. So grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy another great 007 adventure.
Undeniably one of Roger Moore's best outings as 007, For Your Eyes Only was
an attempt by Cubby Broccoli to bring Bond down to earth after the over the
top, but brilliant, Moonraker. Surprisingly this works very well, with the
action sequences being more realistic (what with a car chase, ski chase and
a small scale assault on the villain's residence instead), but brilliant
too. For Roger Moore the film offers his best performance as James Bond. The
puns are played down more here and while he does still have a little twinkle
in his eye at times, his performance reflects more an older 007, a man who
has lost his wife and is still fighting to save the world and right wrongs.
This is demonstrated in the superb pre-title sequence in which after
visiting his wife's grave, he is kidnapped by Blofeld (unofficially Blofeld
however) and taken on a wild helicopter ride. The moment were he visits
Tracy's grave sees Roger convey so much in one scene, he shows that he is
not just the comedic 007, but he can be a serious one too. We see how the
character has come to view revenge on Blofeld as he tells the dream like
Melina (a beautiful and enchanting performance from Carole Bouquet) that
before setting out on revenge as she hopes to do, she must first dig two
graves. Some would see this as hypocrisy, whereas it is the words of a Bond
who has come to analyse the hardship of a licence to kill.
With Julian Glover portraying a more down to earth villain and the plot centering around the Cold War, For Your Eyes Only is a great 80's Bond film, with scatterings of what would be developed into the Timothy Dalton years, such as the serious Bond and the more down to earth story telling. Following on the heels of two of the biggest Bond films in terms of scope and financial success, For Your Eyes Only was a risk, but it worked. While it did not outgross Moonraker, it's financial intake was close and while it does possess the entertainment factor that both Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me did, it is an artistic success, with great performances, an engrossing storyline, wonderful characterization and superb direction from John Glen in his directorial debut for a Bond film. He stages the abundance of chase scenes well and is helped by the fact that he has a good script to go with. On top of that Sheena Easton delivers a great theme tune.
A great film and one deserving of classic status.
I've never been a member of the James Bond fandom. Although I've seen "Dr.
No", "Goldfinger", "From Russia with Love", "The Man with the Golden Gun"
and others into the 1980's and 1990's (I haven't seen them all, though), I
always preferred Indiana Jones as an action hero. He bumbles and stumbles
through his adventures and doesn't have any neat gadgets to help him escape.
Just a matter of personal choice. I've never read an Ian Fleming James
Bond novel and I know almost no Bond trivia.
However, I found "For Your Eyes Only" a very entertaining adventure that wisely, after the ridiculous "Moonraker", brought James Bond down to earth.
A Greek fishing trawler strikes a sea mine off the coast of Greece and sinks into the Mediterranean Ocean. British intelligence is thrown into a panic. Why? Because the Greek fishing trawler was actually a British spy ship with a super secret code encryption device on board. Enter 007 (Roger Moore), who must retrieve the device before Soviet KGB employed agents do. Along the way, there will be double dealing, a young American Olympic skater (Lynn-Holly Johnson) with the teenage hots for Bond, an edge of your seat ski chase involving snowmobiles and high powered rifles, exploding burglar proof cars (a great bit of humor here!), tense cliff scaling, and underwater action. All the elements of high Bond adventure is here, it's all fast paced by director John Glen and, believe it or not...believable.
Here is a 007 adventure where we get a more human James Bond who must think his way through situations with almost no gadgetry. It's amusing to watch James fend off the sexual advances and attempted seductions brought on Olympic skater Bibi in a twist of Bond's regular romantic life. And best of all, the plot framework does not involve larger than life villains attempting to dominate the world through various diabolical (and unbelievable) schemes. Here is a 007 mission straight out of the real world Cold War. This story is grounded.
