We laughed at him, mocked him and criticised him. Many Bond fans disliked, even hated the way Roger Moore portrayed Bond in his films, but could he be responsible for Bond’s continual success?
After Sean Connery announced he was through with Bond, ozzy actor George Lazenby took up the role. He stared in one film, understandable after his film achieved little success, pulling in a mere $64.6m, compared to previous picture You Only Live Twice raking in $111.6m.
This was for two obvious reasons. Firstly and foremost there was no Connery, people flocked to see him, they loved him and he became an iconic figure.
With him any film (no matter how bad) would flourish. A lot of movie goers saw no life for Bond with out Connery. The second reason was the style of the film. The ‘60’s was a revolutionary decade, and movies had to mean something to people. A middle-age British spy was new, suave and therefore cool. Lazenby was not cool, as a result neither was the film. The public didn’t like Bond in a realistic hard-edged adventure with out Connery, it was boring.
Connery returned for Diamonds are Forever, the following film, which achieved $116m, a rather noticeable improvement on Lazenby’s film.
‘Diamonds’ formula had to be different if they wanted Bond to survive the ‘70’s. It had to seriously change if they wanted to make Bond cool again.
They decided upon Connery, humour and a light approach. It worked.
The next film Live and Let Die followed the same, new, formula that made the previous flick a success, except this time there was no Connery. Instead Roger Moore made his debut. The film proved to be even more successful as ‘Diamonds’ snatching up a cool $126.4m. The light-hearted approach carried on working.
The next two films proved the winning formula was right for Bond. However Moonraker went sky high with admissions, becoming the highest grossing Bond film until topped by GoldenEye. The film achieved a massive $202.7m, but now is ironically declared the worst Bond film. This was due to Moore, slapstick comedy and ‘an anything for a laugh’ philosophy.
Bond had survived the ‘70’s. But only because of the comedic formula that Roger Moore so marvellously executed. Moore’s next three films continued to gross acceptable amounts.
In theory, if another OHMSS had been made, or Lazenby had continued, Bond would have died a slow death. However the series stayed stable because Roger Moore. So next time you deem Moore awful, rubbish, pathetic just think....he could well be responsible for Bond being as popular as he is today.
Article written by Jay Harlow (Gustav Graves)