Directed by Lewis Gilbert who had previously helmed “You only live twice”, The Spy Who Loved Me had a troubled conception after the loss of co producer Harry Saltzman.
The original director, Guy Hamilton pulled out when he was offered the chance to direct “Superman” and the script had to undergo several revisions, replacing Blofeld as the villain of the piece for legal reasons and replacing him with Carl Stromberg.
The movie was the first to be shot on a specially constructed soundstage at Pinewood, known as “the 007 stage” and location filming took place in Spain, Egypt and Portugal. Shipping tycoon Stromberg has decided to destroy civilisation in favour of creating a new world (with himself in charge of course) under the sea. Teaming up with Soviet agent Anya Amasova, they travel to Egypt where they are attacked by Stromberg’s giant henchman Jaws. Stromberg in the meantime has captured a nuclear submarine and intends to use it to start an atomic war between the superpowers but Bond is able to turn the submarine against him, killing Stromberg and destroying his base, Atlantis.
Once again, Roger Moore was teamed up with an exceptional supporting cast. Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova is everything you could want from a Bond girl, attractive, intelligent and highly motivated. An intriguing sub plot has Amasova initially falling for Bond, but becoming conflicted when she learns that he killed her brother, an act for which she has sworn revenge. Seven foot tall Richard Kiel landed the role of Jaws, probably the best remembered Bond Henchman of them all for his towering size and extreme dentistry, metal teeth capable of chewing through,….well, practically anything! Curt Jurgens played Stromberg, a man obsessed with the sea who will let no one stand in his way, happy to shoot opponents from a concealed gun under the table before dropping them into a pool of sharks (one of several plot points “borrowed” from earlier installments)
The designers really went to town on this film, creating such arresting images as Submarines being swallowed up by an ocean liner, the impressive Ken Adam designed interior of Stromberg’s base and the confident, exciting and occasionally hilarious pre titles sequence of Bond effecting an escape by skiing down a mountainside and deploying a large Union Jack parachute (at which moment the famous Bond theme comes crashing in). There is also some tremendous model work on show from the incomparable Derek Meddings depicting Stromberg’s spider like sea based fortress Atlantis and Bond’s extremely neat new car, a sleek Lotus esprit, capable of travelling underwater.
Reversing the ailing fortunes of the franchise upon its release in 1977, “The Spy Who Loved Me” received almost unanimous praise from the critics and made a box office killing, grossing $140 million. Stylish and exciting, it’s now widely regarded as being the best outing forMoorein the part and was certainly considerably better than its successor.
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Writers: Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum (screenplay)
Stars: Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jürgens
Release Date: 20 July 1977 (UK)