Friday, 14 June 2013

Most Secret-The Spy Who Loved Me

'77 was a good year for both of us; the Queen and me, I mean. It was her Silver Jubilee and me, I was ten. As years go it couldn't have got any better. The awful heatwave of last year was a dim memory, and we moved to Surrey. Altogether, not a bad time – but only for a ten year old. The rest of Britain was going nuts. Jim Callaghan's Labour government was 'in' – which meant everybody else was 'out' – on strike. OK British Leyland were having trouble, but let's be frank – when didn't they?, but Undertakers? - eight hundred bodies left unburied. Must have been like the end of a zombie flick. Even the fire brigade were taking action – leaving the Army to hastily fill the gap as best they could. 119 people died, four of them children in one house fire. The streets of London weren't quiet, either – seven IRA bombs exploded in the West End and across the country the National Front was fighting running battles with anti-fascist campaigners. Irene Richardson, 28, a homeless woman was found dead in Leeds. Before long five women are dead, with at least that many brutally attacked. In October, Police appeal for help to catch the serial killer known only as 'The Yorkshire Ripper'.
ABOVE: Roger Moore with co-star Barbara Bach and the Lotus Esprit at Pinewood.
Technologically, it was a thin year for the UK, but Clive Sinclair – the Dyson of his age, released his new pocket TV, with a tiny 2inch screen. Freddie, later Sir. Freddy Laker launched his Skytrain service. In the world of entertainment, The Clash released their debut album, EMI sacked the Sex Pistols and, tragically on September 16th the 29yr old Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash. Overshadowing all of this was the death of Elvis Presley on August 16th. He was just 42. Red Rum won his third Grand National at Aintree. By slightly odd coincidence, the largest ever supertanker the Pierre Guillaumat is launched.

The year ended on a bright note; on December 27th, Star Wars was released in Britain and audiences were spellbound. Oh, and on 07-07-77 – that is, the seventh of July, The Spy Who Loved Me went on release in the UK. So, that's the year that the film emerged into – context and all that, but how did it get from possibly the worst Ian Fleming Novel to one of the most loved big screen Bonds?...

The birth of the film
There was no way they were going with the book – have you even read it?, even Ian Fleming was uneasy and he wrote it. Hey, they can't all be Goldfinger... Harry Saltzman was off, his partnership with Cubby Broccoli at an end. Instinctively, Broccoli knew he had to go big – The Man With The Golden Gun hadn't done the business it should have – anyway, it was all Blockbusters now, wasn't it?. You'd have to be brain-dead not to notice the impact Jaws had at the box-office, effectively giving birth to the Summer Blockbuster. Naturally, Broccoli didn't do a half-arsed job, ordering the BIGGEST SOUNDSTAGE EVER to be built at Pinewood. The first choice was Steven Spielberg – which shows you the direction of thought involved, but Bond stalwart Guy Hamilton was then approached. On the chance of directing the upcoming Superman, Hamilton dropped out and Lewis Gilbert dropped in. In retrospect the perfect choice – his earlier Bond You Only Live Twice was itself a large scale epic, Gilbert brought in Christopher Wood to deliver the finished script. Blofeld was out – need I mention why?, anyway, before you could say 'Kevin McClory was a tit' legal threats forced Blofeld out and Stromberg was in, with a henchman inspired by Fleming's original braces-and-steel-capped-teeth killer...

