Octopussy (1983) is the
thirteenth entry in the James Bond film series, and the sixth to star
Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond.
film's title is taken from a short story in Ian Fleming's 1966 short
story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights, although the
film's plot is original. It does, however, include a portion inspired
by the Fleming short story "The Property of a Lady"
(included in 1967 and later editions of Octopussy and The Living
Daylights), while the events of the short story "Octopussy"
form a part of the title character's background and are recounted by her.
Bond is assigned the task
of following a general who is stealing jewels and relics from the
Russian government. This leads him to a wealthy Afghan prince, Kamal
Khan, and his associate, Octopussy. Bond uncovers a plot to force
disarmament in Europe with the use of a nuclear weapon.
Produced by Albert R.
Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Octopussy was released in the same
year as the non-Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again. Written by
George MacDonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, and Michael G. Wilson, the
film was directed by John Glen.
Octopussy and The Living
Daylights (sometimes published as Octopussy) is the fourteenth and
final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming in the Bond series. The
book is a collection of short stories published posthumously in the
United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on June 23rd 1966.
The Felming book originally
contained just two stories, "Octopussy" and "The
Living Daylights", with subsequent editions also carrying
firstly "The Property of a Lady" and then "007 in New
York". The stories were first published in different
publications, with "Octopussy" first serialised in the
Daily Express in October 1965. "The Living Daylights" had
first appeared in The Sunday Times in February 1962; "The
Property of a Lady" was published in November 1963 in a
Sotheby's publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst "007 in New
York" first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October
1963. The two original stories, "Octopussy" and "The
Living Daylights", were also adapted for publication in comic
strip format in the Daily Express in 19661967.
"Octopussy" story in the book has Secret Service operative
James Bond, code name 007, assigned to apprehend a hero of the Second
World War implicated in a murder involving a cache of Nazi gold. Bond
appears briefly in this story, which is told mostly in flashback and
from the point of view of Major Dexter Smythe, the villain. Bond
chooses not to take Smythe into custody immediately, but Smythe's
guilt drives him to commit suicide by allowing a scorpion fish to
sting him and his "pet" octopus to attack him, bringing on
a fatal heart attack.
Elements from the stories
have also been used in the Eon Productions Bond films. The first,
Octopussy, starring Roger Moore as James Bond, was released in 1983
as the thirteenth film in the series and provided the back story for
the film Octopussy's family, while "The Property of a Lady"
was more closely adapted for an auction sequence in the film. The
Living Daylights, released in 1987, was the fifteenth Bond film
produced by Eon and starred Timothy Dalton in his first appearance as Bond.
Following For Your Eyes
Only, Roger Moore had expressed a desire to stop playing James Bond.
His original contract had been for three films, which was fulfilled
with The Spy Who Loved Me. Subsequent films were negotiated on a
film-by-film basis. Given his reluctance to return for Octopussy, the
producers engaged in a semi-public quest for the next Bond, with both
Timothy Dalton and James Brolin being suggested. However, when the
rival Never Say Never Again was announced the producers re-contracted
Moore in the belief that an established actor in the role would fare
better against Sean Connery. Brolin's three screentests were publicly
released for the first time as a special feature named James Brolin:
The Man Who Would Be Bond in the Octopussy Ultimate Edition DVD.
producers were initially reluctant to feature Maud Adams again
because her previous character was killed in The Man with the Golden
Gun. Sybil Danning was announced in Prevue magazine in 1982 as being
Octopussy, but was never actually cast. Faye Dunaway was deemed too
expensive. Barbara Carrera said she turned down the role to take a
part in the competing Bond film Never Say Never Again. In the book A
Star is Found: Our Adventures Casting Some of Hollywood's Biggest
Movies, casting director Jane Jenkins revealed that the Bond
producers told her that they wanted an East Indian actress to play
Octopussy, so she looked at the only two Indians in a then
predominantly white Hollywood, Persis Khambatta and Susie Coelho.
Afterwards, she auditioned white actresses, like Barbara Parkins, who
she felt could pass for Indian. Finally, Cubby Broccoli announced to
her that they would cast Swedish-born Maud Adams, darken her hair,
and change a few lines about how she was raised by an Indian family.
A different plotline, with Adams' British father exposed as a
traitor, was used instead. As for Adams, she asked to play Octopussy
as a European woman and was granted this, but on the title
character's name, she felt the producers "went too far".
Octopussy is also the first
movie to have Robert Brown as M, because of the death of Bernard Lee
in 1981. Desmond Llewelyn would get a larger role as Q in this film.
One of Bond's allies was played by Vijay Amritraj, who was a
professional tennis player. His character not only shares the same
first name, but he is also the tennis pro at Kamal Khan's club, and
he uses his tennis racket as a weapon during the auto rickshaw chase
(accompanied by the sound of a tennis ball being hit and scenes of
onlookers turning their heads left and right as if they are watching
a tennis match).
filming of Octopussy began on August 10th 1982 with the scene in
which Bond arrives at Checkpoint Charlie. Principal photography was
done by Arthur Wooster and his second unit, who later filmed the
knife-throwing scenes. Much of the film was shot in Udaipur, India.
The Monsoon Palace served as the exterior of Kamal Khan's palace,
while scenes set at Octopussy's palace were filmed at the Lake Palace
and Jag Mandir, and Bond's hotel was the Shiv Niwas Palace. In
England RAF Northolt, RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Oakley were the main
locations. The Karl-Marx-Stadt railways scenes were shot at the Nene
Valley Railway, near Peterborough, while studio work was performed at
Pinewood Studios and the 007 Stage. Most of the crew as well as Roger
Moore had diet problems while shooting in India.
