"When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures" — looking back on The Spy Who Loved Me

"When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures" — looking back on The Spy Who Loved Me

Blu-ray is breathing new life into Bond. No matter how often you've watched The Spy Who Loved Me, the Blu-ray experience is like watching it for the first time with a new pair of eyes.

The submarine crew member's acne. Sergei Barsov's hairy back. Barbara Bach naked in the shower. The size of Max Kalba's nose — I presume Rick Sylvester used it to ski off. It's all in glorious HD.

However, with Blu-ray comes the uncovering of a multitude of sins. Roger Moore once joked that he used stunt doubles for everything bar from the love scenes. I don't think he was kidding. 

There's a moment when 007, in pursuit of Jaws at the Mojaba Club, jumps down a stone step and breaks into a light jog towards a tree. Roger may have thought this too dangerous or strenuous. Of course, he got his stunt double, Martin Grace, to fill in.

Look out for when Bond supposedly hides behind a rock by the Pyramids. They forgot to shoot this moment, so they used a painting of Roger Moore as an afterthought rather than send him back to Egypt. Derek Meddings' brilliant miniatures pass the Blu-ray test, which is a testament to this talent.

Lewis Gibert is back in the director's chair for his second of three Bond films. Gilbert had a penchant for spectacles; everything about his Bond films is larger than life. The cinematography in You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is breathtaking.

Roger looks fantastic in this film. It's hard to believe he was 49 during filming. The sideburns, the Egyptian robes and the tux, naval uniforms and yellow ski suit. Hell, he even looks great in those ridiculously wide flares. 

Roger Moore, dressed in Naval gear and armed with a Sterling submachine gun, heroically leading the mutiny on Stromberg's men. Has anyone ever looked cooler? I think not.

The 'Carry On' era of Bond was in full swing by Roger's first outing as 007. The double entrendres are incredibly witty.

Roger's in full swing, too. Bar Blu-ray spoiling the fun a little with the glaring use of his stunt double, the viewer is sucked into believing Roger's Bond could do anything. 

He's fluent in Egyptian. He recognises a fish as a Pterois volitans when Stromberg tries to catch out 007 while posing as marine biologist Robert Sterling. He knows everything about everything. 

There's too much to like about this film and not much to dislike. The future wife of Ringo, Barbara Bach, is beautiful with her porcelain doll looks. 

She handles scenes well for an unseasoned actress — especially when Anya confronts Bond over the death of her former lover. As Max Kalba observed, you will find her figure hard to match.

Richard Kiel as Jaws is terrifying before it all went pear-shaped in Moonraker. Curt Jürgens is every inch the megalomaniac villain who wants to destroy the world. 

He sits behind a control panel gleefully, pressing buttons to bump people off his payroll. He even kills those loyal to him and probably didn't deserve it. The webbed hands are a marvellous touch. They make the audience believe he was always destined to be obsessed with the ocean, having been born with this deformity. Shane Rimmer makes his third appearance in the series and is fantastic as Captain Wayne Carter. 

Marvin Hamlisch filled in for John Barry for the score and composed a memorable theme song. He somehow escaped a lawsuit from Barry, Maurice and Robyn for his rehash of You Should Be Dancing for Bond '77. The soundtrack album misses several of Hamlisch's tracks and doesn't do his work justice.

Roger gets tough in this film, too. Bond kills a woman and Stromberg in cold blood. He pummels a few superfluous bullets into Stromberg's body as he convulses into his plate of lettuce. While some Bond films have gone too far with attempts at humour, this entry to the Bond canon got the balance spot on.

One gets the impression producer Cubby Broccoli felt a little underwhelmed by Roger's first two outings as Bond. He wanted to throw everything but the kitchen sink at this one. It worked. There's a certain epicness to The Spy Who Loved Me that's only been rivalled by the utterly outlandish Moonraker.

Copyright © 2019 J W Emery Ltd. All rights reserved.

Joe Emery

Joe is Editor of For Bond Fans Only and a writer by trade. When he's not watching Bond, he can be found listening to The Beatles and worrying about West Ham. You can find him on Twitter @JWEmeryLtd

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