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The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me – 1977
Nobody does it better.
Lewis Gilbert

Ian Fleming – characters
Christopher Wood – Screenplay
Richard Maibaum – Screenplay

Albert R. Broccoli
William P. Cartlidge

Roger Moore – James Bond
Barbara Bach – Maj. Anya Amasova
Curd Jürgens – Karl Stromberg (as Curt Jurgens)
Richard Kiel – Jaws
Caroline Munro – Naomi
Walter Gotell – Gen. Anatol Gogol
Geoffrey Keen – Sir Frederick Gray
Bernard Lee – M
George Baker – Capt. Benson
Michael Billington – Sergei Barsov
Olga Bisera – Felicca
Desmond Llewelyn – Q
Edward de Souza – Sheikh Hosein
Vernon Dobtcheff – Max Kalba
Valerie Leon – Hotel receptionist
Lois Maxwell – Miss Moneypenny
Sydney Tafler – Liparus captain
Nadim Sawalha – Aziz Fekkesh
Sue Vanner – Log cabin girl
Eva Reuber-Staier – Rubelvitch (as Eva Rueber-Staier)
Robert Brown – Adm. Hargreaves
Marilyn Galsworthy – Stromberg’s assistant
Milton Reid – Sandor
Cyril Shaps – Dr. Bechmann
Milo Sperber – Prof. Markovitz
Albert Moses – Barman
Rafiq Anwar – Cairo Club waiter
Felicity York – Arab beauty
Dawn Rodrigues – Arab beauty
Anika Pavel – Arab beauty
Jill Goodall – Arab beauty
Shane Rimmer – Cmdr. Carter
Bob Sherman – USS Wayne crewman
Doyle Richmond – USS Wayne crewman
Murray Salem – USS Wayne crewman
John Truscott – USS Wayne crewman
Peter Whitman – USS Wayne crewman
Ray Hassett – USS Wayne crewman
Vincent Marzello – USS Wayne crewman
Nicholas Campbell – USS Wayne crewman
Ray Evans – USS Wayne crewman
Anthony Forrest – USS Wayne crewman
Garrick Hagon – USS Wayne crewman
Ray Jewers – USS Wayne crewman
George Mallaby – USS Wayne crewman
Christopher Muncke – USS Wayne crewman
Anthony Pullen Shaw – USS Wayne crewman (as Anthony Pullen)
Robert Sheedy – USS Wayne crewman
Don Staiton – USS Wayne crewman
Eric Stine – USS Wayne crewman
Stephen Temperley – USS Wayne crewman
Dean Warwick – USS Wayne crewman
Bryan Marshall – Cmdr. Talbot
Michael Howarth – HMS Ranger crewman
Kim Fortune – Young officer, HMS Ranger
Barry Andrews – HMS Ranger crewman
Kevin McNally – HMS Ranger crewman
Jeremy Bulloch – HMS Ranger crewman
Sean Bury – HMS Ranger crewman
John Sarbutt – HMS Ranger crewman
David Auker – HMS Ranger crewman
Dennis Blanch – HMS Ranger crewman
Keith Buckley – HMS Ranger crewman
Jonathan Bury – HMS Ranger crewman
Nick Ellsworth – HMS Ranger crewman
Tom Gerrard – HMS Ranger crewman
Kazik Michalski – HMS Ranger crewman
Keith Morris – HMS Ranger crewman
John Salthouse – HMS Ranger crewman
George Roubicek – Stromberg One captain
Lenny Rabin – Liparus crew member
Irvin Allen – Stromberg crew member
Yashaw Adem – Stromberg crewman (as Yasher Adem)
Peter Ensor – Stromberg crewman
Roy Alon – Russian Sub crewman (uncredited)
Jack Cooper – Cortina gunman #1 (uncredited)
Jeremy Coote – Guard in submarine pen (uncredited)
George Leech – Cortina gunman #2 (uncredited)
Bob Simmons – KGB thug #2 (uncredited)
Victor Tourjansky – Man with bottle (uncredited)
Chris Webb – KGB thug (uncredited)
Jeremy Wilkin – Capt. Forsyth (uncredited)

Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard

Commander James Bond, recruited to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy. License to kill and has done so on numerous occasions.

