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The Spy
Who Loved Me
40th Anniversary (1977-2017)

 
 

As Ken Adam set to work on creating the world's largest permanent soundstage, filming on The Spy Who Loved Me began with the film's pre-title sequence atop Mount Asgard in Canada. Later combined with footage shot in Switzerland by Bond veteran Willy Bogner, a spectacular stunt performed by Rick Sylvester ended with James Bond skiing off the mountain to safety with the use of a Union Jack parachute. When finally screened, the sequence often ended with the audience bursting into spontaneous applause as Bond proclaims his 'British-ness' - a trait which director Lewis Gilbert was keen to return to. Despite his globe-trotting antics, James Bond is still essentially British, and the film is littered with in-jokes that become a signature of the series, and were carried on by future directors. One must not forget that 1977 was the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, and by the time the film was released the country was already in the grip of national patriotism on a scale not seen since the end of the World War II. The same feeling was captured again 35 years later with the release of Skyfall, which coincided with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, hosted in London. The games started with James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, escorting Her Majesty to the opening ceremony, as they 'both' skydive into the Olympic Stadium with Union Jack parachutes in a nod to The Spy Who Loved Me!

Lotus Esprit S1 - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Second unit filming continued in Sardina with the scenes featuring Bond's new gadget-laden Lotus Esprit S1. Although only one of the hand-built cars had been supplied for use in the film, production manager William Cartlidge eventually persuaded Lotus chairman Colin Chapman to provide his own car, and this was used for some of the less dangerous sequences in the helicopter chase. Several empty Esprit body shells and miniatures were used for the underwater sequences filmed in the Bahamas. Derek Meddings also created the superb miniatures of Stromberg's underwater headquarters Altantis, and the Liparus supertanker as a real tanker was unusable due to the highly flammable fumes and exorbitant insurance costs. When The Spy Who Loved Me premiered, the Shell Oil officials, who had offered an empty tanker to the production congratulated the filmmakers on using it so successfully, when in fact a full-size ship was never used in the finished film.

The Spy Who Loved Me - Derek Meddings Miniatures

The first unit ran unto further difficulties when the production moved to Egypt, where the crew were faced with miserable working conditions and unpalatable food. Aware of this, Producer Cubby Broccoli got to hear of this and arranged for a truckload of fine food to be send to Egypt. When the truck arrived it was empty, adding further to the crew's unhappiness. Broccoli then flew to Egypt himself and set up an impromptu Italian restaurant where he made spaghetti for the whole crew, served up with the assistance of Roger Moore; gestures like this helped Broccoli become one the most beloved film producers, who further endeared himself to his team by giving them a paid day off upon their return to the UK later in 1976.

Roger Moore & Cubby Broccoli cook spaghetti for the crew of The Spy Who Loved Me in Cario

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