Bond in Review: The Spy Who Loved Me

Allen L. Linton II
9 min readJun 8, 2019

I really like the James Bond franchise. This is part ten of a bimonthly, 24-part series of me watching James Bond movies and providing a stream of consciousness style commentary for a given film. I will also rank the movies so stay tuned for that at the bottom of the piece. The Spy Who Loved Me is, for my money, the best movie that Roger Moore does as James Bond. It is also the archetype of absurd plan, gadgets being a huge part of the movies, and a formula that will be beat to the ground until the late 1980s. The Spy Who Loved Me is named after the ninth Ian Fleming novel in the Bond series, published in 1962. It is written in the voice of a Canadian woman and since Fleming hated women, its quite over the top and gross. Least favorite novel.

· Oh this theme is still so sharp. I know the early movies went to the theme too much or at useless times but that opening gets me excited for a Bond film.

· Lewis Gilbert directed this movie, his second entry into the franchise. I only say this because you may feel like this movie is familiar. You know: a vehicle being overwhelmed and absorbed by a larger vehicle? Yeah, Gilbert also directed You Only Live Twice.

· This movie is You Only Live Twice except its under water.

· Rubelvitch! Get it? Like Moneypenny but its in the USSR so Rubelvitch

· And wow that’s Barbara Bach! Oh early in her acting career.

· It’s nice that a world class spy is a woman. But naming her “Agent Triple X” sort of takes the empowerment right out of it

· “Tell him to pull out, immediately.” As he is making out is crafty

· This “Oh James” is the iconic one. The way she is looking off set makes it seem like this was the greatest recording of dialog ever

· Bond wears a label maker in his watch. Who refills it?

· You hear that music creeping in the background? Those strings setting up anticipation? I do!

· By gawd, I didn’t want it followed with this 70s techno crap

· I will always tell you I am a sucker for music and visuals synced up in a reasonable way (like people doing drops in this open)

· The movie cuts too quickly but assumes a bit much of the audience to connect that the guy Bond killed there was Agent XXX’s lover

· This scene is amazing: skiing is awesome, scene, then the jump off the cliff.

· SILENCE! IT IS TOTALLY SILENT. This stunt is simply gorgeous. Gorgeous then and gorgeous now. To end it with the Bond theme is right and to transition to shadow trampoline play is nice too.

· “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon. (It is one of, if not my favorite, Bond songs).

· The opening titles are weird with the circus-like setting.

· General Gogol has chairs in the oddest places in this office. Uncomfortable, single chairs all over the place.

· Love Bond in naval uniform. We need to see Daniel Craig as “Commander Bond.”

· I feel like Bond could’ve greeted everyone at once instead of working his way through a line of greetings like the White House Christmas party

· I love that the pre-title sequence mission was a big deal to the story. I also like that background information is top secret.

· Cairo. Diplomatic bag. Never enough diplomatic bag references in Bond movies.

· Karl Stromberg. Underplays his villain role to the max. Too much so. Incredibly forgettable villain. Lazy. It IS cool, however, if you look closely, you’ll see he has webbed fingers. Part of his joy to flood the world seems to be related to the idea that he is closer to amphibious than most humans.

· Hugo Drax must look at Stromberg like a total dullard.

· “Now you will pay the penalty” is something I say because of this movie.

· Atlantis is a very good villain base. Comes out the water, big, powerful design features like you’d see in a Daft Punk video

· Bah Gawd it’s Jaws! So good!

· Here is what I don’t understand: Why did he go through with letting people on his team know to engage the transfer only to cancel it later? Just say you will give them the money and, well, lie.

· I don’t like a lot of backstory about Bond but it is remarkable to see him meet up with an old schoolmate for help.

· Nice little dig about Bond knowing what his mate would do. The response “there is more than oil here” is on the nose.

· Minor thing but LOOK AT THE LAPELS ON THAT JACKET? And that tie is huge!

· “You are very suspicious, Mr. Bond.” “Well, I find I live longer that way.” Never misses a beat.

· Moore’s kissing is less than ideal.

· This henchman is seriously awful at his job.

· Confession: I love this scene with this Egyptian presentation. The electronic tone is horrible but the lighting and people being revealed is quite good.

· Why does this broker of goods have a key to a part of the ruins?

· Liquorice chain on display

· Jaws up and disappearing is a legitimate fright

· One of the most important things in Bond history is established here: the Bond Slapper. Chop to the chest. Powerful.

· Major Amasova vs. Commander Bond. Lots of rank here.

· Good character development to make Bond still sore about the death of his wife.

· Max Kalba with a white jacket and the most perfect bowtie. Probably a fake.

· The Wright Brothers would love to fly a plane with that bowtie.

· Why does Kalba run into that woman in the red dress and say “excuse me”? Was that a cameo or something?

· Bond with good spy work feigning the desire for another drink as motive to investigate

· Jaws has a microphone in the back of the van because he expects them to follow or is that the design from the previous person or what?

· Another small tough but Bond taking the keys here is such a pro-move. You get a lot of good spy work in this movie from Bond which is a change.

· It’s nice that Triple X and Bond startle each other. Shows there is some real tension and nerves at play when chasing Jaws

· Also Bond putting together the weak point in the structure there. Small looks and glances make Moore’s Bond so good.

· “Egyptian builders.” What is the joke here? Egyptian builders have structures still standing to this day. C’mon now.

