Still waters run deep– very. And when they are the crystal clear, piercing blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, what happens beneath the surface is way more important than what happens atop the waves. After a British surveillance ship is sunk off the Albanian coast, MI6 officials realize their newest secret weapon on board – the ATAC (Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator) — has not been destroyed and must be reclaimed. So agent 007 (a slower, but still charming Roger Moore) is called in to retrieve.
Today, a Website would be hacked, codes silently stolen. Thirty years ago, the clunky TDD–like device required the utmost security: an officer handcuffed to the controls at all times. Coded transmissions from the ATAC could order submarines to launch ballistic missiles. No wonder the KGB – and others — will stop at nothing to get it.
But salvage is not quite so simple. A scientist and his wife out to locate the wreck, have been assassinated, and the ATAC has fallen “into the wrong hands.” Bond’s perilous search is further complicated by the beautiful Melina (a stoic and fearless Carole Bouquet), daughter of the couple killed, whose need for revenge is exceeded only by her skill with a crossbow. When things turn dangerous, and Bond encourages Melina to let him handle the assassins, the steely and determined daughter adamantly assures him: the Greek “always avenge their loved ones.”
Initially, they have two nemeses. Both are infamous international ne’er-do-wells: a suave and ruthless Aristotle Kristatos (played with perfect aplomb by Julian Glover), and the ironically-nicknamed ‘Dove,’ Milos Columbo, a laid-back, down-to-earth drug smuggler, who becomes an ally to the British superspy. In a warm, smiling, post-‘Fiddler on the Roof’ performance, Topol is a delight.
Along with gadget-equipped Lotus Esprits (2!), the other high-speed pursuit is on skis, complete with aerial acrobatics, marvelous mountain vistas and pulsating music. The best chase of all: through the jungles of Spain, in a bright yellow VW bug-like Citroen– with hairpin turns, lush vegetation, and just enough shotgun fire to keep James, Melina, and the audience on the edge of our seats.
Bond’s other distraction — mind you, by now, Moore is 54 — is ‘Bibi,’ the brazen Olympic ice skater (a pert and seductive Lynn-Holly Johnson). Blonde, energetic, and barely in her 20’s, Bibi unabashedly throws herself at 007, and provides a cheery, welcome distraction.
After plenty of Greek costumes and culture, then scenic scuba diving amongst the ancient ruins and sea turtles, we’re treated to breathtaking backdrops as Bond is ultimately led to an abandoned mountaintop monastery. Along with Columbo and his men, he must carefully climb the enormous, sheer cliffs — the most suspenseful scenes of the entire film. Well worth the treacherous way to the summit, the view from the top is part armed thugs, part spectacularly unspoiled Greek countryside; and soon after, bodies flying through the serene, stained-glass windows.
At the movie’s dénouement, Bond offers us his concept of “détente.” Worth noting, is how far NATO-Russian relations have come; but in this age of Internet-accessible everything, can anything truly be kept — for your eyes only?
by Caren Ostrow
Next up in the ‘James Bond Originals’ series at the Colony: “Octopussy.”
|Roger Moore||…||James Bond|
Directed by John Glen.