There's a Plot, right? (SPOILER ALERT)
Her Majesty's Nuclear Submarine Ranger is at sea, or under it when a strange high-pitched sound effe-I man unexplained vibration causes her to lose power. Luckily, there are wheels for this sort of thing – and wheels are spun, bubbles are blown and up she goes. The Skipper has a squint through his periscope and whatever it is, it's not a happy squint... The man at the Admiralty is grimly incredulous on the red telephone – it must be a premium-rate call...
Over to Moscow, where Walter Gotell is incredulous and on a red phone* – it's bad news, the submarine Potemkin has disappeared... (*And, surely all telephones in Moscow would have been red – thinking this through, wouldn't their emergency phones be blue or something?). Naturally, Walter sends for his top man, Agent XXX – no Vin Diesel jokes, please, we're in a hurry here – and this must be him now, the tough-looking chap with the hairy back and a chest like a velcro advert. This being the Seventies, hirsute equals macho... and this is a Tiger of a man...but wait!, its the seventies – which means... Wimmins Lib!. Yes, Agent XXX is really Barbara Bach – the future Mrs.Ringo Starr!. No such confusion for our side though, as crustier-by-the-film Bernard Lee orders Bond to 'pull out-immediately'... it's uncanny, as if the old boy knew exactly how 007 was pumping his latest sauce - erm, source... in an Austrian mountain-top chalet. Well, at least the opposition are considerate, waiting for James to get dressed before attacking him on skis. They're tooled up for WWIII and he's got a gun in his ski-pole and a rucksack. 007 skis off the mountaintop and into thin air. He's had it this time... unless he's got a parachute in that rucksack. Oh, he does – a natty Union Jack parachute too, just to rub it in. (Rick Sylvester's breathtaking jump from Mount Asgard will never be far from the top of any list of great stunts.)

Cue credits with top-notch Carly Simon theme song and a monochrome Roger Moore charging around with some just not visibly starkers girlies courtesy of the awesome genius Maurice Binder and we start the filum proper.

Walter – Comrade General Walter sends for Major Amasova, aka XXX and sends her off to Cairo, not the usual place to find a missing sub, oh and her boyfriend has been killed. Something about a British Secret Operation. Meanwhile, Commander Bond rocks up at Faslane Sub Base, Scotland. In the super-secret mission type room he meets the brass and Q, who appears to be disguised as an Open University lecturer circa 1974. They open the BIG SECRET POLARIS SECRET CONSOLE THING and thanks to the wonder of computronics we see a fairly hilarious attempt at a computer map. Its the track of the missing submarine's patrol route and, worryingly, the Defence Minister has a bit of celluloid showing the same exact route. All that money and shiny aluminium when a bit of placcy and a permanent marker would do. Hindsight, eh? - anywhat, this is bad as it means our subs can be tracked, therefore destroyed. Q waffles some tosh about heat sensing and Roger Moore manages to keep a straight face as the old fraud staggers through his lines, famously totally unaware of whatever it was he just said. It turns out someone in Cairo is touting the tracking system involved.

Cut to a sumptuously luxurious dining hall, where Curt JΓΌrgens is finishing a spot of lunch. Yes, it's the baddie, namely Karl Stromberg to name his name. Like Curt wasn't Germanic enough. Two professors are escorted in by Caroline Munro and my God I would. She's proper sizzling and I'd love to... oh yes, the professors, Curt is thanking them for their work on the sub tracking system – what about that, eh?. We meet Stromberg's assistant, who is sporting the funniest hairdo in any Bond (until Lois Maxwell's faux-pas in later appearances.) Hang on, though, there's a traitor in the camp! Someone has tried to sell the plans! - step out me dear, this might get messy. Yes, never get into a looney's lift – kersploosh: shark tank. At a push of a button the shutters go up revealing we are underwater – yes, Stromberg really has gone all-out for bonkers-broke with a futuristic submersible lab-mansion combo. Stromberg summons his hench-goons Sandor (Milton Reid) and Jaws – Richard Kiel in a truly memorable role as the HUGE killer with the steel-teeth.
Oh, the professors – they go off in a helicopter and Stromberg blows them up. Bit of a waste, really given we've just seen his lift of death...
ABOVE: Caroline Munro plays Naomi

Picture a lush oasis in the desert, add a pyramid, perhaps two. Add 007 on a camel in full Arab get-up in a harem tent... add Edward de Souza as Sheikh Hosain, an old Cambridge chum of Bond's. Luckily Shaky knows everything – that a Max Kalba is flogging the plans through his contact, Fekkesh. The next morning, Bond opts for an interesting safari suit with epaulettes – it was all about the suits with our Roger. At Fekkesh's Cairo pad a hottie tries to delay 007, but he interrogates her with snogging. Sandor has a pop and manages to shoot the girl. Bond interrogate him with his tie – that's how cool he is – learning that Fekkesh is at the pyramids.

