Wednesday, June 20, 2012

50 Years of 007 - For Your Eyes Only

Cody wrote this for your eyes only, only for you.

For two movies in a row, Eon Productions had gone all-out to make the newest Bond film the biggest spectacle yet in the series. 1979's Moonraker had a budget of $34 million and built to a climax featuring Marines and henchmen having a lazer gun battle in outer space. It was a huge hit, becoming the (not adjusted for inflation) most successful Bond film so far at the box office. Going bigger and bigger was paying off, so the simple choice would be to continue down that path and have the next film try to top the scale of Moonraker.

The way Eon did choose to follow up Moonraker is one example of how the series has been able to last so long. The people running it have known when it was time to change course. Producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and his stepson/executive producer Michael G. Wilson agreed that if they tried to go bigger than Moonraker, the series would be in danger of getting too outlandish and silly. They had to go smaller with the next film. As they say, they had to bring Bond back down to earth. In more ways than one.

The series had been drifting further and further away from the Ian Fleming source material. The last really faithful adaptation of his work had been On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969. Following that, Diamonds Are Forever and Live and Let Die had used those novels as a jumping off point, and The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker had been very different from the novels they took their titles from. (In the case of TSWLM, using only the title had been part of the deal with Fleming.) For the 1981 Bond film, they decided it was time to get back to the Fleming roots and make good on the promise that both the ends credits of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker had made - James Bond would return in a film called For Your Eyes Only, a title taken from an Ian Fleming short story that had also been used as the title of the collection of short Bond stories that it was in. Also in that collection were From a View to a Kill, Quantum of Solace, Risico, and The Hildebrand Rarity. Interestingly, some of these stories had originated as scripts that Fleming had written while trying to get a half-hour James Bond TV series going at CBS in 1958.

The return-to-Fleming film For Your Eyes Only would be a reasonably faithful adaptation combining the short stories FYEO and Risico, featuring an unused bit of action from the Live and Let Die novel, strung together by the pursuit of a MacGuffin. (MacGuffin being a term, perhaps created by Alfred Hitchcock, for an object that drives the plot and characters.) Michael G. Wilson added screenwriter to his filmography on this one, working on the script with Bond veteran Richard Maibaum.

Head members of the crew were more Bond veterans moving up the ladder. John Glen, second unit director and editor on On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker, would make his feature directorial debut with FYEO. As his editor, he chose John Grover, who had been assistant editor on TSWLM and assembly editor on MR. With famed, record-breaking production designer Ken Adam busy working as visual consultant on the Steve Martin musical drama Pennies from Heaven, the job went to Peter Lamont, who had been working in the art department as a draughtsman, art director, or set decorator on every Bond film since Goldfinger. The budget for FYEO was a bit smaller than Moonraker - $28 million - and Broccoli didn't want to spend as much on the sets as he had on some of the films with Adam as production designer, so Lamont went more naturalistic with his designs.

As his cinematographer, Glen brought on Alan Hume. They most notably worked together before on the 1976 Roger Moore/Lee Marvin film Shout at the Devil, which was directed by early Bond editor/OHMSS director Peter Hunt. Glen was second unit director on Shout and Hume a second unit cameraman. Hunt had also directed Moore in the TV show The Persuaders and the 1974 film Gold, so I feel it's a missed opportunity that their working relationship didn't lead to Hunt directing another Bond film during the Moore era.

Roger Moore had fulfilled his three film contract with TSWLM and had negotiated to do Moonraker as a one-off, so the Bond role was ostensibly open as FYEO was being developed, and with the series returning to more grounded, realistic, Fleming territority, it was a perfect time to recast. Several actors, including David Warbeck, Lambert Wilson, Ian Ogilvy, and Timothy Dalton, were considered, The Professionals star Lewis Collins had a meeting with Broccoli, Moore backup choice Michael Billington, who had briefly appeared as Triple X's lover Sergei in The Spy Who Loved Me, did picture tests in Bond wardrobe...

The film begins in a perfect way to introduce a new actor as Bond. A man walks into the cemetery of the St. Giles Church in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England and places a dozen roses at a headstone that reads: Teresa Bond. 1943 - 1969. Beloved wife of James Bond. "We have all the time in the world."

