13. December 2013 14:52
With the news that James Bond is returning to ITV and this year's Christmas TV and Radio Times now on sale, I can't help but think back to the early 1980s when I would be spending this weekend carefully plotting my holiday viewing with a highlighter pen and these two TV Tomes. Making those sometimes difficult choices when there was something I wanted to watch on both BBC1 and ITV at the same time without a VCR... Thirty years ago this weekend, I was 9 years old, and I was highlighting Superman and Revenge of the Pink Panther for Christmas day, and The Spy Who Loved Me for Boxing Day:
Double helping of Bond
In The Spy Who Loved Me (ITV, Boxing Day) Roger Moore as James Bond is engaged in an awesome battle to save the world. Alas, the significance of this struggle is presently overshadowed by weightier matters: the talk is not of the world's prospects of survival, but the more pressing question of who is the best man for the job.
Is it the abrasive Bond of Sean Connery - or the smooth and laconic Bond of Mr Moore?
This year the Bond films have celebrated their 21st anniversary with a double big-screen helping: first, Roger Moore's Octopussy, and now Sean Connery reminding us to Never Say Never Again.
News has even reached Russia, where the Ian Fleming books are banned along with the films. The weekly paper Krokodil published a detailed and satirical history of Bond, with a comparison of the styles of Moore and Connery. The state newspaper Pravda attacked US President Ronald Reagan for his appearance in ITV's autumn show, fames Bond - The First 21 Years. 'Perhaps some people dream of having a Licence To Kill outside of the movies,' said Pravda, in an aside worthy of James Bond himself.
With no love from Russia, Bond is still not short of admirers. Together the rival films cost more than 30 million dollars to produce, but there is no doubt that box-office takings will provide handsome profits.
Photo: A secret agent's life has its compensations, as Roger Moore discovers in the 1977 fames Bond adventure, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me', on ITV, Boxing Day.
For Connery and Moore, it means a topping-up of their millionaire bank balances. Both remain aloof from discussion of their relative merits; neither has ever spoken of :he other's performance as the incredible Bond.
There is a stark difference, though, in their attitudes to the role. Moore, rarely, if ever, caught saying anything serious, rests easy: 'It's just fantasy, just fun. I like to think I'm sharing an adventurous joke with the audience.'
Connery abandoned the part 12 years ago, complaining of the 'Frankenstein monster' he'd created. 'How would you like it if, everywhere you went - at every party, on every street - they all called you James Bond?'
Why did he return to the role? 'Out of curiosity,' he says. 'It was only recently that I reconsidered acting the part of Bond again. And I decided that, if it was worth considering, it was worth giving serious thought to.' His wife Micheline added encouragement, even inventing the film's title.
The Spy Who Loved Me
By the time this film was made, the James Bond series had settled into a predictable but enjoyable mixture of hectic action, big set-pieces and tongue-in-cheek humour. And The Spy Who Loved Me was as lively as any, even if the sum result bore only a passing resemblance to Ian Fleming's novel.
A ski sequence (culminating in a good joke) gets the action off to a fine start.
[2 hours 15 minutes] 1977
The James Bond Film
The Spy Who Loved Me
Top British agent James
Bond is once again called upon to save the world — this time from a shipping magnate named Stromoerg who dreams of destroying the world and creating a new civilisation beneath the sea. This occasion is rather different in that 007 finds himself working alongside an attractive Russian agent named Anya Amasova who similarly has been detailed to foil Strom-berg.
See pages 56 and 57
Oracle sub-titles page 170
James Bond Roger Moore
Anya Amosova Barbara Bach
Stromberg Curt Jurgens
"Jaws" Richard Kiel
Naomi Caroline Munro
Gen Gogol Walter Gotell
Minister of Defence Geoffrey Keen
'M' Bernard Lee
Capt Benson George Baker
SCREENPLAY CHRISTOPHER WOOD, RICHARD MAIBAUM.
FROM THE NOVEL BY IAN FLEMING
DIRECTOR LEWIS GILBERT
[Source: TV Times Dec 17, 1983-Dec 30, 1983, P. 19-20, 56-57, 84]
In the following issue, I was highlighting "Thunderball" for the Bank Holiday Monday, January 2nd.
Photo: Right, Sean Connery is in action in 'Thunderball' (1965) with Martine Beswick.
SEAN CONNERY Regular Bond devotees won't be disappointed with this, his fourth film adventure: it's never dull for a moment. There's the usual preliminary fencing with the main adversary, a welter of fantastic gadgets — plus the famous Aston Martin again — and a plentiful array of Bond beauties.
The final underwater battle is thrilling to watch and will have you on the edges of your seats. Incidentally, this is the story which has just been profitably remade by Connery himself as Never Say Never Again.
[2 hours 20 minutes] 1965
7:00 The James Bond Film
SEAN CONNERY Thunderball
Spectre, the international crime syndicate, is planning to steal two atomic bombs from a Vulcan bomber during a NATO training mission. The bombs will be used to threaten two major cities with annihilation unless the western powers hand over £100 million in diamonds. Spectre chief Emilio Largo has chosen an English health clinic as his base of operations for hi-jacking the bomber. Lippe, Largo's man at the clinic, is then horrified by the arrival there of James Bond, recuperating from an assignment abroad. He tries to kill Bond on an exercising machine. Meanwhile, a mysterious bandaged man goes to a nearby hotel and kills Derval, a NATO observer on the Vulcan mission. The man is an exact double for Derval.
See pages 16 and 31
James Bond Sean Connery
Domino Derval Claudine Auger
Emilio Largo Adolfo Celi
Fiona Luciana Paluzzi
'M' Bernard Lee
Patricia Fearing Molly Peters
Paula Martine Beswick
Felix Leiter Rik Van Nutter
Count Lippe Guy Doieman
Miss Moneypenny Lois Maxwell
'Q' Desmond Llewelyn
Foreign Secretary Roland Culver
Pinder Earl Cameron
Derval/Palazzi Paul Stassino
Quist Bill Cummings
Mme / Boitier Rose Alba
Vargas Philip Locke
Kutee George Pravda
SCREENPLAY RICHARD MAIBAUM, JOHN HOPKINS,
FROM A STORY BY KEVIN McCLORY, JACK WHITINGHAM, IAN FLEMING AND THE NOVEL BY IAN FLEMING
DIRECTOR TERENCE YOUNG
[Source: TV Times Dec 31, 1983-Jan 06, 1984, P. 16, 31, 46-47]