Night-time. The splendour of the Pyramids is lit up in a brilliant son-et-lumiere display. (Although, if you watch this on DVD look closely as the real audience is swiftly followed rather bizarrely by a matte painting of an audience. Weird, in a blink and miss it kind of way.) Bond spots Fekkesh in conversation with XXX, but Fekkesh is spooked by Jaws, who is peckish for Fekkesh. Bond learns Fekkesh was to meet Max Kalba at a club in Cairo and duffs up two of XXX's henchmen. Bond keeps Fekesh's rendezvous for him, meeting XXX. Luckily, he's ditched the Action Man suit (American readers may want to substitute GI Joe here; assuming GI Joe actually came with a variety of looks for the man about bush) and gone for a safer black tie look, I say luckily because she's looking stunning in a slinky number of her own. Sir really does look the bees-knees. They have an amusing precursor to the Daniel Craig-Eva Green verbal sparring match in Casino Royale, which ends when Amasova gets under Bond's skin with a reference to the late Mrs.Bond (OHMSS, remember?). 007 introduces himself to Kalba – and blow me, if it isn't the gunsmith Lazar from Golden Gun... (Vernon Dobtcheff providing a touch of character to both films). After a bit of seventies-banter, Kalba produces the microfilm and invites bids, but there's an urgent call for him. The two great agents sit there like lemons while Jaws kills Kalba and legs it with the microfilm. Belatedly, Bond gives chase – followed by Treeple Ex, both ending up in the back of what looks suspiciously like an old GPO Commer van driven by Jaws. This is more like it!; this is how master spies get information – and he does, because the van is wired and Jaws gets to listen to the top agents of the free and not-so-free worlds as they connive.

After a long and dusty drive the exotic location scouting of Cubby and co pays off once more; as the sun rises and Jaws takes a stroll round the legendary Temple of Im-Po-Tens the Mighty. OK it's the temple of Karnak, but what could be the purpose of this unexpected outburst of cultural tourism?. Theres a bit of sneaking around after Jaws, who manages to lose them despite never breaking above a steady plod. Lots of columns, lots of hieroglyphics – ah the power of expressive words, eh?. If you look closely, you can just make out that there aren't any hidden R2-D2's or Hidden Mickeys hidden amongst the Pharo-fitti... look out! - a big rock just misses our heroes, Jaws has clearly read Death on the Nile and for once, it's the bad guys destroying ancient monuments. (Yes, I saw that on Youtube too. On my jetpack, that's how I roll...). James has a knock-around with Jaws and its alarmingly clear the man isn't human. XXX whips out her gun and, suddenly the scriptwriters seem to have remembered the rules; Bond is always the smartest cookie present. He tricks Jaws into dumping several tons of ancient masonry onto himself and razzes the microfilm. As we all know by now, Jaws is indestructable, ripping the van to bits around them. Amasova has a laugh at his expense after suffering some 'women driver' jokes and they escape in whats left of the van. Eventually knackered, wheezing, popping and hissing it grinds to a halt – which is enough about the history of British Leyland, as our spies are forced to trek across the barren wilderness of Egypt. It must be savagely hot as Roger takes the extreme step of removing his jacket. British readers relax, he hasn't gone totally native, he keeps his tie on. Any suggestion that an Englishman of Roger's (Sir. Roger now, if you please) would loosen his tie in the desert is scurrilous and offenders shall be asked to leave.

The River Nile, by happy chance the local boatmen have just offloaded some sheep and are happy to take JB and MA back to Cairo. Bond has a crafty shufty at the microfilm with his handy Q-branch microfilm gizmo; a cigarette case folds out to become the viewer, his lighter holds the microfilm. There's some technical-looking diagrams, but Bond seems unhappy... He turns his attentions to the lovely Barbara and gives her the chat. They have a snog and she blows him off – off to sleep that is, with her KGB issue sleep-powder cigarette. Bond wakes up without the microfilm, so asks some street vendors the way to the secret British base. Deep inside a magnificent Egyptian Pharaoh's basement we find Pinewood studios – and, oddly Miss Moneypenny sat at her desk. Is she on some secret MI6 exchange programme? - we may never know, because it gets weirder; there's Comrade General Walter and he's got his own desk, look there's a little bust of Lenin and everything!. M appears and explains the two rival agencies are working together to recover their nuclear subs, but Bond trumps the Russian offer of the microfilm by explaining it's worthless – his look on the boat convinced him the crucial details had been omitted.

