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The 13th James Bond film was also the penultimate to feature Roger Moore in the starring role. The title was derived from an Ian Fleming story collection entitled “Octopussy and the Living Daylights” (but the content of the film is wholly original).
In this adventure, Bond must discover who has murdered 009, and why he was dressed as a clown carrying a fake Faberge egg (I’m not making this up I swear). Bond is put on the track of the killer when the real egg turns up at an auction and is purchased by Afghan prince-in-exile Kamal Khan. Bond is able to switch the real egg with the false one and tracks Khan back to his palace in Rajasthan, India. Once the real egg has been fitted with a listening bug, Bond allows Magda, one of Khan’s servants, to steal the egg and listens in: Khan, it turns out, is working with a Soviet General named Orlov to smuggle priceless Russian treasures into the West. Their partner in this arrangement is a mysterious woman known only as Octopussy (it turns out she’s the daughter of an old friend of Bond’s). Once again, Bond must save the world from nuclear war.
Credit to Renato Casaro
John Barry returned once again to score the film, with all lyrics created by Tim Rice. The theme song for this film was “All Time High,” yet another song to not contain the title of the film in its lyrics. Due to the nature of the film’s title, it was deemed impossible to create a song titled “Octopussy” (though Tim Rice later commented that it would have been interesting to try).
Several artists were in contention to perform the title song. At one point Mari Wilson, a British singer was considered, but she wasn’t well-known in the U.S. Laura Branigan was also considered, but finally it was decided that Rita Coolidge would perform the theme. Though the song (and the film) failed to receive any Academy Award nominations, “All Time High” did spend four weeks at the top of the US Billboard Adult Contemporary singles chart. This was also the first Bond theme song to have a music video purposefully made for it (the opening titles of For Your Eyes Only just resembles a music video).
The film, unfortunately, received mixed reviews upon release. The plot was deemed “too confusing” to be followed (and it is one of the more convoluted Bond stories). Moore, now in his mid-50s, would return to play Bond one more time, a decision that he would come to regret later (by his own admission).
This title sequence is not among my favorites. It consists of the various themes that pre-dominate Bond opening titles: shots of girls, girls in black silhouette. There is a significant use of lasers in this opening sequence, but other than that, nothing particularly noteworthy.
Credit to The Art of the Title
Things will get better for the series once Timothy Dalton becomes Bond in 1987, but there is still one more Roger Moore film to go. Hang on tight for A View to A Kill (1985)
Check out the rest of the “Introducing James Bond” series here
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