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"I once met a spy who wasn't that into me."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator



The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) is the tenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum.

The film takes its title from Ian Fleming's novel The Spy Who Loved Me, the tenth book in the James Bond series, though it does not contain any elements of the novel's plot. The storyline involves a reclusive megalomaniac named Karl Stromberg who plans to destroy the world and create a new civilisation under the sea. Bond teams up with a Russian agent Anya Amasova to stop Stromberg. Curd Jürgens and Barbara Bach co-star.

It was shot on location in Egypt and Italy, with underwater scenes filmed at the Bahamas, and a whole new soundstage being built at Pinewood Studios for a massive set which depicted the interior of a supertanker. The Spy Who Loved Me was highly acclaimed by critics. The soundtrack, composed by Marvin Hamlisch, also met with success. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards amidst many other nominations and novelized in 1977 by Christopher Wood as James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me.

The novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, was the ninth book in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, first published by Jonathan Cape on April 16th 1962. It is the shortest and most sexually explicit of Fleming's novels, as well as a clear departure from previous Bond novels in that the story is told in the first person by a young Canadian woman, Vivienne Michel. Bond himself does not appear until two thirds of the way through the book. Fleming wrote a prologue to the novel giving Michel credit as a co-author. Due to the reactions by critics and fans, Fleming was not happy with the book and attempted to suppress elements of it where he could: he blocked a paperback edition in the UK and only gave permission for the title to be used when he sold the film rights to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, rather than any aspects of the plots. However, the character of Jaws is loosely based on one of the characters in the book and the paperback edition was published in the UK after his death. A heavily adapted version of The Spy Who Loved Me appeared in the Daily Express newspaper in daily comic strip format in 1967–1968.

The Spy Who Loved Me film in many ways was a pivotal film for the Bond franchise, and was plagued since its conception by many problems. The first was the departure of Bond producer Harry Saltzman, who was forced to sell his half of the Bond film franchise in 1975 for twenty million pounds. Saltzman had branched out into several other ventures of dubious promise and consequently was struggling through personal financial reversals unrelated to Bond. This was exacerbated by the twin personal tragedies of his wife's terminal cancer and many of the symptoms of clinical depression in himself.

Another troubling aspect of the production was the difficulty in obtaining a director. The producers approached Steven Spielberg, who was in post-production of Jaws, but ultimately decided to wait to see 'how the fish picture turns out'. The first director attached to the film was Guy Hamilton, who directed the previous three Bond films as well as Goldfinger, but he left after being offered the opportunity to direct the 1978 film Superman (he was ultimately passed up for Richard Donner). Eon Productions would later turn to Lewis Gilbert, who had directed the earlier Bond film You Only Live Twice.

With a director finally secured, the next hurdle was finishing the script, which had gone through several revisions by numerous writers. The initial villain of the film was Ernst Stavro Blofeld; however Kevin McClory, who owned the film rights to Thunderball forced an injunction on Eon Productions against using the character of Blofeld, or his international criminal organisation, SPECTRE, which delayed production of the film further. The villain would later be changed from Blofeld to Stromberg so that the injunction would not interfere with the production. Christopher Wood was later brought in by Lewis Gilbert to complete the script. Although Fleming had requested that no elements from his original book be used, the novel features two thugs named Sol Horror and Sluggsy Morent. Horror is described as having steel-capped teeth, while Sluggsy had a clear bald head. These characters would be the basis for the characters of Jaws and Sandor.

Since Ian Fleming permitted Eon to use only the name of his novel and not the actual novel, Fleming's name was moved for the first time from above the film's title to above "James Bond 007". His name reverted to the traditional location for Moonraker, the last Eon Bond film based on a Fleming novel before 2006's Casino Royale. However, the credit style first used in The Spy Who Loved Me has been used on all Eon Bond films since For Your Eyes Only, including Casino Royale.

Broccoli commissioned a number of writers to work on the script, including Stirling Silliphant, John Landis, Ronald Hardy, Anthony Burgess, and Derek Marlowe. In the second volume of his autobiography, Burgess claims to have worked on an early treatment for the movie. British sci-fi TV producer Gerry Anderson also stated that he provided a film treatment (although originally planned to be Moonraker) much similar to what ended up as The Spy Who Loved Me. Eventually, Richard Maibaum provided the screenplay, and at first he tried to incorporate ideas from all of the other writers into his script. Maibaum's original script featured an alliance of international terrorists attacking SPECTRE's headquarters and deposing Blofeld, before trying to destroy the world for themselves to make way for a New World Order. However, this was shelved.

