1. The Roger Moore Experience

    By Luke Freeman on 2003-03-14

    Over the last four months I’ve gone though a metamorphosis. It’s amazing how merely being deprived of something can have such healthy results. But the road to my transformation hasn’t all been pleasant. The withdrawal symptoms, the cramps, the sleepless nights, at many times it was simply pure torture. But in the end I’ve defiantly come out of it all with a new lease on life, a more positive outlook, and a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

    You see, on a dark and stormy night, around four months back, there was a black-out at the Freemo Estate. Electricity was completely cut, resulting in a string of four letter words and the locating of a flash light and some candles. A few hours later the power liners was fixed, I was left with the task of resetting all the digital clocks that were flashing 12:00, and everything was as it should be. Well, almost everything. My VCR didn’t come back on when everything else did. At first I thought nothing off it, I thought I could fix the problem, I turned it off and on, disconnected and reconnected cables, pushed every button, even bashed my fist on the side of it. But all to no avail, the VCR had shorted out. As you can probably imagine, panic set in.

    Since the wages I get paid for “Freemo’s Friday” compare unfavorably to that of slave labor, I didn’t have sufficient capital to purchase a new VCR, or even to get the old one fixed. I do have a DVD player, but only have the Sean Connery films on DVD, the rest of Bond film collection is solely on Video tapes. That’s right dear friends, I haven’t been able to watch a Roger Moore James Bond film in four long, grueling months. 4 months ! That’s 120 days. 2,880 hours. 172,800 minutes. 10,368,000 second. All of it unbearable. I’ve learned the hard way that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. I’ve developed a new appreciation for the Bond films made between 1973 and 1985.

    You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone. The raising of the eyebrows, the witty one-liners, it’s all pure magic. Plus it’s the way he woos the women, and shows a hint disgust towards the villain while remaining ever the English gentlemen that makes Roger Moore is a terrific Bond. All his seven films are pure masterpieces. But slowly his tenure has Bond is becoming but a distant memory to me, so today, in honour of the great man and to remind myself and others of his brilliance, we’re going to take a brief look at each of his seven outings as 007…

    Live and Let Die (1973): Bond walks on crocodiles, barbeques a snake, gives a flying lesson, has a “bad experience” in a booth, beds a fortune teller, almost gets his fingers chopped off, and puts an end to Kananga’s heroine related plans. Speaking of Kananga, he’s one underrated villains, with plenty of class and humour with a slightly sinister touch. Instead of just one henchman he has three, the hook of Tee Hee, the sneakiness of Whisper, and the flute playing abilities of Baron Samedi. But that isn’t enough to stop 007, played by Roger Moore for the first time. Moore is eased into the role first time round, but saying that he’s certainly more than competent here. Don’t forget the grin and gut of Sheriff JW Pepper, if he’s not your favorite red neck Louisiana police Sheriff, he must surely be in your top three. Baron Samedi on the train laughing his head off goes down as the best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Bond steals a belly dancers good luck charm, wears a fake third nipple, gets shown up by a couple of school girls, drives a car over an unfinished bridge and duels with the Man with the Golden Gun. Until recently I dismissed this outing as one of the worst 007 films, can you believe that? Shame on me, Christopher Lee is absolutely superb as the title character. Scaramanga comes off as sort of the dark side of Bond, with the same charm, wit and ruthlessness, a character whose perhaps the equal of Bond, but on the opposite side. Roger is as good as ever as Bond, slapping people around, and the rest of the characters, Goodnight, Andrea and Nick Nack aren’t too shabby either.Nick Nack hanging around and Bond saying “Goodnight” to M goes down as the second best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Bond uses a Union Jack parachute, spends a night in a telephone repair van, insults Egyptian builders, drives a car underwater, and teams up with beautiful Russian agent Triple X. Moore is at his absolute best here, perhap sone of the best portayls of Bond by anyone. “Does it play any other tunes”, that line would normally be totally cringe worthy. It, along with a few others would have died a painful death had it been spoken by anyone other than Moore. His reaction to finding a man dead by the telephone booth is perfect, “He was cut off, permanently”. Another favorite is the scene in Egypt with Bond on the roof with Sandor, where Bond gets the info he needs, then pulls his tie away leaving Sandor to fall to his death. “Helpful chap” Bond comments, adjusting his tie and walking off. Bond and Anya getting caught in the act by M and Gogol followed by a bunch of drunken sailors singing Nobody Does it Better goes down as the third best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    Moonraker (1979): Bond jumps out of a plane without a parachute, dodges double-taking pigeons, helps promote 7-Up, wears a rather sporting yellow jumpsuit, flys off into outer space, and tackles a steel toothed, seven foot tall henchman. Ah, Moonraker. Not to be confused with the Cher film Moonstruck, or the Andy Williams song Moon River. It’s the Bond movie whose merits will continue to be debated on for the rest of eternity. Jaws falling off cliffs and falling for Dolly, a laser battle in space, yeah, maybe it goes a little too far, but from start to finish it’s pure entertainment. Dr Goodhead requesting one more trip around the world from Bond goes down as the fourth best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    For Your Eyes Only (1981): Bond says goodbye to Blofeld, get dragged along a corral reef, buys an ice-skater an ice cream, kicks a car off a cliff, gets a vital lead from a parrot and takes an active interest in rock climbing. The scene where Bond kicks the car off the cliff always springs to peoples minds when Moores harder, colder portrayl of Bond is mentioned. First Bond throws the dove pin into the car, leaving the driver wetting his pants as the car tilts slightly. In previous Roger Moore Bond films this would probably have been enough to knock the car over, but not here. Bond then brutally kicks the car off the edge of the cliff, superb. Bond and Melinda going for a swim while the parrot asks Margaret Thatcher for a kiss goes down as the fifth best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    Octopussy (1983): Bond flys a mini jet, bids at an auction, swims in a hollowed out crocodile, yells like Tarzan, steals a car, dresses up as a clown and spends a few nights on an island populated exclusively by women. My highlight of this film is the backgammon game between Bond and Kamal, easily one of the best gambling scenes in the series. “Spend the money quickly Mr Bond” Kamal tell him, Bond does just that, generously distributuing his new found fortune among the locals. Moore now plays James Bond like an old pro, and once again has all the elements down pat, even when dresses up as a clown. Bond miraculously recovering from his injuries so that he and Octopussy can celebrate goes down as the sixth best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    A View to a Kill (1985): Bond drives an iceberg submarine, bets on a horse race, falls on top of a wedding cake, gets a ride on a fire truck, cooks a quiche, fires a gun filled with rock salt, and scales the golden gate bridge. Age shall not weary him. At 57 Moore still has what it takes, don’t you worry your pretty little heads about that. Moore still has that same screen presence and star quality he had all the way though his tenure as James Bond. May Day, Pola and Stacey don’t seem to mind that he keeps his false teeth in a jar beside the bed, so why should the rest of us care? Not the best entry into the series, but I’d rather have 7 Moore Bond films than 6. Q robotic dog watching Bond and Stacey in the shower goes down as the seventh best ending to a James Bond film ever.

    He was really something wasn’t he? They should declare a public holiday for the man. “Roger Moore Day”, I like the sound of that. In fact, I don’t think it would be going to far making him the next Pope. His Holiness Pope Roger Moore the first, has a nice ring to it would you argee? Oh, and don’t worry about me, I’ll get my VCR fixed if it’s the last thing I do.

    Until next time,