Another James Bond flick and a most unusual one. It’s The Spy Who Loved Me from 1977, and the back story is worth retelling. The title comes from an Ian Fleming novel unique among Bond stories. This one is told from the perspective of a third person, hence the title. Its being unique in this way gave the story a trajectory like no other. Fleming refused to release the plot for reuse, so the producers of the movie took the title and Fleming’s Bond character, and they concocted an original plot. This is streaming on Hulu, where I obtained the screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.
To appreciate the total disconnect from the original, here is how the book starts:
I WAS running away. I was running away from England, from my childhood, from the winter, from a sequence of untidy, unattractive love-affairs, from the few sticks of furniture and jumble of overworn clothes that my London life had collected around me; and I was running away from drabness, fustiness, snobbery, the claustrophobia of close horizons and from my inability, although I am quite an attractive rat, to make headway in the rat-race. In fact, I was running away from almost everything except the law.
And I had run a very long way indeed – almost, exaggerating a bit, halfway round the world. In fact, I had come all the way from London to The Dreamy Pines Motor Court which is ten miles west of Lake George, the famous American tourist resort in the Adirondacks – that vast expanse of mountains, lakes and pine forests which forms most of the northern territory of New York State.
Fleming, Ian. The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond – Extended Series Book 10) (p. 1). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
So the woman, Vivianne Michel, relates her troubled coming of age, passing through two demeaning relationships with men before setting out on a cross-country tour on a moped. She stays a few days at a remote motel and gets sucked into a scheme by its gangster owner, who plans to have her killed and blamed on the arson that will send some insurance money his way. In the nick of time James Bond drops in and spoils the crooked scheme, ending up in the sack with Vivianne. And that’s the story.
Screen writers Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum had something more adventurous in mind. Their story begins with major-power submarines being captured by a technology that takes command from the crew.
And thus begins the standard James Bond (Roger Moore) plot, which includes the obligatory chase down a snowy mountain range.
We meet Anya Amasova/Agent Triple X (Barbara Bach), being given the assignment to recover the technology.
We meet the evil mastermind behind the plot, Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens), here paying off the two scientists who developed the technology. Sitting at the other end of the table is his disloyal secretary (Marilyn Galsworthy), soon to meet a ghastly fate.
When the double-dealing secretary departs the room and enters the elevator, the doors close, and the bottom opens, dumping her into a pool with a hungry shark.
Stromberg does some double-dealing himself. As the two scientists depart in a helicopter it is blown out of the air.
The chase is on, and the scene shifts to Cairo, where a delightful wench sets a trap for Bond. She relents at the last moment, taking the bullet meant for him.
Bond captures the gunman and questions him on the roof top before letting him go.
The setting moves to the pyramids of Giza, where we meet Jaws (Richard Kiel). He’s called Jaws because he’s a Herman Munster stand-in, and all his teeth have been replaced by steel ones. He kills by biting people.
Such as this Soviet operative.
Bond meets Amasova. There will be sex before this movie is over.
They meet Jaws, and Bond defeats him by collapsing scaffolding on top of him. The ruffian survives. In fact, throughout he demonstrates to be indestructible.
Romance begins in a boat ride on the Nile, right before she knocks Bond out with trick cigarette smoke.
Eventually we get around to Stromberg’s super oceanic research vessel, where the final action will take place.
The movie is two hours of wacky attempts at assassination. Here a motorcycle with a side car sets out behind Bond’s Lotus. But the side car is really a homing road missile, which the driver releases to chase down Bond’s car.
Of course all this fails, and the rider exits the movie.
That failing, a conventional motorcar gives chase, but Bond’s Lotus opens up a compartment behind the license plate and sprays oil on the killers’ windshield. Off the road it goes.
Next, Stromberg’s personal pilot and accomplished assassin goes after Bond with murderous, but inaccurate machine gun fire from a helicopter. The problem seems to be the twin guns are set too far apart, and when the pilot centers on the Lotus, the rounds strike on either side of the car. We can see that watching the movie, and we wonder why the person who up-armed the helicopter did not detect this problem.
A close look.
Bond dives the lotus into the sea, where it converts to a submersible vessel.
From below the surface, Bond spots the circling helicopter and fires a missile. Goodbye helicopter.
Bond joins with an American sub crew in an attempt to track down the source of the mysterious technology, but that boat also gets captured and drawn into Stromberg’s fake tanker ship, where the crew are forced to surrender.
But Bond breaks free using the second oldest trick in the book—upsetting a stack of gas cylinders.
There ensues a massive fire fight within the bowels of the tanker. Many are killed on both sides.
Meanwhile, two of the captured subs are sent off onto missions to annihilate world class cities. The navy guys prevail and take the remaining sub out, nailing Stromberg’s tanker with a torpedo as they depart. The ship goes down with the remainder of Stromberg’s team.
Bond confronts Stromberg at his elegant dining table, where Blomberg prepares to eliminate him by means of an under-the-table rocket launcher, which is apparently standard for such tables. Bond dodges the rocket and retaliates by firing his Walther PPK back through the empty launch tube, several times, right into Stromberg’s crotch. That has got to hurt.
Bond initiates the destruction of the research vessel, and he and Amasova prepare to save themselves. Jaws is last seen swimming solo to a distant land mass. We also see the sole reason Bach was cast for this movie, because acting was never one of her accomplishments.
Again, for your viewing pleasure, Steve.
As standard, the film runs slightly more than two hours. It shovels out a string of capers highlighted by novel ways of killing somebody, ways Bond can make it into bed with some seductive wench, professionally executed stunts and special effects, all held together by a Saturday matinée plot.
Richard Kiel is “best known for his role as Jaws in the James Bond franchise, portraying the character in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979); he lampooned the role with a tongue-in-cheek cameo in Inspector Gadget (1999). His next-most recognized role is the tough, but eloquent Mr. Larson in Happy Gilmore (1996). Other notable films include The Longest Yard (1974), Silver Streak (1976), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Pale Rider(1985) and Tangled (2010).”
Bach also appeared in Force 10 from Navarone. She is married to Ringo Starr.