Exactly on July 7, 1977 (7.7.77) was released in London 007 – The Spy Who Loved Me, the 10th James Bond film, and the third starring Roger Moore. The film’s success helped define the legacy of one of cinema’s most beloved characters.
In the spring of 1975, producers Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman together with the director Guy Hamilton, began production on the tenth James Bond film. For the first time, the producers only had the title, as Ian Fleming I didn’t want the plot of the book to be used for a movie. Many screenwriters worked on the development of the story, among them Richard Maibaum, Anthony Burgess and John Landis.
007 – The Spy Who Loved Me was the first film in which Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli produced alone, without the presence of the partner Harry Saltzmanwho, due to unsuccessful investments and to avoid bankruptcy, was forced to sell his share of EON Productions to United Artists that year.
The series of disagreements and negotiations delayed pre-production on the film, and caused Guy Hamilton abandoned the project. Alone, cubby resorted to Lewis Gilbert, who a decade earlier had directed Com 007 You Only Live Twice. To finish the script, Gilbert brought aboard the production Christopher Woodand John Glen took over as feature editor and additional unit director. Gilbert also featured a key element in the script, with Bond killing Anya Amasova’s lover, thus helping to create a solid story that underpinned the action.
The renowned German actor Curt Jurgenswho had previously worked with Lewis Gilbert previously, took the role of the villain Karl Stromberg, while the unknown Richard Kiel gave life to the scary and at the same time charismatic Jaws, who in Brazil became known as Steel Teeth. Although Fleming would not have allowed the plot of the book to be put on screen, the character Jaws was an adaptation of the henchman Horror, present in the book. For the role of Major Anya Amasova, the filmmakers chose the American Barbara Bachwho had previously worked alongside the former Bond Girls Ursula Andre and Claudine Auger in Italian productions.
The legendary opening sequence was inspired by a Canadian Club TV ad that showed a skier jumping off El Capitan, a 3,000-foot-tall rock formation in California. However, after contacting the skier Rick Sylvester, responsible for the feat, the production discovered that the ad was false. Nonetheless, Sylvester said he would be able to do it for real on Mount Asgard in Canada’s Arctic circle. Despite the bad weather in the region due to low temperatures, the scene was successfully filmed in a single take.
At the EgyptDespite filming at some of the largest temples along the River Nile, the day-to-day necessities of the production were often hard to come by, or looted by the locals. On one such occasion, with no provisions for his crew of over 100, Cubby Broccoli himself took it upon himself to cook pasta for the cast and crew on location.
Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea located west of the Italian peninsula, provided the perfect backdrop for the Director of the 2nd Unit, Ernie Day film the chase with the Lotus Esprit. The Special Visual Effects Supervisor Derek Meddings made a model carcass to be fired at sea from an air cannon. In the clear waters of the Bahamas, three additional cars were responsible for showing the Lotus transforming into a submarine. Perry Oceanographics built a fifth version of the Lotus as if it were a real submarine in the form of an Esprit, for the recordings in Nassau. The scene where the car leaves the sea towards the sand was only possible with the help of a steel cable that pulled the vehicle to finish the scene. Meddings he was also responsible for building models of the super-tank Liparus and Atlantis, the villain Stromberg’s hideout. Both sequences were also shot in the Bahamas.
At Pinewood, the Art Director Ken Adam broke new ground with sets that combined curves with polished metal finishes mixed with gorgeous antiques. However, no studio or location could be found to film Liparus’ interior, so Adam designed a permanent set in Pinewood. Built in just 13 weeks, including the tanker set, 007 Stage became the largest film studio in the world and is a reference in the industry to this day, with several blockbusters shot on location.
Unavailable to compose the soundtrack, John Barry suggested Marvin Hamlischwho decided to create a new hit to continue the style created by Barry. “Nobody Does It Better”Interpreted by Carly Simonwas written by Carole Bayer Sager, and it is a phrase that to this day defines the character. The song ranked 2nd and 7th in the US and UK charts, respectively, and was nominated for an Oscar the following year, along with the score and art direction.
With the biggest budget of a bond by then, Roger Moore’s third Bond film had become a huge box office success and a milestone in the franchise’s history.