Bond is back on planet Earth, but will Mel find detente with the 007 films?
We meet Bond in a rare moment of sombre reflection, visiting his late wife’s grave with a bunch of flowers.
“Awww…That’s the first time they’ve really touched on that,” says Mel. “He doesn’t look very emotional does he?”
Stiff upper lip, old girl.
A priest arrives and tells Bond that his office needs him, just as a helicopter arrives to pick him up.
“He’s been blessed,” says Mel.
I glance up from my notebook at the sheer raw magnetism Roger Moore exudes as a leading man, and I can’t help but agree. But I’m a little surprised to hear Mel say this. I ask her if she means his looks or his acting ability?
She laughs. “No, Mark! The priest just blessed him.” She gestures the sign of the cross at me.
Bond’s helicopter pilot is electrocuted by his headphones, and he is flown over the Thames by remote control. A bald figure with a white cat is controlling the helicopter from his wheelchair. I ask Mel who she thinks it is?
“I don’t know. I don’t really remember these.”
Villain with a white cat, I prompt.
“The White Cat Man?”
The White Cat Man?! It’s Blofeld. Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I thought you might remember him because he’s been in loads of these films.
“I do remember Blofeld.”
What do you remember about him?
“He’s got a white cat.”
Bond has managed to disable the remote control on the helicopter and starts piloting himself. The intro to the Bond Theme is quite funky and 80s.
“It’s like game show music.”
He scoops up Blofeld’s wheelchair, and flies around with him hooked onto the helicopters runners.
“It’s a bit bad he’s doing that to a disabled man,” says Mel.
In his autobiography, For My Eyes Only (B T Batsford, 2001), director John Glen talks about how the movie’s London premiere was for the benefit of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. He says, “One or two critics had pointed out that to kick off the film by scuppering a villain in a wheelchair showed rather poor taste. Of course, that was never intentional and the fact that we had a villain in a wheelchair was just an unfortunate coincidence. There were 30 or 40 disabled guests at the premiere who watched the film from the first two rows in the stalls. I was glad that when that sequence came on, they were the ones who laughed loudest.”
Blofeld is begging Bond to let him go. “I’ll buy you a delicatessen… in stainless steel!” he promises.
“What does that mean?” asks Mel.
I tell her I have no idea.
Blofeld is dropped down a large chimney with a prolonged, “Nooooooooo!”
Mel says, “That was quite funny.”
The titles kick in. For the only time in a Bond movie, the singer (Sheena Easton) appears in the titles.
“I don’t like the way all the guns are pointing at her head.”
Because it looks like she’s being forced to perform at gunpoint?
Violence towards women?
“Yes,” she replies. “I like the name For Your Eyes Only, but there are too many strip clubs called that. It takes the romance away,”
Where have you seen that?
“Newcastle. And in all the wedding magazines I used to buy there were adverts for an erotic photo service called that, where you could get naughty pictures taken for your fella.”
You weren’t tempted…?
In Corfu we meet Mr and Mrs Havelock aboard their boat. Timothy Havelock is an underwater archaeologist who has been asked to help find a sunken British spy ship, which held the ATAC, a device for controlling the British nuclear deterrent. They also, have a talking parrot, called Max.
“I like that bird. If I was an evil genius I’d have a parrot rather than a cat. That’s class. Look at him, he has so much personality!”
Just after their daughter, Melina, arrives the Havelocks are killed by a plane which strafes the deck with a hail of bullets.
“Awww, no.” says Mel as Melina runs over to their bodies, bereft.
Bond arrives at the headquarters of the British Secret Service and flirts with Miss Moneypenny.
“He’s an old man now. Look at him. She’s an old woman too.”
Bond is told by Chief of Staff Bill Tanner that the Havelocks’ assassin was a Cuban called Hector Gonzales. Bond flies to Madrid to interrogate the hit man, and he finds him having a pool party with a bevy of bikini-clad ladies.
“That girl’s got fake boobs,” Mel says.
I didn’t really think about this when she said it, but reading For My Eyes Only, it seems that the bosoms might not be the only thing that’s fake. John Glen talks about “Tula, a model and game-show hostess in her late 20s… When we were filming in Corfu, Roger and I went to a discotheque accompanied by some of the girls and I spent a lot of time dancing with Tula, who I thought was stunning. I knew that Tula’s real name was Caroline, but it came as a considerable shock when I discovered that she’s actually been born Barry.” The IMDb trivia section for this movie says Tula wears a white bikini and the girl Mel noticed seems to be the only one who fits the bill.
