Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Roger Moore Still Cool in "For Your Eyes Only" (Remembering Sir Ian Fleming)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 54 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  John Glen
WRITERS:  Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson (based on short stories and the characters created by Ian Fleming)
PRODUCER:  Albert R. Broccoli
EDITOR:  John Grover
COMPOSER:  Bill Conti
THEME SONG:  “For Your Eyes Only” – Lyrics by Michael Lesson, music by Bill Conti, and sung by Sheen Easton
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Jill Bennett, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Geoffrey Keen, and James Villiers

The first James Bond movie that I watched in a movie theater was For Your Eyes Only, the 1981 British spy drama.  For Your Eyes Only was also the 12th film in the James Bond film series.

For Your Eyes Only is based on two short stories written by James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming.  The two stories, “For Your Eyes Only” and “Risico,” both appeared in the James Bond short story collection, For Your Eyes Only (1960).  For Your Eyes Only the movie follows James Bond-Agent 007 as he hunts for a lost British encryption device before it falls into enemy hands.

For Your Eyes Only centers on a special object that was aboard the British electronic surveillance ship, St. Georges.  This is the ATAC – Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator.  The ATAC can order submarines to launch ballistic missiles.  The St. Georges is sunk by a naval mine in the Ionian Sea.  If the ATAC falls in the wrong hands, such as Soviet Union and the KGB, they could render the British Royal Navy’s Polaris submarine fleet useless.

Now, MI6 agent, James Bond, codename “007” (Roger Moore), must retrieve the ATAC before the bad guys get it.  After the first British ally in the ATAC matter is killed, 007 tracks a Cuban hit man to Spain where the assassin meets another hired killer, Emile Leopold Locque (Michael Gothard).  Following Locque takes 007 into the shadowy Greek criminal underworld, where allies might be adversaries, but where adversaries can also be allies.  As 007 gets closer to finding the ATAC, he meets several beautiful women, including the vengeance-seeking Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) and the lusty young figure skater, Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), who just can’t wait to get James Bond in bed.

As a youngster, I liked Roger Moore; he was my favorite James Bond, largely because he was the first Bond I ever saw.  I’ve changed my mind over the years, going from one favorite Bond actor to another.  [I’m currently crazy about Daniel Craig.]  Prior to recently watching For Your Eyes Only, I had not watched a Roger Moore Bond movie in well over a decade, partly because I thought that I wouldn’t like them.  Maybe, as a kid, I was more accepting of things for which people often criticized the Roger Moore-James Bond movies:  the over-the-top stories, campy qualities (to varying degrees), and the silly sci-fi/fantasy elements.

For Your Eyes Only surprised me, however.  I enjoyed it, and only found a little of it silly.  Its prudently-staged violence and edited-for-television sex and sexual innuendo are actually a bit charming.  The best of For Your Eyes Only are the action set pieces.  The stunt coordinators and crew should be commended for turning some comically-conceived action scenes into sequences that make this a better movie.

As for Roger Moore:  at that point in time, For Your Eyes Only was Moore’s fifth turn as Bond (out of seven).  He is just a bit too old for the role, but in the film, he looks up to the challenge.  Yeah, his charisma has a waxed-fruit quality, and his debonair air is a bit musty.  Still, Moore as Bond knows that he is too old for one of the women looking to bed a secret agent, and that counts for something.  Moore knows his limits, and at least, he seems determined to reach them, never giving less than the best of himself.  It seems, at least, that way to me.

Now, I know that I can watch and enjoy For Your Eyes Only again without waiting decades, and I’m ready for more Moore.

6 of 10

1982 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Music, Original Song” (Bill Conti-music and Michael Leeson-lyrics for the song "For Your Eyes Only")

1982 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Bill Conti-music and Michael Leeson-lyrics for the song "For Your Eyes Only")

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

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