FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

The Roger Moore Years, Part 2 – Rich Paschall

After four successful outings in the 1970s as British Secret Agent 007, James Bond, Roger Moore was back in the 1981 film, For Your Eyes Only.  The title does not refer to secret documents.  If you have not guessed the meaning (really, Bond fans?), you will have to wait until you get near the end of the movie to hear the famous line.

While the previous film, Moonraker, was a success at the Box Office, it was also expensive to make for its time period.  The special effects looked okay, but the science fiction romp directed by Lewis Gilbert was remarkably improbable, even for Bond.  It was time to move on. John Glen, who had already worked on three Bond movies as film editor, was now in charge of the new production.

for your eyes only posterAs was often the case for Bond films, For Your Eyes Only does not take much more that the title from the short story on which it is based.  This time it is a rather complex story of not just an effort to avenge the death of a fellow agent, but also to find an Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator that was on-board a sunken spy ship.  This of course means underwater intrigue, which we have seen before.  But this time it is done a little better.

If it does not resemble the Bond creator’s story, you can still give the studio credit for a more intelligent story.  Follow along closely, it is not just a tale of chase scenes or under water battles.  We are once again treated to an Academy Award nominated song.  This time it is Sheena Easton’s turn to provide a memorable number.

The fourteenth Ian Fleming book contained two short stories in the 1966 publication.  Later editions of the book contained two other short stories that had appeared in magazines a few years earlier.  It was the final book by Fleming.  The story Octopussy was updated for a feature of the same name.  Now instead of being about Nazi gold, it is about Soviet jewels.  There is also an attempt by a rogue Soviet military officer to create conflict, perhaps war, between the superpowers.  The British super agent needs to figure out what is going on and stop it.

The 1983 movie was the 6th Roger Moore film.  All of the Bond tricks and chases are on display in what should have been the last Moore film.  It was well done and of course Bond saves the world from a nuclear explosion and possible war in Europe.  Rita Coolidge sang “All Time High” as the Bond theme song.

In a surprise move, another studio planned to bring out a rival James Bond film in the same year.  It seems Fleming had used a failed storyline developed years earlier with two others, as the basis of Thunderball.  When the others were granted their rights to the story, they wanted to cash in as well.  Another studio, who could not use the same title by the way, decided to put out the Bond film. They were presented with one challenging problem, among the many that would arise.  Who would be Bond?

Sean Connery was back as James Bond in the rival film, Never Say Never Again.  They were wise enough to include the fact that Bond (Connery) was much older now and perhaps past his prime.  Still, he is smart enough to know how to save the day.  Meanwhile an older Roger Moore is performing heroics as if he was a much younger man.

Moore returns for a final turn as 007 in 1985 in A View To A Kill, which almost borrows the title and virtually nothing else from the short story, From A View To A Kill.  The story first appeared in 1959 and was collected in the book, For Your Eyes Only in 1960.  The movie goes elsewhere than the short story.

By now it is impossible to believe that the 57-year-old Moore is capable of the athletic feats attributed to Bond in this storyline.  I am glad to see a man this age is still attractive and the object of desire.  I guess it is a bit of a fantasy.

Christopher Walken is a good villain, as you might imagine.  Grace Jones is his companion, whom Bond is successful at seducing at one point.  Perhaps the black and white physical relationship was a bit ahead of its time then.  Maybe audiences were ready for it.

It is remarkable how often Bond escapes the clutches of Max Zorin (Walken), but he does. That leads to the unlikely battle at the end.  I will save the details in case you have not seen it.  The obviously 80s film has a theme song by the obviously 80s Duran Duran.  They must have been trying to attract a younger audience with that.

Reviewers were not kind to A View To A Kill, although I thought it was better than some of the other Moore films.  Roger Moore himself would later state that it was his least favorite film.  Perhaps he knew he stayed on for one too many.

RELATED:
Bond, James Bond, The Sean Connery Years, Part 1
Never Say Never Again, The Sean Connery Years, Part 2
Moore Bond, The Roger Moore Years, Part 1

Roger Moore passed away last year at the age of 89.

Tuesday: “Bond Is Back, The Timothy Dalton Years.”

Author: Rich Paschall

When the Windows Live Spaces were closed and our sites were sent to Word Press, I thought I might actually write a regular column. A couple years ago I finally decided to try out a weekly entry for a year and published something every Sunday as well as a few other dates. I reached that goal and continued on. I hope you find them interesting. They are my Sunday Night Blog. Thanks to the support of Marilyn Armstrong you may find me from time to time on her blog space, SERENDIPITY. Rich Paschall Education: DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University Employment: Air freight professional

28 thoughts on “FOR YOUR EYES ONLY”

  1. I have to admit by this point in the James Bond movies, I had kind of lost interest. I went back to them with the newer Daniel Craig ones because I found Craig a very entertaining version of Bond — and more ‘Bond-like” personally. But by now, the original stories are so far gone from the films, I’m sure other than the name of the main character, Fleming wouldn’t recognize them.

    I’m really sorry Craig isn’t staying with them. He was an interesting Bond.

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      1. I suppose he feels he is getting too old for that much action. He was badly injured during the last movie, I know and he was reluctant to do another because of that. There are a lot more injuries on movie sets than I imagined.

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            1. Marilyn, James Garner is a classic example of a major star who kept pushing his body although it wasn’t his idea.
              Richard Jaeckel tried to hard to maintain his forever youthful muscle boy look. But he did it to support his family. He took ANY film or TV project offered. It all caught up with him. Jaeckel was a much better actor than the roles he took. It wasn’t vanity. He really cared about his family.

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    1. I wish Craig had done the McQueen bio film when that vehicle was in talks. He physically resembled the young McQueen, including some of Steve’s “cool”.

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      1. Rich, I have a feeling Moore enjoyed the Tom foolery within his Bond portrayals. He didn’t seem to take himself seriously. Connery, on the other hand, seemed irked about the confines of Bond. I remember his complaining about how Bond limited his acting prowess. He did a memorable film “The Hill” in the midst of the Bond films. He proved his acting chops and continued with Bond for awhile. Sometimes I think actors complain about roles that gave them fame and fortune while others lust for the same opportunity. I fantasize how Errol Flynn would’ve hit it off with a serious actor like Spencer Tracy. Hooray for Hollywood!
        It reminds me a little of how some of my colleagues complained about having to do tabloid stories all the time. They never complained about the talent fees or checks.
        I complained about and enjoyed the “street stories” covered everyday. My toy cash register rang up many “Ka-Ching’s” at day’s end. Hoo-ray for AFTRA.

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        1. Like Craig, Connery swore he would never do another Bond film, but came back after Lazenby and then came back years later for Never Say Never Again. For one of those he held the producers up for a big fee, but it was mostly for a charity.
          Connery worked until 80, so you can say he had a great career.
          Moore said in later interviews that the last Bond film he did was his least favorite, but I think it was not as bad as some of the others.
          Imagine if Errol Flynn had been more serious about his acting! I liked Tracy in everything he did.

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    1. Leslie, likewise. I thought they were good entertainment and not to be taken seriously. Always thought Sean Connery was the best Bond of all. I also liked the villains like Oddjob, Jaws, Dr. No (Was he a dentist?) and Goldfinger. I was smitten with Shirley Eaton until she was gold laminated. She was so alluring.

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