FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (director: John Glen; screenwriters: Richard Maibaum/Michael G. Wilson/from the short stories by Ian Fleming; cinematographer: Alan Hume; editor: John Grover; music: Bill Conti; cast: Roger Moore (James Bond , Carole Bouquet (Melina Havelock), Topol (Colombo), Lynn-Holly Johnson (Bibi), Julian Glover (Aristotle Kristatos), Cassandra Harris (Lisl), Jill Bennett (Brink), Michael Gothard (Emil Locque), John Wyman (Erich Kriegler), Jack Hedley (Sir Timothy Havelock), Toby Robins (Iona Havelock), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Geoffrey Keen (Minister of Defence), Walter Gotell (General Anatol Gogol), John Moreno (Luigi Ferrara), James Villiers (Bill Tanner), Charles Dance (Claus), Paul Angelis (Karageorge); Runtime: 123; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Albert R. Broccoli; United Artists; 1981-UK)
“It’s the only Bond film where M didn’t appear.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The title song is sung by Sheena Easton. It’s the only Bond film where M didn’t appear, as Bernard Lee died in pre-production and was not replaced. For Your Eyes Only ditches its usual expensive sets and high-tech gadgetry and supervillain, and replaces it with stunts, its usual muddled plot line and clunky dialogue. It also has a much too old and flabby Roger Moore as a campy Bond chasing young girls in bikinis who could be his daughter (the old man doesn’t score until the film’s half-way mark, which is hardly keeping up with the Bond tradition). This is Moore’s last time playing Bond.
John Glen (“Octopussy”/”A View to a Kill”/”The Living Daylights”) moves into the director’s seat after being the second-unit director and editor but can’t do much with this myopic Bond except keep it scenic as it jumps around the globe with visually appealing scenes from skiing in northern Italy to scuba diving on Greece’s Aegean Sea. Writers Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson never get a handle on the material, as they rely instead on the usual action sequences to make up for some of the missing formulic ingredients.
The British spy ship St George, equipped with the ATAC communications device (transmits the “fire” order to missile-carrying British submarines), accidently trips a mine while in the Ionian Sea and both the British and Russian seek the valued device. Marine archaeologist Sir Timothy Havelock has been hired by the Brits to search the wreckage, but he and his wife are murdered by helicopter pilot Hector Gonzales, a Cuban hitman, as his pretty daughter Melina (Carole Bouquet) watches aboard the family yacht.
The British Chief of Staff puts Bond (Roger Moore) on the case and he quickly locates Gonzales at a Madrid country club being handsomely paid for his services by a ruthless looking thug and then is killed by an arrow fired by Melina from a crossbow. The two then must make a daring escape in her VW while chased by gunmen in faster cars and who are better armed. Back in London, Bond ID’s the payer as Emile Leopold Locque, a Belgian enforcer last seen in Cortina, northern Italy. Bond ventures there and his agent contact Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno) introduces him to a Greek underworld figure named Ari Kristatos (Julian Glover), who could be helpful in putting the finger on Emile. Kristatos tells Bond that Emile works for rival, Colombo (Topol). Melina arrives in Cortina after lured there by a fake telegram from Bond, and 007 has to save her life from an assassination attempt by motorcyclists. Then Bond is attacked on the slopes by Erich Kriegler (John Wyman), an East German biathlon champion, and a bunch of Emile’s thugs. Bond escapes after killing many of Emile’s henchmen, and heads next for Corfu. There Kristatos points out Colombo (Topol) to him as the one he should assassinate. When another attempt on his life is made, Bond is saved by Colombo’s men who take him to the smuggler’s hideout. With the help of Colombo, Bond tracks Emile down in an Albanian factory and executes him.
Bond and Melina return to the St. George and locate the ATAC, but Kristatos steals it from them and after his unsuccessful attempt to kill them flees with the device to a monastery atop a steep mountain in St Cyril. It’s a mountain fortress known to Colombo, who used it during the war when he teamed with Kristatos as a resistance fighter. Kristatos is waiting there with Kriegler to sell the device to the Russian General Gogol. But Bond, Melina and Colombo’s men manage to kill the villains and Bond throws the ATAC over the mountain before the Reds can get their grubby hands on it and calls that detente.
REVIEWED ON 2/17/2009 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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