I've read that director John Glen, recognizing the excesses of "Moonraker", decided on this completely down to earth tone. I've also read that "For Your Eyes Only" is the most debated about Bond film among fans of the series. I don't know how much of the above is true, but I do know that "For Your Eyes Only" is a very enjoyable and down to earth adventure film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A British fishing trawler/surveillance ship, on duty in the Ionian Sea,
is sunk by an old World War II mine caught in her fishing nets
Lost in the wreck is a top secret missile launching device which soon becomes 'something of value' in a characteristic British-Russian confrontation
007 is seen caught in a cold-blooded feud between two Greek ex-partisans He has to recover a transmitter that could fall into the wrong hands He is sent to climb up the cliffs below an abandoned monastery complex, and is aided by a vigorous and decided sharpshooter whose expertise with a crossbow proved vital
Throughout the mission 007 is aided by the brave Melina Havelock, a perfect Bond heroine determined to avenge her parents at all costs... Melina Havelock is a combination of Tilly Masterson from 'Goldfinger' and Domino from 'Thunderball.' Melina comes upon a much bigger plot, involving 007 and a Russian-British race to regain the A.T.A.C.
As Bond, Roger Moore finally gets his hair messed up, and more He is at the mercy of a bald figure in a wheelchair who controls his destiny; chased by ski-borne motorcycles; assailed by spear-carrying fishermen and unlucky hockey players; attacked by sharks and enemy divers; tied up and dragged behind a boat along the sharp corals
The film succeeds in introducing many mysterious characters Three of them are:
Milos Columbo (Topol) who becomes the incarnation of Bond's old friend Kerim Bey... Known as 'The Dove,' Columbo is a pistachio-chewing Greek smuggler, ex-resistance fighter, and casino owner on the Greek island in the Aegean Sea Between him and Kristatos, there is blood feud dating back to World War II, when both fought the Nazis as resistance fighters on Crete
Ari Kristatos (Julian Glover) who manages to hide his treacherous nature behind a veneer of sophistication... Kristatos comes across as the most believable Bond villain in years He introduces himself as an enthusiastic Anglophile who was a resistance fighter during the Second World War, and apparently uses Bond to murder his smuggling rival while scheming to please the KGB
Bibi Dahl (Lynn Holly Johnson) who would do anything for Bond! She is the American figure-skating prodigy who meets 007 in Cortina D'Ampezzo, where at one point was invitingly in 007's bed
Hate and revenge play significant part in this twelfth James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" follows the adventure and exotic appeal of earlier Bond movies like 'From Russia with Love' and 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. The result is a delightful spy adventure with plenty of intriguing characters, plot twists, and romance
The Bond series was moving into the wrong direction in 1979 with Moonraker,
John Glen takes over the directing for the next 5 adventures, beginning with
'For Your Eyes Only'.
Bond is back down to Earth with a bang, a very satisfying entry in the Bond series. The film is much more Fleming-like, that is until Dalton comes in.
The story is very interesting because it's more of a spy movie, Moore has some work to do here!!! There's no reliance on the gadgets. The Bond girl played by Carole Bouquet is very good, not just a pretty girl!
The acting is much better than Moonraker, John Glen eases into the directing quite comfortably.
The photography is wonderful, very realistic colour use.
There are some fun stunt sequences, the ski chase is fantastic.
The film score is fun, but a product of its time, unlike Barry, the music doesn't transcend the generations!
Overall, 'For Your Eyes Only' is a satisfying Bond picture. Obviously you'll be viewing it in wide-screen!!! James Bond returns in Octopussy!
Likable Roger Moore in an amazing adventure set on wonderful outdoors
located mostly on Greece and Greek islands . This is a Bond's good
entry in which faces dangerous adventures around the world . Moore's
outing with overwhelming action and spectacular scenarios , the film
teams Bond with an archaeologist as endearing ally ( a beautiful Carole
Bouquet) in an effort to stop an industrialist from selling a
mechanical artifact . After his first introduction in ¨Live and let
die¨ as tough and attractive James Bond of the Ian Fleming's famous
creation , Roger Moore went on playing various 007 , and ¨ For your
eyes only ¨ is one of the best . The picture starts with an overblown
opening , the best part of this film in which James Bond reckoning to
Blofield (in previous entries played by Donald Plesance and Charles
Gray , but here doesn't appear his face) . This thrilling film deals
about seductive James Bond as the ultimate spy hero who is assigned by
MI6 a dangerous mission to recover an important device that control
over British Polaris nuclear subs . As Bond joins the search, he
suspects the tough Colombo (Topol as a gregarious smuggler) and the
suave Kristatos (Julian Glover) of seizing the powerful system. Bond
finds an ally in the gorgeous Melina Havelock (Carol Bouquet) , who
blames Colombo for the death of her parents (Jack Hedley) . Meanwhile ,
Bond goes to a ski station , there happens a high-octane race and Bond
discovers some clues and confronting hoodlums (Michael Gothard ,Charles
Dance). James is double-crossed and continues to follow the lead ,
deciding to investigate on the Egean sea . Following the tracks all
lead a nasty billionaire , a maniacal villain who schemes the selling
of the powerful machine to a Russian general (Walter Goetell).
