Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Spy Who Loved Me, by Ian Fleming

(pb; 1962: tenth book in the original 007/James Bond series)


Less than a year after putting down Emilo Largo’s atomic bomb threat in Nassau (in Thunderball), Bond is pitched against two cruder nemeses, Sluggsy Morant and Sol “Horror” Horowitz in a rundown motel in the Ozarks. Morant and Horowitz are would-be arsonists in an insurance scam. Problem is, they’re also threatening to rape, murder then use Vivienne (“Viv”) Michel, short-term motel clerk, as the scapegoat for the “accidental” blaze.

The story is told through Viv’s eyes. As a narrator, she’s chatty, her backstory taking up almost half of the 131-page novel. When Bond appears to rescue her from her canny assailants, whom she’s been fending off for a better part of a night, it’s not the usual Bond tale, with geopolitical ramifications ensuing if Bond fails; it’s Bond on a more personal level, being an honorable man in a nasty fight.

Good, different take on Bond. Thematically, it reminds me of the short story “The Hildebrand Rarity” (from For Your Eyes Only).

Followed by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The Spy Who Loved Me became a film in 1977. Story- and character-wise, it's way different from its source novel.

Roger Moore starred as James Bond. Barbara Bach starred as Major Anya Amasova. Curt Jurgens played Karl Stromberg. Richard Kiel played the comically villainous Jaws (who appeared in the next Bond film, Moonraker). Caroline Munro played Naomi. Bernard Lee played M.

A light-hearted remake, titled Never Say Never Again, hit the silver screen in 1983. Sean Connery reprised his role as James Bond. Klaus Maria Brandauer played Maximilian Largo. Max von Sydow played Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Barbara Carrera played Fatima Blush. Kim Bassinger played Domino Petachi. Bernie Casey played Felix Leiter. Edward Fox played M.

Irvin Kershner directed the film.

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