Melina Havelock shoots Gonzales dead with a crossbow before Bond gets the chance to question him. They escape together, but Bond’s Lotus explodes when the henchmen trigger the anti-burglar system. They run to Melina’s car, Bond hesitating before getting into her clapped-out Citreon 2CV.
Mel says, “Get in the —-ing car, James. Not everyone drives a Lotus.”
After a short chase, the car is upside down. Some friendly locals help tip it back over, and Bond asks Melina if he minds him driving.
“That poor woman’s never been in that situation before. Cut her some slack”
“There’s never any real excitement in these scenes because he won’t die.”
She might though, I point out.
“But they’re never developed or continued past one movie so there’s no relationship or emotion to it. When they killed M I was gutted, because you really got attached to her over the movies. I just mean it’s not exciting or satisfying because of the inevitability that he will come out on top.”
In Q’s lab Bond sees an umbrella with spikes close over a dummy’s head. “Stinging in the rain?” he quips.
Q says, “That’s not funny, 007.”
“No, it’s really not,” says Mel. “I love Q so much. I wish he was my Grandad.”
Bond jets off to Cortina, in Northern Italy. He is looking for Locque, whom he saw at Hector Gonzales’ house. We are introduced to Ari Kristatos, Bond’s contact, and his young ice-skating protege, Bibi Dahl. Kistatos proudly tells Bond of Bibi’s innocence.
Mel says, “They’ve pointed out she’s a virgin, so obviously James Bond will sleep with her.”
I ask why she thinks this.
“He’ll see that as a challenge, putting his mark on her. They brought it up, if it didn’t mean anything they wouldn’t say it.”
“He goes around doing stupid, ridiculous stuff that he thinks makes him look good. Meeting randomers and sleeping with them, and then he moves on. It’s weird, I don’t know why people like it.”
Why do you think people like it?
“Because men like to think they could somehow live a life like that, full of gadgets and women, with no responsibility. Like, he never has to go to Tesco and do the food shopping.”
That’s not responsibility! It’s just a ball-ache. He’s responsible for keeping Britain safe!
“He doesn’t actually care about that, Mark.”
I think he does.
“He never talks about it. He never sits down and thinks about what he’s going to do. You never see him stressing about having an appraisal with M.”
He has to make split-second decisions, he can’t allow a moment of doubt to enter his mind because the fate of the western world depends on his ability to think under pressure. Would you respect him more if he discussed his sense of duty and patriotism?
She answers,”…Yeah… and if he didn’t sleep with everyone all the time. If I went into work, even if I was an awesome fee-earner making shit-loads of money, and I just slept with everyone all the time, they’d be like, ‘errrr, what are you doing?'”
But that wouldn’t help you in your work!
“It doesn’t help his work.”
It does, because sometimes, in the line of duty, he needs information, or to turn a woman from –
“…being a lesbian…”
– No, from being a baddy, to being good.
“By poking her?”
“Right. I don’t think that’s why he sleeps with most of them.”
We turn back to young Bibi Dahl, who is shyly asking her sponsor if he will ask Bond to take her to a biathlon.
“She’s quite child-like. If he does sleep with her it’s a bit paedophilic,” says Mel.
I say that paedophiles target the pre-pubescent, but the media use it as a blanket term.
“Well, whatever. It’s perverse. She’s emotionally immature.”
Bond meets Melina again. After saving her from some hit men he grabs her arm and pulls her into a sled.
Mel asks, “Why does he have to be so rough with women? ‘Get in!'”
Melina protests too, “You don’t tell me what to do!” She moves to get out of the sledge.
Mel approves, “Good lass!”
Bond pulls her back in. He makes her agree to wait for him in Corfu.
“Then we’ll sleep together,” Mel adds for him.
The sledge driver turns around and says, “Amore.”
“No. No it’s not,” answers Mel.
Back in his hotel room, Bond finds Bibi wearing just a towel. She climbs into his bed and removes the towel.
“Urrgghhh. Oh my God. She’s got so many issues,’ says Mel.
But 007 rejects her advances, throwing her clothes at her and bundling her out of the room.
