The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
50th Academy Awards 1978
Nominated for 3 awards.
Nominated for Art Direction (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, Hugh Scaife), Music-Original Score (Marvin Hamlisch), and Music-Original Song “Nobody Does It Better” (Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager).
Watched November 4, 2012
The reviews are positive, but my views are different. Granted I have not paid much attention to the 007 franchise prior to Daniel Craig and thus my opinions will be incredibly jaded, I was not a huge fan of The Spy Who Loved Me. I find that I am having trouble looking past the dated 70s styles. However, it has been pointed out by many reviewers that the film did exactly what it was supposed to–it was never created to be film noir but a mindless entertaining film that all one must do to enjoy it is sit back and relax while James Bond does all of the hard work. I will admit that, for the most part, The Spy Who Loved Me does that successfully.
This generation’s Bond is played by Roger Moore, who is following Sean Connery, but he apparently does much better in this film than the previous Bond flicks he had starred in. He is smarmy, with a classically good looking smirk, and a hidden pain of lost love that makes him attractive. Not to mention his mad skiing skills that are said to be one of the best openings to a Bond film–ever.
In this storyline, the bad guy, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) has been tracking and trapping nuclear submarines from all sides, which is why 007 and the Russian Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) suddenly find themselves working together. Bond and Major Anya Amasova have significantly different feelings about working with one another. Bond is of course attracted to the feisty female agent, while she resents his typical pig headed manliness and pushes against him in an attempt to not be overshadowed by a man. Through their adventures she begins to soften toward him, until she finds out that he killed her love just weeks before, which of course means that she has to kill him once they save the world from nuclear destruction.
Complete with excessive explosions and gunfire, underwater cities, and women in bikinis, it is a true Bond film. In comparison with today’s franchise, the cinematography has zero creativity. There is a serious lack of angles. The editing is a bit slow, and the sound design was perplexing. The lack of a sound track fails to disguise the terrible foley art during the fight scenes, not to mention how very choreographed every punch felt. Somehow, Amasova did not come off as intelligent as she was supposed to be, probably because she kept making dumb decisions and relying on Bond to save her.
The acclaimed villain who everyone loves–Jaws (Richard Kiel)–would have been a lot more intimidating had the editor not had a preoccupation with dwelling on his metal-mouth grimace.
All in all, I would consider it another TV movie entertainment date, but not necessarily for the main Friday night event. In my mother’s words, it’s quite “campy” and outdated, but I did enjoy the last half hour that is spent completely devoted on freeing the submarine crews and saving the world. Many reviewers disliked this part, but to me it was my favourite because it embodies Bond so well. There is very little attempt at serious story telling and just straight entertaining, unrealistic action. Perfect.