Thursday, November 5, 2015
Ian Fleming wrote a short story featuring James Bond for Playboy magazine and gave it the provocative title of "Octopussy." The film that emerged uses only the title and little else. The renegade Russian General Orlov (Stephen Berkoff) has a diabolical plan to cause world-wide chaos by setting off a devastating bomb at a circus in Berlin. Orlov's allies include the exiled Afghan Prince Kamal (Louis Jourdan) and the woman only known as "Octopussy" (Maud Adams), who has a bevy of beautiful gals doing her bidding in both criminal and legitimate enterprises; she is unaware of the bomb plot. Then there's her ally, Magda (Kristina Weyborn), who engages with Bond (Roger Moore) over a certain suspicious Faberge egg. Much of the movie takes place in Delhi, where we're treated to a variety of typical Indian stereotypes and cliches. There's a suspenseful climax with the circus and the bomb, and an excellent and harrowing epilogue with Bond trying to survive on the wing of a plane. Never considered the greatest of the 007 movies, Octopussy is nevertheless a very sleek and entertaining picture, extremely colorful, and with opulent settings and interesting set-pieces. Moore is fine, Jourdan is excellent, Adams is not bad as Octopussy, and Kristina Wayborn is lovely as Magda but isn't given enough screen time to really show what she can do, acting-wise, although she's a trifle stiff in her dinner scene with Bond. Vijay Amritraj scores as Vijay, an ill-fated agent, and Kabir Bedi makes an impression as Kamal's rather striking assistant, the master assassin, Gobinda. Another assassin uses a kind of buzzsaw/yo yo as a weapon. The theme song "All Time High" [Barry/Rice] is one of the best for a Bond movie, although Rita Coolidge's voice isn't quite sexy enough to do it justice.
Verdict: This seems to get better each time you see it. ***.