For Your Eyes Only (1981)
After the ludicrous (but fun) excesses of Moonraker, the twelfth James Bond film For Your Eyes Only took a “back to basics” approach to its plot. Former Bond editor John Glen was promoted to director and remained so for five movies. The movie is unusual compared to other Bond films in several ways. It directly references Tracy Bond, 007’s deceased wife, with an opening sequence showing Bond placing flowers on here grave. Apart from a passing comment in The Spy Who Loved Me, this has never been done since and has now been eliminated from the plot in the 2006 reboot of the franchise. For Your Eyes Only is also the first Bond movie to include the title song artist in the opening credits.
Bond regular John Barry was not available at the time to compose the film’s score, so personally recommended Bill Conti. Conti, famous for the soundtracks to the Rocky series, provided an interesting blend of traditional brass elements along with elements of funk and disco. It was not to everyone’s tastes and remains a hotly debated score within fan circles. This along with the producers decision to include some light comic relief with a scene featuring Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (played by Janet brown) at the movies end, are the only weak points in an otherwise strong entry in the Bond canon.
The title song, written by Conti and Michael Leeson, was sung by Sheena Easton and proved to be a commercial success. However this was not the producer’s original choice. Blondie were initially sought to perform the title song and the band even went so far as to write an original track titled “For Your Eyes Only”. However they ultimately declined the offer to work on the movie as they would have been contractually bound to record a cover of Conti’s song, rather than use their own material. Blondie’s song subsequently appeared on their 1982 album The Hunter. The track displays all the hallmarks of singer Deborah Harry and guitarist/song writer Chris Stein and is radically different from Sheena Easton’s track. If used it certainly would have put a different inflection upon For Your Eyes Only.