The Film: For You Eyes Only (1981)
The Principals: Director: John Glen, Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Julian Glover, Chaim Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Cassandra Harris, Desmond Llewellyn, Lois Maxwell, Stefan Kalipha.
The Premise: When a British ship is mined and sinks with a top secret weapons system called ATAC, Bond is dispatched to retrieve it before the Russians get hold of it. The trail takes him to Spain, Greece, Italy and Albania during the course of the film. Along the way he meets up with Melina Havelock (Bouquet), who is on a vendetta after her parents were murdered by a Cuban hitman (Kalipha), with ties to the film’s main villain, Greek businessman Aris Kristatos (Glover). It soon becomes a race between Bond and Kristatos to retrieve the ATAC system, both underwater and high in the mountains.
Is It Good: It’s a solid entry in the Bond franchise, although none of the players aside from Moore really stand out. Carole Bouquet was a beautiful but cold fish of a Bond girl, and Julian Glover is one of the more lackluster villains. In fact, he’s outshone by his associates, Emile Leopold Locques (Gothard) and Eric Kriegler (Wyman), the former being a creepy and deadly hitman, and the other a (presumably) ‘roided up henchman. Lynn-Holly Johnson was the flavor-of-the-minute skating star, and parlayed a turn in the drippy Ice Castles into the role of bratty future Olympic skating prospect Bibi Dahl. The two most memorable things about FYEO are the chart-dominating theme song by Sheena Easton and the fact that, after the sci-fi lunacy of Moonraker, this is a much more scaled-down and gadget-less return to Bond’s Cold War spy roots.
The film does feature some good stunt work and action which are the staples of the franchise. It’s great when you think there’s going to be a signature chase with Bond’s Lotus until some nosy henchman blows the car to hell and Bond and Melina are then forced to escape their pursuers in a friggin Citroen 2CV of all things. I also fondly remember a Dennis Miller comedy bit where he lampooned the fairly awesome ski chase sequence with Bond and Kliegler. It’s regrettable that during the bobsled portion of the ski chase, a stuntman was killed during the production. As a kid, the underwater sequence with that Kristatos hench in that giant walking submersible with the claw hand who was attacking Bond and Melina underwater always gave me the willies. And I liked that waterfront scene and foot chase by Bond after Locques in the car. Especially liked Bond’s ruthlessness in sending him over the edge after Locques had killed Bond’s associate earlier in the movie.
It was also interesting to hear on the director’s commentary track on the DVD that that entire sequence where Bond and Melina hide out from Kristatos underwater with the spare SCUBA tank wasn’t even done underwater. Rather, it was done on a dry soundstage using blends of slo-mo, lighting effects, wind and post-production bubbles. The effect wasn’t perfect, but believable. And I liked the final resolution between Bond and Blofeld, and the opening in the cemetery. Just a shout out to Bond’s wife and the events in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service some 12 years after the fact that Diamonds Are Forever couldn’t be bothered with. (“Mr. Bond, we can do a deal! I’ll buy you a delicatessen! In stainless steel!! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was that shit about? Love it though.)
Is It Worth A Look: Definitely. It was Moore’s most real-world take on Bond. No frills, just good old-fashioned Cold War Bond goodness.
Random Anecdotes: The reason the underwater scenes were done as they were was reportedly that Carole Bouquet had some sort of medical condition which negated underwater filming. Also, Roger Moore stated that, due to his fear of heights, he may have had a couple extra vodka martinis to get through the experiences up high that he had to endure.
Cinematic Soulmates: The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me