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A View To A Kill Premiere & Press

21st May 2020

35 years ago this week San Francisco played host to the cast and crew of 'A View To A Kill', unveiling the 14th 007 adventure to the world

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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As a thanks for the city's unprecedented cooperation with the shooting of the 14th James Bond adventure, the premiere for "A View To A Kill" (1985) was held at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts on Lyon Street. On May 22nd Roger Moore, Christopher Walkin, John Glen and the musicians Duran Duran walked the red carpet to the delight of hundreds of fans.

"I suppose the greatest complement that one could pay to another town or city is to say that you treated me like I was at home. Well, you didn't, you're much nicer!" - Roger Moore

B.J. Worth, the skydiving stuntman who joined the Bond family back in 1979, made a leap from a helicopter, touching down outside City Hall, the building seen opening of the epic firetruck chase. Here Roger Moore delivered a speech, thanking the city for their cooperation.

Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who made possible the 007 shoot on location in the iconic city, named May 22nd "James Bond day" and personally hosted a champaign reception with over 1,000 guests.

The festivities then moved to the Palace of Fine Arts where screenwriter Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson and Producer Albert R. Broccoli were early arrivals, followed by Walter Gotel - well known for playing General Gogol, M's opposite number in the KGB - and director John Glen.

Tanya Roberts was unprepared for her warm welcome and the presence of such a loud and boisterous crowd. Upon arrival she made herself scarce. Oscar-winning Bond villain Christopher Walkin and musician-turned-actress Grace Jones joined their co-stars before the boys from Duran Duran were welcomed warmly, with their groupies almost outnumbering Bond fans. Speaking to reporters on the red carpet Simon Le Bon said, "We thought, 'Oh that's a big one,' because you're standing up with all those illustrious stars who've made some very good records. But we couldn't really refuse once offered it, could we?" Speaking about their music video as a pastiche of their earlier videos John Taylor remarked on the choice of location: "It's a play on a scene in the movie. We shouldn't really have to go searching for locations when you've got all the scenes from the movie, so we chose the Eiffel Tower... because it was cheap."

Above: Duran Duran attend the "A View To A Kill" premiere after party.

After guests emerged from the screening they were confronted with eager reporters, desperate to gain a titbit from the new Bond film. The celebrities parted ways, with some attending Grace Jones' invite-only birthday party and others at the Hard Rock Café where the production hosted its own affair.

"I think the enthusiasm is fantastic from everybody... fabulous that everybody has come out to see us." - Grace Jones

A View To A Kill went on general release in the US on 24th May with a PG rating opening with $3,171,665 on 1,583 screens. The 25th saw a 22 percent rise in box office earnings on the same number of screens, giving a two day opening of $7,064,874.

"I've never seen this before. I didn't know what to expect, but from now on, this is what I'll expect." - Christopher Walkin

What The Critics Said: "After the virtuoso opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-which featured Harrison Ford in a tuxedo, and which out-Bonded Bond-how can audiences accept these artless crack-ups and flaccid fisticuffs? Long, long ago, James Bond films had an edge. They were adventure stories told in elegant shorthand-all sleek, ironic, amoral thrills. When Roger Moore lumbered aboard in 1973, they went from the snazziest thrill machines to the flabbiest; they lost their silkiness, their irony and their zip. They went for cheap yucks suddenly-not just bad puns, but slapstick chases and Smokey and the Bandit stuff with sputtering sheriffs.... A VIEW TO A KILL is pure tedium." - David Edelstein The Village Voice

"Entirely forgettable" and "less than dynamic". The effort involved in keeping Roger Moore's 007 impervious to age, changing times or sheer deja-vu seems overwhelming." - Janet Maslin The New York Times.

“In his seventh film as James Bond, Roger Moore seems tired out. A VIEW TO A KILL succumbs to all the cliches and conventions associated with its forerunners but lacks the spirit to compete.

