Posts Tagged ‘Julian Glover’

I know, I know, it’s another Bond movie review. What can I say? Only another couple to go, and I can promise you my thoughts on Let Me In and Metropolis over the next few days (and maybe even some wargamesy stuff if we’re all really lucky).

Anyway, tonight it’s 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, which for me has long been the Moore Bond that it’s difficult to categorise. The first two are the vaguely-sleazy following-the-market ones, the next two are the lavish, bloated fantasies, and the two after it are the jokey, slightly bland Bonds. I must confess to not having actually seen this one since 2002, which is very unusual as I’ll usually watch any Bond that’s on (as the direction of this blog sort of indicates).

I have to say that watching it at the moment I’m having something of a Damascene conversion regarding its merits – because, folks, it’s great. It establishes a serious tone from the very first shot, and while it doesn’t always stick to this, it does so far more than any other Bond from around this time. It doesn’t feature any of the standard Bond Plots, the main villain’s identity is unclear for quite a long time, and the characters have trivial things like emotions and motivations. In short, it’s trying very hard to be a grown-up thriller, which even extends to putting bits of Fleming into the movie – two short stories get stapled together to make the main storyline, while there’s a set piece straight out of the climax of Live and Let Die (book, not movie).

The scene in which Bond rebuffs the slightly manic advances of a winsome young figure skater (Lynn-Holly Johnson) is somewhat startling and a bit out of character, given how indiscriminately priapic Moore’s Bond’s been in previous outings, but I think this is a sign of the producers realising there is something a bit icky about coupling 54-year old Roger Moore with an actress less than half his age (presumably for the same reason, Moore and rather lovely foil Carole Bouquet don’t do the thing at all in the course of the movie – it’s clearly on the agenda at the end, though). Shame they didn’t stick to this in later movies. Set against this you have to put the sequence in which Moore boots a wounded henchman off a cliff, which is surely the hardest and most properly Bondy moment of any of his films.

'Get lost, grandad.'

Of course, all this admirable focus on character and plot means that the larger-than-life action and set pieces you tend to remember from a Bond movie aren’t always there when you want them, which may be why this film tends to get forgotten about. But I would argue that the opening helicopter stunts, the ski sequence and in particular the 2CV chase should not be under-rated. The last in particular shows the film’s consistent inventiveness and energy.

Clearly one’s tastes change as one grows older. As a callow youth I was very much an admirer of Moore’s Bond movie in their bloated fantasy phase, but after a while I found the funky vibe of his first couple of outings more engaging and rewarding. And yet now… well, heavyweight Bond authority Raymond Benson says he thinks this is Roger Moore’s best film in the role. And at this moment I have to say I agree with him.

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