Spy Who Loved Me, The (1977)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), directed by Lewis Gilbert.


Kid: Girls love musicians, don't they?

Dad: Uh-huh.

Kid: Even the really weird ones get girlfriends.

Dad: That's right. Meatloaf definitely got laid at least once. For God's sake, Ringo Starr married a Bond girl!

Kid: (pause) Whatever.

-- Love Actually

When the Brits and Soviets each lose a nuclear submarine, they team up to find out what's going on. James Bond gets an unsmiling but ravishing KGB partner. They become pretty comfy until she discovers that he killed her boyfriend on an earlier mission. That puts a chill on things but they still have to hunt down Captain Nemo / Blofeld / the latest megalomaniac and penetrate and blow up his vast ocean facility.

Somehow I had never seen Bond #10, Roger Moore's third, before. It's widely considered his best and the story does flirt with seriousness, although never for very long. He kills more than usual this time, but has a submersible car and an unending supply of quips. Dr Evil has a shark tank (sigh). We have sporadic action scenes until it really picks up with large-scale fighting in the final quarter.

We see the slow evolution of the Bond Girl into a more estimable, challenging woman. As I've said, I think this was to appeal to the female demographic, but it also makes for better stories. 007 has no difficulty handling her at this stage. Barbara Bach was in Playboy during those years, although I forget to what "extent".

7'1" Richard Kiel is the unstoppable "Jaws"; he'll be back.

I don't think nuclear weapons (two of them) have ever actually exploded in any other Bond film.

Varied score by Marvin Hamlisch. The bits of period funk hurt. Carly Simon sings the famous theme.

Available on Blu-ray.