Hollywood Bond productions have come to sacrifice urbanity for exotic stunts and fast action. With the exception of an ingenious plot idea and the unconventional beauty Grace Jones as the Amazonian May Day, the film comes off as an insipid foil for a couple of brilliant stunt sequences.... There are shots in A View to a Kill that make your heart go out to Roger Moore.

In his seventh movie as James Bond, Rog is looking less like a chap with a license to kill than a gent with an application to retire. Moore is an extremely engaging fellow and an admirable professional, but when he turns on that famous quizzical smile, his facial muscles look as if they're lifting weights." - Jack Kroll Newsweek.

"Grace Jones, described as "bizarre, beautiful, masculine, and feminine," steals the show in her second film, the latest James Bond feature, A VIEW TO A KILL. A former fashion model and disco artist, Jones plays Christopher Walken's accomplice, May Day. The two plan to destroy Silicon Valley to gain control of the hightech industry. Bond's mission is to stop them. May Day is a woman who commits murder and makes love with the same degree of passion. The stunning Jones, who designed many of her own costumes for the film, had the chance to display her skills as a kick boxer, as well as her skills as a seductress. Despite the film industry's traditional caution in dealing with interracial intimacy, Jones transcends race in her passionate scenes with two white men." - Jet Magazine

"James Bond just isn't what he used to be. Roger Moore, who portrays 007 once again in this film, is fifty-seven. His face shows a few wrinkles and some of the bounce has vanished from his step. The movie's script appears about as tired as Moore does. A lackluster opening sequence is borrowed almost wholesale from The Spy Who Loved Me, and the film's main action scene doesn't measure up to those from other Bond films. Singer Grace Jones turns in a good performance as a villain, but the movie's other actors don't help the film any. Tanya Roberts plays Bond's love interest with a thick New York accent and struggles with any line over three words long. Christopher Walken is a tad too laid-back in his role as the main villain. Maybe it's time for producer Albert Broccoli to find a young 007, Jr." - Ralph Novak People Weekly

"A VIEW TO A KILL is the fourteenth James Bond film, the seventh starring Roger Moore. Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson and directed by John Glen, the story begins with a familiar ski chase. From there, the plot moves on to pit Bond against villain Christopher Walken who wants to blow up the San Andreas Fault, so Silicon Valley will be swallowed up and he can control the microchip market. Grace Jones plays Bond's bizarre femme fatale in this stale film." - Time

Opening credit sequence in MTV style is downright bizarre and title song by Duran Duran will certainly not go down as one of the classic Bond tunes. With all of its limitations, production still remains a sumptuous feast to look at. Shot in Panavision by Alan Hume, exotic locations such as the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco Bay and Zorin's French chateau are rendered beautifully. Climax hanging over the Golden Gate Bridge is chillingly real thanks to the miniature artists and effects people (supervised by John Richardson). Production design by Peter Lamont is first rate.” - Variety

"A View to a Kill" is nothing if not thorough - it rolls nazism, communism and merger mania into one. In between, the movie follows the usual Bond formula, except the gadgets are a cut less ingenious, the women a notch below stunning, the puns and double-entendres something besides clever. "I'm happiest in the saddle," says Zorin. "A fellow sportsman," says Bond. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. There is some magnificent stunt work, which only underscores how inadequate Moore has become. - New Yorker Pauline Kael

It is less gadget-ridden, and Bond relies more on old-fashioned know-how: trapped underwater in a car, he escapes and breathes through the tire valve while waiting for his would-be assassins to leave. The world's technological advances have caught up with Bond, but they never render him obsolete. The Bond movies operate on a level much deeper than their dazzling surfaces: they represent assurance in a world laden with global anxiety. And not only does goodness win out, it does so with style and humour. The movies are fantasies of idealism in which even the hero's sins are turned into delicious double entendres. "Did you sleep well?" asks Zorin. "A little restlessly," replies Bond after a night in May Day's arms. "But I finally got off." - Macleans Lawrence O'Toole

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