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THE SPY WHO LOVED ME ($25) is one of the best and most entertaining of the Roger Moore James Bond outings. After the previous two lower budgeted Bond films (LIVE AND LET DIE and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN), the extravagance that fans came to expect returned to the series with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. At the time of its release, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME became the most expensive Bond film ever produced. The thirteen million-dollar production, filmed round the world in beautiful locations like Egypt, Switzerland and Italy, also featured one of the largest sets ever constructed for a film. From its spectacular ski chase through the Swiss Alps to its explosive climax aboard the villain’s super-tanker, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is a pure entertainment. In THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, James Bond is teamed with beautiful Russian Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) to find out who has developed a tracking system for nuclear submarines after British and Russian vessels disappear. Curt Jürgens is effective as the film’s primary villain Stromberg, who is bent on destroying the surface of the Earth and ruling the world from beneath the ocean. Richard Kiel, the seven foot two inch tall actor, makes his debut in the role of Jaws. Jaws, so aptly named for his ability to kill victims with steel teeth, returned in the series next entry, MOONRAKER. Jaws, along with Oddjob (from GOLDFINGER) remain amongst the Bond series most popular and memorable evil henchmen. The cast of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME also features Caroline Munro, Walter Gotell, Bernard Lee, George Baker, Desmond Llewelyn, Edward De Souza and Lois Maxwell.

MGM Home Entertainment has done another spectacular job with their THX certified DVD edition of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. This single sided DVD deploys dual layer technology to offer both Letterboxed and pan and scan presentations of the film. The pan and scan edition crops away half of the Panavision aspect ratio, so it offers little esthetic enjoyment. Still, if you must view it, the pan and scan it looks about as good as that format can. The Letterboxed transfer is stunning. Claude Renoir’s beautify cinematography has never looked as good as it does on this wide screen presentation. The transfer restores most of the Panavision aspect ratio and features the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. Crisp, clean and razor sharp are words that don’t go far enough to describe image quality. Colors are vivid and reproduce flawlessly. Digital compression artifacts were seldom noticeable on this DVD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is pretty good, considering that this film is from 1977. The stereo imaging is good across the front channels, but there is little more than one would find in standard Dolby Surround for the rear channels. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby surround compatible track and a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The interactive menus are animated and offer a number of cool features including a "making of" featurette, a theatrical trailer, trivia and production notes.

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is James Bond entertainment at its best. The DVD edition of the film looks and sounds simply smashing. Absolutely recommended.





DVD reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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