This is the movie many consider to be the best of the Roger Moore era. It’s got Jaws, a Lotus sports car submarine, and a climactic shootout on the biggest set ever built. So why is it the lowest Roger Moore film on my globally significant and critically acclaimed list?
I find it a little boring. That’s the thing with these Bond films directed by Lewis Gilbert. First of all, he did three and they’re almost entirely the same story. Some sort of vessel is minding its own business when a bigger vessel or something comes along and gobbles it up. Seriously. You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. The result, a 2/3 chance that the megalomaniacal villain is trying to start a master race. But I will say this about The Spy Who Loved Me, its villain is trying to start a master race of underwater peoples. I think. He has webbed fingers and it’s not very clear.
Now listen, there are some great things about this movie. The opening sequence has got to be the best in the entire series. And there’s Jaws. Who doesn’t love Jaws?
Let me wax on a little about Roger Moore. I’ve heard it said by myself right now that you either love him or you hate him. I have a real nostalgia for Moore. Octopussy was the first Bond I saw in the theaters, and other than the REALLY uncomfortable way he kisses women, I like his light, comedic touch. I put Moore’s films to the camp side of the spectrum, as they are intended by God, and enjoy them for that reason. You go, Sir Roger Moore!
THE YEAR: 1977
THE GIRLS: Ringo wife and lesser Yoko Ono, Barbara Bach plays Russian agent Triple X. Yes, XXX. Let’s call her by her character’s real name, Anya. What are we, a smut farm? She seems a little out of place here, but I like the storyline that Bond kills her lover in the opening sequence and she is seeking to kill his assassin while falling in love with him at the same time!
THE VILLAIN: Cürd Jurgens plays Karl Stromburg or maybe Karl Stromburg plays Cürd Jurgens, I don’t know. Like I mentioned, he’s got webbed fingers. They don’t telegraph it and you have to look closely. But he’s good enough, requisite villain smock and all.
THE MUSIC: The Spy Who Loved Me performed by Carly Simon. Come on, this is a great song. I don’t know how to ever pick the best Bond theme, but this has to at least be in everybody’s top 5 right? This song and the score is written by Marvin Hamlisch. I don’t know if I love the score that much. It’s a little too of its time. John Barry basically invented the spy music genre and so it has at least a bit of timeless originality to it. Hamlisch added a disco feel to this score that feels a little cheap. But if we’re gonna do that anywhere, let’s put it in a Roger Moore film and do The Hustle. Or just throw it in the opening sequence and ski The Hustle. It’s better than the California Girls ski segment in A View To A Kill.
THE GADGETS: The Lotus sub is pretty badass, even the ski-pole gun is cool, but for me the best gadget ever is a watch that spits out a ticker tape message! I love that they had the foresight to think of a message relaying wristwatch, but not go so far as to make it digital. I guess it’s a different world now and there wasn’t much pressure to go green.
THE PLOT: Big boat eats little boat. Russian spy loves and hates British spy. Shootout! Jaws.
FACT/FUN FACT: Stanley Kubrick assisted in the lighting of the giant submarine hanger for the climax of the film. He was working on The Shining at Pinewood Studios and helped Ken Adam (Kubrick’s production designer for Dr. Strangelove) illuminate the enormous set on the condition that it remain a secret. • Did you have fun with this fact?
FACT/FUN FACT: The novel of The Spy Who Loved Me was mostly just about a girl losing her virginity. • Bet you had fun with that fact, you humongous perv.