HOORAY!; the Q-scene. Lets not worry ourselves with wondering why Britain would conduct valuable top-secret research under an Egyptian tourist attraction, lets gawp at the toys!...There's a fantastic magnetic-levitation tea-tray that chops heads off – yes, johnny foreigner we sneer at your weapons – we kill with tea-trays!. M and the General – now Miles and Alexis, are clearly now best friends, M even giving his opposite number a tour of the secret weapons lab – (surely a sackable offence?). Q's boys have come up with all sorts; a spring-loaded cushion to fling unsuspecting Arabs upwards, a hubble bubble pipe/machine gun combo, cement squirter guns and, least sportingly of all, a camel saddle with a spring loaded blade to defenestrate the unsuspecting rider.

Examining ze micro-feelm (sorry) theres more one-upmanship about a partially visible logo – which turns out to belong to shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg's laboratory in Sardinia. Now working together, James and Anya take the train. Trains in Bonds are always A: luxury affairs with sleeping quarters and champagne, and this is a riot of seventies brushed aluminium and wood-effect laminate. I'd live in it. Bond suggests a nightcap, but the Major resists his advances insisting on professionalism and a good nights kip. They each prepare for bed, clearly both gagging for it. (You have to admire this generation's vocabulary; it lacks poetry, but at least its descriptive). That reminds me, Trains in Bonds – what's the 'B' I hear you think?. Well, B-ware of wardrobes really; Anya opens hers and – somehow – Jaws is hiding inside. Yes, there's almost always a baddie or two on any train Bond takes. Jaws slaps her about and James Bond comes to the rescue. Jaws batters the kerrap out of him, at one point hitting him with the ceiling. Bond manages to zap his steel teeth with an electric lamp and kicks him out the window. Just time for a quick bit of cheesy-wince chat and he gets off with Anya.

They turn up at a Sardinian car ferry just as Q drives off it in the car my Wife goes funny over to this day; The Lotus Esprit S1. Lets take a detour. (Follow the signs) In contrast to the sniffy Aston Martin response to EON's request for a DB5, Don McLaughlan of the Lotus company played what we Brits call an absolute blinder. Parking the prototype S1 outside the EON production offices, all badges obscured he guaranteed interest in this strikingly modern sports car. They went for it and for several years the Lotus Esprit became the Bond car, deservedly so. The original car was a gutless fibreglass tub, but it handled well, the hallmark of all Lotus cars to this day. The stunt team couldn't get anything out of it, the road-holding was too solid for anything like the spectacular effect they were after, but driver Roger Becker had been sent by Lotus to look after the car. It's him driving in the scenes from the final film, showing the Esprit as the supercar later models became. Look out as two kids run past Roger Moore as he gets into the Lotus – I'm told these were Geoffrey and Deborah Moore, the latter featuring many years later as the stewardess in Die another Day.

And we're back in the film (And, who is it that always moves the last diversion sign, leaving you stranded in some burg?) We've got our exotic car, exotic scenery and what passed for a classy hotel back then, with – steady, my beating heart – Valerie Leon at reception. At the risk of another diversion, this was the hottest living creature not to actually self-combust. Gracing such cineramic treats as Carry on Girls and at least half the Hammer films I've seen, Ms.Leon provides the other half of the 'Caroline Munro or' debate that raged amongst red-blooded men and I dare say a fair few women too... Nurse, it's happened again...

Speaking of Caroline Munro, here she is as Naomi on Stromberg's motor launch. (Watch as they cut just as the wake from the boat is about to soak the sunbathers.) She's in a bikini, a diaphanous wrap and Joan Collins' sunglasses. Bloody Hell this is hard work. Anyway, Barbara Bach has decided not to compete, opting for a tea cosy on her head and a casual slacks outfit. Posing as Mr & Mrs.Sterling, Marine Biolololologists the two Secret Agents take the boat out to Atlantis, artfully styled to resemble a hulking marine creature, a giant crab or the like, with two big 'eyes' formed by the plexi-glass bubbles protecting the heli-pad and other vital stuff from flooding when underwater. This is where Ken Adam and Derek Meddings come into their own, with Adams curved set designs a conscious departure from the linear and perhaps an instinctive grasp of the organic nature of the whole enterprise. Meddings – a Hero of mine – made the impossible feasible, making the miniatures without which the Bond producers could never have afforded the lavish delirium of their megalo-villains. (It must be every Seventies British schoolboy's experience to receive a plastic Airfix kit, glueing fingers together with the cement that always ran out halfway through and ending up with a badly-painted Messerschmidt or Lancaster – usually to be 'blown up' with match-heads the next summer. Small wonder we gaped in awe at Medding's works of realistic perfection.)