The Spy Who Loved Me is directed by Lewis Gilbert and adapted to screenplay by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curt Jurgens, Richard Kiel and Walter Gotell. Music is scored by Marvin Hamlisch and cinematography by Claude Renoir.

Bond 10. Allied and Soviet nuclear submarines are mysteriously disappearing from the waters and causing friction between the nations. MI6 and the KGB have a notion that a third party is responsible and stirring up trouble for their own nefarious means. 007 is partnered with Soviet spy Major Anya Amasova (Agent XXX) and the pair are tasked with getting to the bottom of the plot before the crisis escalates.

During the whole run of the James Bond franchise there have been a few occasions when it was felt it had run out of steam. 1977 and on the back of the mediocre reception and by Bond standards the poor box office return of The Man with the Golden Gun, now was one such time. With producer Albert Broccoli striking out on his own, the stakes were high, but with a determined vision forming in his head and a near $14 million budget to work from courtesy of United Artists, Broccoli went big, and it worked magnificently. The Spy Who Loved Me is Moore’s best Bond film, not necessarily his best Bond performance, but as a movie it’s near faultless, it gets all the main ingredients right. Gadgets and humour were previously uneasy accompaniments to James Bond as a man, but here they serve to enhance his persona, never taking away his tough bastard edge. The suspense and high drama is back, for the first time in a Roger Moore Bond film things are played right, we don’t think we are watching an action comedy, but an action adventure movie, what little lines of humour are here are subtle, not overt and taking away from the dramatic thrust.

For production value it’s one of the best. Brocoli instructed the great Ken Adam to go build the 007 Stage at Pinewood so as to achieve their vision for The Spy Who Loved Me. At the time it became the biggest sound stage in the world. With such space to work from, Adam excels himself to produce the interior of the Liparus Supertanker, the home for a brilliant battle in the final quarter. Vehicles feature prominently, the amphibious Lotus Esprit moved quickly into Bond folklore, rocket firing bikes and mini-subs, helicopter, speedboat, escape pod, wet-bike and on it goes. Then there’s Stromberg’s Atlantis home, a wonderfully War of the Worlds type design for the outer, an underwater aquarium for the inner. Glorious locations are key, also, Egypt, Sardinia, Scotland and the Bahamas are colourful treats courtesy of Renoir’s photography. Underwater scenes also grabbing the attention with some conviction.

The film also features a great cast that are led by a handsome, and in great shape, Moore. Barbara Bach (Triple X) is not only one of the most beautiful Bond girls ever, she’s expertly portraying a femme of substance, intelligent, brave and committed to the cause, she is very much an equal to Bond, and we like that. The accent may be a shaky, but it’s forgivable when judging Bach’s impact on the picture. Jurgens as Stromberg is a witty villain, but he oozes despotic badness, sitting there in his underwater lair deliciously planning to start a new underwater world. Kiel as Jaws, the man with metal teeth, he too moved into Bond folklore, a scary creation clinically realised by the hulking Kiel. Gotell as Gogol is a presence and Caroline Munro as Naomi is memorable, while Bernard Lee’s M and Desmond Llewelyn’s Q get wonderful scenes of worth. They forgot to give poor Moneypenney something to chew on, but in the main it comes over that the makers were reawakened to what made Bond films great in the first place. There’s even a candidate for best title song as well, Nobody Does it Better, delivered so magically by Carly Simon.

The grand vision paid off, handsomely. It raked in just over $185 million at the world box office, some $87 million more than The Man with the Golden Gun. Not bad considering it was up against a record breaking Star Wars. Critics and fans, too, were pleased. It’s not perfect. It’s ironic that director Lewis Gilbert returned for his second Bond assignment, because this does feel like a rehash of his first, You Only Live Twice, only bigger and better. Hamlisch underscores it at times and John Barry’s absence is felt there. While if we are being particularly harsh? Then Stromberg could perhaps have been a more pro-active villain? He makes a telling mark, we know he’s a mad dastard, but he only really sits around giving orders and pushing death dealing buttons. But small complaints that fail to stop this Bond from being one of the best. Hey, we even get an acknowledgement that Bond was once married, and the response from Bond is respectful to that dramatic part of his past. 9/10

Review by Bill Slocum

Moore Does It Better
Sean Connery was the original, and gave the best performances film to film. Timothy Dalton played him the way Ian Fleming wrote him, tough but recognizably human. Pierce Brosnan looked the part best.
But Roger Moore, when he was on his game, gave us a James Bond better than anyone else’s, delivering the right amounts of menace, humor, and charm with an eyebrow as expressive as most actors’ entire faces. True, he really only had two superb outings in the seven 007 films he made, and was given to coasting when the script didn’t challenge him enough, but “The Spy Who Loved Me” is the best example of why Moore was a personal favorite for many Bond fans, including me.