A direct callback to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The grave of the woman who George Lazenby fell in love with and married, only for her to killed by Blofeld, a villain introduced during the Sean Connery era. The death of Bond's wife had been mentioned in the Roger Moore Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. This ties each actor's run together and beginning the new guy's first film with such a reference is a great way to pass the baton and get him off to a "yes, this is the same character continuing on" start.

A priest hurries into the cemetery to notify the man that his office has called; there's some kind of emergency and a helicopter has been sent to pick him up. The man's face is revealed, and we see that James Bond is being played by - Roger Moore, back for his fifth Bond film. About three years older than Connery and almost twelve years older than Lazenby, Moore was forty-five when he was first cast as Bond, and at this point was fifty-three and starting to look too old for the things Bond gets up to. I said in the Moonraker article that I would feel better about the Moore era overall if he had ended his run with that film, and his age is one reason why it's downhill from there for me.

Bond is picked up by a helicopter from Universal Exports, the cover company name used by MI6 throughout the series. Bond appears unnerved by the sight of the priest crossing himself while he watches the helicopter take off.

He's right to have a bad feeling about things, because soon into the flight his pilot is killed by a surge of electricity blasted through his headset. A man's voice announces through a speaker that the helicopter is now being controlled remotely. Bond surely must recognize the voice, because viewers will recognize the image of the man who's controlling the chopper: a bald man whose face is never shown, a white cat on his lap. Not seen since Diamonds Are Forever, Blofeld is back. Although, the direct callbacks to OHMSS continue - Blofeld is wearing a neck brace, as he was at the end of the 1969 film.

While it's obvious who the character is, his name is never spoken, and no one involved with the film can acknowledge that this is Blofeld. That's because Blofeld and SPECTRE were created in the original treatments for Thunderball, on which one of Fleming's co-writers was Kevin McClory. McClory had won the film rights to Thunderball, and claimed that the rights to Blofeld and SPECTRE went along with it. Since he was developing the remake of Thunderball that he was able to get made after ten years had passed since the 1965 film's release, he didn't want the character appearing in any more Eon Productions and had successfully blocked Blofeld from being included in The Spy Who Loved Me. This pre-title sequence is basically Eon thumbing their noses at McClory.

"The mysterious bald man" makes the helicopter do some dangerous flying while he taunts Bond and laughs maniacally through the speaker, but by pulling the right wires Bond is able to gain control right before the chopper can be crashed. Bond then spears the wheelchair that Blofeld is now confined to with one of the skids and lifts his old enemy into the air so that he can dump him down a chimney chute and out of the series for good. See, McClory? They don't need that character anyway.

While it is nice to finally see Bond get his revenge on Blofeld in a film that acknowledges On Her Majesty's Secret Service, since Diamonds Are Forever had dropped that ball ten years earlier, I'm not a big fan of this sequence overall. Blofeld is basically reduced to a cartoon villain here, played for laughs like in DAF. Maybe making him out to just be a bald-headed clown is a further strike against McClory, but still... I don't like it. I don't like Blofeld in DAF or here, and when he's dumped down the chimney, I'm glad to see him go and hope he stays gone.

After Blofeld has fallen to his death with the accompanying whistling sound of a bomb dropping, the title sequence begins. The composer on this film was Bill Conti, probably best known for being the composer on Rocky. The original song that Conti did for that film, "Gonna Fly Now", was nominated for an Academy Award, and so was the title song for this. "For Your Eyes Only" is sung by Sheena Easton, and when title sequence designer Maurice Binder got a look at the lovely twenty-two year old, he was so enamored with her that he put her in the title sequence, the first time that the singer is on screen during one of these.

Conti's score is very much of its time and isn't very popular among fans. To truly appreciate it, a viewer may be required to have the sort of deep nostalgia for the time period that I do.

Following the titles, we're introduced to the film's MacGuffin. Somewhere on the Mediterranean is a boat called the St. Georges, which appears to be an average fishing vessel. Looks are deceiving. While fishermen go through a routine day on deck, below deck is a hi-tech control room being operated by several Royal Navy officers. One system, marked with the initials A.T.A.C., is so important that its operator has to handcuff himself to it.

Things quickly go bad on the St. Georges. As the fishermen up top pull in their nets, they discover that one doesn't contain a load of fish - they're pulling up an old mine. Before the winch pulling in the net can be stopped, the mine hits the side of the boat and explodes. The hi-tech control room is quickly flooded as the St. Georges starts to sink. The jolts are so hard and the water is coming in so fast that the A.T.A.C. operator is unable to pull the system's destruct lever before he drowns. The A.T.A.C. ends up on the bottom of the sea, fully intact.