Mel is astonished, “That actually surprises me! He resisted the bait. I thought he’d be well into that. Tapping that ass. He’s never turned down a woman before! And he’s not a paedophile. He might be a borderline rapist, but he isn’t a paedophile.”
I ask Mel if she thinks more of Bond now?
“Um, only in the sense that I think more of anyone who isn’t a paedophile,”
Would you have thought less of him if he had slept with Bibi?
“No. Because I expected him to.”
So you think more of him because he didn’t?
“I suppose…. but when I think about that logically it doesn’t make any sense. It shouldn’t really be like, ‘he isn’t a paedophile, that’s great!”
I really don’t think she’s supposed to be underage. She has said she’s not a virgin.
“She acts like a nursery child, Mark.”
I think that’s an act for her Uncle Ari [Kristatos].
“It wasn’t then! She impersonates Bibi’s hurt reaction to Bond’s rejection, ‘Do you not like me?’ Don’t you think it’s weird how sexual she is when she’s so young?”
I tell her I always assumed she’s in her late teens.
“But she acts really young and giddy.”
Well, she is American. I joke.
Bond meets Melina in Corfu, and they go to the market for supplies for her ship’s crew. I point out to Mel that she said he never has to do anything as mundane as food shopping, but here he is. After not sleeping with Bibi, he’s proved Mel wrong again!
“I know!” she exclaims.
Bond next meets the Countess Lisl, who works for Columbo; a man Kristatos has said is a villain smuggling heroin into the UK.
“I don’t know how I feel about the cape-thing she’s wearing.”
Bond goes back to her place,
“Here’s the sexy music,” notes Mel.
“What a cheesy scene: the fire, the rug… him.”
The next morning the couple are attacked and Lisl is killed by Locque and a young Charles Dance.
“Another woman dead. This is what he does – get them killed.”
Bond realises that Columbo is good (relatively) and Kristatos is the rogue who is working with the Soviets. He and Columbo raid Kristato’s ship. Columbo throws some pistachio nuts on the deck to, so that when the guards step on them he is alerted to their presence. There’s a cool moment when they both spring out and nearly shoot each other, before letting the relief show on their faces.
“Nearly! I like that. They normally don’t do things like that. That was really exciting. I liked the trick with the pistachios.”
Bond chases Locque up to the cliff-top. Mel describes him as a “little runt.”
Bond kicks Locques car over the cliff edge.
“That was good too. I am enjoying the action scenes in this one more than usual. He’s calmed his daft self down with the cheesy one-liners too.”
Melina and Bond dive down to the British spy ship sunk at the beginning of the film.
“I am surprised that they haven’t slept together yet. Again, this one has surprised me.”
The couple foil an attempt by one of Kristatos’ divers to steal the ATAC; but their boat has been captured by the villain when they return to the surface. They take the device and keel-haul Bond and Miss Havelock. Bond rolls over so that his back hits the coral.
“I quite enjoyed that scene. That was exciting because James Bond got damaged.”
The duo escape, by making it seem like they have drowned. A short while later Bond goes into a confession booth and says, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”
“That’s putting it mildly, 007,” says Q.
“I love it!” says Mel.
Bond has to scale an enormous cliff-face so that he, Melina and Columbo’s men can storm Kistatos’ monastery stronghold.
“This is quite tense. I’m enjoying this a lot more than some of the others.”
I ask if its her favourite Roger Moore film?
“Without a doubt.”
Bond and Columbo are almost ambushed by one of Kristatos’ men. but Melina has snuck in behind him and saves the men.
Mel is impressed, “She was on that wasn’t she? Good lass. Strong. I like her, she’s got her own shit going on.”
Having stopped Soviet General Gogol from getting his hands on the ATAC, Bond and Melina retire to her boat and things take a turn for the sexy.
Mel says, “I hate it when he pulls that face. He honestly fancies himself more than girls he’s with.”
Melina disrobes and says, “For your eyes only, darling.”
Mel retorts, “Love, everyone’s seen his bits.”
As Bond and Melina consummate their relationship, Q and Sir Frederick are setting up a telephone call between Bond and the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
“Oh, here go. More dogging.” Mel is convinced that Moore’s Bond is an exhibitionist who loves people watching/hearing him have sex. But For Your Eyes Only has one more way to confound her expectations. Thatcher ends up talking to Max, the Havelock’s parrot.
“Woo-hoo! No dogging!”
Mel will return… Watching Octopussy.
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