Cinema: Perpetual Motion Machine

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FOR YOUR EYES ONLY Directed by John Glen

Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson

This is the age of the machine-made movie. Hollywood, once called the dream factory, is now in the recycling business. George Lucas compresses old movie serials into Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Brian De Palma and a dozen other directors pay homage to (read: steal shamelessly from) the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Albert R. Broccoli is the same but different: Since Dr. No, the producer's first James Bond movie, in 1962, he has remade his own picture eleven times. To evaluate For Your Eyes Only and the other Bond movies, it helps to think of them not as, say, different vintages of a fine Bordeaux but as successive models off the Pontiac assembly line. In one vehicle there may be an annoying ping in the engine of narrative; in another the dialogue may be as sleek as Genuine Corinthian Leather. But all meet the same standards of speed, styling and emotion control. If there is no Rolls-Royce in the Bond series, there is also no Pinto.

Once again Bond matches wits with nasty men and lips with shady ladies. Once again his work takes him to a bunch of tony vacation spots (the Dolomites, Corfu, Spain, Albania, Moscow in winter). Once again the fate of the world is threatened by—what is it this time?—a nuclear-sub tracking system that has fallen into enemy hands, and can be saved by one lone agent working for an empire over which the sun set long ago.

This is all standard equipment, but the technicians responsible for the Bond films' felicities—car chases, aerobatics, all the sophisticated paraphernalia of Saturday-matinee thrills—have devised some splendid optional features for For Your Eyes Only. There is a funny-brutal pentathlon of alpine sports: cross-country skiing with hired assassins; a two-man ski jump with the competitors gouging each other in midair; downhill racing at gunpoint; a bobsled run on skis; ice hockey using players as pucks. Director Glen has kept the plot moving briskly, and, in several action sequences, clipped a frame or two from within a shot to increase the impact. With prominent display of Bond's Lotus Esprit Turbo, a Neptune two-man submarine and a "Jim" diving suit, For Your Eyes Only is an accumulation of gadgets and brand names—a Radio Shack of a boy wizard's dreams.

At the end one must remind oneself that human beings—actors, actually—are also involved in the enterprise. Carole Bouquet (23, long dark hair, Aegean-blue eyes, lissome frame) is the love interest, and more: a warrior goddess who saves Bond's life at least as often as he saves hers, and a welcome addition to this summer's gallery of can-do heroines. Topol, as the wily Greek smuggler Columbo, should be in the "Guinness Book of Word Wreckers"; he is perhaps the first performer to demonstrate the art of overacting by chewing pistachio nuts.

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