The Best of Bond (Vol. 3)

circa 1970: English film star Roger Moore, best known for his roles as James Bond and The Saint. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
circa 1970: English film star Roger Moore, best known for his roles as James Bond and The Saint. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) /
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In the third installment of the Best of Bond, we’ll pick up where we left off and look at the Bond films of the 1970s. Again, what is the best scene or sequence in each film? And what is most underrated scene or sequence?

The Best of Bond: The Films, 1970s

Diamonds Are Forever

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Starved for news, outlets guess Richard Madden is new James Bond after innocuous video /

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  • Best Scene/Sequence: In what was the campiest Bond film to date, trying to choose a best scene

    is really about choosing the scene that best fit the tone of the film. So, from that standpoint, the Las Vegas backdrop gets utilized to full effect when Bond has a go at the craps table. It is here that he meets Plenty O’Toole. “Named after your father, perhaps,” he says. But the scene is nicely tied to the next one: when Bond takes Plenty to his room. There, one of Slumber Inc. employees throws Plenty out of the window…into the pool. When Bond tells him it was a nice shot, the attendant says, “I didn’t know there was a pool down there.”

    Most Underrated Scene/Sequence: Bond’s elevator ride to the top of the Whyte House may seem like a throwaway, but it isn’t.  At that dizzying height, Bond still has no problem “buildering” from the top of an elevator shaft, into Willard Whyte’s penthouse.

    Live and Let Die

    Best Scene/Sequence: Bond’s run across the backs of several hungry alligators takes the prize, here. It’s as surprising as it is effective. No CGI here.

    Most Underrated Scene/Sequence: Director Guy Hamilton needed a scene to help establish Roger Moore as the new Bond. Following action sequences in New York, we find Bond in a San Monique hotel, where he encounters a deadly (presumably) snake. The emphasis isn’t so much on the snake, however, as George Martin’s score, a departure from the work of John Barry in all previous Bond films. The change of tone is remarkable.

    Related Story: Roger Moore's Top Ten Bond Moments

    The Man With the Golden Gun

    Best Scene/Sequence: In a film lacking big moments, it is safe to say that the Bond-Scaramanga car chase, culminating in the barrel roll, is the film’s best scene, slide whistle and all.  Why? Because, if nothing else, the image of James Bond driving an AMC Hornet, performing an Evel Kneivel-like stunt, perfectly caputures the decade.

    Most Underrated Scene/Sequence: Rarely have children made an appearance in a Bond film, much less been a part of the action. The exception occurs, here, when a young boy attempts to help Bond restart the motor on his sampan. Bond has made a deal with the boy: to buy one of his carvings in exchange for the help. But Bond reneges on the deal and pushes the boy off the boat when ready to speed away. Was this Bond’s way of trying to keep the boy out of harm’s way? Or simply cruelty in action? You be the judge.

    The Spy Who Loved Me

    Best Scene/Sequence: Bond’s Lotus Esprit, turned submarine, is not only a cool gadget, it makes for an even cooler scene, especially considering how Bond enters the water: driving off a dock, leading to a full-speed, nose-first water entry.

    Most Underrated Scene/Sequence:  The murder of Fekkesh. No matter that part of this scene features a still image of Roger Moore, inserted into the bottom right corner of the frame, the use of light and shadow, as jaws pursues, catches and kills Fekkesh, is one of the better filmed sequences during the Moore era. The setting (the Pyramids of Giza) adds to the effectiveness.

    Moonraker

    Best Scene/Sequence:   During Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Manuela is attacked in an alley by Jaws. The scene is out of place, tone-wise. Lewis Gilbert uses no score; instead, the music from the streets is all we have, as Jaws, in disguise and at his most menacing,, makes his way to Manuela. Bond arrives just in time to save her, and the two escape.

    Most Underrated Scene/Sequence: The death of Corrine. John Barry’s score punctuates Corrine’s futile run through the woods, while being chased by Hugo Drax’s dobermans.

    As always, thanks for reading.

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