The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Dealing with financial problems, script problems, and the lose of long time partner Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli is finally able to get one of the great Bond films into the theaters. Roger Moore returns as 007 and teams up with Russian agent Triple X to fight an environmental idealist.
Bond jumping off a cliff
In the northern Atlantic ocean a British submarine is forced to surface. In MoscowGeneral Gogol (Walter Gotell) is told that a Russian submarine has disappeared. The general sends their best agent Triple X (Barbara Bach) to investigate the mission. In LondonM (Bernard Lee) recieves a similar phone call and has James Bond (Roger Moore) called in from the field to work on the mission. In Austria Bond gets the call to come in and skies away from his cabin. Bond is chased by several KGB agents who he kills to escape off a cliff with a parachute.
Bond and the Defense Minister
Bond shows up at the Royal Navy’s control center and reveals, with the help of Q (Desmond Llewelyn), discover that someone has found a way to track submarines by following their wake. The map that helped them prove this was on the black market in Cairo where the Minister of Defense Sir Federick Gray (Geoffrey Keen) sends Bond.
Jaws and Sandor
Meanwhile in Karl Stromberg (Curd Jurgens) home Atlantis he warns his scientists that someone has been trying to sell the plans to the submarine tracker to foreign powers. The guilty party was Stromberg’s secretary whom he feeds to his sharks. When the frightened scientist leave by helicopter Stromberg has them blown up. He then sends Sandor (Milton Reid) and Jaws (Richard Kiel) to recover the plans that have made their way onto the black market.
In the desert of Egypt Bond meets up with an old friend who points him in the direction of a contact in the city of Cairo. At the contacts apartment Bond runs into Sandor. Before throwing Sandor off a building Bond discovers that the contact Bond was suppose to meet is at the Pyramids. That night Bond tries to hunt down the contact but he is killed by Jaws before Bond can find him. On the body Bond finds notebook and Triple X waiting for him. She lets Bond go after he defeats her henchmen.
The next day both Bond and Triple X both attempt to buy the submarine tracking plans from Max Kalba (Vernon Dobtcheff). Kalba takes a phone call but is killed by Jaws who takes the plans from Kalba’s dead body. Bond and Triple X investigate and sneak onto Jaws van. Rigging the back for sound Jaws becomes aware the two agents are in the back with no windows and drives into the desert to some abandoned ruins. At the ruins Bond and Triple X attempt to kill Jaws and take the micro film with the plans on them back. Unable to kill Jaws the two agents make a run for it instead after grabbing the micro film.
After making their way across the desert Triple X and 007 hitch a ride on a boat where Bond takes photos of the microfilm without the knowledge of Triple X. The next day Bond awakens to found out that Triple X had drugged him and escaped with the micro film.
Mi6 and the KGB working together
Bond walks to a secret MI6 base in Egypt. There he finds out that the KGB and MI6 are creating a joint venture to find the missing submarines. With the help of Q they take a detailed look at the microfilm discovering that the plans come from Karl Stromberg. General Gogol and M send Triple X and James Bond together to investigate Stromberg. While on the train Jaws attempts kill both the agents but with luck Bond is able to toss the giant out the window of the moving train. Thankful that he saved her life Triple X sleeps with Bond.
Bond's Lotus Esprit
In Italy Q drops off Bond’s new car the Lotus. Under the guise of a marine biologist Bond receives an invitation to meet Stromberg and is brought out to Atlantis. In the meeting Stromberg tells Bond that Atlantis is the last hope for humanity. Afterwards Bond and Triple X see a model Stromberg had built in full size, the largest tanker in the world. Once the agents leave Stromberg asks Jaws if they were the agents hunting him down. When Jaws confirms it Stromberg orders Jaws and his men to kill the two agents.
In Bond’s new car he is able to escape the vehicle onslaught of Jaws and Stromberg’s henchmen. To escape the helicopter though Bond uses the cars ability to become a submarine. Already underwater the two agents investigate the under side of Stromberg’s Atlantis home and observe a control center with villainous intent. Detected divers and submarines are sent after Bond and Triple X in the submarine Lotus. With the car leaking after the battle Bond drives the car back onto land to safety.