The shocking news is delivered to England's Minister of Defence Sir Frederick Gray the next day. Electronic surveillance ship St. Georges has been lost somewhere in the Ionian Sea off Albania. In Russia, KGB head General Gogol gets touchy-feely with his secretary Rublevich while having a telephone conversation that lets us know that he's also aware of the loss of the St. Georges, which gives the Soviets a chance of obtaining the A.T.A.C. transmitter. Russia won't be blatant with their pursuit of the A.T.A.C., but if it happens to come on the market, and their "usual friend" in Greece is working to make sure it does, they won't miss the opportunity to snatch it up...

Back off the coast of Albania, we meet the Havelock family; Sir Timothy Havelock, his wife Iona, and their daughter Melina. Sir Timothy is a marine archaeologist and is working on recovering items from an underwater temple. Melina has come from Athens to visit her parents and is flown out to their boat in a seaplane piloted by a man named Gonzales. The Havelocks seem a happy, loving family and Melina has brought gifts not just for her parents but also for her father's parrot, Max. As she goes to deliver a bag of pistachios to Max in Sir Timothy's office, Gonzales's seaplane makes an unexpected flight back over the boat, and as Sir Timothy and Iona give him a friendly wave, Gonzales opens fire on them with a machine gun that comes out of the belly of the plane.

Melina kneels by the bodies of her parents, then looks directly into camera. The camera pushes in on her eyes as they fill with rage... If they had taken the Live and Let Die/The Man with the Golden Gun approach of using the pre-title sequence to set up the story without Bond, the close-up of Melina's eyes would've been the perfect transition into the titles. Apparently this was the plan at one point. A St. Georges/Minster of Defence/Gogol/Havelocks pre-title sequence would've been about 8 minutes long, slightly longer than the Blofeld sequence.

The next scene finds Miss Moneypenny in her office, and I hate to say it, but Lois Maxwell has also now aged beyond her character. She's fifty-four in this, but with the clothes, hair, and makeup of the time, that's old enough to make her look less the flirtatious secretary and more someone's kindly grandmother. She's fifty-four and still pining for James Bond. Seeing her freshen her lipstick in preparation for Bond's imminent arrival, at this point it's got a touch of sadness to it.

Bond shows up, gives Moneypenny a flower and a peck on the cheek, then goes into M's office. Unfortunately, Bernard Lee, the man who had played M since Dr. No, passed away before he could film his scenes for this movie. Rather than recast the role right away, Broccoli decided to have the script rewritten so that other characters would fill in for M, who Bond is told is on leave. In M's office in his absence are Sir Frederick and Chief of Staff Bill Tanner, Bond's good friend from the novels who is just making his second appearance in the film series. Tanner had previously been played by Michael Goodliffe in The Man with the Golden Gun, here he's played by James Villiers.

As Bond is briefed by Tanner and Sir Frederick, we get information on what the A.T.A.C. is, what it does, and why it can't be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. A.T.A.C. stands for Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator and its coded transmissions control the Royal Navy submarine fleet's ballistic missiles. If an enemy power got ahold of the lost A.T.A.C., they could countermand every missile order sent to a submarine or even fire Royal Navy missiles on English cities. An official salvage operation cannot be conducted off Albanian shores, so the English government had asked Sir Timothy Havelock to locate the wreckage. Someone found out and hired a hitman to kill the Havelocks. Through the description given by Melina Havelock, the killer has been identified as Hector Gonzales. Gonzales is now staying in a villa in Madrid. Handing a file containing all the information on "Operation Undertow" and marked For Your Eyes Only over to Bond, Tanner dispatches 007 to Madrid, where he is to "apply the necessary pressure" on Gonzales to find out who hired him.

Arriving in Madrid, Bond drives up to the area of Gonzales's villa. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond had a white 1976 Lotus Esprit Type 79 with all sorts of defensive gadgets packed into it and the capability of becoming a submersible. Now he's driving a 1980 Lotus Esprit Turbo Type 82, white with red stripes, and who knows what all this car can do? Bond parks the Lotus, locks it, and sneaks through the woods at the edge of the villa property.

