|£2,000 - £3,000
Two separate mimeographed typescripts of Christopher Wood’s screenplay, both similar versions, the earlier one of the two an incomplete script missing the final 29 pages, entitled The Spy Who Loved Me, Third Draft, Christopher Wood and dated 25 May,1976, 111 unbound pp. fastened with a bull dog clip; the other complete script entitled The Spy Who Loved Me, Fourth Draft, and dated 3rd June, 1976, the title page inscribed at the top in blue ballpoint pen in an unidentified hand Michael Wilson, 140 unbound pp. fastened by a metal clip; the storyline in both scripts is largely the same, a number of differences include:
-In the 3/6/76 script only a new character wealthy Sheik Hosein is introduced close to the beginning in a desert oasis in Egypt, an entertaining old Cambridge colleague of Bond’s who lavishes him with exotic ‘Arabian Nights’ style hospitality after tipping him off about Fekkesh; in the 25/5/76 script there’s an additional fight between Jaws, Bond and Anya at the Temple of Karnak, and the meeting with M, Moneypenny, Gogul, Bond and Anya at M’s Egyptian headquarters in the interior of the burial chamber of Tomb of Rameses II at Luxor occurs approximately 50 scenes after the same meeting in the later script; -in the 25/5/76 script Bond asks Q if he can have “Wet Nellie” on this assignment. In the later script, the adapted Lotus is not named, and is described as “ a bright red car – The Lotus Special..”; and
-Two separate sheaths of mimeographed typescript pages, both fragments from unidentified versions of The Spy Who Loved Me screenplay, one 49 unbound pages of mostly dialogue script for a scene between Anya and Bond at the Luxor Hotel and Country Club, with a few minor annotations in an unknown hand in black and blue ballpoint pen, fastened by a red paper clip; the other 46 unbound pages showing variations in the storyline and a Bond girl called Hannah not seen in the final version, some pages with a few minor annotations in black ballpoint pen in an unknown hand; fastened by a bulldog clip;
Christopher Wood came last in line in the order of 12 different scriptwriters Cubby Broccoli employed to tackle the screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me. Wood was brought in at the suggestion of new director Lewis Gilbert who had himself been appointed on 18 December 1975. Gilbert had inherited Richard Maibaum’s script which had at its core a megalomaniac intent on dominating the world. Gilbert described Maibaum’s plot as: “…the good old standby in which the arch villain sets Russia and America at each other’s throats, then steps in to claim the prize. For this one, he had come up with a tanker that swallowed submarines and one of the best henchmen villains ever, the mighty Jaws, whose steel teeth could bite through anything..”. Despite these heady ingredients, Gilbert felt that Maibaum’s script lacked humour, hence his suggestion to bring in Wood. When Wood took the job on he had been unaware that he was following in the footsteps of many writers. In interviews Wood described how the evolution of his plot was very much a collaborative effort. Gilbert and Wood worked together daily in Cubby’s office at Eon. Sometimes they were joined by Cubby, or Ken Adam or Michael Wilson. Wood developed Maibaum’s script and incorporated ideas from the previous writers and drafts and from Broccoli’s original ideas. He wrote on his own and then went back to discuss things with the others, he compared the process to “..putting together a jigsaw puzzle..” The new plot angle, Wood and Gilbert came up with was the idea of a villain obsessed with oceans, whose lair was a palace under the sea. The plot providing marvellous opportunities for Ken Adam’s set design and some of the most eye-catching gadgets in the history of Bond films.
Michael Wilson, Cubby Broccoli’s stepson held the official title of Special Assistant to the Producer when working on The Spy Who Loved Me. Broccoli had brought him in as a long-term replacement for Harry Saltzman who had sold his share of Eon in 1975. Wilson played an integral part in the film’s success from the outset. Broccoli’s initial task for his stepson was to conduct protracted negotiations with the Fleming estate for the use of the book’s title. And, Lewis Gilbert, recounted in his memoir, that it was Wilson who came up with the idea for the remarkable parachute ski jump used in the film’s opening sequence, another notable feather in Michael Wilson’s The Spy Who Loved Me cap. [See lot 17].
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), the tenth in the Eon Productions official 007 series, initiated a number of records for the James Bond franchise. It was Cubby Broccoli’s first solo 007 venture without co-producer Harry Saltzman, and he was determined that it should become the biggest and best Bond yet. From the outset, the film’s path to success was beset with numerous difficulties and the screenplay itself went through more adaptations and revisions than any production during the 40-year history of 007 on screen. Problems began with Ian Fleming’s source material for the film’s title. Like the movie, it was Fleming’s tenth Bond novel in order, however it represented a departure from Fleming’s usual 007 format in that it is told from the viewpoint of a young Englishwoman who only meets the famous spy in the last few chapters of the book. For this reason, Fleming never wanted this book to be sold as a film project. His estate, however, gave Broccoli permission to use the novel’s title only. The book and film do also share one significant common element – Jaws, who is loosely based on Fleming’s villain, `Horror’, who had steel-capped teeth. Nevertheless, the screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me is considered to be the first Bond film whose story is completely original. After a visit to Russia, Broccoli devised a plot for a new story which suited the film’s title and focused on a beautiful Russian agent who falls in love with James Bond.
It is said that twelve different screenwriters worked on fifteen separate drafts for the screenplay over a period of three years, in one of the most fiendishly complicated film pre-production processes in Eon’s history. Considering the quantity of different variants of the screenplay here in Lewis Gilbert’s personal film script archive, it appears that just over half of the fifteen screenplay versions are represented between lots 13-18.
Looking through the different variations of treatments and screenplays for The Spy Who Loved Me, a large proportion of which are represented in this collection, in the words of film historian Steven Jay Rubin they : “…offer a textbook look at script development…the material is priceless, since it allows the reader to see how typical Bondian situations are workshopped…”
RUBIN, Steven Jay Spy Who Loved Me Script Wars in The James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia, Chicago Review Press Incorp. Chicago, 2021
GILBERT, Lewis All My Flashbacks The Autobiography of Lewis Gilbert, Sixty Years A Film Director, Reynolds & Hearn, London, 2010
FIELD, Matthew & CHOWDHURY, Ajay Some Kind Of Hero, The Remarkable Story of The James Bond Films, Cheltenham Glouc., 2015
The Spy Who Loved Me Script History www.M16-HQ.com
Bellmans is grateful to Wallace and Hodgson for their assistance with cataloguing the Lewis Gilbert Film Script and Production Archive.