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Though the two have nothing in common apart from the title, the 10th James Bond film happens to take its name from the 10th Ian Fleming novel. Unlike The Man With the Golden Gun (1974), which fell flat, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) was very well received, and many critics call it the best Bond film that Roger Moore ever made. It was nominated (among many others) for three Academy Awards.
The Spy Who Loved Me follows Bond as he is forced to work with his counterpart in the Soviet Spy System: Anya Amasova, aka Agent Triple X. Amasova (Barbara Bach) does not yet realize that Bond killed her lover during a chase scene that takes place at the beginning of the film. When she figures it out, she vows to kill Bond once the mission is over. The two must work together (by order of their respective superiors) in order to stop billionaire tycoon Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens) from destroying civilization via nuclear war and must also evade his henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel), so dubbed because his teeth are made of solid steel. As the two agents pursue their goal, their antagonistic relationship begins to cool and, slowly, turns to love.
Property of Eon Productions
For the title sequence, singer Carly Simon performed “Nobody Does it Better,” (composed by Marvin Hamlisch), a song which became a worldwide hit as soon as it was released, reaching as high as #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. This was the first song to not share the title of its film since Dr. No (although the words “the spy who loved me” do occur in the lyrics.) John Barry proved unavailable for scoring duties (due to tax issues), so Marvin Hamlisch was brought in to score the film, and his efforts were very well received. Unlike past films, Hamlisch’s score was more disco-oriented in style. Several classical pieces are also included in the soundtrack (among many others, the main theme of Doctor Zhivago (1965) plays on Anya’s music box).
The title sequence itself revolves around two characters, a man (Bond) and a woman (presumably Anya), as they fall and chase around the screen while a gun comes in and out of the picture. There are various close-ups of Moore’s eyes and face as well. The visual style is definitely shifting now that the 1970s are drawing closer to their end (keep in mind that this is the year that Star Wars came out, so there will be some BIG changes once Moonraker comes out in 1979).
Credit to Art of the Title
I find it interesting that almost every Bond actor has developed a relationship with a Russian at one point or another (Connery’s Bond had Tatiana in From Russia With Love, with Moore’s Bond it’s this film, Dalton had Kara in The Living Daylights, Brosnan had Natalya in GoldenEye (1995)).
I found The Spy Who Loved Me very enjoyable, I loved the changing dynamic between Anya and Bond, as well as the reaction shot in that final scene between M and General Gogol (Anya’s superior): “007…Triple X…” (find the ending scene, you’ll see why it’s funny.)
Enjoy The Spy Who Loved Me! Next up, Moonraker (1979), aka “James Bond in Space!!”
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