Gilbert wanted to fix what he felt the previous Roger Moore films were doing wrong, which was writing the Bond character too much the way Sean Connery played him, and instead portray Bond closer to the books, "very English, very smooth, good sense of humour".

Christopher Wood's proposed changes to Maibaum's draft script were agreed by Broccoli but before he could set to work there were more legal complications. In the years since Thunderball, Kevin McClory had set up two film companies and was trying to make a new Bond film in collaboration with Sean Connery and novelist Len Deighton. McClory got wind of Broccoli's plans to use SPECTRE, an organisation that had first been created by Fleming while working with McClory and Jack Whittingham on the very first attempt to film Thunderball, back even before it was a novel, in the late 1950s. McClory threatened to sue Broccoli for alleged copyright infringement, claiming that he had the sole right to include SPECTRE and its agents in all films. Not wishing to extend the already ongoing legal dispute that could have delayed the production of The Spy Who Loved Me, Broccoli requested Wood to remove all references to Blofeld and SPECTRE from the script.

In the film, Stromberg's scheme to destroy civilisation by capturing Soviet and British nuclear submarines and have them fire intercontinental ballistic missiles at two major cities is actually a recycled plot from a previous Bond film, You Only Live Twice, which involved stealing space capsules to start a war between the Soviets and the Americans. The similarity was apparent in the climax; both films involved an assault on a heavily fortified enemy that had taken refuge behind steel shutters.

The scheme in which the villain wishes to destroy mankind to create a new race or new civilisation was also used in Moonraker, the next film after The Spy Who Loved Me. In Moonraker, the villain Hugo Drax had an obsession with starting human civilisation over again on Earth, using specially chosen "superior human specimens" based in space. The film Moonraker was also written by Christopher Wood.


Entertainment Earth



Nobody does it better than Bond, and he proves it once more in this explosively entertaining adventure that takes him from the Egyptian pyramids to the ocean floor to a gravity-defying mountaintop ski chase! Roger Moore brings inimitable style to Agent 007 as he teams with beautiful Russian Agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) to stop the megalomaniac Stromberg (Curt Jurgens) from unleashing a horrific scheme for world domination. But as the countdown to nuclear armageddon begins, Bond must first battle Jaws (Richard Kiel), a seemingly indestructible steel-toothed giant!
Add The Spy Who Love Me to your DVD collection.




The film was shot at the Pinewood Studios in London, Porto Cervo in Sardinia (Hotel Cala di Volpe), Egypt (Karnak, Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Gayer-Anderson Museum, Abu Simbel temples), Malta, Scotland, Hayling Island UK, Okinawa, Switzerland and Mount Asgard on Baffin Island in the then northern Canadian territory of Northwest Territories (now located in Nunavut).

As no studio was big enough for the interior of Stromberg's supertanker, and set designer Ken Adam did not want to repeat what he had done with SPECTRE's volcano base in You Only Live Twice – "a workable but ultimately wasteful set" – construction began in March 1976 of a new sound stage at Pinewood, the 007 Stage, at a cost of $1.8 million. To complement this stage, Eon also paid for building a water tank capable of storing approximately 1,200,000 gallons (4,500,000 litres). The soundstage was in fact so enormous that celebrated director Stanley Kubrick visited the production, in secret, to advise on how to light the stage. For the exterior, while Shell was willing to lend an abandoned tanker to the production, the elevated insurance and safety risks caused it to be replaced with miniatures built by Derek Meddings' team and shot in the Bahamas. Stromberg's shark tank was also filmed in the Bahamas, using a live shark in a saltwater swimming pool. Adam decided to do experiments with curved shapes for the scenery, as he felt all his previous setpieces were "too linear". This was demonstrated with the Atlantis, which is a dome and curved surfaces outside, and many curved objects in Stromberg's office inside. For Gogol's offices, Adam wanted an open space to contrast M's enclosed headquarters, and drew inspiration from Sergei Eisenstein to do a "Russian crypt-like" set.

The main unit began its work in August 1976 in Sardinia. Don McLaughlan, then head of public relations at Lotus Cars, heard that Eon were shopping for a new Bond car. He drove a prototype Lotus Esprit with all Lotus branding taped over, and parked it outside the Eon offices at Pinewood studios; on seeing the car Eon asked Lotus to borrow both of the prototypes for filming. In October, the second unit travelled to Nassau to film the underwater sequences. To perform the car becoming a submarine, seven different models were used, one for each step of the transformation. One of the models was a fully mobile submarine equipped with an engine built by Miami-based Perry Submarines. During the model sequences, the air bubbles seen appearing from the vehicle were created by Alka-Seltzer tablets. The car seen entering the sea was a mock-up shell, propelled off the jetty by a compressed air cannon.

