MI6 trawls the archives to see how critics of
the day received Roger Moore's down to earth outing
as James Bond in the 1981 film "For Your Eyes
Time Tunnel: Review Rewind
7th June 2009
New York Times - June 26th,
Forget about the relationship of this planet to the sun. Whenever
possible, summer officially begins with the release of a new
James Bond film - that is, today, with the opening at Loews
State 1 and other theaters of ''For
Your Eyes Only,'' the 12th
in the phenomenally successful series of movies that was initiated
almost 20 years ago with ''Dr.
Nothing else in our popular
culture has endured with such elan as Agent 007, whether
played by Sean Connery, by George
Lazenby (briefly, in
''On Her Majesty's Secret
Service'') or by the incumbent,
Roger Moore. Not the least of the feats of the Bond films
is their having outlived all the imitations, particularly
the Matt Helm and Flint pictures.
''For Your Eyes Only'' is not the best of the series by
a long shot - that would be a choice between ''Goldfinger'' and ''Moonraker'' - but it's far from the worst. It has
a structural problem in that it opens with a precredit
helicopter chase - in, over, around and through London
- which is so lunatic and inventive that the rest of the
movie is hard-put to achieve such a fever-pitch again.
Though Mr. Moore shows no sign of tiring - his Bond retains
an ageless cool that remains outside of time - the screenplay
by Richard Maibaum and Michael Wilson is occasionally lazy,
allowing us fleeting moments of introspection when logic
raises its boring head. One of the secrets of the best
of the Bonds is the manner in which we, in the audience,
are made willing accomplices to illogic.
Above: Carole Bouquet and Roger Moore in "For Your Eyes Only".
''For Your Eyes Only'' is the
first feature film to be directed by John Glen, who has been
the editor and second-unit director on several earlier Bond pictures,
including ''Moonraker,'' for which he directed the spectacular
free-fall fight sequence that opened the movie. Considering Mr.
Glen's experience as an editor, it's surprising that some of
the action sequences in ''For Your Eyes Only,'' especially an
underwater fight between Bond and a villain, both in diving suits,
should be more confusing than suspenseful. In a James Bond movie,
a little ambiguity of this sort is much too much.
Most of the time, though,
''For Your Eyes Only'' is a slick entertainment in which
Bond's mission is to locate a sunken British
spy ship, one that contains some potentially lethal equipment
sought by the Russians and that went down perilously close to
the coast of Albania. The film, which was shot on location in
Greece, Corfu and the Italian Alps, contains a great deal of
natural scenery in which Bond swims, dives, skis, drives, falls
and flies, and from which he emerges never scratched so badly
that he can't carry on.
''For Your Eyes Only''
is not the spaced-out fun that ''Moonraker'' was, but
its tone is consistently comic even when the material is
It has no villains to match Goldfinger or Jaws, but it
has one of the most appealing leading ladies of any Bond
picture. She is Carole
Bouquet, the tall, dark-haired
beauty who played one-half of the title role in Luis Bunuel's
''That Obscure Object of Desire.''
The supporting cast includes Topol, who still can't resist
playing cute when straight would be better; Lynn-Holly
Johnson as a champion ice skater, which she is; Julian
Glover as the principal bad guy, and Michael
gives a new, evil connotation to the wearing of octagonal-shaped
The film's very funny postscript introduces
one of Britain's most famous married couples, played wickedly
by John Wells and Janet Brown. And Maurice Binder's opening titles,
always one of the fancier features of the Bond movies, are still
Variety - June, 1981
For Your Eyes Only bears not the slightest resemblance to the Ian Fleming novel
of the same title, but emerges as one of the most thoroughly enjoyable of the
12 Bond pix [to date] despite fact that many of the usual ingredients in the
successful 007 formula are missing.
The film is probably the best-directed on all levels since
On Her Majesty's Secret Service, as John Glen, moving into
the director's chair after long service as second unit
director and editor, displays a fine eye.
Story also benefits from presence of a truly sympathetic
heroine, fetchingly portrayed by Carole Bouquet, who exhibits
a humanity and emotionalism not frequently found in this
sort of pop adventure and who takes a long time (the entire
picture, in fact) to jump into the sack with him.
M is gone, due to Bernard Lee's death; Bond doesn't make
his first feminine conquest until halfway through the picture;
there's no technology introduced by Q which saves the hero
in the end; no looming supervillain dominates the drama;
Bond bon mots are surprisingly sparse, and the fate of
the whole world isn't even hanging in the balance at the
Time - June 29th,
This is the age of the machine-made movie. Hollywood, once called
the dream factory, is now in the recycling business. George Lucas
compresses old movie serials into Star Wars and Raiders of the
Lost Ark. Brian De Palma and a dozen other directors pay homage
to (read: steal shamelessly from) the films of Alfred Hitchcock.
Albert R. Broccoli is the same but different: Since Dr. No, the
producer's first James Bond movie, in 1962, he has remade his
own picture eleven times. To evaluate For Your Eyes Only and
the other Bond movies, it helps to think of them not as, say,
different vintages of a fine Bordeaux but as successive models
off the Pontiac assembly line. In one vehicle there may be an
annoying ping in the engine of narrative; in another the dialogue
may be as sleek as Genuine Corinthian Leather. But all meet the
same standards of speed, styling and emotion control. If there
is no Rolls-Royce in the Bond series, there is also no Pinto.
Once again Bond matches
wits with nasty men and lips with shady ladies. Once again
his work takes him to a bunch of tony vacation spots (the
Dolomites, Corfu, Spain, Albania, Moscow in winter). Once
again the fate of the world is threatened by—what
is it this time?—a
nuclear-sub tracking system that
has fallen into enemy hands, and can be saved by one lone
agent working for an empire over which the sun set long
This is all standard equipment, but the technicians responsible
for the Bond films' felicities—car chases, aerobatics,
all the sophisticated paraphernalia of Saturday-matinee
thrills—have devised some splendid optional features
for For Your Eyes Only. There is a funny-brutal pentathlon
of alpine sports: cross-country skiing with hired assassins;
a two-man ski jump with the competitors gouging each other
in midair; downhill racing at gunpoint; a bobsled run on
skis; ice hockey using players as pucks. Director Glen
has kept the plot moving briskly, and, in several action
sequences, clipped a frame or two from within a shot to
increase the impact.
With prominent display of Bond's Lotus
Esprit Turbo, a Neptune
two-man submarine and a "Jim" diving
suit, For Your Eyes Only is an accumulation of gadgets and brand
names—a Radio Shack of a boy wizard's dreams.
At the end one must remind oneself that human
beings—actors, actually—are also involved in the
enterprise. Carole Bouquet (23, long dark hair, Aegean-blue eyes,
lissome frame) is the love interest, and more: a warrior goddess
who saves Bond's life at least as often as he saves hers, and
a welcome addition to this summer's gallery of can-do heroines.
Topol, as the wily Greek smuggler Columbo, should be in the "Guinness
Book of Word Wreckers"; he is perhaps the first performer
to demonstrate the art of overacting by chewing pistachio nuts.
Then there is Roger Moore, haberdasher's delight
and director's despair. Moore's mannequin good looks and waxed-fruit
insouciance have brought him far in movies; this is his fifth
Bond picture. He can crinkle up a smile, speak Received Standard
English, negotiate a hairpin turn or a femme fatale's proposition—all
the things real people do. But beneath his suave double-entendres
and amplified body blows, one can hear the sound of expensive
gears meshing—for Moore is merely the best-oiled cog in
this perpetual motion machine.
James Bond Time Tunnel
Your Eyes Only -