The Spy Who Loved Me
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Agent 007 and a Russian beauty foil a madman in a submarine out to nuke the world. The 10th James Bond movie.
The best of the James Bond adventures starring Roger Moore as tuxedoed Agent 007, this globe-trotting thriller introduced the steel-toothed Jaws (played by seven-foot-two-inch-tall actor Richard Kiel) as one of the most memorable and indestructible Bond villains. Jaws is so tenacious, in fact, that Moore looks genuinely frightened, and that adds to the abundant fun. This time Bond teams up with yet another lovely Russian agent (Barbara Bach) to track a pair of nuclear submarines that the nefarious Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) plans to use in his plot to start World War III. Featuring lavish sets designed by the great Ken Adam (Dr. Strangelove), The Spy Who Loved Me is a galaxy away from the suave Sean Connery exploits of the 1960s, but the film works perfectly as grandiose entertainment. From cavernous undersea lairs to the vast horizons of Egypt, this Bond thriller keeps its tongue firmly in cheek with a plot tailor-made for daredevil escapism. --Jeff Shannon
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The movie begins with Major Anya Amasova - Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) having a romantic get-away with her lover. The male agent is called away to Austria. Unfortunately for him, he tangles with Bond who kills him with a rocket-powered ski pole. Bond's escapes by skiing off a sheer cliff and employing a parachute with the Union Jack printed on it. This sets the table for a great Bond adventure. Two notes of significance: the ski sequence is shot by the same team of director John Glen and cameraman Willy Bogner that shot the ski sequences in On her Majesty's Secret Service and Rick Sylvester did the ski-parachute stunt only once.
The opening film sequence shows a British submarine carrying 16 nuclear warheads being disabled and captured by a massive supertanker, the Liparus. The same fate soon befalls a Soviet submarine. Back at a submarine base in England, M, Q and Bond meet with Sir Frederick Gray, the Minister of Defence (Geoffrey Keen) and Admiral Hargreaves (Robert Brown) - who will later be promoted to M's position, (two future Bond regulars) to review how the British submarine was tracked. General Gogol, the head of the KGB (Walter Gotell)is also introduced as an upcoming Bond regular. He informs Agent XXX of her lover's death and her new assignment.
The movie picks up with Agent XXX vowing revenge on her lover's killer as she undertakes the mystery of what happened to the Soviet sub. Bond is assigned the task of finding out who is selling information about the route of the British sub and what happened to it. At first, Amasova and Bond parry and thrust as each tries to get information from various lowlifes and traitors. Wanting a union of their investigation, Gen. Gogol and 'M ' call them to a mutual meeting place (and Q's testing area for new gizmos), that is cleverly hidden in an Egyptian ruin - a trend that began with the previous Bond film.. In time, the two agents run into Sandor (Milton Reid) and Jaws, the metal-toothed killer (Richard Kiel), two henchman of the recluse billionaire, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). In time, the two agents discover that Stromberg is obsessed with creating a new world under the sea. Stromberg intends to start a war that will destroy all life on earth. The film's action scenes include Q's specialized Lotus Esprit converting from a car to a sub as it is chased by motorcycle (with a rocket-propelled sidecar), a car loaded with Jaws and several gunmen, a helicopter and mini-subs; the fight between the crews of the captured subs and Stromberg's men (reminiscent of the final battle in You Only Live Twice) inside the gigantic Liparus; an intense train cabin fight with Jaws and Bond; and the fight with Jaws on Atlantis, Stromberg's underwater hideout.
Roger Moore seems comfortable in the role his third time out and the script by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum (a Bond vet)is first-rate. Bach proves to be his match and is quite charming. The film locations in Sardinia and the wonderful sets Liparus, Atlantis and the sub base) by Ken Adam (who received an Oscar nomination for his work) are first-rate. The sound stage built around the Liparus set. It was christened by the former PM and was hailed as Adam's best set. The result is a wonderful spy thriller that revived the Bond series and solidified Roger Moore as James Bond.
Side note: Bond regular, Shane Rimmer returns in a new role, USS Wayne Sub Captain. Assistant director, Victor Tourjansky makes the first of his three Bond film appearances as the startled tourist. This time he is drinking on the beach when the Lotus Esprit drives out of the ocean. The producers use sharks again in this film to dispatch of a traitorous girlfriend - the third time sharks had a role in a Bond movie. Finally, the producers began their practice of using in-house jokes and theme music from another movie - the theme of Lawrence of Arabia is heard as the two agents emerge from the desert.