Bond stitches Anya by asking Naomi to show Mrs.Sterling around while he meets the big man. We get a good look at the best set design of the era, a split-level job with oval windows to show the aquaria swimming by, plush carpeting cascading down the stairs and a pair of moulded plastic recliners that now seem pleasantly retro. Need I mention there's a console?. (Bond villains would be stuffed without their buttons and cctv screens. Perhaps they are all now running our councils.) Downstairs it's all nightclub-meets playboy flat with expensive antiques and furniture diverting our eyes from all the brown velvety curved sofas. Stromberg is reclusive, rich and weird – as if being Germanic and dressing like a gay Blofeld wasn't enough to put Bond on red alert. Mein Host tests 'Mr.Sterling' out, but this is Bond after all – always irritatingly well-informed, he is able to name the rare fishies and make a loaded remark; 'Handsome but deadly' being an obvious snipe. I've always loved the way that 007 loves to goad his enemies whilst retaining the pretence of whatever cover he's using. So very British, specifically English. Stromberg shows our man a model of an underwater city he is planning – the only hope for mankind. Oh-Oh. Anya's been keeping her eyes open, pointing out a model of Stromberg's latest Supertanker, The Liparus. Ditto that Oh-Oh. Alone with Jaws, Stromberg confirms the true identity of his guests and orders their deaths.

On the road, James Bond takes the Lotus for a spin, but a sinister motorcyclist follows on his Kwaka 1000 – sidecar combo – seeing the Esprit stuck behind a mattress delivery lorry he launches his attack; the sidecar is a missile, a wheeled torpedo in fact. Bond swerves around, narrowly escaping an oncoming truck as KABOOM! - the road erupts into a cloud of feathers, the hapless assassin blinding himself and riding straight off the standard-issue BADDIE CLIFF OF DOOM... really, there should be a sign; 'Henchmen Only'. Next up is Jaws in a car-full of goons, but of course, James knows what buttons to push, a hidden gadget sending a spray of cement to blind the pursuing pursuants... this time there's a peasant hut beneath the BADDIE CLIFF OF DOOM and, amusingly, Jaws emerges from the hut to dust himself off – the startled owner left gobsmacked.
Slicing round a tight bend, the Esprit is now under attack from a Stromberg helichopper piloted by Naomi. Even when she's trying to toast Bond, Naomi can't resist a saucy wink. In a fantastic moment, Bond drives the Lotus off a jetty to escape, plunging the car into the briny. THIS is what we were waiting for – hardly the best kept secret, this...

At a pull of a lever, the instruments rotate – road gauges replaced by submarine instruments – periscopes, rudder, planes etc – as the wheels retract into the body to be replaced by bow and stern planes with an array of propellers emerging from the rear bumper. Yes, Q has made a submarine car, affectionately known as 'Wet Nellie' (If you can't guess why, ask any Bond nut). Unforgivably, 007 shoots one up Naomi – a missile you dirty devils. What a waste. The helicopter, I mean...
Gracefully, the subma-car glides along underwater, through all the glory of the undersea Kingdom. Hard at this point not to feel a twinge of empathy for mad old Stromberg, but England Expects, so Bond takes a closer look at the business end of Atlantis. Through a window, he and Anya get a glimpse of a control room, with gantries, technicians in overalls and a giant Map of the World. This must be the place!. Presumably just back from a tea-break, the guards turn up, with those electric diver towing gizmos they always have, but the Lotus is nimble underwater too – evading them to allow James to fire a torpedo before simply running over the second. More guards! - a two man chariot this time, firing a torpedo of it's own – and Wet Nellie gets wetter, springing a leak. To 007's surprise, Anya has had a squizz at the manual – pressing the switches that release the inky underwater smokescreen and deploying a mine, blowing the chariot up. She reveals she stole the blueprints on a previous mission. Seventies Women!. Cue the Bond theme as the Lotus emerges from the water to drive off a packed beach of incredulous holidaymakers... (The guy with the bottle obviously amused as he gets a cameo in the next two Bonds).