As Bond spies on the villa's swimming pool area, there are so many beautiful, fit people around that you may start to fear that the villain is going to turn out to be another madman trying to create a master race like Drax in Moonraker, but no, Gonzales is just living the good life.

Bond watches through binoculars as a bespectacled man in a suit arrives at the villa carrying a briefcase, which he delivers to Gonzales. The briefcase is packed full of money.

Bond is distracted by the sound of a cracking tree limb and turns to see a strange figure, someone else sneaking through the woods. He starts to follow them... and gets captured by Gonzales's guards, who take him to their hitman boss. From the Walther PPK Bond is carrying, Gonzales immediately realizes that he is British secret service. He orders the guards to take Bond away to be killed, then returns to his good times.

Gonzales dives into the swimming pool and his dead body surfaces, an arrow stuck in his back. This causes enough panic that Bond is able to escape, running off into the woods, where he encounters Gonzales's assassin, the strange figure he spotted before - Melina Havelock, armed with a crossbow. Melina fires another arrow, this one into a guard pursuing Bond, then he takes her along with him toward the Lotus.

Gonzales's men have already reached the Lotus and are trying to break into it. But the Lotus is "Burglar Protected". When one of the men (played by Bob Simmons, the same stuntman who doubled for Connery in the early opening gun barrels) smashes in the driver's window, the car self-destructs and takes the vandal out with it. This Lotus isn't going to be doing much. Taking Bond's car away from him right at the start of a car chase plays into the more down-to-earth plan for the film, part of which was to cut back on the amount of gadgets Bond uses. He isn't going to have any rockets or oil slicks to take out his pursuers this time.

Bond and Melina end up having to take her car, a yellow Citroën 2CV 6, basically the French answer to the VW Beetle. Melina drives at first, but quickly manages to flip the car over on its side. Tipping it back upright with the help of some villagers, Bond then takes the wheel. The gadget-less chase that ensues through the hilly Madrid countryside with Bond driving this unimpressive little vehicle - which gets put through a lot and keeps on going - is quite fun and was arranged by famed stunt performer/coordinator Remy Julienne, best known for the car sequence in the 1969 The Italian Job. Julienne will go on to work on every Bond film of the '80s, as well as 1995's GoldenEye.

At the end of the chase, Bond properly introduces himself to Melina - "My name is Bond. James Bond."

The section of the film that was an adaptation of the For Your Eyes Only story is over, but Melina's story does not end where her short story counterpart Judy Havelock's did.

With Gonzales dead, Melina prepares to return to her father's ship to continue his work on the underwater temple. But her mission of revenge is not complete - she also wants to kill the man who paid Gonzales, whoever that may be. Bond tries to talk her out of it, quoting a Chinese proverb: "Before setting out on revenge, you first dig two graves." Melina cannot be swayed. She's half-Greek, and like Electra, Greek women always avenge their loved ones.

Sir Frederick and Tanner are upset that Gonzales was killed instead of questioned and figure that Operation Undertow is already a failure, dead in the water. They fear how the Prime Minister will react when they tell her. But Bond gives them a new hope. He saw the man who delivered the money to Gonzales. If he can figure out his identity, they have a lead.

Bond is sent down to Q Branch, where a stroll through the lab gives a look at some of the gadgets being worked on and one of the assistants is played by Jeremy Bulloch, the actor beneath the armor of Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Bond and Q go to the Identigraph Room, where Q types a familiar tune into the security keypad. "Nobody does it..." The door slides open, but Bond can't help but type in two more notes, "...better."

Bond and Q go to work on the machine called the Identigraph, Q typing in Bond's descriptions of the mystery man to create a composite on a computer screen. The machine is still in the experimental stage and Q isn't very good at the controls, which leads to a couple mistakes. "A nose, not a banana, Q." But they work it out. Once the composite is finished, they can patch into the photographic files of the Surety, Interpol, C.I.A., the Mossad, and the West German police to find a match.

The man they're looking for is identified as Emile Leopold Locque, an enforcer/murderer/all around bad guy for hire, now working for Greek smugglers. The Italian secret service believe that he is now in Cortina, so that's where Bond is headed next.

Bond has a new, red 1981 Lotus Esprit Turbo to drive around in snowy Cortina, where the winter Olympics are taking place. Bond will never have the opportunity to use any gadgets this Lotus might have, either. His contact in Cortina is Luigi Ferrara, who takes him to meet with his own contact from Greece, Ari Kristatos. Kristatos is very reliable. He's helped Italian law out before, he's in shipping, insurance, oil exploration, he knows everything that's going on. He even earned a King's Medal from the British for resistance fighting.

