|BlogalongaBond: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 29 October 2011 16:45|
Given the existence of Alan Partridge's BlogalongaBond entry, there's almost nothing left to say about The Spy Who Loved Me. Easily the best of the Moore era, the 1977 epic of silly proportions has nothing to do with Fleming's book (a fascinating female-narrated tale). Instead, it follows You Only Live Twice and throws everything at the screen, from spectacular ski stunts (see George Lazenby's guide to skiing) to submarine-eating tankers and underwater cars.
But alongside the nonsense, (BAFTA and Oscar-nominated) director Lewis Gilbert fashions some impressively serious moments. There's the eerie sequence in the Pyramids, where ancient architecture is overlaid with green lights and loud synths, and the bit where Bond snaps about his dead wife, Tracy. At another point, he casually knocks a guy off a building without hesitation - an unexpectedly cold move that almost tricks you into thinking Roger Moore is a good 007 - providing you've never seen any of his other Bond films.
Apart from the technical brilliance and Roger Moore's surprisingly good performance, The Spy Who Loved Me brought something else iconic to the 007 franchise: Jaws. Richard Kiel's towering villain adds a much-needed sense of danger to events. Even at an interview at Birmingham's The Electric cinema a few years ago, he was intimidating. And that was after he gave someone in the audience a hug.
So it wasn't a surprise to discover this informative pamphlet in my The Spy Who Loved Me DVD box...
How to Be a Bond Henchman
Have a stupid name
No-one will remember you if you don't have a good name. Aim for something short, simple, and familiar. If you can't think of a film reference or an animal-based name ("Mandibles" would be a great henchman), then try a rubbish pun. (Note: A name like "Mr Kil" should only be used if you're really, really desperate.)
Be very tall
Being very tall is vital, especially if you're trying to establish a screen presence on one of Ken Adam's colossal sets. Alternatively, if you're not over seven feet tall, try being very short. Either way, you'll stand out from the crowd. People are terrified of giants. And of midgets too.
Silence breeds tension. Just ask Harold Pinter. If you say nothing, people will find you more intimidating. And if you do your job right, you won't need words anyway. I gave the same advice to Oddjob - and Hervé Villechaize too, but he decided to run around jabbering in a squeaky voice like Jar Jar Binks instead. (Mental note: Suggest a character called Jar Jar Binks to George Lucas or this won't make sense.)
Smiling is good. Not because of the number of muscles it uses, but because people don't like it when other folk are friendly. Robert Shaw's politeness in From Russia with Love made him far more menacing. And a man who actually enjoys biting a shark? Yeah, that's pretty scary.
You've got to be tough if you want to punch James Bond in the face (well, maybe not Roger Moore). So don't feel pain - or just pretend not to. If you get some kind of sadomasochistic pleasure out of pain, that's perfect (see Smiling, above) but make sure you're invincible. Even a ton of scaffolding hitting you on the head shouldn't stop you.
Be very strong
If you can't do this to a van, don't bother applying for the position.
Own something metal
Metal is great. It's shiny. It's hard. It looks cool on your teeth. But if wearing cobalt in your mouth hurts too much (or you can't afford platinum dental work), why not try having a hook for a hand? Or joining a knife throwing act at the circus? Even a bit of steel in your hat can be effective. The important thing is to own something metal - that way James Bond can electrocute you during a fight. He likes doing that a lot.
Be rubbish at driving
No henchman in the history of Bond has been good at driving a car. Or skiing. Or boating. Or any other form of transport. You should know how to accelerate and shoot a gun while operating a vehicle, but skip the lessons about braking or steering. Then you'll get your moment in the spotlight when you crash your car off the side of a cliff.
Don't be afraid to be funny
People like to laugh - especially at Roger Moore. So balance your evil side with a bit of slapstick. Drop a rock on your toes or something, and people will learn to love you as well as fear you. But don't do it too much, or you'll turn into Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever. They were pants.
Attack people on trains
Let's face it. Being a henchman sucks. You get paid nothing. You spend no time at home with the kids. Hell, you probably don't even have a home. The solution is simple: hide on a train. Jump in the wardrobe of some unsuspecting passenger and stay there for the night. It's warm. It's free. It's a place to sleep. Plus you get to surprise people when they put their clothes away. There's nothing quite as fun as coming out of the closet when a woman's in her nightie.
Learn how to swim
If they're not part of a dastardly scheme involving submarines or ocean bases (there are quite a lot of those), a lot of henchman don't learn how to swim. But it's a useful skill that might just save your life. In fact, if you're a strong enough swimmer and you follow all the other steps above you might even get invited back to be a henchman for a second time.