Back at the hotel and it emerges that the man Bond shot with his skipole was Anya's lover. Awk-ward. There's a crashingly naff line about skiing at forty miles an hour that only Roger Moore would have the front to deliver and XXX threatens to kill Bond after the mission is over. Out at sea, Agents Bond and Amasova are winched aboard the US Submarine Wayne so the Major can take a shower and they can get close to the Liparus. Inside it, to be accurate as, first the weird vibration forces the Sub to surface and then, no? – well yes, actually. In an echo of the space capsule swallowing rocket in YOLT, the supertanker's bows open and the Submarine is engulfed. The Liparus is revealed to be a floating submarine dock, camouflaged as a tanker.

Well, it's MASSIVE. You have no idea unless you've seen it – the celebrated 007 Soundstage – since burnt down and rebuilt – cost $2,000,000, incorporating a water-tank capable of holding over a million gallons. The inside of the Liparus is a floating dock that holds three Nuclear submarines and still has room for gangways, walkways, tracks and gantries. Theres even two lifts busily moving people. At the back of the upper deck, the Liparus command centre, virtually impregnable behind steel shutters. There's even a monorail. (More bells ringing from YOLT...) Stromberg gives the ultimatum; open up and surrender or death by cyanide gas. Stromberg sends for Bond and Anya, revealing the size of both his globe and his plan; there's a big old globe (Visuals being handy for simple explanation of intended Global domination) using two of the subs, he intends to fire nuclear missiles at New York and Moscow, triggering Nuclear war – and by now the bells are ringing off their clappers...

The submarines depart to deliver their cargo of destruction and Stromberg leaves Bond with the captive sub crews, taking Anya back to Atlantis – apparently the old boy has taken a shine to her. Ingeniously, the monorail car converts into a speedboat in mid-air and they are off. Bond seizes his chance, duffing up the guards and freeing the sub crews. Storming the armoury, the submariners grab the bangsticks and boxes of grenades. It kicks off, with the biggest gunbattle since World War II. Its mayhem, with both goodies and baddies copping it. This must have been a stuntman's Christmas, with buggies tumbling into the water and bad-guys falling from catwalks everywhere – all to the accompaniment of grenades blowing stuff up left right and centre. Fires rage everywhere. Heroically, a Royal Navy Lieutenant volunteers to charge the stronghold, but doesn't get close. Bond heads to the armoury to play the electric buzzer game with a Polaris missile, he's after the detonator – and with his improvised bomb he rides in to place it on one of those old fashioned camera balls. (An early precursor to CCTV, there were several of these electronic eyes in our local Boots the Chemist in the mid-seventies.) There's a quality oh-oh here as JB hangs helplessly from the camera rail, stuck just feet from a bomb with a twenty second countdown...but as ever, just escapes to lead the charge into the breached control room. There's just four minutes – four minutes to access the printout transmission unit and reprogram the subs to nuke each other. Hilariously, Bond grabs the manual and starts stabbing at the keys on the grandmum of keyboards. Thankfully, there's no glitches – nothing encounters any 'unexpected problem' and nothing 'needs to close' – the big handy globe now displays the co-ordinates of both subs and the US Skipper sends the new target information. I guess it doesn't do to ask too many questions in such an organisation, but Stromberg's substitute sub skippers swallow it whole – we see the tracks of the missiles curving across the surface of the globe and its instant sunshine - don't look at the flash – mushroom clouds. The Liparus starts blowing up – maybe someone should have put out those fires – and Bond and co leg it to the American Sub to blow their way out with a torpedo as the Liparus (Yes, another first-class piece of model work) finally tears herself apart with the requisite colossal explosions and sinks.

