This week, we learned that Sir Roger Moore passed away at age 89. Roger Moore starred in seven Bond films, starting with 1973’s Live and Let Die, a hugely successful reboot of the Bond series following the departure of Sean Connery in the title role. By the time For Your Eyes Only hit screens in 1981, Moore was at the top of his game. And so was Bond.
I was ten years old when I finally saw it on video, and For Your Eyes Only instantly captivated and amazed me, and will always be my top Bond movie. And Moore’s portrayal as a calm, worldly, clever and charming MI6 spy was the best rendition of Bond we’ll ever see.
For Your Eyes Only opens with one of the most provoking scenes ever, from Bond visiting the grave of his deceased wife, and departing the grave by helicopter only to face his final confrontation with the free world’s top enemy, the terrorist Blofeld. The devastating scene ends with Bond gruesomely killing Blofeld…as he pleads for his life. This is a ruthless, merciless James Bond, yet a human, scarred Bond.
The plot of For Your Eyes Only builds itself with suspense, from the sinking of the British spy ship St. Georges, Bond’s interactions with the mysterious Greek underworld kingpins Kristatos and Colombo, Bond’s brutal killing of the assassin Locque, his partnership with Melina to recover a top secret defense communications device from the sunken St. Georges, to his final confrontation with Kristatos at a hidden Greek monastary.
Roger Moore brought Bond to life between the movie’s different settings, from the Olympic village in the Italian Alps, the mountains of Greece, to Albania’s Adriatic Sea. While Bond in For Your Eyes Only was equipped with the usual high-tech spy gadgets and vehicles, he was aided more by Moore’s wit, courage and ruthlessness.
And, only Roger Moore could have pulled off the final, puzzling scene in the film, where his utterly calm and rational behaviour set the tone for a final Cold War showdown with his Soviet counterparts, perhaps foreshadowing the upcoming permanent détente between the East and West.
In life, Roger Moore preferred to play down his accomplishments in the James Bond franchise, instead focusing on more worthy contributions he made to society, including his work for UNICEF. However, while Roger Moore may be remembered for much more than James Bond, James Bond will always be remembered for Roger Moore.
Mike Chopowick – May 25, 2017