Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Quick Look: OCTOPUSSY (1983 - color)

   By the time of the release of today's film, a pattern had shown itself. When the Bond films gave the audience the elements it expected, they generally did well. When the producers experimented with new directions, the films generally did lesser business (not poor business, you understand). OCTOPUSSY embraced a lot of the more colorful elements FOR YOUR EYES ONLY had neglected. 007 is assigned to investigate a smuggling operation connected to a lady kingpin (queenpin?) known as Octopussy. Octopussy has a private island and an army of comely young women being duped by an Indian despot named Kamal Kahn. Maude Adams plays Octopussy, and the real heavy is memorably brought to life by respected actor Louis Jordon. I'm pretty keen on this chapter, featuring as it does one of the most suspenseful climaxes of the entire series. As I've noted, the film was entangled in "The Battle of the Bonds" when Kevin McClory's long-delayed remake of THUNDERBALL was finally produced and set to be released at the same time as OCTOPUSSY. McClory's film, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, starred the original Bond himself, Sean Connery, and there was much nervousness as to whether Moore's film could even compete. (Connery and Moore were friends, and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN was originally supposed to end with a Moore cameo.) While NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN hit screens first, it was OCTOPUSSY which ultimately did better business (reportedly, Connery himself noted that OCTOPUSSY was the better film). OCTOPUSSY had in it's favor a more original story, and one of Moore's best performances as 007. He almost didn't do the picture, and James Brolin was all-but-cast to star before Moore finally decided to return. Roger would go on to play Bond one more time before finally calling it quits.

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