In September, production moved to Egypt. While the Great Sphinx of Giza was shot on the location, lighting problems caused the pyramids to be replaced with miniatures. While construction of the Liparus set continued, the second unit headed by John Glen departed for Mount Asgard, where in July 1976 they staged the film's pre-credits sequence. Bond film veteran Willy Bogner captured the action staged by stuntman Rick Sylvester who earned $30,000 for the stunt. This stunt cost $500,000 – the most expensive single movie stunt at that time.

The production team returned briefly to the UK to shoot at the Faslane submarine base before setting off to Spain, Portugal and the Bay of Biscay where the super tanker exteriors were filmed. On December 5th 1976, with principal photography finished, the 007 Stage was formally opened by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

The theme song "Nobody Does it Better" was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, written by Carole Bayer Sager, and performed by Carly Simon. It was the first theme song in the James Bond series to be titled differently from the name of the movie, although the title is in the lyrics.

The song met immediate success and is featured in numerous movies including Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Little Black Book, Lost in Translation and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). In 2004, it was honoured by the American Film Institute as the 67th greatest song as part of their 100 Years Series.

The soundtrack to the movie was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, who filled in for veteran John Barry, who was unavailable to work in the United Kingdom because of tax reasons. The soundtrack, in comparison to other Bond films of the time, is more disco-oriented and included a new disco rendition of "The James Bond Theme" entitled "Bond 77". In addition, Hamlisch incorporated several pieces of classical music into his score. For instance, while feeding a duplicitous secretary to a shark, Stromberg plays Bach's "Air on the G String", which was famous for accompanying disaster-prone characters. He then plays the opening string section of the second movement, Andante, of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 as his hideout Atlantis rises from the sea. The score also includes a piece of popular film music, as Maurice Jarre's theme from Lawrence of Arabia is played during a desert sequence.

The Spy Who Loved Me opened with a Royal Premiere attended by Princess Anne at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on July 7th 1977. It grossed $185.4 million worldwide, with $46 million in the United States alone. On 25 August 2006, the film was re-released at the Empire Leicester Square Cinema for one week. It was again shown at the Empire Leicester Square 20 April 2008 when Director Lewis Gilbert attended the first digital screening of the film.

The film was received positively by most critics and is Roger Moore's favourite Bond film, and many reviewers consider it the best instalment to star the actor. Good news for Moore who's first two Bond films were not that well received. Christopher Null praised the gadgets, particularly the Lotus Esprit car. James Berardinelli of Reelviews said that the film is "suave and sophisticated", and Barbara Bach proves to be an ideal Bond girl – "attractive, smart, sexy, and dangerous". Danny Peary described The Spy Who Loved Me as "exceptional ... For once, the big budget was not wasted."

Marvin Hamlisch was nominated for several awards such as the Academy Award for Best Song, Original Music Score, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, Grammy Award for Best Score for a Motion Picture and the BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music ("Nobody Does It Better") in 1978. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont and Hugh Scaife) and a BAFTA for Best Production Design/Art Direction

The end credits state "James Bond Will Return in For Your Eyes Only", but following the success of Star Wars, the originally planned For Your Eyes Only was dropped in favour of the space-themed Moonraker for the next film.

When Ian Fleming sold the film rights to the James Bond novels to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, he gave permission only for the title The Spy Who Loved Me to be used. Since the screenplay for the film had nothing to do with Fleming's original novel, Eon Productions, for the first time, authorised that a novelization be written based upon the script. This would also be the first regular Bond novel published since Colonel Sun nearly a decade earlier. Christopher Wood, who co-authored the screenplay, was commissioned to write the book titled James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me.

The novelization and the screenplay, although both written by Wood, are somewhat different. In the novelization, SMERSH is still active and after James Bond. Their role begins during the pre-title. After the mysterious death of Fekkish, SMERSH appears yet again, this time capturing and torturing Bond for the whereabouts of the microfilm that retains plans for a submarine tracking system (Bond escapes after killing two of the interrogators). The appearance of SMERSH conflicts with a number of Bond stories, including the film The Living Daylights (1987), in which a character remarks that SMERSH has been defunct for over 20 years. It also differs from the latter half of Fleming's Bond novels in which SMERSH is mentioned to have been put out of operation. Members of SMERSH from the novelization include Amasova and her lover Sergei Borzov as well as Colonel-General Niktin, a character from Fleming's novel From Russia, with Love who has since become the head of SMERSH. In the book, Jaws remains attached to the magnet that Bond dips into the tank, as opposed to the film where Bond releases Jaws into the water.


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