Stromberg's super tanker swallowing a sub.
That evening Triple X discovers that it was Bond that had recently killed her brother in Austria. Loyal to her country she vows vengeance but only after the current mission is over. Feeling that the super tanker needs further investigation the two agents board an American submarine to look at the tanker with out being detected. The super tanker forces the American sub to surface and opens it’s false front to swallow the submarine. Inside the tanker is revealed as a control station for Stromberg and specially made to capture submarine.
When the crew is taken hostage Bond and Triple X try to hide but are discovered by Stromberg. Stromberg reveals his plan to use the submarines to instigate a nuclear war by blowing up New York and Moscow. Stromberg believes that humanity will destroy nature and he must make humanity destory itself so that life can grow inhibited by humans. With the submarines on their way Stromberg takes Triple X with him to Atlantis while leaving Bond to be locked up with the rest of the submarine crews.
Inside the super tanker
Before he can even be locked up Bond escapes and releases the prisoner crews causing an all out war inside the super tanker. With the main loading dock under their control Stromberg’s men lock themselves in the control room. Using a nuclear trigger Bond rigs up a bomb to blast through the wall allowing the American captain to make the two renegade submarines blow up each other. Everyone escapes the exploding tanker in the last submarine which is ordered to blow up Stromberg’s Atlantis. Bond asks for more time and uses a mobile jet ski to get to Atlantis and save Triple X before it’s blown up.
Bond and Triple X enjoying themselves
Once on Atlantis Bond escapes the false door in the elevator and also dodges Stromberg’s dinner table gun. After shooting Stromberg Bond runs into Jaws who is thrown into the shark pit. Bond continues on and finds Triple X as Atlantis begins to sink from being shot by the American submarine. Using one of Stromberg’s escape pods the two agents make it to safety as Atlantis blows up. Triple X forgives Bond for killing her brother as they two of them are rescued. One of the final shots is of Jaws surfacing and swimming towards land.
Albert "Cubby" Broccoli
In 1975 shortly after the release of The Man with the Golden Gun producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman began work on The Spy Who Loved Me. Guy Hamilton was signed on to direct but problems began to plague the producers. Harry Saltzman ran into a large financial problem with the Swiss Banks and his restaurant chains. To get out of debt Saltzman put up his stokes in the Bond franchise production company as collateral for loans from several banks. Unable to pay back the loans Saltzman was being forced to declare bankruptcy taking a portion of Eon Productions with him. This financially tied up the company not allowing it to produce another James Bond film. In the end Saltzman lost all his shares to James Bond leaving Cubby Broccoli the only force behind the franchise.
This was not the end of the troubles for the film however. Within Ian Flemings contract no part of the novel The Spy Who Loved Me could be adapted into a feature film. This forced Albert R. Broccoli to come up with a completely new story for the first time in the franchise’s history. The search for the next Bond story was on. A dozen writers were brought on board to figure out the story including novelist Anthony Burgess of A Clockwork Orange fame and John Landis. With all the troubles with Satlzman and Guy Hamilton being burned out on all the script ideas Broccoli turned to a past Bond director Lewis Gilbert.
With Lewis Gilbert on board the team revisited the script and came up with an idea of a tanker that could swallow submarine. From there the story blossomed. The first idea was to shoot in the far east once again where the team discovered that the Japanese had built an underwater laboratory. It was agreed to make something similar to be the villains lair, a villain who wanted to wipe out humanity in favor of the sea. With an idea in place Gilbert brought on Christopher Wood to make the character of Bond more recognizable as the character is seen in the Ian Fleming novels.