· Moore’s Bond couldn’t be more disinterested. He is like the Golden State Warriors down double digits in a playoff game. Just casual as hell.

· Most of the music in this movie is absolutely disappointing. The montage through the desert is one of the worst cues.

· One of the better, more practical gadgets. Being able to look at and copy the microfilm is excellent.

· Survival course flirting is outside my range.

· A good old cigarette poisoning. He should know that in a Lewis Gilbert movie, the cigarette is going to be rigged

· So did they simply move their office to Cairo because of Bond or did they have an office set up here

· THIS IS GREAT. He walking through that door and sees Gogol. Suspicious and maybe even kill Bond is activated. Slow motion behind the column. This is well done. Genuinely surprising

· I know the KGB and MI6 are working together on this project. BUT YOU CANNOT LET THE OPPOSITION INTO YOUR GADGET LAB!!!

· Bond getting rejected and still figuring out how to stand for her entry is pretty funny. Sneaky funny.

· Still trying to capture that train scene magic and falling short. But Jaws in close quarters is frightening

· Hello, I’m Jaws, and I’m going to taste this table?

· This instrumental rendition of “Nobody Does It Better” is bad until it changes to the Italian accents.

· The Lotus Esprit. Great car. Apparently Elon Musk bought Lotus and wants to remake this car. Silly man

· Major Boothroyd. Getting very deep in character reveals here

· There is too much happening here between Bond and this concierge staffer

· Seriously, how did Stromberg get permission to even build Atlantis? Who approved this?

· Naomi is getting a severe voice over in her scenes; she was cast as a result of an advertisement she was featured in.

· Bond goes for the handshake and this is where the webbed fingers should’ve been highlighted.

· Sidecar rocket is funny. Motorcycle losing control is excessive.

· It is sort of amazing how helicopters can sort of pop up without warning or sound in movies.

· The fake out by the Lotus on the helicopter is just a cool thing to do. Turning radius is a thing.

· Submarine car is awesome. Tell me I’m wrong.

· He hit a man with his submarine car. That’s a rough way to go.

· So Triple X gets incredibly nervous about the car going into water here. Super nervous. Then she says she stole the blueprints of the car two years ago. So why was she so nervous?

· Oh first appearance of wine drinker guy seeing an unbelievable thing and questioning his drinking!

· Essential Roger Moore: lowering the window and holding/dropping that fish

· I cannot tell you about the excitement of added tension between Bond and Amasova…letdown alert coming.

· Look: it’s a bunch of men doing the “Oh stunned a woman would be in this man’s job” routine

· Bond cracking puns while on a death list is how I’d like him to go out.

· You can’t miniature water which is always a tricky thing but they do some good model work on this movie.

· THIS MOVIE IS AQUA YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE! They have a mini-monorail in here.

· The plan is finally revealed: Launch some nuclear missiles from the sea, start a hot war between the USA and USSR, mutually assured destruction, new society under the sea.

· Stromberg is such a no non-sense kind of villain but it does leave me wanting more personality

· There have to be better ways to get from boat to smaller boat than being shot out of a boat torpedo and hoping you land alright

· Bond, singularly, starts an uprising from a catwalk. This is THE most incompetent crew I’ve ever seen.

· So this tanker has multiple grenades blowing up in it plus gunfire. How strong is this vessel and how did Stromberg make such a great piece of equipment?

· “Leave it to me, Sir.” — Yeah that heroism got them nowhere.

· The control is impregnable. Impregnable. YOU KNOW LIKE IN YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE!?

· Bond playing nuclear Operation and winning at it.

· I told you I love the music and visuals lining up, right? This Bond theme usage is great but that it stops when he pulls the plug is pleasant

· The upending of this plot is most effective but a bit anti-climactic.

· So is there a self-destruct feature on this ship?

· Less than 15 minutes left from the end of the entire movie and Bond is just leaving the exploding ship. We’re getting a rapid ending shortly.

· I need an hour. 40 minutes. So then he gets the hour? That’s bad negotiating.

· SO Bond suddenly has a wet bike which is the precursor to the Jet-Ski but wow

· Bond getting around the trap door is good spy work. Stromberg with a huge gun under the table is great.

· Bond shoots Stromberg 4 times here. That’s a lot for a sitting man. Also could’ve shot him in the head. That’s especially cold for this Bond.

· I’ve been skeptical but proven wrong about the look off in the distance to distract another person move. It totally works.

· So this should be the big payoff from earlier: mission done, you saved my life but killed my lover. We are about to battle.

· Anya does a lot of small nuances here, starting with Anya looking at the gun and seeing Bond distracted by champagne. I support this.

· DISAPPOINTING that the revenge is gone.

· “Keeping the British end up, Sir” is an all time line. It’s ruined by this awful version of “Nobody Does It Better.”

So there it is. It’s the Bond formula at its finest with Moore leading the franchise. It’s an entertaining movie, even with a weak villain. Updated movie rankings:

1) From Russia With Love

2) Goldfinger

3) OHMSS

4) The Spy Who Loved Me

5) Live and Let Die

6) The Man with the Golden Gun

7) Dr. No

8) YOLT

9) Diamonds Are Forever

10) Thunderball

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Allen L. Linton II

Free writing about politics, sports, intersection between the two, and Chicago.