The Spy Who Loved Me
41. Ski chase
Bond leaves the arms of a lovely, “but James I need you” she protests. “So does England” says Bond patriotically. Unknown to Bond, she is an enemy agent and before long Bond finds himself chased down a mountain by gun-men. There is a lovely moment where Bond turns, uses his ski-pole as a gun to shoot an enemy agent (which has repercussions later on in the film), flips and then skis over the side of the mountain top. Cue one of the most amazing stunts/shots where Bond keeps falling until a Union-jack parachute opens up to the Bond theme. Brilliant! Incidently the enemy agent that Bond shoots is Michael Billington, who very nearly got the role of Bond in Live and Let Die (he was supposedly Cubby’s second choice should Roger Moore not accept).
I remember getting freaked out the first time the camera zooms in and you see his teeth. Skip about 30 years and it has exactly the same effect on my daughter. Make no mistake, Jaws may seem a bit daft as you get older, but he is a truly scary character for the younger generation. Well, that is until Moonraker, where they soften him up completely.
43. Helpful chap
Bond chases killer Shandor onto a rooftop. They battle. Bond punches him towards the edge of the building and he grabs Bond’s tie to stop himself falling over the side. Seizing the moment Bond asks him where his next connection is. With the tie slipping through his grasp – Shandor eventually tells him the information he needs. Heartlessly Bond chops off his grasp of the tie and Shandor falls to his doom. “What a helpful chap” observes Bond. But let this be a lesson, never ruffle Bond’s tie. Cold!
44. Lotus Sub
Okay, it’s not an Aston Martin but at the time this was the next best thing. The land car chase has it’s fair share of great moments: “All those feathers and he still can’t fly”, Jaws crashing through a roof and the flirtatious tête à tête between Bond and Naomi who is trying to kill Bond in a helicopter. This leads to Bond driving off the edge of a pier into the sea. The lotus turns into an underwater submarine complete with gadgets. Cue destruction of helicopters, battles with armed diver and enemy subs. Be honest, is there any child didn’t want to drive a car which turns into a submarine?
Other great scenes:
Stromberg’s assistant gets dropped and Atlantis rises, “Egyptian Builders”, Train fight (starting with a great shock moment), Anya threatening to kill Bond once the mission is completed, the inside reveal of the Liparus (Stanley Kubrick helped to light this) + the battle which ensues, defusing a nuclear bomb, 007 rides the security-cam, the Jet ski (very cool at the time), “Keeping the British end up”.
Not so great:
Bond holding a fish out of the window when the lotus emerges from the sea. Whilst we are on about it, if Anya stole the Blue-prints to the Lotus – how come she freaks out so much when it goes under water? Essentially this is You Only Live Twice all over again, just with ships capturing submarines rather than rockets capturing other rockets.
Bond battles an enemy pilot and throws him out of the plane. No sooner does this happen, Bond himself is pushed out by none other than Jaws. Bond free-falls down to the pilot and steals his parachute. Now pursued by Jaws, Bond needs to make a swift escape before he takes a chunk from his leg. There was nothing like this at the time and even with the more recent likes of Point Break + countless other sky-diving imitators – this is still heart-pounding stuff. It took 88 sky-dives to create the scene in the film.
In perhaps the greatest line in the movie, the very droll Drax tells his assistant Chang to “Look after Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him”. Bond is put in a centrifuge which simulates the effects of gravity and the villainous Chang is at the controls. This is perhaps the only point in the movie where Bond feels in genuine trouble. When Bond emerges the Centrifuge, there is some nice acting from Roger Moore without him even needing to say a word.
47. Gone to the dogs
Drax sets the dogs on Corrine for betraying his trust and showing Bond sensitive information. This scene is beautifully shot, edited and scored. Every time I want the lovely Ms Dufour (Corinne Cléry) to escape. Every time those pesky Canines get her. Probably not a nice way to go either.
48. Bond lured to the Amazon Lair
Speaking of beautiful shots, here is another beautiful scene with lovely musical scoring. Bond notices one of Drax’s blonde lovelies wandering around in the Amazonian rain-forest (as you do). He proceeds to follow her through some lovely scenery which eventually leads to another one of Ken Adam’s fantastic sets (as you do). Bond looks chuffed when even more babes arrive. Sadly for Bond this is all part of an elaborate trap involving Drax’s (rubber) pet Python.
Other great scenes:
“Such good sport”, The laboratory (with the Close Encounters musical in-joke), “Play it again San”, Manuela and the Rio carnival, Cable-car fight, Amazon boat chase + hand-glider escape, “I think he’s attempting re-entry”
Not so great:
Jaws! And his love interest! Double-taking pigeons! Hovercraft Gondolas! Bond in space (even if it looks spectacular – it is perhaps one step too far for Bond)!
Part 6 coming soon: For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy
Images (C) 1977/1979 Danjaq/EON.