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Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Roger Moore as Bond, James Bond

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CHICAGO – “Shaken, Not Stirred.” “Bond, James Bond.” “Jaws.” All the Bond iconography was celebrated by the actor who portrayed him in the most films, and the longest time period. Sir Roger Moore brought a suave and quipping JB to the filmgoers of the 1970s and ‘80s, so the film writers of HollywoodChicago.com – Jon Espino, Patrick McDonald and Spike Walters – bring essays in honor of their favorite Roger Moore Bond films.

Roger Moore Strikes a Familiar Pose as James Bond
Photo credit: Eon Productions

The roguish Moore portrayed Britain’s most famous spy with a air of sophistication and humor, eschewing the harder edge that the first Bond, Sean Connery, had established. From the first film, “Live and Let Die” (1972) to 13 years later with “A View to a Kill,” Moore defined Bond for a generation of 1970s and ‘80s filmgoers. Read the full HollywoodChicago.com obituary by clicking here.

Jon Espino, Patrick McDonald and Spike Walters have their own favorite Roger Moore as James Bond films, and offer mini-essays on “The Spy Who Loved Us.”

StarFOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) by Jon Lennon Espino

For Your Eyes Only
Photo credit: Eon Productions

Roger Moore will always be remembered as a great actor, but to many he will be fondly looked back on as the greatest James Bond in the film universe. He’s had some iconic moments in those films, many of which have become part of pop culture lexicon and are still frequently emulated today. “For Your Eyes Only” is his greatest entry in the franchise because it is the first of his Bond films to successfully strike a balance between some of the more ridiculous elements his portrayal was known for, and the more serious approach to the character that his predecessor Sean Connery established. After the cinematic lunacy known as “Moonraker,” the spy franchise needed to be brought back down to Earth. The flights of fancy in the beginning of Moore’s tenure were undeniably enjoyable, and provided a nice change up to Connery’s seriousness. “For Your Eyes Only” provided enough grounding to keep the franchise realistic, but offered a healthy dose of camp to keep fans entertained. Also, this film had something very few other Bond films have had up to that point – a well-developed, strong female character. Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet). Havelock was a complex character with motivations of her own, and as Bond’s counterpart she provided a counterbalance by giving the film the serious tone that made it successful.

MOORE BONDING: See the hockey fight and the “Zamboni Death.”

StarMOONRAKER (1979) by Spike Walters

Photo credit: Eon Productions

I’m certainly not going to argue that “Moonraker” stands atop as the best of Roger Moore’s seven Bond films. However, I will argue that it contains one of the best, and gloriously goofy set pieces in the entire franchise. Its opening scene involves the impeccably turtlenecked Moore battling a poorly mustachioed bad guy aboard a private plane. Then he’s thrown out of the plane and has to fight with returning villain “Jaws” over a parachute while hurdling to earth. “Moonraker” contains all the hallmarks of Roger Moore’s Bond era. It doesn’t make a lick of sense – where exactly was this mountain of a man hiding in such a small plane? The overhead bin? – and Moore keeps an eyebrow permanently arched in closeups, while smirking in front of a green screen at the ridiculousness of it all. But damn if it isn’t one of his most entertaining turns as 007.

MOORE BONDING: Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence: “My God, what’s Bond doing?” Q: “I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.”

StarTHE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) by Patrick McDonald

The Spy Who Loved Me
Photo credit: Eon Productions

“The Spy Who Loved Me” was a prime example of “you can’t go home again.” This was the first Bond film I recalled seeing at the movies the year it was released, and I remembered being enthralled by the excitement of it all… the introduction, if you will, to the James Bond tradition. But after that amazing song and title sequence (“Nobody Does it Better,” sung by Carly Simon), when I recently rewatched the film, the whole thing falls apart once the song faded. And the less said about the acting of Barbara Bach (Mrs. Ringo Starr), as barely-holding-onto-an-accent Russian agent “Triple X,” the better for everyone… she looked and acted like she was drugged. But anyway, it was Sir Roger Moore, it was the introduction of supervillain “Jaws” (the great Richard Kiel) and it was exotic in its locales (Cairo, anyone?). But besides that Mrs. Lincoln, I think I need to watch the whole series and decide once again. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

MOORE BONDING: That goddamn opening title sequence. “Like heaven above me/The Spy Who Love Me/Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight…”

Sir Roger Moore, 1927-2017

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2017 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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