Bond is introduced to Kristatos - "Bond. James Bond." - at an ice rink, where Kristatos is watching a practice session of the young figure skater he sponsors. The girl's name is Bibi Dahl, she's training for the Olympics, and she's clearly intrigued by Bond at first sight. Bibi is played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, who "Cubby" Broccoli had a role written for because he liked her performance in the 1978 ice skating drama Ice Castles.

The casting for Bibi and Melina are two reasons why I have a problem with Moore staying on as Bond for this film. His Bond is getting older, while the Bond girls are getting younger. Lynn-Holly Johnson is twenty-two in the film, but is presumably playing a teenager. She looks like a teenager. Carole Bouquet, twenty-three at the time of filming, plays Melina. As I said, Moore is fifty-three in this, old enough to be their father in real life, bordering on young grandfather, probably could be the grandfather of young Bibi. It does not sit well. The fact that Bond gets roped into babysitting Bibi later in the day doesn't help.

Unaware that Locque is also at the ice rink and watching them, Bond shows his picture to Kristatos and asks if he knows the man. Kristatos recognizes him as the right hand man of a Greek smuggler named Milos Columbo. Columbo, nicknamed "The Dove", works in drugs, white slavery, and contract murder. Kristatos and Columbo were once like brothers, they fought in the Greek resistance together and against the Communists, but then Columbo went bad. It would be quite possible for Columbo to run a salvage operation to retrieve the A.T.A.C., he runs a fleet of intercoastal freighters in the Aegean.

Walking through town, Bond is surprised to find that Melina is also in Cortina. He spots her in a shop, buying a new crossbow. As she exits the shop, she and Bond are attacked by a couple black-clad men on motorcycles. One of the attackers is killed in the scuffle, the other speeds away.

Bond gets Melina away from town on a sleigh ride, during which he again tries to talk her out of going after the men behind Gonzales. Melina being in Cortina was a set-up, she had received a telegram she thought was from Bond, telling her that he had located the man who hired Gonzales and asking her to meet him there. Bond sent no telegram. He tells her that he's working on something important, something her father thought was important enough to risk his life for, and her being involved is too risky. She agrees to go back to Greece.

Returning to his hotel room, Bond finds that there's someone in his shower. It's Bibi, let in by a porter who's a fan of hers. She exits the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel and climbs into Bond's bed. Rest assured that while Bond enjoys finding new sexual partners, he does not go for teenagers. He tells Bibi to get her clothes on, that Kristatos would not approve of them being together. Bibi brushes that aside, apparently she's quite sexually active but Kristatos "still thinks I'm a virgin." But Bibi will get nowhere with Bond, and he talks her into her clothes and out of the room with the grandfatherly promise of buying her some ice cream. I could really do without the character of Bibi.

Bond takes Bibi skiing to where the biathlon is being held. Another man she has a crush on, East German champion Erich Kriegler, is a participant. Bond leaves Bibi at the biathlon, promising to visit her at the practice rink later, and skis on his way.

Bond gets chased around the snowy Alps by several armed men, including a couple more on motorcycles and Erich Kriegler, taking shots with his biathlon rifle. This ski sequence was photographed and directed by former professional skier Willy Bogner, who had previously worked on the skiing sequences in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me. He's also Roger Moore's double when Bond is skiing.

For the third film in a row, Bondian action in Italy disrupts the day of one man in particular - Victor Tourjansky, "Man with Bottle" in TSWLM and Moonraker, makes his final appearance in the series during this chase, this time holding a wine glass as he gawks at Bond and his pursuers making their way down the mountain.

Near the end of the chase, Bond and Kriegler end up skiing and motorcycling down a bobsled track behind a bobsled. Tragically, stuntman Paolo Rigoni was killed during the filming of this sequence when the bobsled overturned and continued down the track with him trapped beneath it. There is thankfully no sign of this moment in the film.

After he gets away from Kriegler and the other henchmen, Bond makes good on his promise to Bibi and says goodbye to her at the ice rink. He tries to get some information on Kriegler out of her, but the best she's got is that he only eats health food and won't talk to girls. When Bibi's practice is over, three hockey players take over the rink. She exits and Bond is left alone with the hockey players. The lights suddenly go out and the goons attack him. Bond manages to take the hockey henchmen down with fists, sticks, and a Zamboni.

