Patrick Magnee, sounding even older than he looked in A View to a Kill, narrates this honest and insightful look at the production of The Spy Who Loved Me, the Bond film most commonly known as Roger Moore's best (and his personal favorite). From the fact that Ian Fleming put it in writing that apart from the title, none of the specifics from his 1962 novel were to be adapted, to the premiere on 7-7-1977 (the summer of Star Wars) fate seemed to be working against this Eon production at every turn, yet Bond still managed to keep up the British end and deliver a 007 outing that cemented both Moore as Bond and Cubby Broccoli as a solo producer.
During pre-production Cubby's partner on all the previous Bonds, Harry Saltzman lost his part of the shares due to some unfortunate business ventures, leaving the future of the Bond films solely on the shoulders of Broccoli. The previous entry in the series, The Man with the Golden Gun had been the least successful outing so far (though this fact is never mentioned). This meant the box office performance of 'The Spy' would be a make or break situation for it's production team. Early story treatments featured the return of Ernst Stavro Bloveld, but Thunderball writer Kevin McClory objected and threatened to sue in case they used 'his' character.
Goldfinger's Guy Hamilton was first choice to direct, and worked on a script with a young John Landis, but Guy decided to do Superman instead (before Richard Donner replaced him). Lewis Gilbert, who's earlier 007 outing was You Only Live Twice, stepped in, and in this documentary he claims it was he who decided that Roger Moore should stop trying to be tough as Connery (and smack women around as he had been doing in the previous Bonds) and make 007 suit himself more by playing it humorous, smooth and upper class English. Despite this, Gilbert does admit to the similarities between Spy and Twice where the plot is concerned.
All this is recounted by Gilbert and many other principal cast and crew members, including some of those who have passed away via archival footage. Special attention is made of the impressive opening ski-jump and Ken Adam's impressive sets (even if some of this material is also used in the 'Designing Bond' feature on the same disc). Here Ken reveals he asked Stanley Kubrick to give him a second opinion on the giant submarine hangar set and that the reclusive Stanley only agreed to visit if no one knew he was ever there. The building of the giant 007 stage is recounted, as is the occasion when Cubby himself cooked spaghetti for the entire crew when the food in Egypt turned out to be 'diabolical and depressing'.
One of the most interesting items of trivia mentioned in 'Inside The Spy Who Loved Me' (never mind the Double Entrende) must be the fact that in one shot when Bond is following Jaws amongst the pyramids, 007 is nothing more than a cardboard cut out(!). They never managed to get the required shot of Roger Moore, and had to make do with a still. Nobody ever noticed before now. One last reason why the 10th Bond film is considered one of the series highlights must surely be because it features three of the most gorgeous Bond girls ever. Two of them, Valerie Leon and Caroline Munroe are briefly seen in new interviews (about the same amount of time as their on screen roles) but sadly, the spy who loved him herself, Barbara Bach, was too busy being Mrs. Ringo Starr to make an appearance. Luckily she is still featured in behind the scenes footage and a bit of screen test. To make up for the lack of Barbara, two of the other stars of the picture, Richard 'Jaws' Kiel and the Lotus Esprit do get their turn in the spotlight.
8 out of 10
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