The US Skipper, Commander Carter (Solid support from Shane Rimmer) has his orders; torpedo Atlantis. Bond pleads with him to give him time to get Anya out. Carter is a stand-up guy so gives Bond an hour. 007 goes in on the Wetbike Q sent for him – an early jetski. As always Bond gets the new toys first!. Curt gets to deliver the wonderful line; 'Good Evening Mister Bond, I've been expecting you' before sending the lift down for him. Yes, that lift – but no kersploosh: happy sharks this time, as canny old Bond has twigged its a trap and, PPK in hand he confronts Stromberg in his dining room. After a 'detente' quip, Stromberg invites Bond to sit at the opposite end of the table, which he does, perhaps a trifle unwisely considering the recent attempt to feed him to the sharks. But whats that big perspex tube under the table?, it seems to be pointing at Bond's gentleman's travelling bag... Its some sort of big projectile gun, but our man possesses lightning reflexes, shooting Stromberg through his own tube.

Out in the corridor, Bond encounters the hulking figure of Jaws, who slowly advances on him. Bond shoots him in the teeth, then gets a stoppage – the Walther PPK famously unreliable (Princess Anne's bodyguard tried to use his against a would-be kidnapper in 1974, only to suffer the same problem). Jaws disappears but pops up behind James and Bond loses his gun in the struggle. Chased into a large marine laboratory Bond sees a shark tank and an electro-magnet, tricking Jaws into returning his cheeky smile and looking upwards – I know – and dropping him in with his namesake. Bond frees Anya, now wearing a rather racy halter-top number (Anya, not Bond) as Jaws kills the shark with a bite. Boom-boom. Commander Carter has no choice by now and fires a torpedo to destroy Atlantis. In the nick of, 007 and XXX dive into Stromberg's escape chamber – a brilliant take on a squillionaire's lifeboat (I'd love one in a swimming pool). Naturally, James finds a bottle of Dom Perignon, but Anya reminds him of her deadly vow. He pops his cork and suggests they get out of their wet clothes...

Jaws pops up in the sea, swimming off to the Moonraker set, as the assault carrier Hermes (I think) pops up to recover the capsule. The combined heads of Soviet and British intelligence are less than amused to see their top agents bonking, but Bond has the last quip; he's merely 'Keeping the British end up'. Credits – James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only... (As we know, it was Moonraker next, but the impact of Star Wars couldn't have been predicted)

ABOVE: Barbara Bach dwarfed by Richard Kiel
The Music; The theme song 'Nobody Does It Better' sung by Carly Simon, is simply breathtaking. One of the all time top two for me... (I won't bother telling you the other.)
Marvin Hamlisch composed the soundtrack, going nicely with the Disco phenomenon, especially with 'Bond 77'. Theres a nice touch during the desert scene, with a tongue in cheek rendition of the Lawrence of Arabia theme.
Oh, ok then; Diamonds are Forever, sung by Burly Chassis...
ABOVE: Filming 'Wet Nellie' 7 models including this life-sized shell were used to show the Lotus Esprit transforming into a submarine.
 BELOW: The famous Stuntman Martin Grace doubled for Roger Moore
Who's in it, then?; As well as the already named cast, look out for;
Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and George Baker (OHMSS) as a Naval Captain

Toys for the Boys;
Gizzits abound here; 007 has a Seiko watch that has a tele-message receiver built in, the messages stamped out on a sort of metal scotch tape. The Wetbike is good, though you wonder how Bond stayed remotely dry on the thing and the microfilm viewer is very Q-branch.
Despite all the surrounding toys, you can't fail but be impressed by the Lotus. Wet Nellie deserves her place in movie history, a fantastic concept brilliantly illustrated by the clever use of models alongside full-size shells with divers inside. The car itself looks sexy and ultra-modern – the height of 1970's British sports-car design. The array of weaponry aboard means that the DB5 has to work just that bit harder to keep its top spot as greatest Bond car...
ABOVE; Legendary 007 Bond model maker Derek Meddings with some of his work. This photo is the copyright of: PHOTOGRAPH/GRAHAM RYE
Courtesy of

BELOW: The models the rest of us got (if we were lucky)
Should I bother?; Bond fans already know the film, so this is essentially redundant – if you aren't a foaming 007 nut, why are you reading this?. To really 'get' James Bond as a film series, you need to watch at least one film per actor – only one Roger Moore? - you already know the answer...

1 comment:

  1. The photograph of Derek Meddings seated surrounded by Bond models is my copyright. Please credit the use of the image as follows:

    Courtesy of