Bond goes outside to find that Luigi Ferrara has been killed, his body left in the Lotus with a dove pin in his hand as a calling card.

On the Greek island of Corfu, Bond meets up with Melina and they spend the day together. When night falls, Bond has a meeting scheduled with Kristatos at a casino.

Bond wins some money playing Baccarat while he waits for Kristatos, then when he arrives they discuss business over dinner. Their talk in Cortina set it up, but here is where the adaptation of the Risico short story really begins.

Kristatos has been trying to figure out why Bond would be interested in Columbo and Locque. The conclusion he has come to is that Bond is from the British Narcotics Board, out to bust Columbo for the heroin that he brings to Greece to be refined before shipping it to England. Bond doesn't deny it. Kristatos warns him that Columbo will not be easy to stop, he can't just be arrested. Bond may have to kill him.

Kristatos then points Columbo out to Bond. He's sitting at a table nearby with a woman, Countess Lisl von Schlaf, his mistress. Finally, a more appropriate Bond girl has arrived in the picture. Lisl is played by Cassandra Harris, who is still twenty years younger than Roger Moore, but at least she comes off as a mature woman. In real life, Harris was married to an actor named Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan visited the set during the filming of For Your Eyes Only, which is how he first came to the attention of the producers.

Kristatos had Bond meet him here because Columbo is a secret partner in the casino, he would be here and won't cause trouble in his own place. A waiter removes a candle from Bond and Kristatos's table. Columbo excuses himself from his table and goes to his office, where the candle has been left... along with the tape recorder hidden in it. Columbo listens back to what Kristatos and Bond have said, then returns to his table. He says something to Lisl that she does not react well to. She dumps her drink on him and makes a spectacle as she exits the dining area.

Bond follows Lisl and offers to give her a ride home. She accepts. "You look like a gentleman." Melina is also in the casino, and does not look happy to see Bond and Lisl leaving together.

Bond and Lisl chat as Kristatos's chauffeur drives them to her place. He says he's writing a novel about Greek smugglers and asks if she knows any. She is not forthcoming with that information, but when they arrive at her home she does invite Bond to spend the night. She has champagne and oysters in the fridge. It's an offer Bond can't refuse.

Bond and Lisl continue their talk in more comfortable clothes over a couple bottles of champagne. She admits that Columbo told her that he's a spy and the scene she made was an act to get Bond's attention. She was meant to find out more about him. She finds out quite a lot.

The next morning, Bond and Lisl take a walk along the beach. Their peace is interrupted when three men in dune buggies - one of them Locque - show up and chase them around the dunes. Locque runs Lisl down, killing her. Bond is captured by Locque and a henchman named Claus just as a group of men in wetsuits walk up onto the beach. One of the men shoots Claus with a speargun and Locque takes off. Bond is then knocked out by the wetsuit group and we see that they each have a dove insignia on their chest.

Bond comes to on a boat belonging to "The Dove", Columbo, and is taken in to meet with the man in his office. Columbo tells Bond that everything Kristatos told him was true, but he wasn't telling him about Columbo, Kristatos was telling him about himself. Locque works for Kristatos, it's he who has the powerful connections and runs heroin. Columbo is a smuggler, but of gold, diamonds, cigarettes, pistachio nuts. No heroin. Kristatos works with Russia and has always been a bad man. He didn't earn the King's Medal that was given to him, he was a double agent during the war. He wants Bond to kill Columbo because he knows too much. Columbo will prove to Bond that Kristatos is the real villain by taking him to his warehouse in Albania.

Bond, Columbo, and Columbo's men raid Kristato's warehouse that night and a gunfight ensues. In the warehouse, Bond does find raw opium, as well as a J.I.M. diving suit for underwater salvage operations at depths of over 300 feet.

Locque sets a bomb in the warehouse and escapes in a car, but the road away has many curves as it goes up a mountain. Bond is able to run up a long stairway that goes straight up the mountain and heads off Locque's car, firing his gun into the windshield. A bullet hits Locque in the shoulder and he goes out of control, crashing on the edge of a cliff.

