Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Eckland, Maud Adams, Herve Villechaize, Clifton James, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn
Film matched beverage: Golden Nipple
Synopsis: A golden bullet is sent to MI6, and Bond’s number is carved in it. This indicates the signature of Francisco Scaramanga, an exceptional assassin. Bond sets out to track down the man, to essentially get him before he himself is killed.
Once a modern audience gets over the impression that Bond is facing off against Saruman, this is a film that is entertaining while watching it, yet ultimately forgettable. This is disappointing, given that in many respects this film could have been a case of 007 meeting his own Moriarty. The plot is polluted by a needless McGuffin which just gets in the way of the ultimate competition between these two expert killers.
I can’t help but return to some of the points I made about Live and Let Die. Moore is of course more of a comedian, and the harder edged Bond stuff does not quite suit him. Lee is brilliantly sinister, as he has proven he can be on more than one occasion. Had he faced off against Lazenby, I could envisage a duel that would have gone down in history as one of the greats in cinema history. What we were left with was a fun-house fantasy fight that is utilised to hide the fact that Moore did not have the same level of physicality as his predecessors.
As mentioned earlier, the plot is also padded out with another mission, as superfluous as Scaramanga’s third nipple (hence the beverage I have matched to this film). This added plot point is for Bond to track down the missing Solex device, which could use solar power to solve the energy crisis. Such devices are used often in 007 films, and in itself is not a poor plot device, yet it draws the focus away from two sides of one coin coming face to face. I can’t help but think about the film I want to see in comparison to the one that was delivered.
The supporting cast also can be a bit annoying. Whilst looking amazing in a bikini, especially in the high def upgrade, Eckland has little personal strength, paying lip service to resisting Bond, but doing little more than that. Villechaize’s Knick-Knack is an attempt for an interesting, unique henchman, yet the final battle that this character has is no level near the face-off we have previously seen with the likes of Red Grant and Oddjob. Maud Adams comes of very well though, and though connected with Scaramanga, she plays a convincingly frightened woman trying to escape her lot. There is no question why she would be cast alongside Moore again in Octopussy.
I have been in the majority of the film very critical, and perhaps too much so. I still enjoyed this film, my concern is just that it could have been so much more. However, i warn all readers to anticipate similar opinions throughout the Moore era of reviews. I think I will make my point very clear why he is my least favorite Bond.
3 stars out of 5
Golden Nipple recipe
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Add Goldschlager and butterscotch schnapps to a 1 1/2 oz. shot glass. Fill with Bailey’s Irish Cream and serve