This solid , slick thriller with magic mix of action-packed , dazzling stunts, gadgetry, and romance provided by sexy company as Carol Bouquet, Lynn Holly Johnson and Cassandra Harris (first wife of Pierce Brosnan until her death) . Roger Moore as James Bond is fine , he does remarkably well , he earns in irony, humor ,suavity and sympathy, however also has coldness ,cunning , intelligence and toughness . Here Bond is an efficient , relentless agent trying to chase obstinately the criminals , traveling around the world as always , as this globe-trotting story is set in Spain , Veneto ,Italia and Greece at Meteoro mountains and Corfu islands . Bond to achieve his aims , along the way uses violent means even pulling off brutal killings against enemies who wreak all sorts of havoc . As always Bond will use fantastic gadgets and spectacular cars (here a Lotus) provided by ¨Q¨ (Desmond Llewelyn) . In addition , there appears the usual as Lois Maxwell, ¨MoneyPenny¨ , Minister of Defense as Geoffrey Keen and Walter Goetell as Russian general .
The picture contains comic-strip adventure , sensational pursuits , silly set pieces, great stunts, tongue-in check humor, automovile chase, frantic unstopped action , an impressive tour over razor-sharp coral reefs, amazing gimmicks and stimulating images like are the happenings on the spectacular pursuits on the snow, the overwhelming underwater scenes, and the breathtaking battles . As is like a roller-coaster , as is fast-paced, light, excitement, funny and entertaining ; it's a winner for oo7 fans and non-fans alike . The chase and suspense formula wears strong in this entry .The action-packed includes , exciting underwater fights, and cliffhanging assault of a rousing mountaintop fortress filmed in Meteoro monastery .Enjoyable title song by Sheena Easton and stirring musical score fitting to action by Bill Conti (Rocky saga's composer) ,following the John Barry's classic style . Riveting and fancy main titles by habitual Maurice Binder , furthermore eye-popping production design by Peter Lamont. It's brimming with colorful and fascinating cinematography by cameraman Alan Hume . The motion picture produced by habitual producers, Albert R Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson , being professionally made by John Glenn who filmed various outings and previously directed 2nd unit and edition on some early Bond movies . He directed several entries as ¨Licence to kill, A view to kill , For your eyes only and Octopussy¨ though with no much originality . Debuting John Glenn keeps this moving at an incredibly fast pace and this story about every's favorite super-spy falling in love with an archaeologist is one of author Ian Fleming's best . The film will appeal to James Bond series's buffs but good for fans only ; because this one goes on far too long and has provoked so much debate among 007 followers . Rating : 6'5 , well worth watching .
The story is a little more complex,the villains not so easy to identify.the action is more down to earth than the sheer excess of Moonraker.Julian Glover makes for a sneaky Villain who tries to use Bond for his own gains.This was the start of the John Glen Bond movies And quite a vintage they were too.lots of action all of which is less over the top but certainly just as exciting.the music by bill conti has been slated over the years but i think its a great score.this plays very well on dvd.as for Moore that one scene where Bond kills for revenge is easily his best performance he really does convince his angry enough to kill.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When a spy story -- even one given to moments of camp and essential
silliness -- begins with the promise of something big but never quite
takes off, it makes one wonder if maybe it would be time to change the
premise, change to a better director, and/or get writer or writers who
could construct a solid, pared-down movie with a genuine sense of
danger and discard some of the less interesting elements.
