Lot 520


Estimate: £300 - £500
Hammer price: £1,200
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

A large black and white portrait photograph of Lewis Gilbert on the set of The Spy Who Loved Me, uncredited but taken by Martin Godwin from the Guardian Picture Desk [see Lot 512] - 29.2 x 36.8 cm.

 The famous set Gilbert is pictured on was known as the “Jonah Set” built specifically for The Spy Who Loved Me to house Ken Adam’s astonishing design for the interior of the villain, Karl Stromberg’s, super tanker the Liparus.  It was the largest soundstage and studio water tank in the world. Adam’s shimmering set contained three five-eighths-scale nuclear attack submarines, seen behind Gilbert in the photograph; also, an armoured control room, catwalks, a monorail, assembly and weapons rooms. $1 million dollars of the film’s $13.5 million budget was spent on building this set which became one of the most celebrated motion picture interiors of all time.

Sold Without Copyright

Condition Report: Some light rubbing to edges and corners, crease to lower left corner appox. 14 cm. long; two smaller creases to top edge; small tear to lower edge approx.. 1 cm. long; overall good.

 Footnote: 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.

Read more

Our website uses cookies, as almost all websites do, to help provide you with the best possible browsing experience.

Accept Read more