Production Notes - For Your Eyes Only

Although "Moonraker" (1979) had been another huge hit for EON, their biggest in fact since "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971), as the series headed into its third decade, a rethink was clearly called for. While "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) and "Moonraker" had been huge commercial successes, the franchise had gone about as far as it could in the direction of gadget-laden spectacle. And critical notices, particularly for Moonraker, had been far from favourable.

Above: Roger Moore as James Bond

Michael G. Wilson, who had been made an executive producer on "Moonraker", was having more creative input in the series now and felt that the time had come for Bond to be a more human figure, less reliant on gadgets and toys and, reminiscent of the Connery Bond, more reliant on his wits. To this end, Wilson was to collaborate closely with Richard Maibaum on the new script which took its title and some of the characters from the short story For Your Eyes Only, other characters and situations from Risico, another story from the same collection, and the keel-hauling scene from Live and Let Die.

But while Maibaum and Wilson knocked the script into shape, producer Albert Broccoli had a major problem to contend with - despite his apparent enthusiasm to stay with the series after "The Spy Who Loved Me", Roger Moore was now making noises to the contrary. In July 1980, Moore had attended a press conference for his latest film, "The Sea Wolves", and it was widely reported that he told the press that he would no longer be playing Bond.

Broccoli set about trying to persuade his star to make at least one more film and began looking around for a replacement, just in case. Michael Jayston seemed to be the most likely candidate at the time and would indeed play Bond - but not until ten years later when BBC radio did an adaptation of You Only Live Twice.

Moore's indecision was to prove a baptism of fire for John Glen, a long time series editor and second unit director who was here making his debut as director. Planning ahead, he mapped out a pre-credits sequence that would serve to introduce audiences to the new Bond should it become necessary - it would feature Bond visiting his wife's grave with flowers before being menaced by an unnamed bald man with a white cat... The villain was clearly meant to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but the ongoing legal situation with Kevin McClory ensured that the character never be named or properly seen.

The sequence was to remain in the film, despite Moore's change of heart. In September, Broccoli and representatives from United Artists met with Moore and agreed a substantial increase in the actor's salary. But Moore was to remain uneasy about the new, tougher Bond he was being asked to play.


Above: The leading ladies of "For Your Eyes Only - Carole Bouquet (top) and Cassandra Harris.

It was second time lucky for Moore's co-star Carole Bouquet. She had auditioned for the part of Holly Goodhead in "Moonraker", only to lose out to model-turned-actress Lois Chiles. This time she was offered the part of the vengeful Melina Havelock, tracking down her parents killers armed with a crossbow.

Above: Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl entertains 007 on the slopes.

Also luckier this time was Julian Glover who had been shortlisted as a potential Bond during the search for a new 007 that took place prior to "Live And Let Die". Here he appeared on the wrong side of the law, playing the villainous Kristatos, while Bond's ally, Columbo, was played by Oscar winner Chaim Topol.

Lower down the cast list was Cassandra Harris, an Australian actress who had been cast as Countess Lisl Von Schlaf. She unwittingly played a key role in the future of the Bond film series when she brought her fiance to lunch one day to meet Broccoli - a struggling young actor named Pierce Brosnan. It was the first time the two men had met. It wouldn't be the last.

Although both Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell were to return in their familiar roles, one familiar face would be missing this time. By the time shooting began at Pinewood, Bernard Lee had been struck down with stomach cancer and was in the Royal Free Hospital in London. He was to die there on 16 January 1981. As a mark of respect, all of M's dialogue was split between Q, the Minister of Defence (played by Geoffrey Keen) and Bill Tanner (James Villiers). Tanner had been a regular character in Fleming's novel, acting as M's chief of staff and although he made a a brief uncredited appearance in "The Man With The Golden Gun", this would be the first substantial on-screen role for the COS.

On 15 September 1980, the cast and crew began work at the Villa Sylva at Kanoni in Corfu, the first day of a five week shoot on the island. The main unit then set off for Kalambaka on the Greek mainland to shoot in and around the spectacular monastery that sits on top of a virtually sheer column of rock. The crew were far from welcome however, the monks who still lived in the neighbouring monastery of Meteora taking great exception to the crew's presence. They complained to EON that Bond's reputation for indiscriminate sex and violence was an affront to the ancient monastery and demanded that filming be halted. On 17 October, the monks closed their monastery to the public and sent letters of protest to the Greek government and to the head of the Greek Orthodox Church. They even resorted to hanging their laundry out of the windows in an attempt to ruin the shots.


Above: Julian Glover as the central villain Kristatos (top) and his cold-blooded assassin Emile Locque, played by Michael Gothard.

But filming progressed regardless with Bond veteran Rick Sylvester (who had performed the parachute jump at the beginning of "The Spy Who Loved Me") leading his stunt team on the difficult and dangerous assault on Kristatos' stronghold.

The crew returned to Pinewood at the end of 1980 where Peter Lamont had been constructing his interior sets. Lamont had been Ken Adam's art director and had worked on the Bond films since the exterior of Fort Knox in "Goldfinger" (1964) and later, "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1975). His work scaled down the excesses of Adam's vast interiors and reflected the more down to earth, grittier feel that Broccoli and Wilson were pursuing.

By the end of January, the main unit was overseas again, in northern Italy, where they were filming ski scenes in Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomite mountains. Glen must have suffered a heart- stopping moment of deja vu when he arrived on the location and found the nightmare of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) repeating itself all over again - just as the snow had deserted his second unit in Muren, Switzerland, so he arrived in Italy to find that unusually mild conditions leaving him with no choice but to bus in truckloads of snow from neighbouring areas.

But things were going to get a lot worse than that. Shooting went smoothly enough in Italy until, in February, on the very day of shooting, tragedy struck. The crew had been shooting the last scenes of the bobsleigh chase between Bond and Kriegler's henchmen when one of the sleighs, driven by stuntman Paolo Rigon, overturned. The sleigh careered dow the run with Rigon trapped beneath it. The stuntman died of the injuries he received during the accident.

A separate underwater unit had been put together under the supervision of Al Giddings and it spent some time in the 007 tank at Pinewood before heading off for the warmer climes of the Bahamas. It was down to Giddings to help Glen oversee the keel-hauling scene which had originally appeared in Fleming's Live and Let Die and which had been proposed for a number of films. No-one had ever attempted it, however, due to the difficulties involved in shooting a sequence that was shot partly underwater and partly on the surface. Glen said, "It's a scene which no-one really wanted to shoot, except for Cubby... It was very difficult to control... It was the highest (cost) of the Bahaman operation, running something like $2,700 per foot."


As principal photography came to an end, Maurice Binder set about creating his main title sequence - but this time he did something slightly different and featured the performer of the title song, Sheena Easton, in the title sequence itself. No other singer had thus far appeared on screen. Also appearing in the title sequence was model Perri Small whose real name, Penelope Smallbone, would be appropriated by the crew and used as a character in the next film in the sequence,"Octopussy".

24 June 1981 marked the premiere of "For Your Eyes Only" at the Odeon, Leicester Square. It was attended by the Prince of Wales and his then fiance Lady Diana Spencer and was held for the benefit of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. There were more than a few comments about the apparent insensitivity, in this context, of the opening scene featuring a madman in a wheelchair... Though the film did well enough at the box office (its worldwide gross reached $195,300,000) but in America, admissions had slipped to 19.8 million, almost six million down on "Moonraker".