This is not saying that FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is a bad film -- spy movies that imitate the Bond style have been made recently with ridiculous levels of awfulness -- but coming out in the times of directors bent on super-productions and blockbusters as well as some choices in production (substituting John Barry for an awful, late 70s Euro-rock score reminiscent of the one heard in LUCIO FULCI'S THE BEYOND), it feels lacking in atmosphere and at least to my opinion, I felt I'd seen it all before.
The girl who has her parents killed and decides to revenge their deaths, check. The chase sequences, of course, standard fare, nothing spectacular or nail-biting. The Russians (or any dark, sinister force/country/covert agency) who want access to a secret code which has the ability to control underwater missiles, check. An impenetrable fortress atop a gigantic mountain/boulder/what-have-you, you betcha. A possible second love interest for Bond, another check. The only thing that is sorely lacking is a memorable villain, and in trying to humanize the bad guys, the creators have come up with people who aren't very interesting, or even ingenious. Julian Glover seems quite grey whenever he's on screen it almost makes me wish the writers hadn't disposed of Ernst Stavros Blofeld, or brought someone similar.
And at over 120 minutes, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY runs a tad too long and doesn't maintain a level of mounting suspense necessary for this kind of movie, so when the end comes, it's a little more than a relief, not because this was a bad feature -- again, it wasn't -- but the fact that this ordeal was so perfunctory. And partly to this are the performances, which are wooden to say the least -- Carol Bouquet, while playing a tough girl, emotes little; Roger Moore repeats playing suave and his age is showing here; Lynn Holly-Johnson is irritating to no avail and her part could have been excised, but in a small role as a secondary Bond girl, Cassandra Harris brings an elegant presence in her brief moment of screen time. She should have had the larger part, since she does smolder, but oh well -- I'm complaining and the movie is a quarter of a century old and a classic. Just not a memorable one.
The discarding of Blofeld at the beginning (he is humorously
depicted--to the offense of many!) serves another purpose besides being
just the discarding of Blofeld--it is almost as if the film is making a
statement about choosing to discard cartoonish villains and goofy
humor, in one move. This scene provides a convenient rug to yank out
from under the audience: The film that we get is more straight serious
than we might suspect, based on this introduction. So the beginning of
this film really sets us up for a surprise.
Out of all the Roger Moore Bond films, this one is most reminiscent of Connery's Bond. The violence repeatedly shows a mean, hard edge, and the joking (while there) is kept to a minimum. Guess what? This film works very nicely!
There are a lot of things I liked about this one. The requisite special effects, models and stunts are there, but used to surprisingly subtle effect. The story is simple and small, and allows the film to focus on believable human character details. Carole Bouquet's vendetta-driven "Melina Havelock" is well-acted and believably serious. She's excellent.
Character actor Michael Gothard (THE DEVILS, WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS) is very memorable as gun-for-hire Locque, who has no lines of dialogue whatsoever! Gothard delivers his performance entirely through visual expression. I imagine he must have had a wonderful time with this role, easily one of his best. Roger Moore's character, generally cool and under control, nonetheless grows impatient with Locque and seems to display some genuine, heartfelt anger when he finally...well, I don't want to spoil it, so you'll have to see the movie. Suffice it to say that it is one of my favorite "the bad guy gets it" moments in just about any movie.
I also recall that when the film was new, the application of synthesizers in the music (most obvious in the title song, and more subtly applied in the score) was very cutting-edge and tasteful; there were clearly synthetic effects to be heard, but they were not poured on liberally.(Everything in moderation?) It's a little harder to notice in this day and age of synthetic everything, but the careful incorporation of obviously synthetic sounds lent extra style. (Take note of those moments involving the "Dove" pin.) It helped the film achieve a modern character, and is doubly interesting and appropriate because the action scenes do not depend primarily on high-tech gadgetry. All in all, a classy application of synthesizer. Maybe I'm going on about nothing here, but I remember noticing this quality when the film was new, and I've always liked it.
So basically, without rambling on further, this film is good, and very enjoyable.
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