Rick Sylvester testing his jump
With the script still being worked on they still needed a pre title sequence for Bond. It was production assistant Michael G. Wilson that saw a magazine article covering the ski cliff jumping stunt performed by Rick Sylvester. Getting in contact with Sylvester they found out that he had never actually performed the stunt but felt confident that he could and knew where to do it, Mount Asgard. John Glen went with Sylvester to the mountian to do some testing. With test footage in hand they showed it to Broccoli who told them to go ahead and try the stunt. Unfortunately bad weather stop Sylvester form doing the stunt and pressure from the studio began to mount. Broccoli feared that Sylvester had chickened out and wanted to assure the skier that no film was worth him dying. Sylvester reassured that he was just waiting for the right conditions. Finally the storm cleared and Sylvester went for it. Even with five different camera’s shooting the stunt only one got the final shot that made it into the film.
Design's for Jaws teeth
For Strombergs henchmen Broccoli borrowed some ideas from the novel and created Jaws who was named Horror in the book. Richard Kiel was brought in to have lunch with Broccoli for the role. At first Kiel thought the idea was completely absurd but took the job any way. Hundreds of versions of the teeth were rendered before coming up with the final versions. The molds were made of Kiel but were still extremely uncomfortable to wear. In under a minute Kiel would start gagging on the famous props.
For the part of Triple X casting proved to be a little more difficult. For the first time this was a female Russian agent that was suppose to be a good guy and Bond’s equal. On a whim a United Artist’s excutive sent over Barbara Bach for a last second film test. The producers was taken with her immediately and she was hired.
Ken Adams at work
In the original script most of the action was to take place on top of the tanker and not in it and the idea was to use a real tanker to shoot on. But when it was discovered that it was very dangerous to film on the tankers the decision was made to build on themselves. Once again Academy winning designer Ken Adams is brought on board to design the tanker and Atlantis sets.
On August 31 1976 filming started on Ken Adams set of General Gogol office. In September Bob Simmons helps Richard Kiel and Roger Moore to rehearse the fight in the train. Under six foot Bob Simmons was able to successfully be the double for Richard Kiel. The glass in the train that Jaws was thrown through was Bob Simmons diving through real plate glass.
Shooting the Lotus
For the car chase the team was about to get a brand new Lotus for the scene. But when they discovered that they needed a second car they were turned down. In the end the borrowed one from the Chairmen of the Lotus company. To create the effect of the car working underwater several dummy versions of the car had to be made to create the illusion it was turning into a submarine. One of the dummy cars was sent to Perry Submarines in Miami to be turned into a real sub.
The model of the super tanker ended up being sixty five feet long with a forty eight horsepower engine to allow it to work on it’s own and create the same wake, on scale, as real tankers.
Shooting in Cairo the team realized that they could light the Sphinx but lighting the entire Pyramids as impossible. Alan Lamount was brought in as a Visual Effects Creator to create the illusion the lighting the Pyramids for the sequence. A combination of matte painting, optical effects, models and real photography was used to shoot the sequence and give it the proper atmosphere.
During shooting the entire cast and crew complained about the horrible food. Broccoli promised that food would be brought in from England on a large refrigerated truck. However when the truck arrived it was completely empty. Broccoli took it upon himself to find all the ingredients that he could and made the entire staff spaghetti himself and gives everyone a paid holiday.
The newly built 007 Stage
At first a hanger was sought for to shoot the inside the tanker but Broccoli finally decided a new stage would need to be built to house the massive set on Pinewood Studios. Ken Adams helped design the stage so that his set could fit inside perfectly. The idea was to build the inside set as the outside stage was to be built to save time. In the end the new stage became the famous 007 Stage that would be used in countless other films for years.
Photographer Claude Manwa was concerned with the super set and his failing eye sight. The set was so large he was concerned with not knowing how to light the film. Ken Adams also felt concerned and turned to legendary director Stanley Kubrick for advice. Reluctant at fist Adams was able to convince Kubrick to visit the set to help out. For four hours Kubrick and Adams walked around the set working. Kubrick suggested using real flood lights to light the set giving the finished touch to the Academy Award nominated set.
The Spy Who Loved Me premiered on July the 7th 1977 giving the Bond franchise another mega hit across the world. Regarded as one of the best Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me gave the world one of the most recognizable villains to date, Jaws.