Bond walks up to Locque's teetering car and a moment plays out that is absolutely true to the hard-edged nature of the character and is one of the best scenes in the Roger Moore era, even though he was uncomfortable doing it. He pulls out the dove pin he found in Cortina and shows it to Locque. "You left this with Ferrara, I believe." He tosses the pin to Locque. The car begins to slide off the edge of the cliff. Locque panics... And Bond gives the car a hard kick to help it on its way. Locque and the vehicle tumble down the cliff face.

That brings a close to the Risico adaptation section of the fim, although Kristatos died in the place of Locque (who didn't exist) in the short story.

Melina is working at the underwater temple when Bond dives down to meet her, then they swim up to her parents' boat together. It's worth noting that Carole Bouquet was never actually underwater for Melina's underwater scenes. She couldn't dive due to sinus problems. Her underwater shots were faked with lighting, fans, and bubbles added in post, and it works incredibly well.

Melina hasn't been able to bring herself to look through her father's stuff yet, but now's the time. In Sir Timothy's office, they check his daily log to see if they can find any information on the location of the St. Georges wreckage. It must be in the vicinity. Sir Timothy was using the temple project as a front while he searched, and Kristatos had him killed so he wouldn't get to the St. Georges first.

Sir Timothy's parrot Max talks quite a lot while they're in the office. Melina mentions that her father had the parrot for thirty years, and it repeats everything. Sir Timothy filled out his daily log in a shorthand that only Melina knows how to decipher, and she finds reference to her father having spotted a wrecked ship the day he was killed, in the same area as one of Kristatos's oil exploration diving bells.

Bond and Melina use a two-man submarine called Neptune to go down to the area of the noted wreckage. They have found the St. Georges, 584 feet below the surface. They exit the submarine and enter the wreckage, making their way to the hi-tech room. They locate the A.T.A.C., remove it... and are attacked by a henchman in a J.I.M. diving suit with pincers for hands, the same type of suit spotted in Kristatos's warehouse.

After a brutal scuffle, Bond and Melina manage to escape to the Neptune with the A.T.A.C., but as they try to reach the surface they are attacked again, this time by another mini-submarine. Once that threat has been dealt with, they finally reach the surface, where they are immediately captured by Kristatos and his men.

Kristatos and Kriegler go into Sir Timothy's office to discuss what to do with the A.T.A.C. Kriegler wants to deliver it directly to the KGB, after which he'll bring the money to Kristatos. Kristatos doesn't go for that idea. They will take the A.T.A.C. to St. Cyril's, the KGB will come there to pick it up, and it will be given to them after the money is in his hands.

On deck, Bond and Melina have been tied to each other, the end of the rope tied to Kristatos's boat. When the boat takes off, Bond and Melina are dragged behind it, scraped across coral reef, their blood in the water drawing sharks. This bit of torture is taken from a chapter of the Live and Let Die novel, in which this happens to Bond and Solitaire. Bond and Solitaire did end up in danger of being fed to a shark in the LALD film, but in a much simpler set-up than this.

It appears to Kristatos that Bond and Melina do end up a meal for sharks, but they have actually gotten free, and as Kristatos leaves the area, they return to the Havelock boat. Recuperating in Sir Timothy's office, they lament Kristatos's escape and the fact that they'll never be able to find out where he's taken the A.T.A.C... And hearing "A.T.A.C.", Max the parrot repeats a line he heard earlier, "A.T.A.C. to St. Cyril's." The parrot is a hero.

Michael G. Wilson makes his cameo as a priest at a Greek church where a wedding celebration is going on. Bond enters the church and goes to the confessional booth. "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." "That's putting it mildly, 007." The man on the other side of the confessional window is not a Father confessor, it's Q with a fake beard on. This scene was originally meant to feature M, but was changed to Q after Bernard Lee passed away and M was written out of the film. It's a scene that could've been cut entirely, because all that comes out of it is Q telling Bond that there are 439 St. Cyril's in Greece, to which Bond replies that he knows someone who can direct him to the right one.

That someone is Columbo, who leads Bond, Melina, and a few of his men to an abandoned mountaintop monastery where he and Kristatos used to hide from the Germans. They could've cut straight from Max saying "A.T.A.C. to St. Cyril's" to the group looking at the monastery and Columbo giving this bit of backstory.

For a surprise attack, Bond will have to scale the mountain and reach the shed that houses a winch which lowers a basket to lift the others up to join him. The climb proves to be quite treacherous, and once the team of good guys have reached the monastery, the final confrontation plays out among Bond, Melina, Columbo, Kristatos, Kriegler, Gogol... Even Bibi Dahl is present.

