A VIEW TO A KILL

(1985)
With Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick MacNee, Robert Brown, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell
Directed by John Glen
Reviewed by JL and JB

The lineup of Abba has changed over the years...     Roger Moore, just about ready for the nursing home, says adios to 007 in one of the weakest of all Bond films.  It's a shame because there's so much unexplored potential in this one.  Christopher Walken and Grace Jones are inspired choices for villains, but they're given little to do except strike poses and spout hackneyed ee-ville dialogue.  There are also some decent set-pieces such as a dizzying chase up the Eiffel Tower, a well-staged underground battle, and a climax atop the Golden Gate Bridge that's good for some cheap thrills.  But most of the film is a mess, with a first half involving drugged race horses that doesn't seem to have much to do with the main plotline about Walken's attempts to corner the world's microchip market.  (Or perhaps my attention was wandering too much to catch the connection.)  Tanya Roberts makes for some nice eye candy, but she's among the most annoying of Bond girls, the epitome of the helpless bimbos whose dialogue consists of screaming "James!" every other line.  The entire MI6 gang was getting long in the tooth by now and it was past time for a series overhaul, which would come two years later when Timothy Dalton took over the Bond role. 2  - JL


      It's not that Roger Moore was old, but that he was too old to play James Bond.  Sean Connery solved that problem in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN by (a) making a film where Bond is supposed to be older and (b) being Sean Connery.  Moore would have made for a fine "M" at this point in the franchise, paving the way for a new Bond, but the powers that be felt they could squeeze one more good Bond film out of him. They were wrong.  The best part of the film by far is the final battle between Moore and Walken, which takes place on top of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It's an ending Hitchcock would have loved. 2 - JB

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The Secret Vortex

HOW TO TALK LIKE A BOND VILLAIN

"You amuse me, Mr. Bond."


FORGO THE USUAL CHI-CHAT, MISS MONEYPENNY

Lois Maxwell    In a fictional world full of superhero spies, larger than life villains and more plans for world domination than you can shake a martini at, Miss Moneypenny, the flirtatious and unassuming secretary to M, was always there to remind us that, yes, real human beings lived in this world too.

    Actress Lois Maxwell originated the role of Moneypenny in Dr. No and after that, no film up through A View To a Kill was without at least one Bond and Moneypenny scene.  Maxwell brought a charm and personality to the role in a way that, so far, no other actress has been able to match, and managed to find a comic chemistry not only with the original James Bond, Sean Connery, but subsequently with George Lazenby and Roger Moore.  Her pre-Bond acting career was not terriblly notable, although she did win a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in her very first film, That Hagen Girl (1947).  However, it is her work in the James Bond series that made her a world famous character actress.  My favorite Moneypenny moment comes in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, where she sheds tears at Bond's wedding, her unrequited love for the superspy finally and definitively dashed to the rocks.  Until the next film, that is.

    After she left the Bond series, Maxwell did little acting, and died in Australia in 2001.  Her friend and seven-time co-star Roger Moore had only happy memories of working with the woman, and suggested that after he left the series, the producers should have kept her on and promoted her: "She would have been a wonderful M."

    The role was taken up by Caroline Bliss in the Timothy Dalton films, Samantha Bond in the Pierce Brosnan films, and Pamela Salem in the non-official Never Say Never Again.  Naomie Harris stepped into the role in the third Daniel Craig film, Skyfall, where the character was given a first name for the first time in the series - Eve Moneypenny.