Monday, May 13, 2013

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Wow, huge delay between Bond movie reviews.  Sorry about that. It was mostly due to bad disks from Netflix.  I've been having a string of bad disks.  (Moonraker arrived, and it is cracked... sigh).  Anyway.  The Spy Who Loved Me

This movie has hands-down, my favorite pre-title sequence.  First we open with a submarine.  You know I’m all over that!  Then we get introduced to Russian Agent XXX, in a scene which plays to the audience’s expectations that it must be a man, when in fact it is Barbara Bach as Major Amasova.  Then we get Bond and an amazing ski chase that ends with him skiing right off a cliff, free falling, and then opening his parachute, which displays the British flag.  Cue title song...

I wish I could say I liked the rest as much as I love the opening.  And I do like a lot of this movie.  It’s one of the stronger Roger Moore films.  And it was my first theatrical Bond film, so it gets bonus points for that.  And I know it's quite popular.  But I still have mixed feelings on this one.  It's another one that I enjoy more in memory than sitting through.  

The villain’s plan is rather similar to Blofeld’s in You Only Live Twice: start a war between the Russians and Americans.  Only Stromberg intends to wipe out everyone on the surface and start a new better life beneath the ocean.  Because all that nuclear fallout won’t affect the seas, of course.  He has a pretty awesome sea station.  He also has a giant tanker that he uses expressly for capturing submarines.  It, also, reminds me of You Only Live Twice, in that the set is gigantic in scale, and the bad guys hole up behind “impenetrable” screens that the good guys must breach, with the countdown to Armageddon leaving them only a very short time to accomplish this in both movies.  But where Blofeld lacked any worthy henchman, Stromberg has Jaws, the steel-toothed giant played perfectly by Richard Kiel.  Jaws is one of the most iconic Bond henchman next to Oddjob.  Deadly, of course, but I particularly love how he is always straightening his tie and suit after any mishap.

I also don’t particularly like Major Amasova, though I can’t really put my finger on why.  Part of it might be because she’s supposed to be the best of the Russian spies, and yet, she never really displays any of that talent.  Exact opposite, really.  No way would she get that close to Jaws when she goes to pick up the microfilm.  Are you kidding me??  Script’s fault.  Makes her stupid, when she shouldn't be.  However, she still gets points for being one of the stronger female leads.

I wish I had more to say about this one, but I really don't.  I like it.  Everything works, but it just never quite jumps into the great category for me.

Favorite parts:  That opening ski chase.  The pyramid light show – kind of cheesy, but also spectacular, cuz, hello! Pyramids!  The Lotus Esprit.  I want one of those.  The helicopter portion of the car chase, particularly when it’s waiting for them around a corner (also that the pilot is a woman.).  Submarines!  And I should say, I love the British sub captain (of course), and he gets killed (of course).  Grrr.  Jaws.

Music:  Good.  Not a score I would ever listen to by itself, but it works well in this movie.  I particularly like the theme that goes with arriving at Stromberg’s Atlantis.
Theme song:  I know this is a popular song, but it does nothing for me personally. 
Credit sequence:  Okay
Bond girl:  Alas, I wish I liked her better.  I do like Caroline Munro as Naomi.  Much cooler lady.
Bad guys:  Stromberg is kind of cool. Jaws is better.
Overall personal rating:  3 out of 5 stars


  1. I'm always glad to see a post from you! As you know, the only Bond films I've ever seen are of the Roger Moore variety. This was not one of them, though. At least it doesn't sound familiar.

    Barbara Bach is a familiar name. Is she the gal who played Cinnamon in the Mission Impossible series?

    1. That was Barbara Bain, I believe in the MI series. I tend to think of Barbara Bach as Mrs. Ringo Starr. I don't really know her from much else besides this film.

  2. This must be my dad's fave, because I've seen it quite often. He does favor Roger Moore as Bond, and Mozart's "Theme from Elvira Madigan" (the arrival at Atlantis) is his favorite song ever ever ever (I actually used it in my wedding as the song the parents walk in during, even though he wasn't walking in during it because he walked me down the aisle, but whatever). Also, he finds Jaws completely hilarious and awesome.

    But, like you, I don't love it. I find it fun, but not amazing.

    1. You scared me! I'm like Mozart? Sure didn't sound like Mozart to me! How can I not recognize Mozart? But then I listened to the one you mention, and went ah! That's the piece that Stromberg is listening to while he watches his aquarium, etc. Got it! :-D That's so cool that you played it at your wedding for them!

      The piece I like is this one:

      And yeah. My dad also likes this one quite a bit, though "Licence to Kill" is still his all-time favorite. Interesting!