007 in 23: Assignment #012- For Your Eyes Only

ASSIGNMENT #012: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Before I we start, time to mention Bernard Lee as M. Bernard Lee was wonderful in this series as M, being the guiding light to Bond by providing missions and looking out for our hero, but also pulling off any scene he was in. Bernard Lee sadly succumbed to stomach cancer before the filming of For Your Eyes Only. Bernard Lee was M from 1962 to 1979 and gave a lasting impression upon Bond fans. Out of respect, the producers decided not to recast the role in this film and wait till a future Bond film, which would be Octopussy. Rest in peace, Bernard Lee, the legendary M.

The films opens with Bond visiting the grave of his wife Teresa ‘Tracy’ Bond, the second time the death of his wife from OHMSS is mentioned, setting up Bond getting his revenge on Blofeld by getting in a remote helicopter and tossing him down a smoke stack. After that big middle finger to Kevin McClory’s dispute over Thunderball and the Blofeld character, Bond is called to investigate the sinking of a spy boat, St. Georges, which had the ATAC (Automatic Tracking Attack Communicator) and take it before the Soviets use it for their own needs. Meanwhile, a marine archaeologist, Sir Timothy Havelock (Jack Hedley), has been asked by British Intelligence to locate the sunken ship, but is murdered alongside his wife by Cuban hitman, Hector Gonzales (Stefan Kalipha), in front of his daughter, Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet). Bond goes to find more information about Gonzales and the person who hired him for the hit at his villa in Spain as Gonzales is killed before revealing anything. It is here Bond meets up with Melina and they both escape in one hell of a car chase. Bond and Q team to indentify the mind using a identifier machine and stumble upon Emile Leopold Locque and head to Italy to investigate his base. As he arrives, he meets up with Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno) and businessman and informant Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) that Locque was hired by former partner Milos Columbo (Chaim Topol billed as Topol). Bond also meets Kristatos protegee, amateur figure skater Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson from Ice Castles) and comes across fellow athlete Erik Kriegler (John Wyman) who chases Bond to kill him. Bibi also attempts to seduce Bond, but Bond refuses, showing Bond doesn’t mess around with barely legal girls. He heads to an ice rink with Ferrara to say bye to Bibi, until he is caught in a trap. He leaves and find Farrara dead in his car with a white dove in hand, the symbol of Columbo. Bond starts to head out and find Columbo by meeting with Kristatos, which their conversation is being recorded by Columbo, and Columbo mistress Countess Lisl von Schlaf (Cassandra Harris).

Schlaf reveals that Columbo knows James Bond’s identity and makes love to her, only for her to be killed the next day by an assassin named Aportis (Jack Klaff). Bond is nearly attacked, until Columbo’s men arrive and take him. Upon meeting Columbo, Columbo reveals he is not the one who hired the hit but rather Kristatos, playing Bond for a fool, as Kristatos is working for the KGB. Columbo and Bond team up to destroy one of Kristatos’ opium warehouses and Bond stumbles upon similar mines that sunk St. Georges. Bond meet Melina after the base attack and both find the wreck of the St. Georges to recover the ATAC with Kristatos above waiting for them. He captures them, takes the ATAC, and sends them to the sharks (never killer whales). As they escape, they overhear a parrot who heard Kristatos conversation of ‘ATAC to St. Cyrill’s’, leading Melina, Columbo and his men, and Bond into Kristato’s hideout. After an intense mountain climbing scene, Bond saves the day in a climatic battle, kicks the living crap out of anyone that attacks him, and obtains the ATAC. Melina is at the ready to take her revenge out on Kristatos, only for Columbo to toss a knife to his back, giving satisfaction to Melina. Of course, the film ends with Bond making love in front of a parrot talking to the prime minister. No, I’m not going to explain it, just going to write it out and leave you to wonder.

This is Roger Moore’s second best film, right up there with The Spy Who Loved Me giving a more grounded in reality feel that made From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service great. The plot is fantastically told, the pacing is perfect, and the acting is better than the previous film and thank God there are only a few stupid moments with the exception of the horrible teaser. The producers seemed to have realized that some jokes just don’t work. Topol and Julian Glover are the highlights of the film acting wise and turn out to be great addition on both the good side and the villainous side with Glover succeeding as an intimidating villain. Carole Bouquet as Melina is also a great Bond girl and actually harkens back to what made Anya in Spy Who Loved great as a woman with a revenge to complete and willing to kick some ass like Pussy Galore to Connery’s Bond. Roger Moore actually grows as an actor in this film by giving more depth to his version of Bond. My only gripes with this film is the teaser at the beginning for being one of the dumbest ‘screw yous’ to anyone and its on film, thanks to Kevin McClory’s lawsuit over Thunderball.  The other is the performance of Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi, which is grating, but I can ignore all of this because this film doesn’t get destroyed by these minor problems. For Your Eyes Only is not only a treat for the eye, but for strong storytelling, dazzling performances, and going back to what made the franchise great.

The theme song for this film is remarkable. Sheena Easton provides a soulful yet poppy song that is memorable and just gorgeous in every way. I truly love it and if I had to list the best Bond themes, it be in the top 10 for sure.

Assignment Status: 4 out of 5

Next time, Bond goes on involving jewel thieves, nuclear missles, disguises, and Octopussy. I still do not know how a porn parody hasn’t been made yet with this title.

Next Mission: Octopussy

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