In the end, Bond gets a phone call from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher herself so she can thank him personally, with humorous results.

For Your Eyes Only is a favorite of many Bond fans. It's somewhere around the middle for me. Despite having issues with the ages of actors, the character of Bibi, and the bits of overly silly humor that still made their way in, I do think it's one of the better entries of the Moore era. I appreciate the more low-key approach they took with it. It's sort of surprising just how low-key they went. For the previous movie, a villain threatening London with an atomic bomb was considered too small. This one basically comes down to some middle-aged men fighting over a glorified laptop.

The smaller scale is balanced out by an overabundance of action. John Glen, Willy Bogner, and Arthur Wooster, the documentary shooter Glen chose as his second unit director, shoot action exceptionally well, which works greatly in this film's favor since it's made up almost entirely of action sequences. There is hardly any downtime between the sequences, usually just a few lines of dialogue are spoken before more action breaks out. Sometimes they're not even over when you think they are, attackers will be taken care of and then more trouble will arise. It makes this a very easy movie to watch.

Even though I think I would have less issues with the film if another actor had taken over the role of Bond in this one, Roger Moore still does a fine job. Theatre star Topol makes a good ally as Columbo, and Julian Glover does well as ally-turned-villain Kristatos. Glover himself was once a contender for the role of Bond, but was considered too old to still be in the running at this point. He's playing a character much older than himself, but he's really seven and a half years younger than Moore, so he still could've fulfilled a three film deal as Bond starting with FYEO before he reached the age that Moore is in this. But he's still too old for Bouquet and Johnson, and Moore has more hair, so I'm done going on about Moore's age. For now.

Before I became a Bond fan, at the height of the VHS boom when any business with some extra space got in on this revenue source and offered videos for rent, the place in my town with the best selection of Bond videos available and on prominent display was a grocery store. I remember looking at the box art for the Bond films, though I didn't rent them, and one that most captured my youthful imagination was For Your Eyes Only. Bond seen through the thighs of a woman in the foreground, wearing a bathing suit and holding a crossbow, it was a striking image.

When I became a fan and bought the Bond VHS collection a few years later, the movies came in two box sets of eight: Dr. No - Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun - Licence to Kill. We got a second TMWTGG - LTK set for free, so I gave that to my paternal grandmother for Christmas. Since those were the only Bond films she had at her house, the situation arose where I figured out which one of the movies out of that grouping of films I would pick to watch with someone else who was in the mood for some Bond. I think a lot of people would pick the most iconic film of the bunch, The Spy Who Loved Me. My pick is For Your Eyes Only, because it's simple, down-to-earth, and action-packed.

The change in scale and tone did not harm For Your Eyes Only, it was a hit at the box office and basically established what the Bond films of the '80s would be, as most of the main crew on this one would keep their jobs on the rest of the films made during this decade.


  1. I saw this one in the theater a very short time after getting to see Goldfinger (on RCA SelectVision laserdisc!) in a study hall at school - I was hooked! A Bond fan for life! Consequently I love this movie. I think that Roger Moore still looks great at 51, and enjoy all of the wall-to-wall action. This overview seems a tiny bit rushed - or maybe it's that you're not as fond of it - but no mention of the returning Rick Sylvester (of TSWLM's ski jump/parachute stunt) doing the descender rope fall when Bond is nearly knocked off St. Cyril's? It was at the time the longest descender drop stunt in film history - something like 160 feet! I'm also surprised at another factoid you didn't mention - that every shot of Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet close up underwater was actually shot dry - in slow motion, with filters, and fans to softly blow her hair around - then processed with matted in bubbles later. Apparently Ms. Bouquet had an inner ear situation that would not allow her to dive - so this compromise was reached - an amazing simulation in all honesty, resulting in extra crystal clear "underwater" photography for their closeups. I also adore the pre-credits sequence - except for the "in stainless steel!" line, which was apparently a favorite of Cubby's - a rare misstep for the producer. This is therefore my favorite Roger Moore 007 movie, with Spy following a very close second! Cheers!

    1. I like FYEO, but it's true that I didn't feel like I had as much to say about it amid all the action. The descender stunt did get lost in the climax gloss over, but the fake underwater shots are mentioned (and complimented) in there.

      - Cody

    2. Oh no! I completely missed the dry underwater reference! My apologies!