James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads, with the help of a K.G.B. agent whose lover he killed.James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads, with the help of a K.G.B. agent whose lover he killed.James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads, with the help of a K.G.B. agent whose lover he killed.
The research, which became the basis of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, took over two years to complete, and the script went through many writers before the final draft, by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum. With a renewed emphasis on more realistic action, Broccoli brought back Lewis Gilbert to direct; his earlier Bond effort, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, while not a major 'hit', had featured the most spectacular action sequences of the series. With Gilbert on board, the production became very reminiscent of the Connery film (Even the concept of a supertanker 'swallowing' submarines echoed YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, and the spacecraft-'eating' SPECTRE capsule).
As the villain, esteemed German actor Curt Jurgens was cast as Karl Stromberg, an ideal choice, as the actor, with his bulging eyes, 'fit' the role of a fish-like megalomaniac. Playing his henchman, Jaws, in an inspired piece of casting, giant Richard Kiel, complete with 'bear-trap' steel teeth, would provide Moore with the greatest danger he'd ever face as Bond. Kiel was, in fact, so good in the role (possibly the most popular villain of the entire 007 franchise), that he would return in MOONRAKER, to bedevil Bond some more. Less successful, dramatically, but still astonishing to watch would be Stromberg's 'hit woman', Naomi, played by voluptuous Caroline Munro.
In an effort to 'update' Bond into an era of feminists, the strongest, most independent love interest to appear in at Bond film to that point was introduced. Major Anya Amasova, played by Ringo Starr's wife, the exotically beautiful Barbara Bach, was Bond's opposite number on the Russian side, an equal to 007 in every way. In a pivotal scene, she would display a knowledge of Bond's past that even included his dead wife, Tracy (the first time Bond's marriage had been mentioned since ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE). Moore's reaction to her comment would be both emotional and abrupt, and demonstrated that he could do far more than just deliver witty one-liners.
From the spectacular ski chase pre-title sequence, climaxing with a parachute free fall off a cliff (love that 'Union Jack'), to Bond and Anya's confrontations with Jaws, in Egypt (reminiscent of Bond's fights with Oddjob in GOLDFINGER and Tee Hee in LIVE AND LET DIE), to the amazing Lotus that would do service on land and in the ocean, to the massive tanker battle while Bond disarms a nuclear warhead (shades of GOLDFINGER), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME would do homage to 007's previous adventures, and utilize humor in support of the on-screen action, instead of spoofing it (other than the brief use of the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA theme...you'll spot it).
And to top things off, Carly Simon's rendition of the film's title tune, "Nobody Does It Better", would become a Top Ten hit, worldwide.
Critics and audiences loved THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, hailing it as Moore's best work, and one of the better Bonds of all time. Things were, again, looking up for 007...but STAR WARS was about to debut, and things would go dreadfully amiss, when Broccoli decided to send Bond into space, in MOONRAKER...
- Apr 7, 2004