1. CBn Reviews 'The Spy Who Loved Me'

    By Devin Zydel on 2005-09-04

    Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of The Spy Who Loved Me

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Turn

    'The Spy Who Loved Me' litho by Jeff Marshall

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ litho by Jeff Marshall

    Yup, another film considered a “classic” by Bond fandom I just don’t enjoy as much as others. I’ve tried. I think part of my lack of enthusiasm for this film was I never saw it in the cinema, but caught it when it premiered on television. Moonraker, which is the same film in a lot of ways, I saw before and thoroughly enjoyed.

    I agree with author John Brosnan (James Bond in the Cinema) who said The Spy Who Loved Me is basically a greatest hits package of past Bond films. Not that this is the first time things have been repeated, just nothing any better than before. I could go a step further and call it a remake of You Only Live Twice, but no real need to. Everything is big, there’s some great stunts and a few interesting characters. But it just doesn’t hook my interest that well for whatever reason.

    Stromberg gets my vote for least interesting/threatening villain of the series. He has a cool voice, but all he does is push buttons, give orders and make threats. Jaws is okay, but no Oddjob. It would have been better if they’d taken time to develop Naomi, Stromberg’s pilot. That wink she gives Bond is one of the film’s highlights. Anya is okay, pretty middling on my scale of Bond women.

    If only I’d seen this on that summer day in 1977 rather than seeing a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. I remember absolutely nothing about that game.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Hrabb04

    After the failure of The Man With The Golden Gun, the Bond people were scared. With Sean Connery threatening to come onto the scene and show them how it was supposed to be done with Warhead, they had to come up with something fast.

    So, they remade You Only Live Twice. Not a bad idea, really, since it’s one of the better ones, so you have to give them credit for ripping off a good one.

    Roger has some decent moments where he actually acts. It’s like they put a gun to his head and made him take things seriously. His scene with Sandor on the roof and then where he confesses to Anya that he killed her lover are good. His overkill of Stromberg is not. They tried too hard with that one. There are only a few actors who can get away with scenes like that, and Roger Moore is not one of them. This one is also the one where the stuntmen really start stepping in for the little things. Spot Martin Grace as Bond in the fight at the Pyramids.

    This is the first of the Herman Munster movies–ie, Jaws–and he ruins every scene he is in. If I want the Roadrunner and Wiley E Coyote, I’ll watch them. This is Bond. There is no reality for this character here. You don’t care about him, you don’t believe in him. He’s an embarrassment.

    Plusses: Stromberg, Anya, the title song.

    I really do like Bond. I just don’t like Roger Moore as Bond.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by tdalton

    Roger Moore’s first “true” Bond film after the decent Live and Let Die and the downright awful The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me is a great Bond film with great set pieces and interesting characters. Roger Moore finally comes into his own as Bond here, and it’s just in time as the producers and writers have finally handed him a decent script with which to work.

    Unfortunately, though, the script could have been much better had Cubby Broccoli and MGM not had to battle longtime nemesis Kevin McClory over the rights to the SPECTRE organization and the Blofeld character. SPECTRE and Blofeld were originally scheduled to appear as the main villian(s) in this film, and this would have brought closure to the Blofeld saga, and not have reduced our “closure” to a teaser sequence in For Your Eyes Only where Bond drops “Blofeld” down a smokestack.

    Curt Jergens plays Stromberg, the criminal mastermind who replaces Blofeld in the main story. While Stromberg’s scheme is quite unrealistic, as is his undersea lair, it still makes for a very captivating Bond film, even though it’s not a “classic” in the sense of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or Moore’s much better For You Eyes Only.

    Jurgens plays Stromberg very well, although the character seems to be lacking a certain something. He doesn’t seem quite as menacing as he should be. He does, however, leave some of the menace to his henchman, Jaws, who is portrayed perfectly by Richard Kiel.

    Barbara Bach’s Agent Anya Amasova is a very respectable Bond girl, and one of the few Bond girls that has ever been able to truly hold her own alongside Bond. She is beautiful as well and is probably the second best Bond girl up to this point in the series (behind Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service).

    Marvin Hamlische’s score is not as good as the John Barry scores of the past, but it is serviceable and does not take anything away from the film. Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” is the perfect Bond theme, enough said.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Genrewriter

    Like the rest of my top ten, this is very subjective. Moore is terrific as Bond, maybe his most balanced performance as the character and Barbara Bach is a great Bond Girl. Curt Jurgerns has always been a favorite of mine and Richard Kiel is spot-on as Jaws. The sets and acvtion are amazing but really the only demerit I can give this one is the strong sense of deja vu one gets while watching it. Still, an excellent Bond film in every way imaginable.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Janus Assassin

    First of all… this is Roger’s best film. After The Man With the Golden Gun, the Bond series needed a boost and boy did it ever.

    Roger gives his best performance in this film. It starts out with an awesome ski chase scene down some mountains in Austria. Roger looked just the right age in this film.

    The storyline is one of the series best. Bond and Anya going after the submarines, tracking them from Egypt to Sardinia. The big gun fight towards the end in the Liparus was the first actual gunfight in the Moore era.

