Countdown to Skyfall: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Countdown to Skyfall: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)

BOND: Roger Moore

DIRECTOR: Lewis Gilbert (You Only Live Twice)

BOND GIRL(S): Barbara Bach (Triple X)

COOL GADGETS: Car that drives underwater; stun-gas cigarette, ski-pole gun, ticker tape watch

THEME SONG: "Nobody Does It Better," sung by Carly Simon.  This was a big hit.  And so begins the wave of slower, ballad-esque theme songs.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed.

ICONIC MOMENTS: The introduction of Richard Kiel's metal-toothed henchman, Jaws.  His various tussles with Bond throughout the movie provide the majority of highlights.  The opening sequence, featuring a spectacular one-take ski jump off a cliff.

FUN FACTS: Received 3 Oscar nominations - the most for any Bond film: art direction, score, and song.

VERDICT: The Spy Who Loved Me has a great reputation among Bond fans, but despite a fair share of memorable sequences, it's not as good as its reputation suggests.  Though I like the menace that Curt Jurgens brings to the villainous Karl Stromburg, his dastardly plot is one of the dumber ones we've seen so far.  Luckily for Stromburg (and us), he uses Jaws as a henchman.  I know Richard Kiel best from his extended cameo in Happy Gilmore, but it's hard not to be charmed by his work here.  I could take or leave Jaws trying to bite people like a vampire, but I like the size difference between him and Bond, and the almost comical effect their fights have on the film.  Barbara Bach gets one of the better written Bond girls - finally, a true spy equal for Bond - but her facial expressions are blank and her line readings flat.  Her character is better in theory than execution.  Moore seems very comfortable in the role by now, though the writers still love giving him one-liners that are real groaners.  The action is solid, but too often oddly quiet - it could have used more musical score to enhance the suspense.  A step down from director Gilbert's last Bond outing, You Only Live Twice, but still one of the more enjoyable entries in the series.

GRADE: B

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