The pre-title sequence has
a scene where Bond flies a nimble homebuilt Bede BD-5J aircraft
through an open hangar. Hollywood stunt pilot and aerial co-ordinator
J.W. "Corkey" Fornof, who piloted the aircraft at more than
150 miles per hour, has said, "Today, few directors would
consider such a stunt. They'd just whip it up in a computer lab."
Having collapsible wings, the plane was shown hidden in a horse
trailer; however, a dummy was used for this shot. Filming inside the
hangar was achieved by attaching the aircraft to an old Jaguar car
with a steel pole, driving with the roof removed. The second unit
were able to add enough obstacles including people and objects inside
the hangar to hide the car and the pole and make it look as though
Moore was flying inside the base. For the explosion after the mini
jet escapes, however, a miniature of the hangar was constructed and
filmed up close. The exploding pieces of the hangar were in reality
only four inches in length. A Mercedes-Benz saloon car was stolen by
Bond and used to chase the train having had his tires shot
out, Bond drove on the rails and entered the train. During filming,
the car had intact tires in one scene so as to avoid any mishap.
Stunt co-ordinator Martin
Grace suffered an injury while shooting the scene where Bond climbs
down the train to catch Octopussy's attention. During the second day
of filming, Grace, who was Roger Moore's stunt double for the scene,
carried on doing the scene longer than he should have, due to a
miscommunication with the second unit director, and the train entered
a section of the track which the team had not properly surveyed.
Shortly afterwards, a concrete pole fractured Grace's left leg. This
affected morale in the camp for some time.
The bicyclist seen passing
in the middle of a swordfight during the tuk tuk chase sequence was
in fact a bystander who passed through the shot, oblivious to the
filming; his intrusion was captured by two cameras and left in the
final film as an unscheduled stunt. Cameraman Alan Hume's last scene
was that of Octopussy's followers rowing. That day, little time was
left and it was decided to film the sunset at the eleventh hour when
Hume said, "Oh, just shoot the bloody thing!"
Fabergé egg in the film is real; it was made in 1897 and is
called the Coronation Egg, although the egg in the film is named in
the auction catalogue as "Property of a Lady", which is the
name of one of Ian Fleming's short stories released in more recent
editions of the collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights.
In a bit of diegesis that
"breaks the fourth wall", Vijay signals his affiliation to
MI6 by playing the James Bond Theme on a recorder while Bond is
disembarking from a boat in the harbour near the City Palace. Like
his fictional counterpart, the real Vijay had a distinct fear of
snakes and found difficulty holding the basket during filming.
The score was composed by
John Barry, with the lyrics by Tim Rice. The opening theme, "All
Time High", is sung by Rita Coolidge and is one of a number of
musical themes in the James Bond series whose song titles do not
refer to the film's title. Others being Dr. No (1962), "We Have
All the Time in the World" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service
(1969), "Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me
(1977) (although the song's lyrics do include the phrase, "the
spy who loved me"), the song "You Know My Name" from
Casino Royale (2006), and "Another Way to Die" from Quantum
of Solace (2008). "All Time High" spent four weeks at
number one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary singles chart and
reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.
soundtrack album was released in 1985 by A&M Records; the
compact disc version of this release was recalled due to a colour
printing error which omitted the credits from the album cover, making
it a rare collector's item. In 1997, the soundtrack was re-issued by
Rykodisc, with the original soundtrack music and some film dialogue,
on an Enhanced CD version. The 2003 release, by EMI, restored the
original soundtrack music without dialogue.
Octopussy's premiere took
place at the Odeon Leicester Square on June 6th 1983 in the company
of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Within five months of
its premiere, it was released in 16 countries worldwide. The film
earned slightly less than For Your Eyes Only, but still grossed
$187,500,000, with $67.8 million in the United States alone. It also
performed slightly better than Never Say Never Again, the non-Eon
Bond remake of Thunderball which came out a few months later.
The film has received mixed
reviews. Some reviewers disliked Bond's clown costume, gorilla
outfit, and Tarzan yell during a jungle chase. One review claimed
that it was long and confusing. By contrast, Louis Jourdan's
"suave" performance, the elegance of the film locations in
India, and the stunts on aircraft and the train were appreciated.
Jeffrey Westhoff at Rotten Tomatoes praised Roger Moore as being
"sterling". Neal Gabler and Jeffrey Lyons at the TV-show
Sneak Previews praised the film and said "Octopussy
delivers" and "The nice thing about Octopussy is that it's
going back-to-basics, less gadgets, more hand-to-hand combat. It's
more of an adventure movie in a more traditional sense and I like it
for that". Danny Peary wrote that Octopussy "has slow
spots, little humour, and villains who arent nearly of the
calibre of Dr. No, Goldfinger, or Blofeld. Also, the filmmakers make
the mistake of demeaning Bond by having him swing through the trees
and emitting a Tarzan cry and having him hide in a gorilla suit and
later disguise himself as a clown (whom all the kids at the circus
laugh at). Its as if theyre trying to remind us that
everything is tongue-in-cheek, but that makes little sense, for the
film is much more serious than typical Bond outings in fact,
it recalls the tone of From Russia with Love." Octopussy was
nominated for an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Films Award, with Maud Adams nominated for the Saturn Award in the
Best Fantasy Supporting Actress category. The film won the Golden
Screen Award in Germany and the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing.
CLUB SLIDESHOW DEPARTMENT