    Why this is in my top 5. Simple, it is an excellent Bond film. But it would be higher. The only part I didn’t like was Stromberg’s demise. Bond went right up and shot him. It would have been cool to see Stromberg get eaten by the shark.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by DLibrasnow

    The top 4 of my Bond rankings are a very fluid thing, Depending on my mood, the mix of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, A View To A Kill, The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only can fall in any order. It’s particularly hard to distinguish between On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me, not because they are very similar, but that they are so different with elements I love about both of them. They have the two most beautiful (in my opinion anyway) Bond girls in Barbara Bach and Diana Rigg and involving and intriguing plots with a solid villain. That really is where comparisons end because Lazenby’s entry is firmly placed in reality whereas the 1977 Moore entry is a fantasy adventure across continents.

    So, sliding into the number two spot today is The Spy Who Loved Me. My favorite 007 actor Roger Moore saving the world for the first (but not the last) time. The movie really has it all and we learn before the main titles that this is going to be a very different 007 movie from the ones that preceded it. In 1977 audiences rose to their feet to cheer what is still one of the most amazing stunts in motion picture history. Accompanied by a disco beat (that I like) Bond leaves the cabin of one of the EON series’ sexiest femme fatales, is pursued by Russian assassins and then ski’s off a mountain-top, apparently to his death. But no a parachute opens and our hero glides effortlessly across our screen and into the waiting hands of the main titles – perfect.

    I’ve never been a fan of Bond in the main titles and this is unfortunately the one that started this trend. My favorite main title sequences are those in which 007 does not appear.

    The sequence at the submarine base introduces us to a couple of recurring characters, first is Minster Frederick Gray and then Admiral Hargreaves (who would later be promoted to the position of M). These are two welcome additions and Gray’s appearance in particular would help the series four years later when the series lost Bernard Lee.

    We also are introduced to Gen. Gogol as head of the KGB. Gogol would return in each of the successive movies until 1987’s The Living Daylights when actor Walter Gotell’s health had deteriorated to such an extent that his part was rewritten to a mere cameo, while the chunk of his scenes went to John Rhys-Davies.

    What follows is a mix of action (the car chase, battle inside the Liparus and train fight stand out), drama (confrontation in the hotel room in particular) and Moore getting to be ruthless (dispatching Sandor from the rooftop – “What a helpful chap.”) Of course any review of the movie would be remiss not to mention the introduction of Jaws.

    A character destroyed two years later, here Jaws is a killing machine who, although clumsy, does not think twice about murdering his prey.

    Many fans are admirers of Caroline Munro in this picture. For me, the main thing I like about her appearances are the looks it illicits from Bach’s Amasova – are those flickers of jealousy?

    Really, everything comes together perfectly, the perfect girl, some of the best action and drama, great locations and all the while Moore’s great humor, it is in this movie that he delivers one of my all-time favorite 007 lines – “All those feathers and he still couldn’t fly!”

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Qwerty

    “It’s Bond and Beyond!”

    You don’t get any better than The Spy Who Loved Me in my opinion when it comes to James Bond films. It pretty much has it all. Roger Moore is on top of his game as British agent James Bond, the bond girl Anya Amasova is a terrific ally and partner to Bond along the assignment, there is a collection of interesting villains, plus great locations, witty lines, a magnificent plot, and just an overall feel that makes this film a standout in the series.

    It’s often that this is the Roger Moore film singled out as being the best, and is the actor’s favorite also as many fans know.

    If Roger Moore was getting settled into the role in Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun, then The Spy Who Loved Me is where he is in his prime. His age matches well with the character and the performance is very, very engaging. He really seems to be enjoying the film and it works well in the end.

    Barbara Bach’s Anya Amasova was a change from some Bond girl’s in that she took more of an active role as being a partner alongside Bond. The chemistry between both characters is good, and having Bond kill her lover, Sergei, in the pre-credits sequence was an inspired idea, as it leads to a good conclusion for Bond and Anya.

    Jaws, Karl Stromberg, and Naomi make up an all around good collection of villains for the film. Jaws is simply one of the most well known villains to Bond fans and non-Bond fans alike. I remember rewinding the scene where he uses his teeth to undo a lock in the first half of The Spy Who Loved Me the first time I saw the film. Naomi’s playful wink to Bond before attempting to gun him down is also one of the best moments in the series. Period.

    Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better is also one of those songs that both Bond fans and non-Bond fans know of well. It just works. And who can forget Bond 77?

    It’s two hours of pure excitement, adventure and just everything James Bond. It really is the best.

    ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ by Scottlee

    A mammoth, big-budget, well filmed, well cast Bond extravaganza that never ceases to entertain. This one has it all and more. From the opening ski jump to the sheer laughter invoked by Bond and Anya being caught in bed at the end, this film is a timeless gem. It has a classic, intriguing villain in Jaws, some absolutely gorgeous women (Bach and Munro), a great Bond car, a catchy soundtrack, beautiful locations (Epypt? Italy? Swoon), tense moments (Bond and Anya tailing Jaws on foot), great comedy that really comes off (“When one is in Egypt….”), and a peak-of-his-career performance from Roger Moore, who proved many people wrong with this film.