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Film Title

For Your Eyes Only

Director

John Glen

Starring

  • Roger Moore as James Bond
  • Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock
  • Julian Glover as Aristotle Kristatos
  • Topol as Milos Columbo
  • Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl
  • Cassandra Harris as Countess Lisl
  • Michael Gothard as Locque
  • Jill Bennett as Jacoba Brink
  • Geoffrey Keen as Frederick Gray
  • Desmond Llewelyn as Q
  • Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny

After the sci-fi excess of Moonraker, the Bond producers had to bring him back down to Earth. They did this by giving this film a seriousness and return to the spy formula, crossed with elements of a thriller. Some of For Your Eyes Only may look a little subdued in comparison with other Bond adventures, but after the spectacle of the previous film, it succeeds in bringing Bond back from outrageous fantasy and contributing a little more grit to the series.

The sinking of a British spy ship, the St. George’s in the Ionian Sea disturbs MI6. The ship was equipped with ATAC, a system that helps order the firing of missiles from the British fleet. If the precious device falls into the wrong hands, then world devastation could be arriving very soon. For your Eyes Only PosterIt is up to our man, James Bond to uncover the location of the device. Another element of this case is Melina Havelock, a beautiful woman who is out for revenge after witnessing the brutal murder of her parents. Her parents where helping MI6 to locate the sunken ship just before their tragic murder. Travelling to Spain, Italy and then Greece, Bond comes into contact with Aristotle Kristatos, a well-informed Greek businessman who gives him information regarding a smuggling operation, supposedly headed by Milos Columbo. Yet there is something not right about Kristatos and Bond soon concludes he is the enemy and the one who has the intent on selling ATAC to the Soviets. With the vengeful Melina, who is nifty with a crossbow, and Columbo, who has the necessary supplies and the men to bring down Kristatos on hand, Bond sets out to save the world once more.

The direction taken with For Your Eyes Only into the serious spy film, with action and some genuine suspense, is a wise one and one that grounds the series, yet still keeps it going. John Glen, who had worked as an editor on many a Bond film, makes an assured first entry into directing by carefully downplaying some of the broad humour and injecting a thrilling atmosphere as Bond comes up against interesting characters and duplicitous motives. The sense of realism is further enhanced by using a minimal amount of gadgets, leaving Bond as a spy relying on his wits and his gun to survive death. Saying this, the serious approach does become a little boring at various points in For Your Eyes Only. Yet, it does add a different dimension to the usual formula. Bond mountain climbThrilling moments abound in this adventure, whether it be Bond scaling a mountainside to him and Melina tied to a ship and being dragged through shark infested waters, it isn’t short on excitement that’s for sure. Location work is of the highest order, with the islands of Greece serving as beautiful places for Bond to uncover plots and the snowy mountains of Cortina lending itself to a ski chase sequence. Bill Conti scores the movie and it does have its moments of classic Bond cues, but at times feels a little to loud for its own good and this does detract from many a scene. The same can’t be said about the title song, which is sung with earnest emotion by Sheena Easton. The ballad perfectly enhances the underwater lovelies and aquatic theme of the title sequence, which are super imposed over Easton as she sings.

Roger Moore gives his trademark charm to the role of 007, but he also gets a chance to inject a seriousness into the part that he hasn’t had the opportunity to do before. Moore may be seen as the comedic Bond, but he has his share of unexpectedly cold-blooded moments during his tenure, the highlight here being him kicking an assassins car into a rocky ravine. Melina HavelockCarole Bouquet makes a mature impression as the strong and vengeful Melina Havelock. Through her melancholy eyes and wounded glares, we see a young woman who can clearly handle herself with her trusted crossbow and will not rest until she kills those responsible for shattering her heart. Julian Glover makes for a more subdued villain in the shape of Kristatos than the usual evil masterminds, but he does have a sly smile and wit that stands him in good stead when faced with Bond coming up against him. In a colourful performance full of panache and humour, Topol stars as Columbo, a smuggler with many friends who aids Bond on his journey with his knowledge and resources. Wholly out-of-place in the movie and the Bond universe is Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi, a lovesick teenage figure skater, sponsored by Kristatos who takes an amorous interest in Bond. The whole character just feels superfluous and the film could have been better if her character wasn’t in it. Cassandra Harris is lovely and serene as a countess romanced by Bond, while Michael Gothard is on form as the silent assassin Locque. Jill Bennett is wasted as Bibi’s stern coach Jacoba Brink and like Bibi, her character doesn’t add anything to the plot in the slightest. This is also the first movie to not feature M, as Bernard Lee died before production on this film and the producers respectfully didn’t cast the role immediately. Bond receives his instructions from the high-ranking but flabbergasted Minister of Defense Frederick, who is played with wise humour by Geoffrey Keen. Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell are once again on hand for their short but memorable turns as Q and Moneypenny.

Subdued but also thrilling and tense, For Your Eyes Only presents a serious return to the gritty side of Bond and succeeds very well indeed.

 

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