For Your Eyes Only
John Glen likes color and movement. The step forward is from the visual fields established by Terence Young and furthered by Guy Hamilton and Lewis Gilbert. The point of departure is Gilbert’s The Spy Who Loved Me. Hitchcock is cited as a basis, with material laid out from his earlier The Man Who Knew Too Much and North by Northwest.
The most amazing gags ever filmed on skis are filmed with expert color cinematography and devil-may-care editing. The idea is essentially to transmute action into surrealism close to the vest, the sort of magic that’s done up close without recourse to stage props and effects.
Octopussy confirms the impression given by For Your Eyes Only, that Glen is a master of editing, and moreover that is why he was hired for the Bond films. He gets so many brilliant shots, but the tour de force is the sleight of hand that gets tremendous serendipitous action spliced together as shot on shot, with a result that left the critics gasping.
The script is what you might have had had you been able to persuade Calvino to write for you. It opens with Man on a Tightrope (after the overture and Maurice Binder’s credits), and pays homage to No. 1 of the Secret Service as well as Casino Royale. Much material is lovingly adapted from Shalimar, and also from Torn Curtain (later he quotes North by Northwest). A central point inclines the work toward homage as The Fourth Protocol, out of Panic in the City. Another quote is from Von Ryan’s Express, for reasons of formality, and there are gags from The First Great Train Robbery and The Seven Per Cent Solution serving as a superstructure to a splendid finale of showstopping gags.
A View to a Kill
The grandeur of the spectacle is greatly expanded and outrivals anything in its peculiar hallucinatory quality, which is firmly set in the valid conviction, to begin with, that Bond is no Jean-Claude Killy but does well enough amid sudden crevasses.
French chateau and horse-doping écurie for a garden party strangely invented, with the greatest care and gradual construction, to give a seemingly nonchalant picture of French culture, establish the middle section following on the Eiffel Tower escapade.
The startling precision and beauty of the extensive underground mine set (a counterfoil to Zorin’s blimp) collapses to prepare the masterstroke of a literal flood in Silicon Valley that does not take place.
There is an Order of Lenin in it, but the great prize is the acquisition of silent comedy on the scale of Keaton, with Bond dangling from a hook-and-ladder that veers monstrously on a San Francisco avenue and clips a camper shell, removing it completely, which wakens the sleeping couple inside.
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
At the time of the five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America, the Smithsonian Institution issued a child’s guide listing the harms brought by the admiral, who sailed for old spice and found a new continent.
In the light of this madness, Glen seems to have concocted a joke film equipoised between a parody of the journey (or The Bounty) and Marlon Brando as Torquemada.