The British and Russian navies have both lost nuclear submarines, and it is up to Bond to figure out how and why. Partnering, at first reluctantly, then more cozily, with Russian secret agent Triple X (Barbara Bach, deliriously beautiful), Bond figures out the disappearances are part of a plot by an ocean-dwelling madman to destroy the world and rebuild it according to his own principles.
The plot really is the weak part of this film, the kind of silly doomsday story Austin Powers would have fun with, but it serves to set up a series of fantastic and engaging set pieces, beginning with an opening snowbound titles sequence that culminates in one of the most awe-inspiring stunts in the Bond corpus. The whole film plays wonderfully from scene-to-scene, with gorgeous cinematography (Egyptian pyramids lit up at night, a sun-drenched Sardinian coastline) and a slightly discofied Marvin Hamlisch score that works off classic Bond themes very well, as well as giving us one of the best theme songs, Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better.” There’s also a slew of well-staged and electrifying battles, many involving a tin-toothed adversary of Bond called Jaws who Richard Kiel plays with the right balance of danger and fun.
A successful balancing act of danger and fun, unusually well-calibrated, “The Spy Who Loved Me” may give Bond purists cause to moan the cartoony bits but delivers a film that from bow to stern is the sleekest and sturdiest entertainment vessel in the Bond fleet.

Especially good is Moore, who clearly relished the chance to deliver some top-caliber quips for a change. “Try the big one,” he calmly urges Triple X when she searches for the right ignition key while Jaws crushes their van from the outside. He also gives us some depth, when in the middle of their mission, Triple X confronts him with the fact one of his victims was the man she loved. His reaction is properly serious, and tender, too. “In our business, people get killed,” he tells her. “I know it, you know it, so did he.” Bach also is very good, not only for the way she wears a gown but the way she comports herself as Bond’s rival and love interest. Her telling Bond she will kill him after the successful completion of their mission is impressive not just because she is so icy but because she shows in her eyes the hurt child who keeps us sympathetic to her even as she draws a line between herself and our hero.

“The Spy Who Loved Me” was a critical film for the Bond series, demonstrating there could be big box office returns for 007 for the first time without Sean Connery, even in the summer of “Star Wars.” By the way, Shane Rimmer, who plays the American submarine captain in this film and does a very good job with a usually thankless role, was the link between these two summer blockbusters as he is also seen in “Star Wars” putting Artoo on Luke’s X-Wing before the final Death Star battle.
“The Spy Who Loves Me” is not only a great nostalgia bath for those of us who grew up with this movie and let it feed our imaginations, it’s a first-class entertainment that holds up better than any other film in the Bond series – even my personal favorite “For Your Eyes Only” – because of its spectacle, beauty both female and otherwise, and a lead actor who proved nobody did it better when given the right tools to work with.

Review by Theo Robertson

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Moore`s Best Bond Film,

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME strikes the right balance between action and humour. Unlike later Bond films the humour is kept rightfully in its place, true we still get the same old innuendos like ” something just came up ” but wisecracks like ” all those feathers and he still can’t fly ” work for a change.

Marvin Hamlisch`s synth music makes a welcome change from John Barry, TSWLM contains some of the best action scenes ever seen in the series, and Jaws makes one of the most memorable Bond villains ever. Just a pity he was brought back for the farcical MOONRAKER. The only bad points are some very obvious back projection which spoiled Lewis Gilbert’s last Bond contribution, and the fact it’s the Brits and Yanks fighting side by side that saves the day, what happened to the Soviet crew?

But THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is one of the greatest Bond films ever made, perhaps the best Bond film since it kept me totally entertained during its running time and I’ve never been much of a fan

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