James Bond novel/film comparisons-For Your Eyes Only

“For Your Eyes Only” was a collection of short stories featuring James Bond by Ian Fleming-From A View To A Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Quantum of Solace, Risico and the Hildebrand rarity. The movie version of “For Your Eyes Only” is sort of a merger between the title story, with of course, several embellishment. The film is generally recognized as perhaps the truest of Roger Moore’s Bond films to the tone of the original Ian Fleming novels-especially important since the last film-Moonraker-has Bond in space.

In both novel and film, one of the main things that happens is the murder of the Havelock couple, with their daughter seeking revenge on hitman Gonzalez. However, the motive is different; in the novel it’s because they refuse to sell their estate; in the film, it’s because Timothy Havelock-a marine archaeologist-has been trying to find the wreck of the St.Georges, a disguised British naval ship carrying the Automatic Targeting attack Communicator (ATAK) which was sunk, on orders to retrieve the device.

Havelock’s daughter’s name is changed from Judy to Melina, and she is also given a Greek backstory via her mother. Also, while the novel is set in Vermont, the movie is mostly centered in Greece. In both cases, the daughter’s signature weapon is a bow and arrow, which also figured prominently in the film’s marketing. In both cases, she is able to get revenge by shooting the bad guy just as he dives into a pool.

The villain of For Your Eyes Only, Kristatos, as well as his rival (and eventual Bond ally) Columbo, originate in the story For Your Eyes Only. Bond initially investigates Columbo in connection with smuggling, in both the film and novel (although the film adds the ATAC element, with Kristatos aiding the KGB). In both cases, Columbo sends his girlfriend, Lisl, to get information on Bond (In both cases Bond poses as an author, but Lisl isn’t fooled).

Cassandra Harris, the actress who played Lisl, was actually married to future Bond Pierce Brosnan, who was introduced to the producers during a set visit-so she pretty much helped Pierce become Bond. Unfortunately, she died in 1991 of cancer, as did her daughter in 2013.

In the novel, Bond is almost immediately captured by Columbo’s men when he meets Lisl on the beach. However in the film, Bond and Lisl are ambushed by Kristatos’s man, who kill Lisl. Bond is saved-but then knocked out and captured-by Columbo, who tells him that Kristatos is the bad guy all along. In both cases, to prove it, the two then raid one of his shipping centers, although in the film Bond kills Locke, Kristatos’s sadistic and silent henchman, in one of the more ruthless moments of Roger Moore’s Bond.

“He had no head for heights.”

One of the film’s most memorable action scenes involves Bond and Melina being bound and dragged through shark-infested water (with a lot of sharp coral too, although this ultimately helps them escape) by Kristatos’s boat. This scene actually originated in the novel version of Live and Let Die, which I covered a few months ago.

There’s one more element from the novels that’s sort of in the film: The Death of Blofeld. In the novels, Bond is finally killed by Bond in “You Only Live Twice”, where Bond discovers the villain has adopted the identity of Dr. Shatterhand, and Bond kills him by strangling him. In “For Your Eyes Only”, Blofeld (although not named on screen due to rights issues at the time, something I’ll eventually cover in a Thunderball article) is killed after using a remote control helicopter to kill Bond, only for Bond to sever the link, pick up Blofeld in the landing gear of the chopper and throw him down a smokestack (Although Blofeld’s persian cat is able to escape. Blofeld of course was given new cinematic life in SPECTRE, and given Blofeld’s use of body doubles in Diamonds Are Forever, maybe he’d still be around in the old continuity too.) In both cases, it’s Bond’s final revenge for the death of his new wife,Teresa/Tracey, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The film makes this especially clear with one of it’s opening shots, as Bond visits her grave and drops off flowers.


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