‘For Your Eyes Only’ at 40: The Best Of The Roger Moore-Era James Bond Films

Forty years in the past, the James Bond franchise was desperately wanted again on earth.

The earlier movie, Moonraker, the eleventh within the franchise, was definitely a field workplace hit, however we’ve received to be trustworthy right here: it’s one dumb-ass film. Don’t get me improper, it has its charms (Desmond Llewelyn exclaiming “I think he’s attempting re-entry!” could the truth is be the best line studying in all of cinema), however laser battles in orbit and Richard Kiel as a proto-WWE Superstar was preposterous even by 007 requirements. The collection completely needed to quiet down.

For Your Eyes Only(which had been teased as subsequent in line after The Spy Who Loved Me, earlier than Star Wars received the producers trying to the heavens and Moonraker) finds the proper stability between the slick worldwide intrigue of the early Sean Connery footage and the excessive tech bombast of the ’70s entries. It is, I really feel, one of the best of the Roger Moore-era Bonds, providing house for the actor’s pure sarcasm with out tipping over into pure smarm. In truth, I say it’s a contender for high 5 in the entire collection. (We’d want to satisfy over some vodka martinis for the remainder of that argument.)

The motion takes us to a tiny Spanish city, a winter sports activities facility within the Italian mountains, the island of Corfu within the Ionian Sea, and a monastery atop a cliff someplace in Greece that appears too Middle Earth to be actual, however it’s. Bond has received to get better an electrical gizmo that’s sunk to the underside of the ocean earlier than smugglers can promote it to the Russians. If they get their fingers on it, they’ll be capable of management all of Britain’s nuclear-power subs, which simply goes to point out how a lot audiences had been keen to purchase something when you mentioned “it’s a computer!” (The gadget in query is actually only a keyboard, you’d want one thing to plug it into to speak with any missiles, and by then somebody would change the password, to not point out it’s now waterlogged, and — oh, neglect it.)

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, Carole Bouquet, Roger Moore, 1981
Photo: Everett Collection

Anyway, with this because the beginning gun, Bond is off preventing baddies as he’s snowboarding down mountains, enjoying Baccarat, wooing Countesses, and diving for historic Hellenic artifacts with Carole Bouquet. He finds himself within the crossfire of two Greek smugglers, one performed by British actor Julian Glover, the opposite by Israeli actor Topol. There’s additionally the uncommon case of James Bond saying “no” to the advances of a younger lady, an erstwhile Olympic skater performed by Lynn-Holly Johnson. Though she was round 21 or 22 when the film was shot, and Roger Moore was 53, the exuberant blonde can’t cease flinging herself at him. It’s a hell of a factor to observe.

The script had its roots in two Ian Fleming brief tales, which had been printed in 1960, referred to as “For Your Eyes Only” and “Risico.” In the director’s chair was John Glen, who labored up the ranks of the British movie business, beginning in sound division, earlier than capturing second unit and modifying Bond footage. The very first thing he does in For Your Eyes Only is supply a uncommon callback to 007’s slain spouse, then dispatch Bond’s longtime foe, the probably toxoplasmotic Blofeld.

But earlier than anybody noticed a body, there have been two photographs fired into the leisure ecosystem to let everybody know James Bond had entered the 80s: that music and that poster.

The title song, carried out by Sheena Easton, remains to be an even-tempo ballad, however it trades the piano and luxurious strings of the latest Carly Simon’s Marvin Hamlisch-penned Bond smash “Nobody Does It Better” for only a scintilla of synthesizer. It’s not New Wave, however it’s undoubtedly making overtures to what’s fashionable.

The poster, designed by the legendary Bill Gold, is an all-time traditional, a daring and provocative picture that grabbed viewers and, um, directed their gaze. Whether one considers it a chunk of promoting that exploits and objectifies girls, or is sexually empowering is, in fact, completely as much as you.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, Roger Moore, 1981, (c) United Artists/courtesy Everett Collection
Photo: ©United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection

From the primary scene, the film completely doesn’t let up. The chase scenes nonetheless pop, and the mix of “classy” Bond with some extraordinarily ’80s moments (that pink Lotus! Q’s absurd “identigraph” gadget) are extraordinarily entertaining. The climb up the cliff at the tip is very edited, and we have to point out that the beautiful raven-haired Carole Bouquet does numerous injury with a crossbow. Even giggly Lynn-Holly Johnson is healthier than the position requires; there’s some strong comedian timing in her ski bunny gags.

Roger Moore’s subsequent Bond was the legendary Octopussy, and when your film known as Octopussy it’s going to get numerous consideration, very like Moonraker and its idiotic house motif. But proper within the center there’s a fast-paced, dazzling, and even slightly bit elegant film that typically will get forgotten. On its fortieth birthday, perhaps discover eyes for it.

Jordan Hoffman is a author and critic in New York City. His work additionally seems in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, and the Times of Israel. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, and tweets about Phish and Star Trek at @JHoffman.

Where to stream For Your Eyes Only

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