Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Essential Roger Moore

SIR ROGER MOORE
1927-2017

May 23, 2017 is a sad day for James Bond fans everywhere, as Sir Roger Moore passed away after what his representatives call a "short but brave" battle with cancer. Moore started his career in the public eye as a fashion model in England, before being signed to a contract with MGM. Despite roles in Interrupted Melody (1955) and The King's Thief (1955), Moore did not cherish his time at the studio. He further went on to work under contract for Warner Bros., where his most notable work was a guest star in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the starring role in The Miracle (1959). He truly became noteworthy in television, starring in several television series including Ivanhoe and Maverick, but rose to prominence as the titular character in the weekly spy thriller The Saint in 1962. The show ran for 6 seasons and 118 episodes. After returning to film and television work after The Saint ran its course, he was eventually cast as the next James Bond after Sean Connery finally relinquished the role following the 1970 film Diamonds Are Forever. Moore would debut his version of James Bond, very similar to his portrayal of Simon Templar in The Saint, and would define the role for a generation. Moore went on to play Bond in 7 films, tied with Sean Connery for the most number of appearances in the role. Moore still found time between Bond films for other projects including playing two famous on-screen detectives: Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes in New York (1977) and Inspector Clouseau in Curse of the Pink Panther (1983). His final Bond film was A View To a Kill in 1985 before Timothy Dalton took over the role in 1987 with The Living Daylights. Moore's career slowed down in the 90s and beyond, appearing in films few and far between. He appeared in the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle The Quest in 1996, the Spice Girls parody film Spice World in 1997 and the comedy Boat Trip in 2002 with Cuba Gooding Jr. His last on-screen appearance was a smaller role in a television movie reboot of The Saint. According to his IMDB he also had several voiceover work projects that are still in various stages of production. In honor of Sir Roger Moore, the following are his most essential films.


THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
1977
Directed by Lewis Gilbert

In Moore's best outing as James Bond, he teams with Barbara Bach who plays the mysterious and provocatively named KGB Agent XXX. Together they investigate the disapperance of hijacked nuclear submarines from the UK and the USSR in a joint mission to prevent World War 3. Bond and his newfound ally must escape helicopter attacks, skiing assassins and the evil Jaws, a metal-toothed hitman. This is the film that Roger Moore really defined the role for the next 20 years. From his smug one-liners to his submarine car, to quote the Oscar-nominated song, "nobody does it better." Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including Best Song, Score and Art Direction.

- But James, I need you!
- So does England!

LIVE AND LET DIE
1973
Directed by Guy Hamilton

Live and Let Die marks the beginning of the Moore era.  A lighter, campier, goofier Bond. Each and every Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, has given their own spin and interpretation on the character.  Roger Moore is no different.  Moore’s take on the character is someone with kind of a dark sense of humor.  This being the first of the 7 times he played the character, the camp isn’t quite as over-the-top, but it’s still there. The '70s was full of Blaxploitation films like Shaft and Superfly, and for some reason, someone at MGM thought it’d be a good idea to make a Bond Blaxploitation film.  The results are kind of hilarious, with the word “Honky” being tossed around like it was going out of business, a voodoo witch doctor, and James Bond running around Harlem.

Oh, a snake. I forgot, I should have told you. You should never go in there without a mongoose.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
1981
Directed by John Glen

In this adventure, Bond is in a race against the Russians to recover ATAC, a British-encrypted device that could turn the tide in the Cold War. Along the way, Bond teams up with a Greek knockout named Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), a mysterious woman out for revenge against the people who killed her parents. A bit of a "whose side are they really on" plot unravels, combined with some excellent action sequences, including a mountain climb escape. It also includes Locque, a decent henchman that meets a very satisfying end from Agent 007. One of the better Bond films of the 1980s, boasting a great title song by Sheena Easton, this film would mark the last great Roger Moore Bond film.

- Him? He thinks I'm still a virgin.
- Yes. Well, you get your clothes on... and I'll buy you an ice cream.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
1974
Directed by Guy Hamilton


In this installment of the famous 007 franchise, Christopher Lee is Francisco Scaramanga, one of the most memorable Bond villains of all time. Scaramanga, of course, has plans on world domination, but he is also one of the deadliest assassins on the planet, doing his dirty work with the titular Golden Gun.  Scaramanga uses said golden gun to kill his targets, and he NEVER misses. One shot is all it takes. So, this makes him already one of the best Bond villains ever right? The plot is silly, the action sometimes campy, but the final showdown between Roger Moore and Christopher Lee still ranks highly as one of the best.

- I mean sir, who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?
- Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

Other Notable Films:

INTERRUPTED MELODY (1955)
THE KING'S THEIF (1955)
THE MIRACLE (1959)
THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF (1970)
SHERLOCK HOLMES IN NEW YORK (1976)
THE WILD GEESE (1978)
MOONRAKER (1979)
NORTH SEA HIJACK (1980)
OCTOPUSSY (1983)
A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

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