For Your Eyes Only

(1981) *** Pg
128 min. United Artists Films. Directors: John Glen, Arthur Wooster. Cast: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Chaim Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover.

/content/films/3249/1.jpgRoger Moore's fifth James Bond appearance, in For Your Eyes Only, was heralded as a return to form after Moonraker. Though hugely successful, Moonraker was also the most outlandish of the Bond stories. The twelfth Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, found veteran screenwriter Richard Maibaum teaming with executive producer Michael G. Wilson to produce a more earthbound script that put the series' trademark wit, women, and song alongside the high-stakes adventure of a more brutal 007.

Bond must recover the ATAC missile launching system before it can be used to destroy Western nuclear subs. Principal Bond girl Melina Havelock (sultry Carole Bouquet) has her own agenda: vengeance for the slayings oher parents. The plot includes a bit more mystery than usual, with Bond sorting out which of two smugglers he should trust: Milos Columbo (a charming Topol) or Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover, who would later appear in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for Bond fans Steven Spielberg and George Lucas). The story combines elements from two short stories from Ian Fleming's collection For Your Eyes Only: the title story and "Risico" (a bit is also cribbed from the novel Live or Let Die).

Sealing the deal of a darker Bond, Moore reluctantly agreed to film a sequence in which Bond unnecessarily (and spectacularly) kills a gunman. Around that defining scene is the usual Bondian fun, including gripping underwater and rock-climbing sequences, a ski sequence, and a cracking car chase, all with inordinately impressive stunt work. As a former editor, first-time director John Glen knows what's needed to create suspense; it's only a shame the film is saddled with a dreadfully dated score by Bill Conti (the catchy theme tune is sung by Sheena Easton).

The film ends with a climactic showdown at one of the series' most novel villainous lairs, an abandoned mountain monastery, but it's the opening scene that takes the cake, with Bond escaping a death trap and turning the tables on Blofeld (identified in every way but name, due to a copyright issue). The scene is both thrilling in its action and absurdly comical, an odd way to start the otherwise carefully balanced Bond outing. The coup de grace is Blofeld's desperate plea for mercy: "I'll buy you a delicatessen—in stainless steel!" Producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli suggested the line, an old-timey reference to stainless-steel deli counter tops being prized Mafia currency.

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Aspect ratios: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio

Street date: 10/21/2008

Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/MGM

Part of the new Blu-ray wave of Bond releases, For Your Eyes Only looks its best in the hi-def format, surrounded by the full suite of extras from the recent DVD Ultimate Edition (with two key featurettes kicked up to full HD!). The image is clear, natural, and detailed, looking exceptionally good for a film of its vintage (nearly thirty years old). As remastered in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio, the film's soundtrack has never sounded so good on home video, but Fox thoughtfully includes the original stereo track for purists.

As with all of the Bond titles, For Your Eyes Only comes with a staggering array of bonus features, including three commentaries. The audio commentary narrated by Bond historian David Naylor gathers comments (recorded separately) by director John Glen, actors Lynn-Holly Johnson and Topol, and publicity director Jerry Juroe. Topics covered include the creation of the opening sequence, the cast and crew, locations and the filming of action sequences, the gadgets, the film’s tone, and the atmosphere on the set. Next up is a commentary, again narrated by Naylor, with executive producer Michael Wilson, skiing expert Willy Bogner, production designer Peter Lamont, 2nd unit director Arthur Wooster, camera operator Alec Mills, assistant Neil Lamont, stunt coordinators George Leech and Martin Grace, composer Bill Conti, and producer’s widow Dana Broccoli. Similar topics are covered from the perspective of the participants. Then there's an entertaining screen-specific commentary with actor Roger Moore. There are some notable gaps in the track, but Moore offers some interesting observations, and who's complaining: c'mon, it's Bond!

Declassifed: MI6 Vault kicks off with Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles, all introduced by Glen The deleted scenes are  “Hockey 007 Style” (1:58) and “Joining Forces” (1:01). “Expanded Angles” offers “Death of Locque” (:44) as the original scene, the expanded angle, or a “multi-angle” screen showing both. "Bond in Greece" (5:56), narrated by Wilson, displays the Greek locations. "Bond in Cortina" (4:18) does the same for the Cortina locales. "Neptune’s Journey" (3:33), also narrated by Wilson, focuses on the underwater photography.

007 Mission Control Interactive Guide comprises "007," "Women," "Allies," "Villains," "Mission Combat Manual," "Q Branch," and "Exotic Locations." Here, we get mostly just excerpted film clips, but of interest are the opening credits without text (2:45) and “Locations” (5:00), narrated by Maud Adams.

Mission Dossier offers "Inside For Your Eyes Only" (29:45 in HD), which includes some archival set footage and interviews with Glen, Moore, Wilson, Lamont, Wooster, Juroe, Dana Broccoli, Topol, Johnson, Grace, Bogner, stuntman Rick Sylvester, special effects engineer Chris Corbould, and special effects supervisor Derek Meddings. Next up are Animated Storyboards for "Snowmobile/Motorcycle Chase" (1:14) and "Retrieving the ATAC" (1:47). Here too is the "music video" for Sheena Easton's title song (basically the title sequence without credits again).

The Ministry of Propaganda section includes a Trailer, three TV Spots, and two Radio Spots. The Image Database includes about 160 shots in fifteen categories.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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